How much grinding (and failing) is worth the effort?


Years ago, I used to play many different fighting games, but always very casually. I’d always just play single-player modes, or occasionally with friends, and I had a lot of fun with them. Years have passed, friends have moved on, and new games (mostly the SF4 series, though there have been others) have come into the forefront that I want to enjoy, and to some extent do, or at least used to. But I want to try to play these games more competitively, and I’m simply unable to do it. No matter many hours I spend in Practice Mode, no matter how many videos I watch, no matter how much I think I’ve figured something out, I (almost) always lose and am always dominated in the process (outside of when my opponent is actively trolling). I’ve been playing SF4 for years and I can’t even get to 1000 PP. And now with Ultra having come out I’m trying to learn the new mechanics, tools, and changes and grinding in Practice Mode more and… I’m just not having fun anymore, if I ever was in the first place.

Honestly, I don’t care about being “the best” or even “good” for that matter. But I want to feel like I’m not completely wasting my time. I want to be able to play online without feeling like the person on the other side of the connection is laughing to his buddies about how bad I am. I want to be able to attend local events and meetups, not to win but just to be able to play casuals because… who would want to play casuals with a scrub like me? I’m just wasting their time and embarrassing myself in the process. I can’t even go back to single player modes due to the voice in the back of head saying “you’re only playing Arcade Mode because you’re not good enough for online, you scrub trash.”

I understand that fighting games are a genre where you’re expected to earn your fun, and I respect that. But I feel like I’m never going to earn it and I’m getting very tired of bashing my head into this brick wall.

I love this genre, but maybe it’s time to admit that just because I love something doesn’t mean it’s for me, or that I deserve it.

Is there a light at the end of this tunnel?


What are you practicing in Training mode?


Im on the same boat, but not that bad.

I would advise that you practice differently. You need to find someone at your level but just a smidgen better to play with you on a consistent basis. Basing your happiness and how much fun youre having on your progress in ranked matches will get you nowhere since ranked is easily the most aggravating way to play SF4. I recently saw PR Balrog who was at 5000pp 30000bp lose to a 0pp 0bp akuma that had no idea what he was doing.

Join endless lobbies and find others who are at your PP range who you could win 5-5 matches against and seems interested in getting better, and just play for fun. Eventually when he starts beating you 4-6, thats going to naturally activate your competitive drive to get just enough better. This will work back and forth between you two or even a group of friends.

Also, dont get caught up in advanced techniques. Basics wins matches in SF(well that and vortex but thats a whole other story)

Lastly, really find a char that you can enjoy playing, not just one you think is good.


Stop caring about what other people think about you.

Play 1v1 Endless on good connections.

Don’t switch characters.

Don’t waste hours of your time in training mode if you are an online player.

Play against human opponents.

Play a lot

Play to get better instead of playing to win.

If you do this and you still can’t improve then there is probably something physically or mentally wrong with you (possibly both) and yes you should quit as soon as possible.


learn the metagame. Start with zoning and footsies and you will see progress.


I feel you man im kinda new too and i was getting dominated by some opponents.
Dont know where you from but im in europe so if you ever wanna play i can add you if you give me your gt and we can play :slight_smile:


Well…SF4 is a hard game. But you only get better by testing your skills against other players. I played single player modes for years when I was a kid and I learned a lot of the basics by doing so, but there are certain things you only learn and improve at by playing other people. Get out of the training room and play online. No one cares how good/bad you are unless you’re an asshole or ragequitter. If you get beat badly, chances are, the opponent won’t even remember who you are 10 minutes later.


Go to this thread and post up some vids. FGs are more than just grinding it out, its important to get pointers to make sure you’re in the right direction. DO NOT worry about how other people are thinking of you. Everyone started off as the loser.

Edit: a small story I like to relate. When AE first came out it was in arcades only and I had just decided to pick up Mak. There was no training mode so I had to just grind it out at the arcade. At this point I was a fairly experienced player, but I believe the first 30-something matches were all losses and it was a few weeks before I was positive. Just have to power through it and ask for advice.


IMO, the amount of grinding that’s worth it depends on how much you love playing the game. SF4 is stress relief to me, so I release pent-up frustration by grinding out combos in training mode and playing online. I only started 6 months ago, and I’m still bad, but it’s fun so I keep going.

My advice for getting better is probably just repetition, but find some people that are about the same skill as you and play them a lot. Learn spacing and grind out bnb combos for your character in training mode, then go use them in matches. It doesn’t matter whether you win or lose, as long as you are learning. PP is only useful for me so I can play people around my skill level.

Alternatively, getting bodied by someone who just punishes your mistakes can be a good learning experience. It’s frustrating, but some lessons (don’t jump-in) are taught better that way, IMO.


It’s worth it if you start seeing results from that. Now, that depends entirely on what you consider a result, which is dependent on what your goal is for practicing so hard. Are you having fun? If so, mission accomplished. Do you enjoy discovering new setups, combos, counters, and can employ them? If so, and you did it, then yay.

If your goal is better tournament placings, that’d much easier to quantify. If you find yourself falling short of your goals, then either you have to re-evaluate if it’s worth investing more time into this to improve. Mostly, it takes an adjustment of either 1) train smart, not harder. Goal-oriented training will always be superior to just casually turning off your brain and grinding out matches endlessly, or 2) practice more often.


Find a friend (preferably one in the same situation as yourself), and play a lot with them. I eased myself into SFIV by playing with a friend every night online and basically learned the game along with him while voice chatting. The key is that you won’t get nearly as frustrated losing to other people when you have someone you know you can at least compete with. You also get to really learn one matchup thoroughly doing that so when you run into someone online who plays your friend’s character, it feels really good to beat them because you understood the matchup. Even if it may be the only one you really know, you still beat someone who might be better than yourself, and that’s a start. Doing this (either online or in person), you can stop while playing and say, “Do that move again. Is that punishable?” And there is no stress in trying it out mid-match.

Take breaks. If you’ve lost a gigantic amount of matches all at once, I don’t find it very healthy or productive to try and grind through all the anger. I’ll take the next 2 days off and not even approach online and either go play something else, or just stay in training mode working on the stuff I messed up on after I’ve cooled off. Also take that as an opportunity to look through your replay battlelog and try to identify what you were doing wrong. With the addition of Ultra’s Youtube uploading feature, It’s even easier to get others’ feedback these days too.

Oh, and the final thing is that points do not matter. I knew someone who had just under 2000PP and then switched mains; by the end of that first week, he had 400PP. It’s just part of the process.


pick small easy to aquire goals so you are tasting success often