I feel like I've reached my plateau



I know in theory, most things that I don’t necessarily do (but should be) in matches. The problem is that I can’t untrain myself some bad habits; they’ve been ingrained in my head, and I’m lacking time to practice daily (though spring break might help with that).

Some things I’ve noticed about myself:
-Poking game/spacing sucks
-Terrible adaptability
-Poor management of meter
-NOT OS teching when opponent has SRK, Ultra and 2 EX bars
-Not enough OS when opponent’s been sweeped/grabbed

I main Akuma btw. Any help is appreciated.


you cant win on autopilot, you need to think…every time you move or press a button have a reason for it

at the very worst, being akuma, you can just escape an unfavorable situation any number of ways and reset the pace of the game

i wish there was more advice that could be given, but thats really all there is to it


try playing as someone else for a few weeks and youll gain a new perspective.


Well are you playing without or without lag? Sometimes i start thinking i suck, then i take a careful look at all the lag that makes it hard for me to pull off anything properly online, if you’re playing off-line and basically without lag then this is another problem. Make sure you’re playing 4 or 5 bar games only, anything less and you will just ingrain a bunch of bad habits.

A good thing i read from Maj’s footsies article is you should be playing all or nothing footsies. Make sure you are reacting properly, focusing on the game. I notice that i get lazy sometimes and do footsies off guessing and not looking at the screen, sometimes i don’t hit confirm, sometimes i even do certain hard combos and just not pay attention as if i don’t expect them to hit, everything you do, expect it to hit and do it properly, it helps you to pay attention focus and above all practice it better ingame.

Now adaptability, Daigo mentioned it’s a skill to be developed, just take mental notes of players like, when reversalled, some players do it sort’ve 50/50 random, some alternate between shoryuken, block/os tech, shoryuken etc. Start small with taking mental notes and you’ll pick up patterns on players all the time reversalling isn’t the best situation as it’s pretty random but there’s alot of others like what they do at footsie range, when they FA, when they jump-in, what they do based on what you do. The more you do it the better you’ll be at this, the more you’ll remember, the more you’ll be like AHH they play like such and such. Daigo also said you got to trust your instincts after you’ve observed them enough, so believe that you’ve observed them correctly and after you have a gut feeling that they’re gonna do something and you can counter do it, just try it out. If you’re wrong you got outsmarted that’s all, they changed up their game plan and you’ll be all the wiser next time.

You need to practice OS after sweep/grab, make sure you feel comfortable in using OS and that it’s not too advanced for you, where you should be focusing on simpler things in your game to improve it.


Mostly online I haven’t had the time to go to ranbats/local casuals lately.

Is it advisable not to play (seriously) immediately after school, when I just want to relax? Also, this being my first serious FG, I don’t understand spacing as well as guys who played FGs since the Super Turbo series. In a lot of websites, people just say “you’ll figure it out,” yet I don’t see much progress.

The OSs aren’t too complicated actually, I just need to incorporate them into my gameplay.

I use a lot of characters except maybe Gen, Dhalsim, Blanka, El Fuerte and a few others.


I regularly feel like I’m hitting / have hit my personal ceiling, so I understand where you’re coming from.

But around release, I read an OG player say something about how “little improvement + little improvement + little improvement = major improvement.” So when I feel like I’ve run out of steam, I try and learn something ‘small’: how to counterpoke Ryu’s c.forward; how to safejump Blanka’s EX Vert ball; how to time my tickthrows perfectly off various normals; etc.

The little things add up.


Don’t despair. By saying you’ve reached a certain “level” and it’s a “plateau” you already put a psychological barrier between what you want to achieve and where you are now. Move past that mentality and instead think “How can I improve? What can I get better at?” What NDRWPNDY (goddamn that was hard to type xD) said is really true, don’t stop, keep concentrating.


Keep playing. I had like 3 months no Street Fighter because I felt I was doing the same stupid stuff over and over, and I was thinking that maybe a long break would let me forget these bad habits and maybe help see things in a different light.

I don’t think it did help, but some people commented that I improved. In retrospect, I wish I had played through it and had those 3 months worth of experience.


I think I may be making a huge deal out of this, but does the fact that SFIV is my first serious FG put me at a huge disadvantage?

I do learn little by little, but I feel like I’m progressing slower than my friends online.


Yeah OSes aren’t too complicated, having the execution that you can do exactly what you want every time and even be creative off a blockstring, beat crouch techs, bait counterhits/dps, throw without getting hit and what not along is what i see as important and adding OS on top of all those things makes it hard unless you’ve got it down pat.

My spacing comes and goes, watching Alex valle and John Choi is a great way to learn spacing, though i play Ryu so it’s probably more beneficial to me. Depending on your character, i reckon if you learn to put someone in a corner and try keeping them in the corner, you’ll improve your spacing. The ways of that being pressure at closish range or fireballing from mid-far screen.

