Predicting And Understanding A Situation


Hello. I was playing street fighter alpha 3 on fightcade. Playing as Sakura. I have been playing fighters for years and years. After all these years. I still dont understand fighters or what to do in a fight. I have a few questions.
There is alot of small and big movements my opponent do. I don’t know what to keep track of to predict him with high accuracy.
For example my enemy is ryu
a subtle jitter to move forward and move back.
Just outside my kick range. He might throw a fireball, or jump in, walking then back out. But instead he walks forward and combos me.
I don’t understand why players do this. Why at this time?

Most of my wins is do to just pressing buttons and maximizing damage on true combos and I win somehow.
during my attack I just hold down back and I magically block they moves after I finish my attack.
I hold downback and I block everything most of the time.
Sometimes I just stand outside of the enemy range and whiff punish out of luck! But I get counter.
I whiff punish with a special out of luck most of the time
To me alot of situations look like a dice roll guess.
What is an optimal move?
Also how is it possible to do an optimal move when you dont know your opponent next move?


The answer will change a lot as you get better. In the beginning you will want to try be as safe as possible and not throw out any move randomly. Until you have a good level of control over your spacing, throwing out random moves will often get you blown up. As you get better you can play with your spacing to entice your opponent to attack you so you can whiff punish them for it. That is more often than not what is going on when you play a better player.

The reason they will walk up and attack you sometimes when you expect them to walk back, is because they expected you to expect them to walk back. You have been conditioned to react they way you do and they take advantage of you. As you get better you will be able to do this to others.

You sound like you are blocking to much, holding yourself back from taking your turn. You will need to just play more and learn what you can and cant attack after. You could read frame data and learn it, but I Would recommend just playing and trying things out as you will learn better that way and its more fun.

There is no real optimal move. You will have a good normal to use as a poke, and you will have a different normal when somebody jumps in at you. Even then if they jump from far the anti air you use wont be the same as the anti air you would use if they jumped in from close.

When you are trying to whiff punish, you shouldn’t be trying to react to a move, you should be predicting it. So you need to watch them closely and look for clues they let slip as to when they like to do what. You can then try set them up to be in that situation and when you think they will do something you can preemptively punish them for it. For instance if they attack every time you get with in a certain range, and always use the same attack, you can walk up to that range and walk back. If you do it to slow you will just block what they throw out. If not, you will leave the range where they can hit and you can send out your counter normal. If they tried to attack you you will end up punishing their whiff. If they don’t attack, you will be safely out of range from any whiff punishing they attempt on your attack.

Watch a shit ton of Youtube videos on footsies or neutral or space control. Many people explain it differently, so its worth watching a lot from different people so you can build up your own understanding of it.

From there just have some combos practiced. When you anti air have a follow up combo. When you get good enough to hit confirm, you can have a combo to rock off your whiff punishes. Have a combo you do when you have knocked them down and you want to pressure them. Have a combo specifically for the corner.

Get those sorts of things down and you will be doing a lot better a lot quicker.


How do I even space their attack when I can’t even interpret a player basic left and right movement. How should I interpret a player when a player attacks or even blocks? I understand different distance require different moves and give different advantages. My problem is predicting the ‘next move’ they will do. Whenever it will be simply moving forward/standing a for a bit/jump/ attacking. What movements the player do that I should consider important than other things they do? When I play with someone brand new. Its easy to fight them. but after round 3 or up. I start getting destroyed, because well I can’t figure out their game plan or movements. They start playing extremely confusing/contradicting. I end up missing anti airs/punishes/and combos. I know what moves to do in different distance. Its which one?


This is pretty good:


The general rule of thumb is patterns. People have lots of patterns. So when you see them move forward then back, what did they do after the last time they did that? That will more than likely be what they do again if what they did worked last time.

If it didn’t work the last time then after moving forward or back, they will probably do something that will beat whatever you did last time.

At the end of the day it IS a guessing game, but it’s a guessing game of loaded guesses. You aren’t making guesses about what the opponent will do in a vacuum, you are making guesses about what they will do since you’ve been playing them already and know what it is you have been hit by.

