What is Scalping Trading – Best Techniques & Strategies Explained

Trading concepts

scalping trading

The strategy of scalping, or trading on the short side, has been around for a very long time. This trading method involves buying and selling stocks multiple times within a day for a small profit.

A trader usually does this once he has made a profit from a trade. Scalpers are those traders who use this style of trading, and they can trade between 10 and 100 times a day to make even the tiniest profit.

The appeal of scalping is that it exposes traders to less risk and offers a greater number of trading opportunities. Furthermore, since these traders target small returns, they can fight greed.

Just remember to trade responsibly. Despite the popularity of this approach, it’s by no means simple. The path to success in trading is not easy.


Scalping is a strategy that targets minor changes in intra-day stock price movement, frequently entering and exiting throughout the trading session to build profits. 

The process of scalping, a subtype of day trading, involves multiple trades with very short holding periods that can range from a few seconds to minutes. Those that Scalpe carry out numerous trades each day to build profits because they hold positions for such short periods. They are less risky since they hold positions for a short period.

Scalpers are usually quick, following no particular pattern. A scalper sells short in one trade, and then buys long the next; small opportunities are their target. Scalpers profit from the bid-ask spread by buying on the bid and selling on the ask.

Even fairly still markets witness small movements, so opportunities to capitalize on such moves are more common than large ones. 

To make calls on certain trades, scalpers generally follow short period charts, such as 1-minute charts, 5-minute charts, or transaction-based tick charts.

For trading frequency compatibility, scalpers need adequate liquidity. These traders need access to accurate data (quote system, live feed) as well as the ability to execute trades rapidly.

In general, most people prefer using direct-broker access to using high commissions because they increase costs of performing trades, which reduces profitability with frequent buying and selling.

Those who can devote time to the markets, stay focused, and act swiftly are best suited for scaling. Impatient people make good scalpers since they tend to exit trades as soon as they become profitable.

To be successful at scamming, you have to be able to handle stress, make quick decisions, and respond appropriately.

What is Scalping in Day Trading?

The scalping process involves profiting from little price fluctuations and reselling for a quick profit. In day dealing, scalping is a strategy that focuses on making small profits in high quantities.

Scalping involves strict exit strategies because a trader can lose all the little gains they’ve worked so hard for with just one huge loss.

Therefore, having the proper accessories (like a live feed, direct-access brokers, and the endurance to order multiple trades) is essential to achieving success.

The participants in this type of trade have very little time to hold stocks, so they must enter and exit the trade within a matter of minutes. It is possible, however, to hold stocks for a couple of hours.

You can find trading opportunities by spotting minute price fluctuations in the market. To successfully scalp, it is crucial to execute quickly and accurately.

Some traders profit from this type of trade, but risks are also involved. Scalpers need to capitalize quickly on opportunities, just like marathon runners

If one of those opportunities disappears, a profitable trade could turn into a loss because most scalpers will not wait long enough for another opportunity to arise. Scalping exploits leveraging to a large extent, which is why some people tend to avoid it.

Trading too much or getting greedy are two common ways for scalpers to lose money quickly.

Scalpers usually consider these factors when making decisions:

  • You can trade the hot stocks based on the watch list you create each day
  • After buying at breakouts, you’ll see an instant move up
  • If there’s no movement up, sell quickly
  • Once you have a small profit, sell half and adjust your exit to your entry point on the remaining position to ensure accuracy
  • Trade 3-5 times until you reach the daily goal

Since scalping involves multiple trades per day, liquidity is also a vital aspect of scalping. Additionally, it ensures that traders get the best price possible when entering and exiting the trade.

The goal of traders who use scalping is to make a profit by keeping up with the latest news and trading events that will likely cause price movements in the future. During a given trading session, they also monitor the high and low prices of a stock to gauge its short-term direction. This requires high concentration and promptness, however.

One way to make money is to set a profit target amount per trade, which must be related to the price of the stock. Unlike other intraday trading methods that can be profitable even with lower win/loss ratios, scalpers need a win/loss ratio of more than 50% to succeed.

Stock Scalping: How it Works

In scalping, the assumption is that most assets will perform the first phase of their movement. However, it is unclear where the stock will go from there. Some stocks stop rising after that previous step, while others proceed to rise.

Discounters aim to maximize their profits by taking as numerous little profits as possible. The opposite is the “let your gains run” mentality, which seeks to increase the quantity of triumphing in trades to increase positive trading results. The strategy increases the number of champions while surrendering the bulk of the wins.

It is quite common for an experienced trader with a long time frame to achieve positive results despite winning only half of their trades. The difference is simply the size of the wins, overshadowing the losses. 

Stock scalpers, on the other hand, will generally have a higher ratio of winning trades versus losing ones, and keep profits roughly equal or slightly larger than losses.

Scalping is based on the following premises:

  • Reduced exposure decreases risk: eMarket exposure is brief, which reduces the risk of adverse events.
  • Getting smaller moves is easier: To cause a more prominent price change, there needs to be a bigger imbalance between stock and trade. Stocks can move easier by $0.01 than they can by $1, for example.
  • There are more small moves than bigger ones: A scalper can exploit many small movements even during moderately peaceful markets.

How to Scalp Trade

Scalpers can make money in many different ways. Profit target amounts per trade can be set as one method of securing profit. Profit targets should be relative to the price of the security and range between 0.1 – 0.25 percent.

Using Level II to capture as much profit as possible is another way to follow stocks breaking out to new intra-day highs and lows. To use this method, you must be extremely focused and execute orders flawlessly.

