Getting good at footsies?


Would like some advice from some (legit) ultra silver and up players. What’s the mindset when playing up so close?

Some background: In SF4, I was Guile player. I also played a zoning counter-attacker style relying on getting damage mostly from the opponent making mistakes, taking risks going forward and trying to get around the zoning

Alright, now to SF5. I switched to Ryu because well 1) guile is not out yet and 2) I wanted to learn how to fight closer, more in your face style (yes, the are probably true rushdown characters better suited for this, I’d like to learn with Ryu first however)

Trying to fight just outside of the opponent’s normal range, it seems like there’s so many options to defend. There’s the jump in, sometimes there’s the cross up, there’s the dash in, the normal pokes, a fireball, and maybe some other safe on block special.

For me, my main focus is to defend the jump in because of how it gets them tick throw/frame-trap mixups after landing. But focusing on defending the jump-in leaves me less focus defending the other options. How do higher level people footsie and seemingly defend all attack options so effortlessly? Or am I just thinking about it all wrong entirely based on how I’m asking my questions?




It’s all psychology, mixups, reads, reactions and knowledge.

Knowledge plays into every aspect except reactions. Reactions are the strongest factor however.

Psychology tends to do with knowing what your threat is, and what your opponents threat is and whether they are scared of your threat or not. If your threat is fireball thrown in their face, and they now back off to gain some space so they can react to the fireball… You now basically have a psychological read. They want to gain space against you when you get a bit to close for comfort. Now you can threaten that space to make them move backwards.

Mixups are just the same thing as above except both players know the score. Your opponent knows they want to get away, and they know that YOU know they want to get away. So instead of trying to get away by like backdashing or something… They just sit there and block your anti backdash move.

Reads tend to be analytical in nature. Like… "After this guy dashes he always goes for a throw"
This is very deep and depending on the player the reads can be very complicated… Or not complicated at all. Just about anything in the game that can be done more than once can be read.

I was playing against a player a couple of weeks ago that would do a minus 2 on block move and then he would dp my attempt to hit make him block and take my advantage. He hit me wi this over and over till I got the read and it dawned on me:

He only went for the reversal when he was low on life. It was always his last ditch effort to gimmick out a win.
So I adjusted and started to read him perfectly. He got perplexed, and I saw his facial expression next to me after the set and I told him what the read was. Makes us both better.

Reactions come from playing the game tbh. You will never overcome your inherent speed, but when you start out in a game you are never at your inherent speed, you are probably at like maybe half at best unless in situations that are very similar to other fighting games.

Knowledge is based around playing, but the deepest forms are accrued via thought in theory away from the game and in training mode, or when making happy mistakes in game or in training mode.

It’s also good if you personally classify everything you learn. The you can define what others do to you and have a gameplan setup for how to beat it.

An example is “counterpoking” if you notice your opponent doing it a lot, you can try to pressure their wiff and /or defensiveness.


Because the game is relatively new some things will take time to learn. Spacing, whiff punishing and knowing priorities all factors in to this. Youll probably notice, since you play Ryu, that the higher up the ranks you climb, people will jump less which basically leaves you both grounded. Dashing can be pretty risky, so knowing your poke range and punishing your opponents poke is important to get close.

So for example, if somebody whiffs a crouching roundhouse you want to be close enough to be able to punish it with a to ex hadoken and start your offence from there. Then you wanna be able to whiff punish a with your own to ex hadoken (like jumping, better players will not whiff c.roundhouse. But sticking out a is pretty common because its difficult to punish)

So jump ins are always risky for the person who jumps, (as long as their not jumping after a hard knock down). Punish them with anti airs and teach them not to jump. Dashes are pretty risky to, good spacing and pokes will handle that. For poking you have to learn priorities (Chun seems to have high prority on her pokes, just like 3s), spacing and whif punish.

Ofcourse this is all theory, it might be worth to try and focus on poking, spacing and whiff punishes alot of games even if it means you lose. Just to learn how to handle a specifik character (lost alot myself just trying out what moves I can crushcounter)

You said you focus so much on anti airs that you forget the rest, thats good, sooner or later that anti air will come naturally the you can go the next level =)


Great advice!


Some solid advice here. I’ll respond to some of them

This is interesting, because I know there’s psychology in the game, but I’ve never framed it quite the way you have. I’m gonna dig deeper into this concept.

As you know, reads are super easy in the lower ranks because the players generally haver a lower knowledge base for tactics. As I advance, people have a larger base of knowledge, rotate through their tactics, AND different players employ different tactics. There’s probably still a pattern to read, but at this point the variation length is long enough that it is outside my observation span. I am trying to figure out how to improve on this.