The better the player the more able they are to randomise their patterns and keep you guessing.

Also, from your wording, you are the one that is being read, you say that you do good for the first 3 rounds or so, but then they adjust and start beating you, that means they are reading your style and tempo and are playing to counter you, which any decent player will do because that is the heart of fighting games.

Some things that can easily be read by most opponents:

When you like to jump
What button you like to use as a jump attack
What distance you like to play at and what distance you like to mixup
Blockstrings you like to use
Hitconfirms you like to use
anti airs you tend to use
Combos you tend to use
Whether you play safe or wreckless
Whether you play keepaway or attacking
Whether you mixup between keepaway and attacking
If you like to throw projectiles, what your projectile timing is and what distance you like to throw them from as well as things you tend to do just before throwing a projectile (this is called telegraphing your fireball and it’s a bad thing to do and a hard habit to break) as an example, if you always walk backward then throw a fireball or or wiff a jab then throw a fireball, or wait for something to happen for 2-3 seconds and then throw a fireball, if nothing happens etc etc

And there are hundreds of other things that you and your opponents can be using to seek out patterns in each other’s play. So make sure that you are actively engaging your opponent and thinking about what they are doing, what they’ve done in the past, and why they did those things and it should help you be more able to read them in the future.


No offense dude but you might not be smart enough to play fighting games at a higher level quickly. It’s like this. You jump in on someone and they anti air you, you jump again, they do it again, you jump again, they anti air. A smart person learns quickly to stop jumping. Someone whose not as bright will jump expecting a different result every time until they get KO’d. It takes them longer to learn to stop it. After you play a game for a while the things other people are mentioning to you, you should pick up on automatically. You said you’ve been playing for years and years. I’m not sure how seriously but you gotta start really focusing and being smart about the way you play the games. Good luck man.


A good player will predict what you predict. The TL;DR answer is to play high-level players, and not just casual players who can beat you. There’s always something you can add to improve your game. Otherwise, the games you play would stagnate. In the end, once you improve your game, you’ll find that you’ll start “speaking the same language”. Really good players will know all of your weaknesses and tendencies. You’ll have to overcome that on your own. You can’t learn how to rushdown or zone from reading articles and watching videos.


I’m use to playing Ai’s that always have random moves and random situation that mostly benefits them. Here a video of me playing against someone with 150 ping. I am sakura. I only recorded 3 wins. He actually won over 50 wins on me with no rounds lost in between. Being beaten over time alot is just normal for me.
I play a new player. It’s easy as pie to play them, but after a while. I just lose track of what they thinking I’m doing, and what I planing on doing.
I’m usually there tryna figure what was the player is thinking but its too late and I lose. This player does things that overlaps what he did the last time/ or contradict another sequence he done before. The way he plays just confuses me over time. The match gets much harder to think about because I don’t what to look for in players that’s ‘key’. I end up playing worse and worse as time goes by.
Also I do have ADD inattentive type. Not sure if it just my disability preventing me from noticing things or just me not knowing enough things?


Well the reason they start to steam roll you after a few matches isn’t because you can’t figure them out. It is because they have figured you out. As you play more and get better this is something you will understand and start being in control of yourself.

As for what to expect and when, that is tough to answer.

Some rough ideas:

If they are far and have a projectile, expect a projectile.
If they are a medium distance expect a projectile and a jump in.
If they are close expect them to use their mos common poke option.

A projectile is slow enough to react to. You just need to know what you can do about. Sometimes jumping over the projectile is the best option. Sometimes they will be at the perfect distance to anti air you if you jump over the projectile. So jumping would be the worst idea. Especially at a medium distance.

If they are hanging around a medium distance and they move, you know you are safe from any normal attack. So assume it will be a jump in, so be ready for an anti air. If they just walk and they don’t do a special or a jump in, you will be safe because they won’t be close enough to whiff punish your anti air.

