New to the game - Need advice on a plan to get better


Hey there all your SRK newbie helpers. I’m not completely new to the site (I’ve been lurking for a little while now), so this may be sort of an intro thread too but let’s just get right down to business.

In the wake of SSF4, I have the desire to increase my skill level in the game (I know, big surprise right?). I’ve been a fan of the series for a long time (I remember when I went to the store to buy SF2 for SNES), but only ever at a casual level. At this point, I just want to become a better player and immerse myself more in the SF scene.

Now, as for the background on my end. I would say that my exposure to SF is quite high (I’ve played many of the games and seen an endless number of videos) while my experience with SF is extremely low. Over the years, I only ever got to play against friends (none of which were any good). With the arrival of SF4 and the online system, I finally saw it as an opportunity to play against some fiercer competition (ideally). I proceeded to be trounced by the likes of the online scene. I like to think that I am fairly (fairly being the important word here) savvy to the terminology and basics of the game, however I have never gotten all that serious (or had to means in which to get serious) about the application.

Hopefully, that’s where you guys come in. I’m looking for advice on what a newbie like me should do to start upping his game. Obviously, the “Play, play, play, and when you are done play some more” advice is something I’m aware of (and something I need to do). I’ve also read a lot of posts around here and various other places that say you need to read character specifics, read match ups, read about moves, strategies, etc. I’m aware of that side of the coin (although I would appreciate any more advice anyone could give in this “research” area). What is the best way to apply this researched knowledge?

When it comes to the actual play aspect, I’ve seen mixed opinions about online play (I’m on PS3, btw) and whether or not it is a worthwhile place to improve. I was always under the impression that playing the game in any form (online, offline, vs cpu, etc) could always help you in some way. Is online worth it? When SSF4 hits, how much time should I spend online? Along those same lines, I would love to have someone to play with online who could help me improve, but currently my friends list is void of anyone fitting the bill. If anyone has the urge to become a teacher, or just wants to beat up on a noob, let me know.

Another avenue of play to address is obviously local (i.e. the best avenue). I live in Chicago so I’m sure if I did some looking I could find some group of people to play with. However, I don’t know how I would do that. Any tips on finding local play? Tips for finding people in the area?

Basically, I am looking for advice on a schedule for improving my game. For those gym goers out there, I need a Street Fighter work out plan. How should I separate my time? Online vs. local. Research vs. play. Training vs. real matches. Any goal advice or schedule advice from a seasoned player would be a HUGE help.

I apologize for the wall of text and I eagerly look forward to the SRK user’s advice. Thanks in advance and I really appreciate any help I could get.

If you have any questions for me, fire away.

takes a deep breath


I’m at work, so no wall of text reply from me… but to get the ball running on helping you out I have a few questions to ask of you.

Why do you want to get better? What is your goal?

Me, I’ve always set my goal to just being good enough to pick up a controller and defeat anyone who comes my way or at least be good enough that someone would be excited about the prospect of playing me. That they know my name and have a reason for remembering it.

Maybe you aim higher than me. Maybe you want to win Evo. What is your intention for wanting to improve?


Making the plunge into high levels of play (focus cancelling, matchup learning, advanced combos, frame data) can be scary and maybe you are more comfortable with small hit confirms into specials.

The first thing you should do is find time to learn focus cancelling and frame data of moves, with this knowledge you can start practicing to put the focus cancel combos into your repertoire. I know it may imagine that you can’t see yourself doing focus cancel advanced combos but if you get the hang of them they will become second nature and thats what you need to win in higher levels.


As far as your online vs real life question, real life is always the way to go. Looking for people in Chicago? Check the Chicago thread in regional matchmaking.


Local would be great, people to talk to, motivation to improve and play the game, advice, tricks, tips and what not, i’m missing out so much in this area, though i have some people online for advice and what not, i’m fairly self-motivated though when it comes to competitive gaming atleast.

Research vs play. Depends on your personality and drive, if you do this naturally, then you don’t need a gym plan for this, if you have to force yourself to read TLDR posts and what not, then there’s going to be a few essential things you’re going to need then from there, you’ll need to rely on training room, playing matches and your Intuition more than frame data, lots of information and what not. Information can blind alot of players though since they don’t understand it or focus too much on certain pointless or less useful things, we’re all prone to this problem imo if we read too much.

Basically all Sticky information is really good, the topics which are more advanced and only so so useful until later stages, or much more useful are Option selects(Crouch OS throw is always useful though) and FADC Cancels(They’re a means to damage, not a be all end all situation).

Also many fail to see that it’s about damage and damage avoidance, and think it’s about doing the right combos, doing perfectly timed links, doing FADC cancels(especially when you’re new),. Basically as long as your focus is on that of damage, whether you’re doing links, chains, FADC cancels, all you’re seeing is “damage opportunities” and places to avoid getting hit in order to win by the not so great timeout or by KO.

I’ve actually only done mostly online play, i assume i’m missing footsies play alot due to this. IMO Online play is great for match experience, practicing mix-up options and timing with these, make sure to only play 4-5 bar connections, and add players to friends who you seemed to have a productive gaming session with if you play online, it helps alot, but make sure to play against a wide range of characters, when your experienced enough you’ll be able to tell if the opponent is good and worth versing again for practice and what not.

IMO one of the best resources i’ve found is,, it has matchups and everything of decent players.


Firstly when playing you need to always focus on your execution as it’s a skill that must progress from beginner to advanced. Make sure you can always execute simple special moves, execute combos, chains and links. Just practice them, blockstrings at the newbie level is easy and really good to learn as it allows for some mix-up and basic hit confirming depending on your character. Just keep working on those, they aren’t essential to improving your game as fast as possible, but they’re necessary to having a solid game.

