How to train others


While I don’t consider myself to be great at fighting games on an international level, I’ve always been one of the best in my local area (and surrounding areas). With Street Fighter IV coming out now, many, MANY new players are coming out of the woodwork. Some of them are really good friends of mine and want to get better, so I’m doing everything I can to help them out.

Thing is, what’s the best way to train someone?

I’ve been trying to mix how I was trained in sports with how some people online say to train newbies:

  • Show them all the basics (Cross-up, meaties, etc.)
  • How the fundamentals are applied
  • Move on to character specific information (match-ups, combos, etc.)
  • Mentality (Not being nervous at a tournament, playing to win, learning from losses)

Sports showed me that the fundamentals are key to anything, so before my friends try and do bad ass combo’s and set ups they see on YouTube, I show myself beating other players using just the basics. Hell, I even emphasized the importance of knowing your normals by beating a bunch of players without special moves.

Do you guys do/know any better ways to help speed up their progress? For example, whenever I play them, I play to win. I’ll perfect them day and night, and (in the 2 months since the game came out) they all improved, but I can’t help but wonder if my constant beatings helped or hurt their progress. On the one hand, I’m afraid the constant beatings may discourage them (A handful of my friends quit for a while cause they were tired of losing). On the other hand, some of my friends really improved and when they finally got a game on me, said that it was worth all the training and just wanted to get better so they can be at my level.

Some people say (not just for games, but most sports/games) “play your best and it’ll help them get better.”

Others use the whole “guide them into making the right decision approach” like pro players do to newer players in the board game Go.


There’s meaties in this game?

I dunno about you, but the huge reversal window and the constant wake-up ultras take away that option for me.

Anyways, sounds like you have a good training regiment planned out. For me and my friends we try to get together once a week to keep our skills up. Practicing against each other is the best training you can get.


Balrog eats meaties for free, which opens up the whole meaty/throw mind game.


I feel like the ticket to improving in SF is just like any other game - you need someone better than you to give you someone to aspire to beat, but also you need someone worse than you so you can practice all the things that you should do when you have a lead.

In Quake I always broke the game into two situations: what you do when you have control of the map and how you go about getting control back. I don’t feel like Street Fighter is very different from this. Having said that, yes I think you are doing the right thing by playing to win at all times versus your friends. You are providing them with situations they will be faced with and they are having to find out solutions to get themselves out of these situations.

On their side I feel like if you’ve never touched a SF game then you should practice solo until you can perform all the specials/supers/ultras of the character you play naturally. Also, I find doing simple cancel combos much more intuitive and easy than diving straight into link combos. For instance, a j.rh, xx special can typically be done by most characters with fairly similar timing of button presses and also can be mashed. Because of this it’s an easy way to punish, jump in, and in some cases get into super combos at least.

So in short, keep doing what you’re doing but I would give them the opportunity to practice solo for easy combos and specials if that is something they cannot perform well as of yet.


He can’t just headbutt or ultra your arm/foot if you stick it out there on his wake-up?


Have them fight Alex Valle.


Headbutt doesn’t beat c.shorts. Check it for yourself.

Also, isn’t his Ultra start up slow enough to where, even if you did meaty with c.shorts, you’d block it? I never played a Boxer who reversal Ulrta’ed on wake-up. They usually save that for combos.


Hmm, I didn’t think jabs or shorts were considered meaty attacks.


I’ve never fought a Balrog where they didn’t ultra from the other side of the screen D:. (I nuetral jump bait alot with Fei from a distance)


These were some primers I wrote a little while back. Pretty much the order you see here is the order I try to teach people the basics. After all this comes character specific stuff.

Volume 1 - Breaking down normals and specials:

Volume 2 - Bread and Butter combos:

Volume 3 - Offense and Defense 101

Volume 4 - Offense and Defense 102

Volume 5 - Execution Extravaganza


Always give pointers when you beat someone if you can.
Even if you it might only work on your own gameplay it will still improve your friend and everyone will end up having more fun when playing.


Yeah, I think the biggest help is playing someone better than you that is talkative. When I am doing player matches (I’m not the greatest player ever but I am not bad) I’ll even recommend ways to counter whatever I am doing that is beating them. It makes it a little harder for me eventually, but the more players out there that I have a challenge with the better.


Reversal ultra on wake up with Rog? I doubt many good Rogs would ever do that unless they’re reading you like a book. Shoto’s is a good meaty to use against Balrog.


meaties are where you can hit a person with the last hit frames of your character’s attack when they’re getting up.

you’re kindof thinking beefy, where it’s high damage/stun. that said, doing a meaty with HP is considerably easier than doing a meaty with lp, but in sfiv i wouldn’t recommend either


Wow great write-ups man. I remember reading OandD 101 a while ago. Glad to see you kept up with it.


This is not directly SF4 related, and thus belongs in FGD. Moved.


I do the same thing, then they learn from what I’ve taught them and kick my butt.

The circle of life…


Agree. Minus the reading a while ago part.


shock them with electricity or at the very least punch them in the face when they do anything wrong, until they become closer to robots than men.


Threads about this used to pop up every now and then but rarely made it very far. I think it’s a great idea and we should really keep (this) one alive. :smile:

Basics and fundamentals (the “rules” of the game and what is generally possible) are a pretty easy hurdle for most people to get over with just time and exposure. Practice is a pretty no-brainer thing. The toughest and most thrilling part for newer players is when they’re really trying to “get” the game, and I think that’s when they can benefit the most from having a teacher to shape how they think about the game.

When teaching someone or even yourself, I think the best learning comes from conceptually casting a wide net and then working inwards to “fill the blanks.” That is, you get the fastest deep understanding by starting with a large, loose framework of very basic ideas and goals, and then getting into more and increasingly specific ones inside of that. Each of these new things could be new frames within the/a previous frame. This way you always have layers of prior understanding, the ever-important “when and why,” to back you up. These nets can be constructed by using simple observations as points, and drawing inevitable relations or obvious conclusions between them. This allows one to easily interpolate in a given frame or extrapolate between frames; that’s how you form everything from an entire game plan to a specific counter.

You can always broaden those limits later, but having boundaries to work off of provides an outline that gives a constant sense of direction, of what else there is learn; you never feel lost. It piques curiosity and interest and encourages further discovery and experimentation because you always have some idea of what else you don’t know. You’re constantly aware of where holes exist in your own knowedge of the game. Also, you automatically have a good sense of how new things you learn should fit into your game.

Just simply playing a lot and constantly trying to apply new stuff gives feedback to help self-gauge how and how much something should be applied, and helps avoid the over-compartmentalization of knowledge (ie. “Oh hey that works here too”).

What’s even better is that it means that eventually they will be able to pick out not only how things fit into their frames of understanding, but also new things that extend beyond or outside of their ideas so they can easily and naturally extend the boundaries to those things, to change the frame as-needed down the road.

It’s a very fun and rewarding way to learn because all progress feels very tangible. Every new thing you learn really does seem to make you a stronger, better player.

I guess maybe what I’m getting at is that, instead of teaching someone the game, you should be teaching them how to learn the game, and then just answering questions and offering tips and hints and suggestions.

Am I being too vague? Maybe these shitty metaphors and analogies aren’t helping. Does anyone understand what I mean? :confused: