Confused on how to proceed at this point

I’ve been playing fighting games for a while now, but only in the past 2 years or so decided to get serious about playing them. I’m improving as I go along in V, but I’m kind of stumped because of this issue: I play a lot better when I’m just sort of unconsciously playing. I’m pretty good, but I kind of avoid analysing my play too much because I play better when I leave most of it up to instinct and skill. When I try to understand everything that’s going on, I end up losing a lot more.

I think it’s because I’m not putting 100% of my focus on me and my opponent, but rather I’m putting some of that mental energy into analysing the opponent as I play and looking at his habits. I could do this just fine before trying to understand what’s happening in a match, but when I try to look at how I actually play/how my opponent is playing it kind of messes me up. I just sort of lose because I’m trying to do two things at once it seems. I don’t even know if putting that much attention on what’s happening mid-match is the right way to play.

So with that said I guess my question is basically, what the fuck should I be focusing on when I’m in a match?

I know what you mean and I was at your point back some time ago, too. What helped me is to play on “intuition”, but also think about what happened after the match is done. So, I either remember some situations, in which I idn’t know, whether the opponent’s move was safe or not or I even go and watch the full replay to look for mistakes I made. After that, I go back in training mode and pratice the proper punish (or make a note to myself that the opponent was safe in that situation and I need to just block next time). That way, you will gather information about every situations over time and before you know it, you’ll react correctly to given situations based on your “intuition”. For everything your opponent does, there’s something you can do to counter it. So keep looking for your mistakes and erase them one by one.

you can practice over and over stuff like frame traps, anti-airs, punishes and setups so that when you go into a real match you can just fall back on these tactics without thinking about them and use your regular focused style of play.

Thanks guys, this is solid advice. I do practice all my stuff constantly in training mode, while I wait for a match. I usually don’t even accept until I get certain combos/setups down so I can use them in the next match.

I’ll play as I used to then, on intuition and such, and reflect on the match afterwards.