Scalp Trading Strategies

Moving averages pullbacksThere is a post on 20 Moving Average Pullbacks that discusses this in detail. Regardless of the time frame, it is a profitable strategy.

It is a scalping strategy that aims to get into stock as it pulls back to a popular moving average in either direction. Trading legends like Linda Raschke popularized this method.

In this strategy, you should look for the following:

  • In either direction, momentum is strong
  • Clear signs of a trend
  • Pullback volume that is constructive or light during a pause in the trend
  • Entering at the 20-day moving average
  • Regaining the previous trend
  1. Scalping with the Stochastic Oscillator

Using oscillators as the indicator that leads price action is one of the most effective ways to scalp the market. Even though it sounds simple, this is probably one of the hardest trading methodologies to master.

As leading indicators, oscillators often produce false signals. Most likely, if you scalp stocks with one oscillator, you’ll be able to predict price movement 50% of the time. Flipping a coin is equivalent to this.

For other strategies, 50% may be a profitable ratio, but when scalping the commission costs increase, you need a high win-loss ratio.

  1. Scalping using Stochastics and Bollinger Bands

We will combine stochastic oscillator and Bollinger bands in the next example.

Bollinger bands must confirm overbought or oversold conditions before we enter the market.

For the Bollinger band indicator to indicate confirmation, the price needs to cross the red moving average in the middle of the indicator. Each trade will be followed until the price reaches the opposite Bollinger band level.

  1. Scalping at Resistance and Support

Richard D. Wyckoff’s trading range theory is the basis of this very popular strategy. Essentially, you buy lows and sell highs.

First, you need low volatility, and second, you need a trading range. Since volatility is low, when you are first learning to the scalp, there is less chance things will go against you. Using the trading range, you can easily place your entries, stops, and exits.

Scalping Spreads vs. Normal Trading Policies

Scalpers are interested in profits from fluctuations in a security’s bid-ask spread. It is the distinction between the value at which a broker will purchase security from a scalper and the amount at which the merchant will trade it to the dealer. The scalper, therefore, seeks to narrow the spread.

Normal trading conditions, however, permit regular gains under fairly consistent conditions. Since the spread among the bid and ask (the stocks and need of securities) is also steady.

Scalping as a Main Trading Method

A scalper may make hundreds of trades per day. Scalpers typically use tick charts, charts of one minute, because the time frame is short and they want to observe settings as they develop as soon as possible.

This type of trading requires support systems like DAT (which means Direct Access Trading) and Level 2 quotations. A scalper relies on electronic, immediate performance of orders, so a direct-access merchant is ideal.

Scaling as a Supplemental Style

This is a useful supplementary technique for dealers with more extended time frames. Using this when the trading market is rough or clasped in a tight range is the most obvious way. A more condensed time can show noticeable and exploitable inclinations that can influence a trader to attempt a scalp if there are no trends in a longer time frame.

It can also be incorporated into lengthy-term trades using the umbrella concept. Using this approach, a trader can maximize profits while improving their cost base. An umbrella trade involves: Traders initiating positions for longer-term trading.

Traders identify current settings in a more concise time frame based on the principles of scalping while the principal trade develops, and enter and exit them according to the policies of the main trade.

Depending on the setup, any speculation method can be used to scalp during trading. In this sense, scalping can be regarded as a risk management strategy. Getting a profit close to the ration of risk/reward of 1:1 can turn any trade into a scalp. In other words, the profit earned is the same size as the stop, based on the setup.

Traders can execute scalp trades on both high and low sides. Breakouts or range-bound trades can be executed. Scalping can be carried out with several common chart structures, like triangles and cups or handles. Similarly, a trader can make decisions based on technical indicators.


The stock scalping strategy isn’t bold or innovative, but it’s one that’s been implemented successfully by many day traders. Trading with scaling minimizes your exposure to losses and allows you to make money even in flat markets.

You probably won’t be among those success stories, though, if you’re looking for overnight riches. Scalpers must accept small wins and think only about the next trade.

Scalping strategies may sound easy on paper, but they will devour traders with a lack of experience. It takes some learning to master scalping, but it’s an important skill to have, especially if markets trade sideways for a long time.

Russell Crane

Russell Crane

Russell is an Algorithmic & Technical Analyst Trader @ PatternsWizard.
His passion is to share his knowledge about TA, patterns & more. Why hope for your trading to work when you can precisely know the performance stat of every pattern?

Are Candlestick Patterns Reliable

candlesticksWe loved Marwood Research’s course “Candlestick Analysis For Professional Traders“. Do you want to follow a great video course and deep dive into 26 candlestick patterns (and compare their success rates)? Then make sure to check this course!

Want to know which markets just printed a pattern?

Market Timeframe Printed on

Get “Every Candlestick Patterns Statistics”, The Last Trading Book You’ll Ever Need! 📖

PatternsWizard book - Every Candlestick Patterns Statistics

"Every Candlestick Patterns Statistics", the last trading book you'll ever need!

Pre-register now and receive the candlestick patterns statistics ultimate ebook for free before anyone else!

"All you need is one pattern to make a living."
- Linda Raschke

Awesome move! We are giving the last touch to the "Every Candlestick Patterns Statistics" book. We are very excited to send it to you right when it's ready. In the meantime, we'd like to gift you our trading roadmap and its best 55 resources. You'll shortly receive an email with the link. Don't miss it ;) Stay tuned 📈