This is actually a concept I just started thinking about when I was brainstorming on how to improve. I was thinking that even if there’s an infinite amount of tactics and combinations, that they can still be classified into categories. I am curious if anyone has bothered to write a list of classifications (according to their opinion).

People say this, and yeah if the opponent’s attacks are pretty much 80% or more jump-in, then they will take enough damage that’s definitely factors into losing the match. But if the opponent is smart about it, I actually don’t see jump ins as that risky. In this game, eating an anti-air is relatively low damage (100 or less i believe), but accidentally missing an anti-air and eating a jump-in combo can easily result in 200-500 damage. So imo, the risk vs reward ratio is highly in favor of the jump-in rather than the defender.

I don’t get why this risk vs reward ratio doesn’t seem to apply to higher level players. As in, you can watch a pro-level Ryu mirror and they seem to just throw fireballs at each other all day without fearing the possibility of the jump-in at all. Am I just giving jump-ins too much credit?


Jumpins are better in newschool games than they were in oldschool games. Having said that, jumpins are still kinda bad at high level because of risk versus reward:

The risk and reward for jumpins at higher levels isn’t… “you take 100 damage for a punish, but if your jump gets through you do 250 plus damage” that’s what happens at the most basic level, but there are other factors to consider:

There are lots of different “kinds” of jumps. The obvious jump, the crossup jump, the jump over someone’s poke jump, the non obvious jump etc etc etc.

In high level the only type of jump that is likely to succeed with any kind of regularity is the non obvious jump, and also the jump over a poke jump. Most other types of jumps are just going to give the top player free damage in the form of an AA… But it doesn’t stop there, when AA’d in sf5 you generally also have to deal with a resultant mixup/momentum switch. Which isn’t good at all. And then we also come back to the fact that that non obvious jump and the jump over a poke jump… Aren’t easy jumps to make against good players. They are easy jumps to make against wack players, but not good ones. That’s why jumping isn’t favored in general… Most of the time it is just handing a good opponent some damage and a better position.

But it’s also a mistake to never jump or jump very infrequently… It’s always pertinent to jump as much as you can get away with if your opponent has good footsies… IMO. But the best rule of thumb is to rethink your jumps if you get AA’d twice in a row. Doesn’t matter if both AA’s came with more than half a round between them… You are probably jumping at a predictable time or aren’t putting enough ground pressure on your opponent to make them react slowly to your jumpin.

As far as a place where certain tactics are already named and discussed, majs footsies guide is considered the bible of footsies and while it applies much more to oldschool footsies rather than newschool ones it will get you more aware of the kinds of patterns to look for and how you should be thinking of the neutral… And also after you digest all of that you will be able to much easier understand certain players playstyles such as Justin Wong and daigo and ricki Ortiz, because they are all heavily footsies based.

Also, in case it matters I’m currently only super silver ranked, but I haven’t played ranked since late March. I still manage to go evenish at my locals with guys that have 5.5 to 6.5 LP that p,ay ranked more than I do.


It’s okay, the ultra silver request was sort of arbitrary, I just noticed that there is a noticeable skill difference between entry level silvers and ones that are almost gold. Your responses so far are insightful and are giving me new perspectives to think about. You’re right, I forgot about the fact that there is a momentum switch on AA and the fact that there are different kinds of jumps. Good stuff. Thanks.


More regarding jump ins.

Since we are talking psychology, if you frequently AA somebodys jump ins, you take away a tool from your opponent. The more tools you take away, the more you make the opponent feel frustrated and locked down.
And im sure we all have felt like that sometimes, when everything you do get stuffed by the other player =)

And speaking of anti airs, there are usually alot more options than just the regular dragon punch. Im a Cammy player, so I take it from there.

If an opponent jumps at me I can do a canon spike. Pretty good and safe damage, but that leaves me a bit from my opponent so it can be a bit difficult to follow up pressure.

If i have meter i can do super, alot more damage, but I will empty my bar so its a bit situational.

I can do which resets my opponent in the air and I can follow up pressure.

I can simply walk under, if its a bad positioned jump, and start pressure.

If an opponent jumps at me I have alot of options to deal with that. If they just keeps zooning and poking, my only option is to be better than them at that. Look at it like this, what if you had a game where 90% of the time you jumped you got AA. Then you would need to find another way to approach the opponent.


I am playing much better lately even occasionally beating golds, thanks guys. My mindset now is that footies begins with positioning yourself favorably in way that limits their options. That forces them to take risks to try and get their options back.

If they walk backwards to reposition, great, walk forward to claim that space until they get to the corner and keep them there. If they push buttons to defend space from being taken, figure out how to whiff punish them. If they stop pushing buttons, throw them.

If they walk forward, defend that space with pokes. If they are trying to whiff punish, then it becomes a game of who can make who whiff. Now I understand what that footsie “dance” is.