You can just watch them and you will see what they press more often at that close range. And you can expect them to use it most of the time.
Then decide what you have that will be quicker or that may have a desired effect on counter or trade. And when you get to that distance start zapping out your option.

Now knowing those possibilities, you need to keep in mind which one of you is controlling space. If they keep getting the upper hand in a specific range, it is up to you to use your movement to keep them at a different range.

If you are never in your preferred range, it means they are dominating the spacing game.

But it is not so much about what to do when or how to react to them. It is about assuming you know what they are going to do before they do it and being ready to counter. Or when you get more skilled in the neutral, it is about pressuring them or conditioning them to do what you want them to do.

All of this however is not something you can practice for a few hours. It takes a long long time to start to get the hang of it. But once you do you will progress really quickly and have a growth spurt.

PS: Shiiiit. I wrote this message days ago. To respond to your second message. Was going to delete it since the situation is pretty much resolved. But I wrote it, so you can dam well read it.


Thanks everyone for the tips and help. I keep in mind what was said. Thanks alot TKD for the second post! I had trouble understanding who was winning the spacing game. I didn’t know not being in my own comfort personal range is also losing the space game as well. I thought that was only character design choices/Match up determine advantageous/disadvantageous of space game only. That help understand situation much better. Is there any more information you guys have on conditioning in game? I look up about classical conditioning, but I was wondering ways to apply it and how would I even know if I condition the player correctly and its not just them doing they next move that have in mind.


You never really “know” if you’ve managed to condition a player the way you had in mind. It’s part and parcel of being able to discern patterns. Some players are oblivious, stubborn, or just plain stupid and will keep trying the same thing. It’s why a common piece of advice is to keep doing something if it’s working, since if something is effective, then why bother to switch it up? As an extreme illustration of that, I’ve literally killed people by DPing on THEIR wake up, because they just wouldn’t block.

Players will often get hit by things when they think their opponent should “know better,” aka when they expect the opponent to be conditioned into doing what they want them to do. In the short term anyone could potentially manage to win a game or two even against somebody much better than them (given at least the ability to do enough damage off of their opportunities to convert), but over a longer set will eventually get completely figured out and be practically helpless.


Since you’re on FightCade and have ADD, I suggest trying ST. There’s a greater emphasis on controlling space than executing combos. Once upon a time, in an older iteration of Street Fighter II, the original king Tomo Ohira supposedly told a player he’d only use light kicks to win, and he did it. While that won’t work in ST, with reversals, there’s a logic in the game that will force you to hone your fundamentals. Bad habits get weeded out, because they’re easier to punish. At the same time, I have no idea how your ADD will affect you in-game. I only suggest trying it, since I feel ST has simpler mechanics, but has a constantly evolving meta. People play the game differently now than they did years or decades ago.


Its a tough one man.

You can’t condition a dumb player. Because if they can’t figure out what they are doing wrong and adapt, you can’t manipulate their adaptation.
For example. I was having a tough time recently, I assume it was a bad connection causing lag, but I couldn’t anti air this one player consistently. So I was setting up a semi safe range, throwing a fireball, and doing a dragon punch. The dragon punch was never going to hit him, since I was doing it way to early. But what started happening is that he would jump straight up to avoid the fireball, because he would have assumed I was going to dragon punch. As the match went on, I did it from time to time. But right at the end of the match, when I really needed to close it out, it paid off. I threw the fireball, and didn’t dragon punch. I believed at this point he was conditioned to jump straight up. Which he did. So I dashed in and got an easy anti air since he hadn’t hit an attack button and closed out the match for the win.

I may have never needed that strategy to win. But I knew, behind my normal game play and game play, I had it as an option. And when I saw an opening to capitalize on it I did.

Another common one I do is I will meaty with a low. And when I get people blocking low, I will assume they will do it again, and I can move in like I am going to do a meaty attack, delay it slightly and then release an over head. That is a more basic example, but a very common one. I would assume you often get tagged with a late over head in the corner. And that is either a play just trying shit, or a player who has conditioned you. You will never know.

