How long does the '--don't curse in thread titles--at everything' phase typically last?

I’m practicing every day in training mode trying to get even basic inputs down consistently. Double-quarter circles (QCB in particular using middle/ring finger on keyboard), a couple of normal links whether plinking or not, kara moves and not dropping basic BnBs or FADC combos into super/ultra. Especially in actual matches where I’m prone to droping almost everything more complex than a normal.

I know the answer is keep practicing, but I’d like to gauge my progress against the average. How long did it take you to become competent in basic execution?

Honestly, I don’t know. Some take a longer time than others.
I’m still in that phase and won’t be out of it for a long time.

First, you may want to change your subject heading, there’s no swearing allowed in thread titles, as part of the rules of posting in all forums.

Second, it doesn’t take long if you practice enough and play in real matches to become competent with combos and links. However, knowing combos and links aren’t the key to winning. It’s good fundamentals, like spacing, timing, reading your opponent, etc. If you can’t land the first hit or break their guard, then knowing long combos won’t do you any good.

Knowing things like distances for tick throws and ambiguous crossups, spacing for good fireball games, inflicting real damage is what you should really learn. Combos are good to know and practice, bringing your own sense of style and skill to play, but without the knowledge a land a combo on your opponent, knowing those links and timing won’t do much good. Know your opportunities to hit and hurt your opponent, like punishes and setups, and remember your fundamentals.

If you are only practicing combos, motions, and kara moves it will be hard to get much better.

Too many people in this sub-forum want to be good instantly or way faster than reasonably possible with the effort they are willing to put in. Yeah people like Vangief got to the very top level in a few months, but most people aren’t willing to grind hard enough and more importantly they don’t know how to train smart enough to pull that off.

It’s really important to just enjoy playing the whole time, because otherwise you are going to burn yourself out. If the time you spend playing is frustrating yourself because you can’t consistently do a fireball motion you’re not going to have the motivation to put in the effort needed to get good as fast as you want. If you just play play play and enjoy it as you do it, you’ll get better pretty automatically and you’ll forget to be obsessed with “gauging your progress”. It is a lot less fun to play a lot online, if you can find an offline scene that is your best bet to have fun just playing as much as you can.

One thing to watch for is that you get complacent though. If you feel you have been stuck for a really long time, you need to force yourself to up your game in some aspect to get things moving along. Asking people better than you who you play offline with “what am I doing wrong, what should I work on?” will make this fun and easy to do. I notice the people who listen to advice like this get a lot better really fast and the people who just brush it off and keep playing the same are equally shitty week after week.

If you are still struggling with basic inputs you DO NOT need to worry about the “getting stuck” thing I mentioned. You will improve really drastically by just playing against good people and execution will improve naturally. Getting stuck won’t happen until you have most of the basics down.

Best thing is to stop copying what everyone else is doing just cause they do it, and find something that works for you

Sorry about the header.

I don’t think I’m properly conveying the flaws in my basic execution. The things like FADC->ultras (which I haven’t even hit once), or reliably hitting one of my character’s links, are more lofty goals right now. My most undermining problem right now is hitting DP from player 2 side. Just now I rolled out of bed and spent half an hour in training doing nothing but that, and today was the first time I hit my goal of doing it 20x in a row without hitting a normal, fireball, or even just forgetting to hit a punch button. Next I’ll spend half an hour on 2xQCF (also from p2 side), then revisit DP for another 30min. Then kara-fireball (Sagat), then 2xQCF again.

I know this won’t make me a smarter player, but I got tired of floundering and losing when a simple punish with DP or ultra would have won. I’m also tired of trying to move up with a kara-fireball and eating a punish because I hit DP instead. In my last match I dropped more ultras and reaction DPs than I hit them, and it seems to me the best way to solve that is to burn the correct motions into muscle memory. I’m not expecting get-good-quick, I’m just applying the same discipline I use when learning an instrument.

I don’t play with anyone offline, and won’t go out for personal/financial reasons. A couple of my friends might get this game, but it would still be online and they’d be just as new as me.

Just stick in training mode for a few hours. Execution comes naturally to some and not so naturally to others, but that really has no effect on how good you’ll be after you get it down.

How long is a piece of string? There is no definitive answer for this. Maybe you should concentrate on the fundamental aspects first and figure when best to use normals, then work on your executions for specials etc. I see a lot of people losing fights because instead of focusing on what will actually help them win, they’ll concentrate solely on trying to pull off their ultra and forget everything else, usually including defence as they frantically try to just get it off. Don’t be one of those people.

Depends on where you started…

It took me 4 years to get a dragon punch more than 20% of the time, but that was age 6-10.
I’ve been playing now for 20 years. SFIV trials took me 2 weeks to nail everybody’s after I got vanilla.