improving execution


I wasn’t sure if I should place this in tech talk or somewhere else, so sorry if this is the wrong place.

I’ve been playing 3s since around June '09, and have been using an arcade stick since late December. I had never used one before then, and I’ve only ever really been to arcades a handful of times in my life. Anyhow, even though I’ve had this stick for about three months now, and I’ve gotten relatively comfortable with it, but I’m still not at the level of flexibility/speed I had with a controller (I previously used a 360 controller lol).

In particular, I struggle with supercancels, specifically ones that start from neutral, like Ibuki’s xx super or Makoto’s s.hp xx super. I also have a hard time with DPs from the right side, although supers seem easier from there.

I can definitely see the advantages of using a stick, and I really want to put it to use, but it seems like I’ve hit a wall in my progress. My question is, are there any particular ways that I can get myself more familiar with an arcade stick, or am I just no good?


If you’re having trouble with DPs, even if only on one side, I’m not sure I’d say you’re comfy with stick yet. Those should be pretty doable after three months, unless you’re practicing really intermittently.

Anyway, I don’t know exactly what you’re having trouble with so I’ll just throw out a coupla thoughts and hope it helps.

Try to slow down and think about what’s making it so hard to execute things. Are you pressing punch too fast, before the motion is complete (I used to do this a ton)? Are you sure you’re getting every part of the motion, or is it possible you’re missing a few?

If it’s just an issue of getting the right motions fast enough, take it a bit slower while doing the motions, even at the risk of not moving fast enough. Be sure you’re getting the right directions, don’t just assume you are. Like when learning to play a difficult song on an instrument, you can’t just pick it up and play like you already know it. Start slow, get the muscles to learn the coordination and build up the chops if you haven’t already. If you’re diligent, focused, and patient the muscle memory will come with time. Set some practice time aside specifically for execution.

Also, what type of gate is in it? What type of stick handle? Those two things in particular can make playing on a stick hellish, for me at least.


Use an emulator with inputs display to see what’s wrong with your execution.


As DesertWind said, try to slow down a little to ensure you’re actually making the right inputs.

Also, do you pay attention to the hit-stop when you try to SA cancel? Or do you just do both attacks fairly quickly and hope it comes out?

Perhaps for cancelling into SA from neutral attacks, try a different SA motion? For example, instead of 2x QCF, try a continuous 540-degree circle beginning at down and ending at forward.

Also, do you piano your inputs?


@DesertWind: I’m using a square gate with a balltop (Hori EX-SE). I think you might be right about me simply timing things incorrectly and moving faster than I should.

@ESN: This never even occurred to me, should be very helpful, thanks. Funny thing, I have SF4 for PC (can’t really get into it : /) and I would only ever use it for the input display that it had in training mode. And strangely, I can just about always execute well enough in SF4 (are the inputs more lenient in that or something?)

@jack buar: I’m not sure what you mean by hit-stop, is it related to hit stun, or does it refer to the immediate “sparks” when you land a hit? Regardless, I just throw out the moves as fast as possible. For some reason, I only do a circular super motion when I’m on the right side (where i can almost always do it), but I cannot seem to do it at all when on the left. No idea why. And I do piano my inputs, but I seem to do better when I just use a single button. When using the piano motion, I often end up with a random special move that gets my ass killed. Again, I really just have no idea why.

Thank you for the replies, good sirs


For getting easier hit confirms I just tap all three buttons at the same time.Some people say you are meant to slide your fingers across the buttons or piano,but I personally find this a bit unpractical especially in real life matches.




From what little I’ve played of SF4, it’s waaay more lenient than SF3, and SF3 is pretty damn lenient really.

Hit stop is the VERY brief, almost unnoticeable pause that occurs when your attack connects with the opponent (whether it hit or was blocked). Hit stun, however, is the period of time that your opponent is left reeling from being successfully struck by that attack.

To see hit stop in action, imagine Q’s SA1. If you activate from the other side of the screen, he charges forwards, rapidly punching without a pause between his lunges. If SA1 hits the opponent though, he freezes with each strike as it connects. It makes powerful attacks look more spectacular, and is useful for improving your hit confirms because there is a pause for your brain to register that you should or shouldn’t cancel your attack into super (for example).

Regarding special moves coming out when you piano your inputs, which moves and which characters? It kinda sounds like you are focusing on your right hand to get the piano input right, but that takes away your concentration from getting your left hand motions correct.

Also, I have the exact same problem with being on the left or right with circular motions as you. :smiley:


Ah, I see now (that SA1 example really helped).

And as far as the random specials, it’s with just about everyone. Generally though, it’s an accidental DP motion. For example, in [media=youtube]vYiGCfuFvVQ#t=0m59s"[/media] I try the ever reliable strategy of just throwing out a super. But I must have been mashing so crazily that I got an EX tornado hook instead of some magnet storms.

