How do you stop playing on autopilot?


I’ve been playing fighters for over 10 years but I never tried to get better until 3-4 years ago. Even after I started trying to do better, it took me a long time to better understand what good players were really doing.

So, I have years and years of bad habits built up. I end up being a very reactive player, and this leads to a number of problems-

I don’t press the advantage properly. I will get into advantage situations - e.g., knock down my opponent in the corner - and I will instinctively back up instead of pressing the advantage.

I don’t punish properly. I’ll block a DP, and I’ll just do a single move or sweep or throw, rather than doing a basic punish combo to maximize my damage or create a good setup. Or, someone will jump at me at a dumb time, and I’ll just block instead of doing an anti-air.

I lack patience. Even when I have the life lead, I’ll sometimes start throwing moves out there when I could just block and look for a better opportunity.

I use canned strings and shenanigans without confirming them or thinking about the situation. I will often just do something stupid that I clearly know was the wrong thing to do the moment I finish the input. For example, if you get me into a fireball trap, I will block 2 fireballs and then jump every time.

I know exactly what I am doing wrong and what I should be doing instead in most of the situations where I fuck up. It’s very frustrating when I play someone who clearly doesn’t understand the matchup on the level I do, but I lose because I beat myself and just do stupid things instead of playing solid.

So, how do I make that jump to thinking about what I’m doing and making conscious, strategic choices, instead of just pressing buttons and playing a reactive game?



just think about cause and effect.


remind yourself to be solid and try to conciously make the best decisions possible at every contact with the opponent

you dont have to make the best decision always, not even pros do - but you can make an effort to make better decisions one step at a time

if you’ve been playing for 10+ years and playing seriously for 3-4 - you need to step your shit up and be more patient. the clock is your friend. not all matches have to be over in 30 seconds or less, you can and should n.jump fireballs, fadc them, block them(chip damage aint shit). wait for the right opportunity to approach and do it that way.

remember you’re trying to win, not play as fast as possible


Shoryuken - Street Fighter Pros Share their Secrets to Winning - Day 1: Juicebox Abel

On a personal note, before every match when I see the character my opponent selected, I audibly express what I need to look out for (Ken Kara throw setups, Sakura resets, Ibuki traps, Zangief guessing game). This keeps me on my toes. It reminds me of what I am absolutely certain the other player is going to do, and giving myself a “heads up” on how i want to react to it.

When playing vs Ryus, I absolutely know 100% that the Ryu player WILL use Shoryuken and WILL use Hadoken. Reminding myself of what I want to do to punish/react to that ahead of time keeps me abreast, so that when I see it, it flows naturally as a punish. Its sort of pre-emptive offense.

Another thing you can do is yell at yourself afterwards for something stupid you did and reiterate what you should have done. Oftentimes I find my opponents beating me with chip or other predictable measures that I didn’t react to properly because I just wasn’t thinking clearly at the time, but seconds after the match, I quickly remind myself of what I could have done to punish that move or throw or mixup or what have you.

Sometimes in between kicking someone’s ass, you’ve gotta kick your own ass to keep you motivated.


So basically, to play more solid, just try to play solid and hope it sticks. I guess that’s about the answer I was expecting anyway.


this is a surprisingly informative response. you need to do more than think of cause and effect though.

gonna pull information I gave someone else from another thread. here ya go

you need to learn adaptation. now, you’ve probably adapted to players before, but you need to adopt a method of adaptation that allows you to change when your opponent changes. what you need to do is just observe what they’re doing and then think to yourself: “because they’re doing that, I’m doing this.” for instance, let’s say a Ryu player is keeping a nice distance away from you and he stays fixated in one spot. you notice as he does this, he does a hadouken. so from that you can deduce that whenever he does this, he could be preparing to use hadouken. in response, you prepare to do your own counter.


When this happens to me I play a different character for awhile. One that is drastically different, if you play a shoto don’t pick another in that vein, try someone that doesn’t have a strong reversal or lacks a projectile.

Not being able to rely on muscle memory and your tried and true patterns will help jog you out of your routine, plus there is the added matchup knowledge that comes from using a character that you typically only play against.


think about what you’re doing, and be critical about it… Ask yourself why did you do this or that… If you’re getting snuffed for auto pilot, tell yourself that you need top stop doing that.


It’s just a constant conscious effort. You can’t flip a switch.


Play someone who is better than you and will rail at you for doing dumb things.


Could you give more specific decription? Sorry, I do not understand your meaning.


Play a different fighting game or character. For example, if you never play grapplers, play gief. If you only play street fighter, try some vs or gg/bb style game. Just get in a different mindset and out of your regular element.


play against someone who will punish your mistakes.


It sounds a lot like the button mash mentality that I had before I started trying to take the game seriously. That’s something you just have to train yourself to do by taking things one step at a time instead of rushing to finish. I guess one way you could overcome your impatience is by no longer looking to get your opponent’s life down to zero, and instead focus on capitalizing on every opportunity to punish. Focusing too long on the goal can make you try to hasten to get there, often improperly.

I think the most important thing you’ll have to remember is that it’s gonna take a very long time before you fully work yourself out of these habits. It’s not impossible, but it means you’ll lose more fights before you start winning because you’re approaching things more differently than you’re accustomed to.


from my experience, how i made the jump from autopilot to being better was to actually concentrate on really wanting to win, and getting hella salty when i lost. just the pure frustration and anger that losing caused was the motivation that pushed me to try harder and start playing way better. if you just spend a ton of time passively losing and then saying, well the other guy was better than me, i lost, it makes sense, that doesn’t provide any motivation to beat that dude. i guess my experience has been, if you want to win badly enough, you’ll find ways to win.


its actually not that bad of an idea to throw them on whiffs a lot. keeping a person in a constant nontechable wake-up state really pisses people off and youre essentially mind fucking him and it helps to make them do stupid things.

the reason I say this, is because the frustration level usually stays for the entire set


I know I have this same problem, but part of it is also taking a second to “take a breath”. I’ve noticed that when I start a match I am completely focused, but the moment I do something wrong/right I get excited. This excitement I feel keeps players from advancing to upper tiers because they get those jitters then go into auto-pilot. Street fighter, like most fighting games, is about vigilance. My advice i guess is to just remember you’re playing a game not unlike chess, so taking your time and keeping focused is whats going to win, not long combo strings that you feel you HAVE to do. Sorry if this isn’t all that helpful, but i’m right there with you.


play to learn and develop, not only to win