I’ve tried to ingrain my fireball recovery into me lately in the Training room. Set the dummy in the corner then loop him to jump up block then turbo his light punch. The jump is cue for you to fireball and you have the recording timed so that he blocks as your fireball hits, then you turbo the lightpunch so you can tell when you and the dummy recovers, you can then tell how many fireballs you can safely spam and at which ranges, you can even work out when you can slow/normal fireball then ex fireball as bait for something, i’m talking about this from a Ryu perspective, but i’m sure there’s many things akuma can try similar to this setup.

It’s all about gaining confidence in what’s possible and what’s not at those ranges, so you can try many things in the corner as the spacing is obvious and the dummy won’t change his position and he can block high.


Not really. FG differ so much from series to series as well as release that prior experience isn’t mandatory. Shizza is a great example of this.
However, having experience in other games does teach you certain concepts like footsies, mindgames, baits etc. While those don’t transfer 1-1 from game to game, knowing and understanding a general concept does make things a bit easier.

Now here is where my opinion differs from everyone else. People say “don’t play auto-mode”, “concentrate”, "think"
I say fuck it. Don’t think…not while you’re learning…just make mental notes about what happened when you did something and it ended bad.
Reason I say this is that you have to have the ability to react to something your opponent does. In the long run, you will have to think about your opponent but in the beginning, you simply want to absorb as much information as you can while having fun and getting accustomed to the mechanics.
After a while you’ll see the holes in your gameplay…they will become very VERY obvious and it will be very easy to fill those as now you posses other gameplay knowledge that helps you fill them. Never forget one thing though. When you come accross a better play with better execution, you will lose…there is no question about it. Make sure you learn from that match as much as you can and never give up, even if you feel like a train is running you over and you have no options. Just read it as much as you can.

Another very big thing are your combos. FORGET THEM! Please. Do yourself a favor and stop watching crazy combo vids then going to the training room and getting those down to the T. They will server no purpose whatsoever in terms of wining matches. You have to learn fundamentals as that’s what wins games…and does so consistently. Have your standard hard punishes for when the opponent makes a nice mistake so you get decent damage in but don’t worry about cool looking flashy 22hit combos. Also, know and execute your simple BnB with at least 70% accuracy.
Know your air-to-air, ground-to-air-air-to-ground NORMALS as they are MUCH more reliable then specials (and generally come out faster). Best way to do this (at least it was for me) is to play a week without using specials of any kind. Normals only. Trust me…after you do this, it will change how you think about SF in general. As you main Akuma you’ll have to switch to Ken or Ryu for this (Akuma relies on specials quite a bit) although my personal favorite for doing this is Guile. Guile has a normal for every single situation and no general answer moves (meaning you have to read the opponents move and counter/respond with a very specific move from a specific distance)…it’s a mindfuck :stuck_out_tongue:
However, using Ryu or Ken or even Akuma should suffice.

By doing this, you are forcing yourself to learn fundamentals…as they are all you have right now. It will teach you proper blocking (an underestimated skill it seems), spacing and general footsies.

Another thing I’d suggest is reading a footsie artice. However, after you’re done…ignore and forget everything you read in it. What you want to happen is an “AHA” moment during a match. You will see something or do something and remember a specific thing you read in the footsie article without trying to simply emulate it and you will instantly understand your actions and the result. Just don’t forget one thing; unlike combos, footsies are a life-long development.

My last few points:
Try to play offline matches as much as possible, go to tournaments and local evens whenever you can (be realistic about your abilities but don’t forget…anyone can beat anyone) and HAVE FUN.

If you aren’t having fun, you’ll burn out fast and lose interest or simply build up frustration. If you do get frustrated, turn off the console and go outside. Fuck it. In the end it’s a game and just a game.

Hope any of this helps


Straight up, you’ll just have to put thought into what you’re doing, hit up training mode, and retrain yourself to do it right. It sucks, and takes time, but as humans we are crazy adaptable, and you can retrain your muscle memory into new habits.

I had to do it with Akuma. When I first learned his BnB combo, I was spamming out HP.SRK to end it, and I did that for a couple of months. The problem was that sometimes it didn’t come out at the right time and I would shoryu into nothing for a big punish. The other problem was that I was practicing FADC cancels into red fireballs, and spamming SRK was causing that to come out inconsistently.

It took a little while, but I don’t do it anymore, not even in actual matches - 1 SRK input, sometimes with a double tap if the timing feels a bit off, and that’s it. It’s just not my habit anymore to mash that shit out.


This is really helping me a lot. Going from Ryu to Bison has given me a whole new way to look at applying pressure. I suck at rushdown and playing bison is really changing that.

Now my Ryu is a lot more in your face than it used to be.


Watch some high level videos, but don’t just watch them and think how cool some combo is, but watch for little things, like how they react to pokes, and how their attitude changes in a certain situation.