Secondly make sure you understand the basics of the combo system, chains, links, cancels, super cancels. Beyond that it’s free reading, you’ll learn it by just playing with experience or you can skip ahead and research on frame data, how to read it, it helps to learn things quicker, which would generally take longer to learn if you were just to play the game.

Beyond that it’s about learning your options of what you can do in each situation, basically zoning(position relative to your opponent and the corner) knowing what your character is capable of doing, and where he should be to make him most effective, this includes fireballing and anti-air to keep them out of the zone, push them into a corner and also to give you opportunities to jump-in.

Knockdown game(being ready and prepared to set-up your knockdown strategies, pro videos show them dashing after practically every single knockdown, it’s all about getting in position after a knockdown to set-up damage opportunities as it’s in your favour after a knockdown, they have to guess, maybe you too but it should always be in your favour). Knowing this you’ll try to get as many knockdowns as possible whilst doing everything else.

Normals, Command Normals, Focus Attacks, Dashing, Specials - Mastering the use of these allow you to know when and where each normal attack and special should be used. Learning the purpose of them is essential so you use the right attack in the right places. Some for anti-air, some for poking.

Character specific stuff - This is always useful as certain character have ways to get huge damage from Ultra set-ups, juggles and combos and what not. Try not to rely on these ultra set-ups too much, but knowing them allows you to get the most damage out of your characters.

IMO post a video of yourself playing and critiquing it would be easiest, it allows people to establish where your at skill wise and even knowledge wise. Don’t trying anything fancy, just what you’re capable of, or might be capable of execution wise.

Edit: linked wrong guide before


Research is good, but it’s confusing at first. Almost like karate kid. “wax on, wax off…wtf miagi?” “ohhhh…i get it.” Read as much as you can. Listen to as much as you can. Don’t worry to much if you don’t understand it. I mean…dont pass up terms you don’t know, look them up, but if you don’t get why it might work or how it’s applied, you will someday. Keep playing. Stuff looked at to get started were MickeyD’s Ryu tutorials and Gooteck’s podcasts.

I think online play is good, especially starting out. You don’t get near the opportunity to play offline as you do online. It’s right there in your house, you can go to it whenever you want. For the most part, people who swear off online play are high level players that use high level techniques. They’re trying do things in 1 or 2 frame windows(not links, but stuttering jabs, tick throws, frame traps, stuff like that). That stuff just isn’t consistant online. Play as much as you want, but don’t neglect training mode.

I think the best single piece of advice I’ve gotten since I started playing was to recognize the difference between playing to win, and playing to learn. If there’s something you want to learn, don’t be afraid to focus on that during your casual matches. You’re playing to learn. You land the counter or combo you want to learn in a match and it’s as good as a win. Don’t get frustrated about the losses as long as you’re hitting those things you’re working on. On the other side of that coin, eventually you have to play to learn how to win…but you can cross that bridge when you get to it.

And, yea…pretty easy to find people to play in Chicago. There’s a place called Area13 that’s got ranbats once a month and casuals almost every tuesday. That’s in Addison, and there’s random gatherings on the weekends. Introduce yourself in that thread.


Wow. Thanks for the quick and already helpful posts. Rather than quote all these response I’ll just address the response by name.

@Inverse: My goals for getting better are pretty simple. First and foremost, my short term goal is just to become a better player for love of the game. There are a lot of other games in a lot of other genres that I really enjoy, and really enjoy being good at. I want SF to be among that list. In the longer term, your situation is almost precisely what I am going for. I want to be able to beat almost anyone who would play me (online or off). Slightly beyond that (and I think more important), I want to meet some other good players that I can compete with (preferably always someone who is better than me so I can continue to learn). Maybe tournament level players, maybe just some local guys that clean up the Street Fighter scene. Like you said, it would be awesome to simply have someone know who my name because of my SF skills. I am certainly interested in the tournament scene, but it is very daunting at this point and given my skill level, it is something I have no business in for a long time.

Also, who here wouldn’t want to win EVO? It would be silly for me to set that as a legitimate goal at this point. Attending EVO would be a much more likely goal to get me going.

@Akumanator: Focus cancels are definitely something that will be on the “use in practice/use in a match” to do list. This goes in there with a lot of the basics that I will need to practice.

Along those same lines, is there any specific character that would have some good focus cancel combos to practice? Does it really matter as long as I am practicing the FADCs with someone?

@ Starcade RIP: That thread is going to be a huge help. I will make introducing myself over there a top priority. Thanks.

@Neber: Thanks for the wealth of info. Again, the basics and some simple training is definitely something I need to do. I’m sure I will mess around online a lot, mainly due to convenience. Unfortunately, I don’t have an easy way to record any videos right now. Plus, a video of me would probably make all of you guys sad. :stuck_out_tongue: “Man, I wouldn’t have guessed he would have been THIS bad.” Hehe.

@Dannkk: The “playing to learn” advice is great. I will definitely have to keep that in mind, especially at the beginning, given the amount of time I will most likely spend losing to people. I may have to check out some more tutorials too.

Also, are there any character specific combos/cancels that would be ideal to practice? I would just be looking for basic things that would help with any character I may play. Based on the SF4 character list, I never really had a “main” when I was playing. I played some Ryu, but as I mentioned I never really got into anything too detailed. As for the SSF4 roster, Ibuki is really who I am liking the look of. It looks like I’ll need to perfect my super jump cancelling then. Makoto was more of my go to in 3s (again, only casuall,y but I would rip apart my friends with her :-P), so I may look into her as well.

Keep it coming guys. I really appreciate it.