scouting your opponent is very important in anything, and i think in sf4 one of the most relevant things to look for is probably how the enemy defends. this is really important because a large portion of any offense is counterhit setups, and frame traps have to be used according to the type of defense your opponent uses.
it all starts with the enemy’s fear of a throw. because your enemy expects a throw in your offense, they will probably either 1. stand tech, 2. crouch tech (early and late), or 3. backdash or 4. neutral jump (if you are being really predictable with where you time your throws, this is probably the most effective way for the enemy to regain momentum back, since it’s a jump in
i think the first two categories, stand tech, and crouch teching, is where most counterhit setups come in, right?
so, how do you like to scout your opponent? do you start off assuming the enemy crouch techs and use anti crouch teching frame traps right off the bat (c.lp, c.hp)? it seems like when you run into a random, the enemy might be a jab spammer or stand techer (ie. not using crouch tech), and both these beat anti crouch tech frame traps really bad because of the large delay. so, do you start off using anti jab spam/anti stand tech/anti neutral jump frame trap, like c.lp, TC or c.lp, c.lp, st.mp, or c.lk, c.lk, st.mp?
i thought of this because i realized if i start off the match with a tick throw and they tech it, i have no idea if they were stand teching, or crouch teching for later on during my offense. this makes a huge difference in terms of which frame trap to use, and since there is no one frame trap to fit all situations, i think it might be worth it to somehow stop your offense temporarily and do a delayed crouch tech to see what happens. if they stand tech, you will tech them. if they are crouch teching, you will see their c.lk come out (of course they could crouch tech using c.lk c.lp c.mp for example, but… not likely against guy i would think). unfortunately if they like to neutral jump this will be very bad for you, but neutral jumping is generally a foolish thing to do during defense i think so most opponents will not do this. you could also do a backdash, but i think a delayed crouch tech will be good if they do absolutely nothing, this way you can continue your offense.
also, from the enemy’s point of view, an educated opponent will know that you are attempting to adjust your frame traps and will respond appropriately, so i suppose during the entire battle you need to be doing some rock paper scisors.
TLDR version: how do you scout out what type of defense (crouch teching, stand teching, etc) your enemy does? is this normally how you pick your counterhit/frame trap setups? i made a suggestion in the second to last paragraph above.