Yomi is not something you pick up over night. It will take you hours and hours of practice before you can actually pick up on places where you have conditioned your opponent. When I am having a bad day of gaming, I write on my note pad what is fucking me up so I can train to be better later. But I also write a game plan. Such as capitalize on stuffing a jump in. I will then play the match and make it seem inviting for the opponent to jump in on me. In a way that is pushing my flow on them. But the point is I want them to jump, while I am expecting it, so I can practice my anti air combos against a human. I may at this point start losing a tremendous amount of games. But I wasn’t doing well anyway. And it nets me some very practical training time. So perhaps you can write down your game plan. Maybe something like, condition a low block in the corner. Or more impressively, condition a high block in the corner. And then focus on getting a knock down in the corner, and your follow up game. Then when you think he has been conditioned, you can go for a low combo and see if it pays off. It is important sometimes to forget about just winning, and pick apart your games to focus on specifics.

Sorry for the rant. Trying to hide while I am at work, and I get distracted.


I been around in the arcade days of street fighter/street fighter 2, and I played on fightcade. The big difference between now and later is that in the arcade days, you had players that had no idea whats going on in match most of the time so it’s very easy to just spam one move. Also playing casuals was so common and they get frustrated and leave because they have to wait again to play or your just too good. Then there is people who semi know what they doing. Then the super pros who on it for days with 50 wins. Most casual just wait for the pro to get bored or get beating the ai so they leave and they can play again. No one likes to waste money.
I didn’t play that game much because I just get destoried by someone that know what they was doing LONG before it was demonstrated in books/internet. It just frustrates me the same person beating me like the 10th time and not help me out. Its a waste of time and a wasting my money(unless it was free to play)! I remember playing pros in the arcade days. They hands was so dam train to react correctly and they brains was no were paying attention. They were literary talking to they friends as they play! It made me wonder if its all just a reflexes.
Maybe its only possible to condition players that don’t have good reflexes trained?
I was wondering if I can somehow set up the player 2 to do certain sequences move and save/load state after it automatically. Also speed up and slow down the game. That way I train to play extreme robotic with spacing. I don’t want to think about doing the ‘right move’. Any ways to achieve that?


Spacing is useless without having the right tools to back it up. My walk-up DP, tick-throws, mix-ups, and reversals are on-point, so I can play a close-range game, or I can step back and make my opponent come to me with a strong zoning/anti-air game.

I have a feeling everyone here who’s given you advice could teach you to become a better player. There’s no shortcut to refining your skill. The people who keep beating you have their craft (better) mastered. The only way for them to improve is for them to test themselves against better players.

Even with the right tools, you need heart when you play. Make friends with people on FightCade, so at least you can benchmark yourself with them. Even then, that might not be enough. I’ve played old regulars, who play the same way they did years ago. They never leveled-up, and they chalk up their losses to external factors, when in reality they never fixed the holes in their game. They can’t take pressure, so they jump in and get anti-aired constantly. Or they jump back for no reason and reset the pressure. Street Fighter is like a reverse tug-of-war. You want to push people into the corner and keep them there, theoretically.


timing and tempo is everything
you can have all the knowledge of the games engine, understand frames, know the ranges/spacing properly but if you cant switch up the timings of your attacks/moves youll get blown up regardless. your issue too is that you might think with too much logic and this can become a issue at times when you are dealing with someone who does the illogical.
trying to think about conditioning too much will give you a rhythm to your attacks or you’ll get tunnel vision.

I’ve seen people get on tilt because they judge the entirety of a players game based on how they should be winning in a certain situation/sequence yet they get stuffed. they cant understand why and it causes them to question everything theyve gathered on their opponent during the set making things more difficult then they should be.

I know this is street fighter but…
I play really good old school players all the time in tekken theres is one who i play who blocked almost everything I did. I was playing patient, I was spacing but I rarely hit him. getting every move blocked can really hamper you and I started to wonder why and ill never forget what he said to me… we were playing a match and I did a low poke and it hit him. I was gonna do a small twtich and do it again but as he got hit (for the first time in like 2 min) he said

“You are gonna do that poke again and im gonna block it and fuck you up for it.”

