like what do i need to research when preparing for a match up.
Identify a situation you’re struggling with, then proceed to recreate that situation in training mode (or with a training partner) and test the fuck out of that situation. Try every option you have, even those that might not make sense at the first glance.
If you can’t figure anything out, then ask on the internet. Posting match footage from you losing the matchup is very often useful since other could identify things you’re doing wrong.
Watch the replays over and over. Think of it like a puzzle when you are in training mode. What is the best answer to the opponents set up. If its a general match up problem, reach out to match videos online, but not just pros. Watch people of all skill do the match up.
While the ‘look at match video’ stuff is a great point and in even or advantageous matchups you will be able to come up with a reasonable game plan in bad matchups the answer often is ‘you can’t do much’.
In those situations you have to play the player and try to figure out patterns or mistakes you have can take advantage of. For example if you can’t beat a certain poke consistently maybe you can outspace your opponent and make him whiff it making it where you don’t have to beat the poke, your opponent will not use his advantage correctly giving you an easy answer you really shouldn’t have had. Situations like this in my opinion are keen to recognize so you can exploit player weaknesses not just matchup weaknesses.
Don’t be afraid to spend time learning how to play that character to see how other people fight against it.
This. Learning to read your opponent is your best tool in bad matchups. Noticing patterns in play and exploiting them is the only way you’ll beat an awful matchup. For more even matches do as the other guy said and go into training mode and mess around with footsies and pokes, seeing which moves beat what, etc.