Also, commit this to memory.


Being your first street figter will make things hard, but You can get really good regardless. Uryo the best viper in japan started with sf4 as well so anything is possible.

I see you mentioned you dont understand spacing. Basically what it is is hitting with your moves at the maximum range that you can hit them at. This makes lots of stuff safe cuz you arent in range to be punished. Overall keep at it, I felt as though I wasnt getting better a while back and felt bit discouraged but kept at it and I can literally see the improvement from back then to now. you jus have to put in the effort.


i started when the game was released, played intermittently after that for the last year+. Some of the stuff I have picked up along the way came from spending a lot of time in the training room and putting in the work. I didn’t really see the improvement for awhile though. It took weeks for the muscle memory to really become accessible in a game. I started with zangief and switched to dhalsim and I got my ass kicked forever. I mean winning less than 10% of my games. Now I am about 55% win percentage and I feel much more comfortable. I picked up a new character last week and the transition has been much less harsh because of all the fundamentals I was learning playing the other guys. After a certain point you do get it.

Daigo said in his interview what he likes best about fighting games is that anyone can do it and you don’t really need god given talents like an athelete to be a really good player. You just have to have the dedication to do it. Good luck.


just keep playing through it, you WILL get through it, a great player told me youll need like 1000 hours of practice to start seeing any results and i have been at a point where i almost gave up because i wasnt seeing any results and as hopeless as things may seem YOU WILL GET THROUGH IT JUST PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE

the other night i was playing with some people and at first i was doing pretty well for myself and then there was a sudden shift in my play and i started to play terribly and on autopilot and i couldnt think but i just kept playing until my pace started to pick back up and i think of that as my form of rewiring my old habits of my first gameplan i had when i began to play, but i think a person’s game plan will continue to evolve so i think its a continual process of:

gameplan -> adapt to new and more experienced person’s play style -> keep playing even if you continue to lose until you start to come up with new strategies that evolves into your new game plan -> repeat… its a painful process for me but i know i will be glad i never gave up in the end :slight_smile:

NEVER GIVE UP, there is light at the end of the tunnel
i hope i helped!


If you want to add something to your game or take something out, play your next couple of sets with the intention of ONLY getting that thing right. i.e. try the same option select setup over and over until it becomes easy to do in a match and then you can do it every time.


most of the advice here is solid. so i’ll just add my 2 cents if not all of it helps out:

if nothing you are doing is working or you are plateauing and you cant figure shit out… GO RANDOM.

seriously sf4 is an inherently mixup/random factor based game… the moment that you fall in love with ANY tactic, you are predictable:

your opponent is jumping at you alot, you have a dp and start to pause and stuff while looking for the dp so you can aa your opponent… you just got predictable cause of your WANT to dp.

mix it up, there is more than just dping jumps as aa… you can crouch fierce them, you air to air them, you can focus them… (i’m talking about jumpins)

a different situation:

you’ve gotten off 3 lvl 2 focus attacks into block which all gave you good initiative for offense… now you WANT to get off another lvl 2 blocked (or hit) lvl 2 focus attack… this makes you predictable.

at intermediate levels its not so bad to want to do certain things. however at higher levels its alot easier to simply abandon any one tactic and constantly mix your shit up.

always trying to make the opponent wiff there sweep so that you can wiff punish… is in fact punishable etc. etc.

so the moral of the story is to try your best to hide your intentions. if your opponent knows that a 50/50 is coming… that takes a little bit of the potency of the 50/50 out of your game.

its incredibly to play like this for long periods of time… everyone has patterns, its just to do your best to avoid those patterns.

well, it has been working for me to introduce a more “random” style to my gameplay… i was also stuck at a plateau for a long time, but have recently gotten better simply cause of learning to mix my shit up at all times or in other words “be random”

when you have random signal to noise ratios going on in your favor… its alot easier to actually get to that positioning that you want since your opponent doesnt know what position to fight to keep you out of… etc etc



As a person who found himself in a similar situation, I appreciate all of the advice everyone has given. You all rock! To add my own two cents, I’ve been playing street fighter since forever and always with Ryu. The thing is I never played it the “right way” since there was no real scene going on where I come from. Couple that with over 15 years of pad playing, I managed to accumulate a lot of bad habits. I recently switched to using a stick and have literally stuck to it but despite my getting used to it I still have all these bad habits to overcome. After feeling like I hit a glass ceiling with no signs of improvement I decided to switch it up. I started playing as Chun. My reasoning was that she was a totally different character compared to Ryu, plus I had never played as a charge character in my life so it was a good choice. I feel like I’m re-learning the game from the beginning and while I do still succumb to my old bad habits I find it a lot easier now to correct them. This has been my experience. Hope it helps you too!

Edit: A shout out to ExtraDas. Sir, you wrote a really nice wall of text there. Awesome stuff!