How does a beginner prepare for online play?

Decided to jump right into SSFIV:AE online, after an hour of play I was unable to win one single match, I pulled off a few rounds, but was never able to win. Very disheartening to say the least.

Is there some sort of basic training I need before I play online? I was hoping it would pair me against people I would atleast have a shot at winning against but maybe I over estimated my own skill level…

I guess the question here is, assuming I am a complete and utter noob, what is the best way to get to the point I can hold my own online?

Have a thick skin…there are some rude ass people on the internet.
If you can save your matches…do so. Re-watch them and see where you messed up.
If losing too much gets to you…take a break and hit training mode.
Remember that in online…there are chances that your confirms/combos may not come out the way you want.
Try not to be heavily reliant on combos…you don’t need to showboat.

Learn how to play your character.
Don’t bother with combos until you know the ins and out of your character.

When can I say I know my character? I almost only play Ken, and I feel like I know all his base moves fairly well (forward heavy kicks etc) and his basic combos (shoryuken, hadoken, etc) and their variations. I feel like most of my issues lie not in my knowledge of my character but in my execution, when to block, when to dodge, what attacks are safe when, what moves have hit priority, when to jump, when to crouch, anti-air, etc etc.

Among my group of friends I am the best at fighting games, but that’s more or less due to me being the only one who spends a decent amount of time figuring out my character’s movesets and such. But the difference from that and what I’ve seen online is insanely huge.

When you can win against competent players with just Footsies.
And your friends and 90% of the people online are not competent.

I’m still fairly green, but I typically start by memorizing and mastering my characters’ Normals, Unique Attacks, Specials, etc. Then I go ahead and learn some Hit-Confirms, Punish Combos, etc. After I have a solid grasp of the above, I jump Online, where I learn how to utilize my character against real people and their characters - particulatly, my neutral game. You just keep practicing and expanding on your character with training and study from there. That’s how I’ve gone at it with Dudley in SFxT, anyway.

Something that improved my game was learning the less effective moves in my mains repertoir, and cutting them altogether. Giving myself fewer options in-game makes for faster decision making.
A lot of people do this to a small degree as beginners; ie try winning a game without jumping/sweeping/heavy srk’s (outside of combos).
It may be too early to be looking at frame data, but if you plan on cutting moves, it’s worth checking out to see what have the fastest startups and longer recoveries and weighing up the risk/reward.

Also don’t be ashamed to lean on the block when under pressure. Be wary of grabs, but it’s often worth it to just turtle-up and have the patience to wait for xX69MegaProKenHadoukenFighter9000Xx to finish his annoying repetetive combo string…rather than attempting a counter and eating half of it.

Could post a lot, but I’ll mention 2 things

  • If you aren’t playing against good people then you don’t know your character; you may think you do, but you don’t

  • I can not stress this enough or too many times to new players, because it is one of the main things that stunts people growth in fighting games. You have to be able to look at your competition and see what skill level your wins are actually coming in at overall. In every group of people who play fighting games there is a best player and in a huge majority of cases that best player in the group is still TERRIBLE AT FIGHTING GAMES. People give false skill to the people that they beat in order to inflate the skill that they must have for beating them and almost no one wants to look at the picture realistically and say " what if I was really a 3rd grader beating up on 1st graders all this time, and now I have to player against high school and college level competition when I leave my circle of friends"

You have to let go of the idea that beating your friends = being skilled at fighting games if you want to get better.

I know the feeling, man. I did play at least 16 online matches on Xbox 360 (Live) & only won 2 before quitting altogether. The only time I do play online fighting games is with people on my friends’ list. My advice is to pair up some players & get some practice in before jumping into online matches.

Being a newbie myself, I have to say I get a better result from being patient using pokes than I do trying to be fancy, I sometimes forget that when im tired though and start raw DP’ing and stupid things like that, but I started quite defensive, you soon learn the blocking and then when to put in a poke, then a poke turns to poke+fireball, and thats about where I am, win about 50% online at the moment

Character knowledge isn’t merely knowing what button does what. It’s also knowing the hitbox and frames of your moves and understanding which to use in every range and situation for a given character matchup.

To me it sounds like you’re lacking the basic information about how fighting games work that would even allow you to better understand your character. Do some research about what startup, active, recovery, and invincible frames are, then look into the frames for Ken’s moves.

This type of knowledge comes from just playing a lot. And maybe looking at some replays of both yourself and some high-level Kens (but don’t get discouraged if you can’t do crazy Japanese Ken combos lol). Looking at some guides and looking at what moves are more useful might help narrow down your available move pool, and help you to get a better grasp on your footsies/fundamentals, rather than just trying to figure out what special to do.