When I go back and look at videos like this, I think, “Good lord, how could I have ever even managed to do something so ridiculous,” and I go practice my execution and everything seems aces. But when the next actual match comes up, I do the same thing all over again. I’ve even tried looking directly at my hands when trying to pull off an srk on wakeup or something, and it seems like I’m doing it right, but then it just comes out as a standing jab, or more commonly, nothing at all.

And does anybody know where I could find an emulator with input display options?


When you go and practice your execution, is that on console practice mode? What do you specifically practice, one move over and over again?

One thing I practiced to help my execution was Ryu’s close mk xx Shoryu xx Denjin again and again. It’s a nice simple combo, and its effectiveness comes from the way you must make the second hit a Shoryu and not a Hado. Improves timing for each move, and forces you to get the motions right.

Having said all this, my execution isn’t amazing, I just focus my play around what I know I CAN reliably do. Stick to your strengths. Nice solid Hugo play, by the way.


I actually can’t play 3s on a console because I have an unmodded EX-SE stick, so it’s only USB capable. I mostly use FBA shuffle with savestates and a dummy player 2. I also just realized that I’ve never really practiced any shoryu related combos, and that xx srk xx denjin looks pretty appealing, I’ll try that out.

Maybe now I can actually work on being good at the game! Almost a year of playing, and I’m still trying to figure out who to main…


HEY BRO! I have posted my own execution tricks or techniques in the past, but I think it’s 1 of those topics that can be addressed and RE-addressed, so I’ll give you my own ideas to try to supplement the other advice in this thread! I’m NO expert, but I have a lotta experience and work on my execution ALL the time (tonight at the arcade, for instance).

I ALSO used to prefer d-pads for specials, supers, and super cancels, but once I found a joystick I liked, I figured out gradually how to be better with it (equally important was the button layout, of course!).

I am HORRID on Japanese sticks (at least, on the 2p side), even if they’re supposed to be easier to use. I’m MUCH better w/ U.S. sticks. Oftentimes, if I can’t get something to work consistently or barely at all, if it’s not a stick I use regularly, I figure it’s the stick that’s the prob, and not me (broken or just NOT my kind of stick). Unfortunately, I’m often to subjected to broken sticks cos of fragile parts they’re made of, and/or the repair guy isn’t around often enough to fix or replace the parts :frowning: :stuck_out_tongue:

I HAAAAAAAAAAAATE console sticks, especially! I only used ONE custom stick one time for console that I liked.

Once you find a stick that feels RIGHT to you (practice can help but some sticks are just BETTER than others), you’ve done HALF the work (I’ve been hunting on and off for the perfect home stick for a long time!).

HERE are my tips for execution: esp. the dp motions and super-cancels. I ONLY use these for the 2p side, cos it’s harder for me to super-cancel on that side, for some reason. These tips are for both sides, though, if helpful.

Some combos involving dp motions are tricky, mostly cos characters w/ dp specials often have qcf supers and/or qcf specials. For instance, you want to cancel into lp srk with Ken, but you get X fireball instead (“X” is cancel into special; “XX” is super-cancel). Even if the combo is safe to do if you mess it up (that example is not always a safe combo, depending on your opponent’s punish/counter options and how close you are to your opponent), you would have done more damage by cancelling into the dp/srk instead of the fireball (not to mention get a knockdown against your opponent, in that case)–right? :slight_smile: The fireball comes out cos the you held down on the stick and then tried to move the stick from the crouch/down position to the toward position on the stick, and you might get a fireball or a super instead. Going from down to towards without accidentally doing a qcf rotation is tough.

I cancel from a crouching attack into an srk move by holding straight down, pressing the button for the cr. attack, then let the stick go back to neutral for a SPLIT second, then do an srk as fast as possible. This ALWAYS works for me on the 2p side, but sometimes I get the wrong move on the 1p side, so it’s not perfect for me, but maybe that’s cos I don’t use Ken much, and, srk (electric shock) for Necro is not that important to my gameplay (esp. since I seldom use SAIII with Necro :P).

I ALSO used to have more trouble canceling a standing attack into super, than with canceling from a crouching attack. I figure this is because double qcf supers involve passing through the 2 lower quadrants of the joystick (from down to left is 1 quadrant; down to right is a 2nd quadrant, for instance). If you’re canceling from a standing attack, you’re probably often resting the stick at the neutral point, so you’re not already in any of the quadrants the stick has to pass through in order to do a super, so it feels like you’re “far away” from the rotation you need to do. What I do to cancel from a standing attack is make sure I’m doing a COMPLETE rotation for the super by starting the first qcf rotation from back, so I do a half-circle forward instead. Sometimes you just have to make sure you’re touching all the required points on the stick to activate the super (8 points on a U.S. stick, for example). Some say it’s a matter of hitting the diagonal point of the rotation (down-forward point that is required for most supers, since most supers in SF3 are qcf supers).