I paused because he knew my timing perfectly and he was right. at the moment, at that second i was gonna do a twitch and do the low poke again. of course he hit me cause I was caught in this revaluation. I study the game, know almost all the general and character specific things but I was predictable and I got hit not only because he startled me but because I was uncomfortable outside my own created rhythm. I needed to think faster on the fly. I always slightly noticed this against good players but I never had fully realized it until that moment. I started to switch up my timings, every individual backdash, movement and I started to take games off of him.

everyone else has said it but it bears repeating theres no easy way. you have to play the people that will beat you. the ones that will destroy you. the goal sometimes is not to win but to force them to change the way they beat you.
once you learn how to force the match to evolve where you are both making adjustments that will show you are becoming better. use your skill, knowledge/thinking to use your adjustments to make them adjust and try to impose your game upon them in the moments where it unclear who has the advantage or the neutral, and switch up your timing!!

Good luck!


To be honest. I completely disagree with the idea of playing players better than you. I have been playing players better than me for years and I’m still in the same boat. All I learn fighting way better players is how to behave in certain situation but not understand why. They also train me to play worse to a point where I my anti air is trying to attack a player standing still. In other words, when I play someone better I’m just left there guessing which is the right way to play to win. Then I play another good player and find out what I just learn doesn’t work. Then the circle repeats over and over again. I played so many players who beat me with 3 digits. I know from experience that doesn’t plain work for me. The first match I have with them its much better than the 100th one. It just overwhelming playing players way better not challenging. It just get depressing after the 10 win a row, because I can tell I’m going to lose badly over and over again. I rather play someone who I can win some and he can win some or even better training room/ Every time I play the game I lose by the same bullshit situation. I think its because I dont go to training room enough and prepare in advanced. Like a jump in. Sometimes I anti air but sometimes I dont. Sometimes I get my ass kick hard because of one miss. I feel like I’m just not robotic enough to beat does or maybe it just lag changing the animation start up timing? I know for a fact fightcade load a very old correct input state and replay the game super fast with new ‘updated inputs’ up to the current frame your inputs it up too and cause the start up animation to look like it skipped/teleported.(it figure it predicted the player pressing a button on the wrong frame).
I do understand different timing is required but to what extend? Do I count in my head to keep in ‘time’? Do I just delay my timing just because I feel like it? Do I delay because It was beaten before? When to adjust my timing? How can I learn to recognize my own rhythm/timing and know its being beaten?


Well, not so much better that they’re clobbering you before you even realized what happened. I mean, playing against those kinds of players is useful too since you can see how a much better player would deal with certain tools. I’d say if you can find a player that you can beat even 1 out of 10 times, that’s a player that’s worth keeping in your back pocket. He’s better than you to the point where you can learn useful info from him, but not so much better that victory is completely out of reach. It’s also easier to see the progress you make pay dividends in actual matches, as opposed to a player where there’s a huge gap between you two.

That said, even if you do get completely mollywhopped by a far superior player, there are still things you can learn. A decent player can often point out your weaknesses and how they’re exploiting them in order to beat you. Use that knowledge in order to improve your own game.


This is obviously because you aren’t learning. You just don’t have what it takes to soak up the knowledge. And I think the most important thing to take away from all of this is that you aren’t nearly ready to start trying to program or condition your opponents. To the point that I will say if you started trying to do that you will actually hurt your progression.

Also I don’t think you have been “playing” for years. The way you have described your arcade days is an indicator that you can’t count any of it as time you have put into fighting games. If you are doing things and you don’t know why, or you haven’t been playing with 100% dedication to improve, scrap the time from your memory. In fact, drop everything and start fresh. Today can be your day one.

You don’t want to play robotically because that will make you predictable. Trying to play that way is giving your opponent the edge.

