What is the Head and Shoulders Pattern

It’s one of the most easy to spot and reliable patterns in technical analysis. The Head and Shoulders pattern signals a reversal of the current trend, telling you that you should expect the price to go in the opposite direction. 

Below, you’ll find out everything you need to know about the head and shoulders chart pattern, including its formation, identification, confirmation, and trading strategies.

What is the Head and Shoulders Chart Pattern

The Head and Shoulders chart pattern is a widely recognized and used trend reversal pattern that usually signals a change in an asset's price movement. Traders and analysts closely monitor this pattern to anticipate potential shifts in market sentiment. It provides clear entry levels, stop levels, and price targets, making it easy to implement in trading strategies.

As its name suggests, the pattern resembles a human head and shoulders, featuring three distinct peaks (with the middle peak being the highest) and troughs within a price chart.

Components of the Head and Shoulders Pattern

Left Shoulder: it marks the initial peak in the price of the asset and is followed by a decline in price, signifying a period of selling pressure.

Head: the highest peak in the pattern and occurs after the left shoulder; it indicates a brief resurgence in buying pressure, causing prices to rise temporarily.

Right Shoulder: the third peak and follows the head; similar to the left shoulder, it signifies another round of selling pressure.

head and shoulders dot example.png

Key Attributes of the Head and Shoulders Pattern


One of the critical aspects of the Head and Shoulders pattern is its symmetry. The left and right shoulders should be approximately at the same price level, while the head should be the highest point.


Volume plays a crucial role in confirming the pattern. Typically, the volume is higher during the formation of the left shoulder, decreases in the head, and increases again during the right shoulder formation.

How to Better Identify the Head and Shoulder Chart Pattern

Closely look for the following criteria:

  • The price is in an uptrend before the pattern forms.
  • The left shoulder forms as the price makes a new high and then retraces.
  • The head forms as the price makes a higher high and then retraces.
  • The right shoulder forms as the price makes a lower high and then retraces.
  • The neckline connects the lows of the two shoulders.
  • The pattern is confirmed when the price closes below the neckline on high volume.

Head and Shoulders Pattern Advantages and Disadvantages 


  1. They’re easy to spot on any time frame and any market. Scalpers, day traders, swing traders, and position traders alike can use these patterns, making them highly adaptable and easy to incorporate into a trading strategy
  2. They have a high success rate of predicting trend reversals. These patterns give a clear signal to sell cryptocurrencies, which can help you decide on the best time to sell cryptocurrencies in a bullish market.
  3. They provide clear entry, exit, and stop-loss levels for crypto trading. The neckline breakout becomes a crucial level of resistance signaling a sellers' market, so you can set your stop loss above it to close the trade.


  1. You need to find these patterns, watch them develop, and never trade until the pattern is completed; this could mean a long period of waiting.
  2. The profit target will not always be reached, so you might want to fine-tune how market variables will affect their exit from the security.
  3. The pattern isn’t always tradable; for example, if there’s a massive drop on one of the shoulders due to an unpredictable event, then the calculated price targets will likely not be hit.

Crypto Trading Strategies With the Head and Shoulders Pattern

Here’s how cryptocurrency traders and analysts leverage the Head and Shoulders pattern in their trading strategies:

Find entry and exit points: when they identify this pattern, traders can pinpoint potential entry points for short or long positions in the market; a confirmed Head and Shoulders pattern can be a signal to initiate a trade.

Estimate price target: analysts often use the pattern to estimate price targets for assets following a confirmed pattern; this can help in making informed investment decisions.

Confirm with other indicators: many crypto traders often complement their analysis by using other technical indicators or fundamental analysis to confirm the pattern's validity.

Additional tips on the steps you need to follow:

  • wait for the pattern to be confirmed by a close below the neckline on high volume;
  • enter a short position at the close of the confirmation candle or on a pullback to the neckline;
  • place a stop-loss above the right shoulder or above the head, based on your risk tolerance;
  • set a profit target based on the distance between the head and the neckline, or use other technical indicators or price levels to exit your trade.


The head and shoulder chart pattern is a powerful tool for traders who want to anticipate trend reversals and capture profitable opportunities. However, keep in mind that false breakouts can occur. So, use this pattern along with other technical analysis tools, like trend lines, moving averages, or oscillators to confirm your signals and manage your risk.