Super-canceling from a cr. attack is much easier for me, cos instead of actually TRYING to do 2 quarter circles forward, I just hold straight down, press the button for the attack, then do an SRK/DP motion, and I get the super instead of a DP special move because I NEVER let the stick rest in neutral! Going from down to toward counts as 1 rotation, and then doing the dp is the 2nd rotation. If I don’t have meter for a super yet, I generally avoid doing this to make sure I don’t get a dp special instead (unless I can hit-confirm it), but if the opponent blocked the attack you wanted to cancel, you usually don’t want to attempt doing a special or super anyway, cos you might get punished, unless there’s a lot of “pushback” from the attack (I think it’s called), so they’re too far away to punish you, or you’re trying to chip them to death (Dudley’s SAIII, Akuma’s SAII, e.g.).

You play NECRO?!?! :smiley: I have SPECIAL problems w/ him, so my advice might be esp. useful here! If you want to cancel his b+mp or b+mk into SAI/SAIII, that might seem trickier, cos you have to make sure you press back to get the right attack first (neutral mk doesn’t cancel, for instance), and THEN you’re suddenly trying to cancel a qcF super from the BACK position on the stick. I treat these moves like the neutral attacks that can be canceled, such as Makoto’s neutral st.hp XX SAII. I just try to do the half-circle for the first rotation of the super, then a qcf for the next rotation :slight_smile: I would SWEAR that her super is a double hcf, even though it isn’t. Sometimes I just have to PRESS HARDER on the stick to make something work better (I’ve been told this shouldn’t damage the sticks, either).

Once in a while, I get the wrong attack because I tried to start the super or special rotation too early. A perfect example is trying to do, srk w/ Dudley. Hit-stun often solves this problem though! In that case, his has a lot of hit-stun, so I can wait a split second after connecting the before I start the rotation, so I don’t get his t+hk overhead attack instead, since that doesn’t cancel into a special or super (only links into super, and of course, only on crouchers, so I wouldn’t want that attack to come out, in that scenario). In this case, I just needed to slow down on my inputs.

I hope this helps, and that I didn’t ramble much! :open_mouth:


That will help me out most definitely.

					Also, you're  						Protectobot on Youtube, right?


if you don’t have an emulator you can use the character select screen to check your inputs. I wish 3S practice mode on PS2 had an input display.

in terms of improving execution, I’ve been setting down for a timed hour and just setting out a practice regime for myself. For example 15 minutes each of, short short super from the left, short short super from the right, oh super from the left, oh super from the right. Random guard. I try to take not of my largest mistake. Block confirm? missed execution? not even executing?


It’s easier to do double fireball motions going from right to left. Super canceling is fast in 3s, you just have to get used to it. Dudley is a good character for learning canceling.


I was actually wondering what emulator I could use that has an input display (I use FBA shuffle). I’ve heard that setting CPU to random block is great for learning hit confirming, but I of course can’t use my stick on a PS2. Although, I do have anniversary collection and pcsx2, which I have tried using, but the input felt really sluggish.

What specifically makes him good for that?


He has a ton of options to cancel into super. Many of the setups are easy, I.E. sweep>medium duck upper mk>cancel to super. It gives you time to prepare for the super motion. The more difficult ones like hit confirm s.rh>duck upper canceled into super become easy as a result of constantly doing his easier setups.

If you can get it a couple of times within a couple of minutes you can train yourself to land it every time. Practice low mk>saIII until it’s second nature. If you can’t get that facing both directions then I don’t know what to tell you. There are players than can do a tachi gigas consistently.


LOL…I guess it’s that obvious, eh? :stuck_out_tongue: :slight_smile: Maybe it’s time I REALLY learned SAIII like a normal Necro! lol…


I used to use Mame ++, but i think any version of Mame has this feature.

Edit: another “easiest but not so good” option, similar to what 1der said above, is to use the dipswitch menu, with F2, and go to the input test mode. You’ll be able to see what directions are pushed.


I’ve seen s.rh x ducking xx sa3 used a lot, but I’ve never really tried to do it. And when you say low mk>saIII, are you referring to Ken? In any case, I’ve pretty much got crouching mk/mp xx super down motion-wise, just need to work on the actual hit confirming and shortshort/shortjabshort stuff. But I’ll be practicing with Duds now for sure.

I could definitely understand using it though. Good for more “urgent” situations, it would seem. Also since you’re a Necro pro, why is it that a lot of Necros use Slam Dance against Hugo? Is it because of his odd hitbox and extra jump startup time?

Yeah I think it would be best if I could use the in-game input display. And I’ve had MAME for a while, but I’ve never seen this feature and have no idea how to activate it. Should be able to find it eventually though.