Stop worrying about loosing 100 games straight. And start focusing on why. I guarantee you that if you just chilled out and make a mental note of what happened that caused you to take a big chunk of damage, you could improve. Because you can take that info into the lab and practice how not to do it, how to do it better, how to just not be in that situation all together.

When you are playing somebody and they are kicking your ass, ask them why they find you so free. A dick will be a dick, a decent person will tell you what you are doing wrong. Take that info into the lab and practice what you need to.

If you aren’t consistently anti airing, practice it in the lab. Always set the dummy you are practicing against to be the character your opponent has been using to destroy you.

If you are anti airing a dude standing on the ground. Then suck it up bitter cup you are just shit. And that is an important lesson to learn. Because you can grow from that point. Until you accept what your level of play is, HONESTLY accept an HONEST level, you can’t grow.

ADD is bullshit, forget that’s even a thing. Because your responses show you just don’t know how to learn. Not that you know and you can’t do it.

I would recommend learning a few combos again. A corner combo, a mid screen combo, and a CA combo. Learn what your poke is and learn your anti airs, remembering that at different distances you anti air with different buttons. If you are playing as Ryu, don’t dragon punch. You can worry about the dragon punch later, as in months down the line.

Accept this will all take a lot of time and real focus. If you are ADD take your meds and try and focus. If you find yourself losing focus, take a break. And I complete believe you should maybe have an elastic band around your wrist that you can use to inflict some pain on yourself when you zone out. Verbally accosting yourself is helpful too.

Then do this shit.

Go into the lab and practice those combos. Do your first combo for about an hour. Hit reset after each attempt, shake your hands, flick your fingers a little. Anything to break the rhythm of practice, then repeat the combo. Do it at a moderate pace. Going through the combo as fast as you can, hitting reset instantly and going through it as fast as you can again, over and over and over, will have limited effect on your muscles remembering whats what and make it a little tougher for your brain to take it all in. Just accept you need to spend sometime doing the boring training stuff and get it done. After that first hour take a break for 20 minutes or so, get up and walk around and let your hands relax. Have something to eat, have something to drink. Then get back to training. Repeat the combo for 30 minutes. And take a 10 minute break. Then come back to the lab and repeat it for 15 minutes. Then you are done with the first combo. The spaced repetition helps you take a lot more in a lot quicker. Then save the next combo for the next day. Repeat the process and do the third combo the following day. Don’t even bother playing online for this first couple of days because you are trying to get your shit down. Once that is done, find out your best poke and practice it. Learn to perfectly space it. Have the computer walk the dummy forward and then back and then forward. You need to move with him and learn what it looks like when you are both moving and you can space your poke. You want to get it as close to max range as possible. Do this for as long as you can stay focused. Then take a break and come back to the same thing, but this time try and get your poke to whiff just out of the dummy’s range. Then spend sometime learning which anti air works from what jump in distance. After you have got all of this down, you can build a warm up routine. I like to use a dice and write down what each number corresponds to. Typically a combo. Then roll the dice, and do the combo it wants. then roll again, and keep repeating for 15 minutes. It warms up your hands and it separates the combos repetitiveness, like when you did the one combo for so many hours. Then do 5 minutes of anti airs. And 5 minutes of poke practice. Then jump online. Play some games, literally writing in a note pad after each game what you think went wrong. After about 10 games, look at the note pad and see what you have been messing up. Either stop the online play at this point and go and practice what is going wrong, or make sure you stop doing it in the next few games.

There is a bunch of stuff you can work on. But most importantly you need to be more mentally aware of the game, if you don’t see whats going wrong you wont ever improve.

Everybody sucked when they started. It was their drive to get better that lead them to improve. If you don’t have it you don’t have it.


That’s actually extremely helpful. Also, I have been in the disability school/assistant aid my hole life. I totally do that TKR. I apologize if I anger anyone. I have to find a way to get player 2 to jump to me without me doing it manually all the time or just even move around in sfa3. No training available. I have a quick question. What makes a corner combo a corner combo and not just a ‘mid’ combo being done on the corner repeatedly? Also what principles corner combos have?