Help Keeping Cool/Thinking Straight/Playing Smart

First post at Shoryuken!

I’m still deep in the noobie learning process. I find that that I can practice all day until my fingers are stiff and I’ve got perfect execution, but in actual battle my execution suffers, I panic. I overthink and underthink. I blank out on any options, or allow myself to be over-whelmed by my opponent’s agression. I fireball when I mean to DP. I mash excitedly. All the bad noob habits I try to refrain from rear up in my gameplay. I end up falling back on spamming fireballs.

I choke.

How do I keep calm? How can I force myself to be more precise and accurate with my inputs in actual battle? Why is it that even though normals are as essential as specials, all I can think to do in the heat of the moment are the special inputs or spam jab? WHY DOES THAT ULTRA BAR ALWAYS LEAD ME TO MY RUIN?? Ditto for focus attacks. I know I shouldn’t even bother with them at my level, but I can’t help it! I want to burn those super stocks on EX attacks as soon as they are available. It’s just instinct.

Anyway, I feel like if I could overcome these frustrations and play smarter, I would improve greatly, but no matter how much I tell myself what NOT TO DO, I still end up spazzing out? The worst thing is, I get so caught up in all the stuff I’ve read about and have tried to practice that even my scrub button-mashing friends who haven’t learned anything about the game at all can beat me because I’m too focused on “playing correctly.”

I’ve read many beginner guides. Either it’s not sinking in or I’m not practicing smart.

Any advice is greatly appreciated. Thanks!

How long have you been playing?

As usual, it’s all about experience; the best thing to do is to find some decent competition offline. In my experience I play a lot better when my opponent is sitting next to me. Those people can then critique your play and maybe find problems with your game that you hadn’t thought of.

Also, instead of telling yourself what not to do, how about telling yourself what you will do? eg. “I’m going to do an overhead on their wakeup” or “I’m going to bait an uppercut by whiffing a move just before wakeup” or “I’m going to go for a frame trap” etc. Then if it turns out to have been the wrong decision, or if you make an execution mistake, brush it off and just keep going.

solid training and adaptability are what you need. you don’t need to be calm, you need to not hesitate. you’ll know your training’s solid when it’s so etched into your head that you can act on autopilot and win quickly

The key is that when you are not in a tournament setting, you should not be getting too worked up about winning/losing. Remember that execution practice is just half the battle. You also have to practice your “game instincts”. Just set a simple goal for yourself and work towards that. Let’s say you’re playing as a shoto. You can set a simple goal for yourself such as “develop the ability to instinctively DP any unsafe jump-ins made by my opponent”. So you play a couple of games where you actively look for those unsafe jump-ins, and DP the hell out of them. This will lower your focus on the rest of your game, and you might lose as a result. Don’t sweat it. In time you will find that hitting those unsafe jump-ins will take hardly any thought at all. You’ll do it almost reflexively. You can then switch your focus and move to a different goal like “develop the ability to safely space myself when poking, and punish unsafe pokes from my opponent”. At that point you’ll find that even though you are concentrating on spacing, you will have retained the ability to DP unsafe jump-ins on reaction. At some point proper spacing and whiff punishing will become a natural thing that you don’t need to think about so much as well, and you can move on to something else like “develop the ability to recognize when my unsafe attacks are blocked and use FAC to make them safe”. Repeat until you hardly need to think about the gameplay basics, and then you can move onto mind games with your opponent. That’s it.

Thanks for the advice.

A little info on my playing:
Background is mostly casual play in Soul Calibur/DOA/Smash Bros. Have played a fair share of some Neo Geo classics via emulator, but mainly I’m coming from Tatsunoko Vs. Capcom which I’ve had and played a lot of since the japanese version came out.

Now I’m trying to get good at SSF4 (PS3) and I’m trying to actually take it seriously. I’ve had it since launch, but sometimes I won’t play it for a month or two due to other games/life in general/lack of human opponents.

Playing on a Tatsunoko Vs. Capcom stick with a classic controller-to-USB converter (for PS3), works perfectly. Just got the stick over the summer so I’m still getting used to it, but it feels more responsive and more logical than a pad for SF.

Playing real humans in the same room just isn’t really an option since I moved towns and none of my friends have a ps3. My wife doesn’t care and the friends I do have that come over to play games don’t really get down with 2d fighters and are pretty bad/casual. They don’t see the deeper aspects of the game or have an interest in learning.

So basically I can either practice against the CPU or get murdered online and learn nothing. It’s kind of difficult to really put it all together when that’s all you have, especially given the lag on PSN.

Ehh, I kind of feel like my last sentence or two was a bad excuse, ignore that.

Ehh, I kind of feel like my last sentence or two was a bad excuse, ignore that.

nah what you need is to build up some good muscle memory. once you have that, keeping cool is easy

I really like what ukyo said. When you are having a rough time, focus on an individual aspect of your game to improve. For instance, try not doing anything but blocking, walking/dashing, and throwing. This will give you a solid, [media=youtube]0VhfPN_6fcA#t=0m42"[/media] defense without having to rely on reversals. haha


Go in to Endless battle/ Ranked.

Pick Bison

Only use Roundhouse to attack


Bricks of epic proportions will be shat

Honestly, it all really comes from experience. Some people even listen to music when they play because it helps them focus on whatever it is that they need to be focusing on. Also, if you’re not in a tournament don’t try to pressure yourself into believing you absolutely have to win. Pay more attention to making sure you play solid and keep your inputs clean. That way you’ll be able to get even more used to having good execution even in high pressure situations. If you’re playing ranked online chances are you’ll start to worry more about your points than whether or not you’re playing solid, if you think this is the case then you should try and play endless exclusively and set up a 2 man room then play a tournament set, 2 games of best of 3 with the timer set to 99 after it’s over kick em, and wait for the next person. It’ll help you adapt to your opponent’s play style faster.

Thanks guys. It’s probably just a matter of me not wanting to accept what an incredible investment of time and diligence this game requires.

my problem with that is blocking only works 1/4 the time. the main reason i lose is b/c i am blocking and the game says NO!! then i die from a fireball from across the screen.

I’d say it’s a lack of experience. Keep playing and you’ll have more confidence in knowing what your opponents options are and what your options are against them. If you know what to do, there is no reason to freak out, right?

Experience and practice

I think focusing on an individual aspect at a time is definitely the best advice given here, besides practice practice practice. Not to long ago I couldn’t catch anyone with Makoto’s karakusa grab. So I dedicated entire matches in endless to simply trying to only grab my opponent with it. It probably looked strange and stupid and of course I lost each match but it paid off in the end. So just focus on something you need to improve on, then build on that and so and so on. I think the game becomes far more simple when you slowly add more advance tactics to your gameplay as opposed to overwhelming yourself by trying to mimic what you see advanced players do.

I’ve been playing for a few months now and one of the most important things I learned was you don’t need to be blocking all the time. Obviously blocking is a very important defensive option but you have other options as well such as back dashing, defensive focus attacks and neutral jumping. When you are out of the range of your opponent’s moves there is no reason to block. This will allow you to react quicker to whats going on in the match.

As for the OP, like what other people have said previously it is helpful to just hop online and focus on executing one thing very well for a series of matches. I had a lot of trouble with my anti-airs until I decided to just go online for a few days and focus on nothing but my anti-airs I ended up losing a bunch of matches but in the end my reactions to jump ins improved dramatically and my overall game improved.

Another thing I would recommend is if you don’t have any people to play in real life make some friends who are in a similar situation as you on the forums here and add them online so you can spar against them. It helps if you are playing people who are trying to actually learn the game instead of players who just sweep and shoryuken spam online.