The thing about the market, as we all know, is that it doesn’t distinguish between novice, advanced beginner, competent, proficient, and expert traders. It’s the same for everyone and the learning curve is steep since so many pieces of information have to be simultaneously taken in to make good decisions on a consistent basis.
The best way to get better at making these decisions is to have some theoretical understanding of how markets operate, participant behavior, trade management techniques, etc. However, it is far more important that the overwhelming majority of time is spent actually practicing making decisions in real-time. Trading is decision making, it is vital to practice doing that. A major advantage to learning by doing is that it builds active recall and spaced repetition into learning since many ideas have to be tied together into a more fluid, applicable understanding rather than learning facts in a more disjointed manner.
I know opinions on paper trading are mixed, but it was instrumental in my development as a trader and it is still useful when I’m trying to test out new ideas and potential improvements. For someone who treats it with diligence it is extremely valuable since it provides a relatively inexpensive way to learn. Beginners don’t have any concept of what they don’t know (unconscious incompetence) and there’s no sense in wasting money in a live environment before any skills are actually developed. I’ve written before about how I break down the skills of trading into three major categories - 1. market analysis 2. trade management, and 3. mental management - and the first two can be learned to a large extent in a realistic simulator. Pay for a software that puts you into a cue position so that you’re not filled just by the market touching the price (Sierra Chart, CQG, and I believe Rithmic all do this, TT may as well - @Mod-MattZ could probably get you set up with something).
So what do you do once you have a suitable platform? I largely used the scientific method to test strategies in real-time, testing innumerable hypotheses, using a variety of analytical tools - keeping what helps me and discarding what didn’t, figuring out what tends to work and what tends not to through direct experience, etc. The more time I spent doing that the clearer things like entries and exits became because I developed a stronger understanding of market participant behavior and how to trade using market-generated information. I learned in a very organic manner, there were plenty of set backs along the way, things that initially seemed promising wound up being dead ends and other things became very useful once tweaks were made. With persistence, my process became more refined over time and my skill set improved considerably. Through learning by doing, I was much more focused on what actually tends to work rather than getting too caught up in second-hand knowledge.
Let your questions and curiosity guide the learning process. Is there something in your current trading that can be improved? How can you improve it? What tools and skills would improve it? These sorts of questions will lead to skill development from a standpoint of what is practically useful. Pinpoint weaknesses and work on them.
By focusing more on understanding market behaviors and how to execute on those behaviors (aggressive vs passive entry, scaling, etc.), things like entries and exits become more clear. This is gained through considerable time spent trading, studying, and thinking, there’s no way around that. You may be able to find memorized setups but I don’t think that’s nearly as robust as having an understanding of what’s happening in real-time and making trading decisions based on the overall context. Trading based on understanding also provides substantially more opportunities.
Learn about auction market theory, build off of core principles like how the consumption of liquidity is what causes price to tick up and down, inter-market relationships, and so on. Learn how to interpret tools like price action, order flow, Market Profile, etc. I’ve written about some of the traders who have influenced my thinking in other posts if you need more ideas. Discretionary trading is built largely on deeply understanding fundamental principles rather than simple memorization. I know you’re asking for a more concrete answer than what I’ve written, but looking for a simple strategy to copy is not the path to becoming a true discretionary trader.
It is useful to have a consistent method to decision making. I basically ask myself questions throughout the day. Things like: Is it easier to make money as a bull or as a bear in my core instrument? Is the market as a whole more risk on or risk off or mixed risk? How one-sided or two-sided is the activity? Are traders behaving aggressively at price extremes or are they waiting for pullbacks? These types of questions act as filters and help me get to a decision on how to structure my trades based on what’s happening in the market. Keep in mind also that it is useful to view the market from both the bullish and bearish perspective. Over time, asking these types of questions becomes much more automatic. I’m looking to make decisions based on objective information as much as possible, but there will always be some element of subjectivity in interpretation.
Anyway, this is a big picture framework of how I approach discretionary trading, it took a considerable amount of effort to get good at applying these ideas in real-time but it has been very worthwhile. This is the perspective that emerged from my path, enjoy your own journey and be pragmatic in your approach. Good luck!