Learning how to neutral game?

Hello FGC,

I started playing fighting games for the first time a few weeks ago with UMVC3, and I am just completely lost when it comes to the neutral game. I’ve picked up a team (wolverine/taskmaster/akuma) and I learned some BnB combos with them, how to do crossups, how to convert throws, but most of the time all of that does me no good. I have put a lot of time into the training room and I am pretty confident in my execution of the things I have learned, but one thing I have noticed in the ~300 or so matches I’ve played against other people is that I am totally helpless in the neutral game, and I feel like I haven’t even gotten better at it from my games so far. If I am not in one of the exact scenarios that I have practiced I might as well be someone who has never even touched this game before, just randomly moving around pressing buttons and hoping something lands (which, I can rarely convert to a combo anyway if I do land a hit). I have even played people who seem to have not even learned basic combos and are just messing around, and even they can out footsie me, I just have no instinct at all for what to do when both characters are freely moving around on the screen. How can I practice specifically for the neutral game? I feel like the training room wouldn’t be of much help since it is well, just hitting a training dummy, but I haven’t really improved from playing against people either. Also, are there any helpful videos for the neutral game anyone could direct me to? I’ve looked on youtube and most of the instructional things I’ve seen are really only helpful for once you’ve already hit your opponent, but not about how do I hit him in the first place.