Psychology of Losing - Personal Experience

warning, entering “tldr” zone

So, as I’ve been leveling up, and trying to move beyond newbie status, I’ve been reading and getting into what it takes to be competitive - including the psychology of winning. (If you’re on this board because you’re and newbie and not to help newbies - then do yourself a favor and go read this book)

I had a real world application of it lately, that I thought might be encouraging to others in my place.

So I’m in a player match because I’m thinking of taking up Gouken as a second, when after the first match with a guy I realize “this dude knows what he’s doing” and I switch to my main, Gief. He proceeds to tear me a new one with his Guile - 5-0.

But then, he does something unexpected. He goes through each one of his secondary characters - Dhalsim, then Sagat, then Gief. Each one he plays until I beat him twice, then switches to the next. I’m doing everything I can to hang on - to adapt to his ever-changing playstyles. And I am adapting - but it’s the wildest mental ride I’ve been on thus far in my training. I feel myself getting better the whole time - making the margins of loss smaller and smaller until BAM! I win a round. And then another. And suddenly we’re back to square one as he switches characters, I get stomped, and it starts all over again.

Finally he switches back to Guile - “I final test,” I think. Has my game really stepped up?

And he destroyed me again.

As a matter of fact, I lost more all that night, and the next day. Matches I know I should have won, I was dropping. My BP went down.

Fact is, I was so shaken up, and mentally tired, from losing so much, that I couldn’t take advantage of the fact that I really did know more than I did before. Though I’ve never competed, I can imagine the sensation was like the end of a long tournament, where you’ve just beat down 10 kids only to face your toughest competition yet when you’re in your worst state of mind.

But it passed. My BP came back, and then went up. I won matches again - and more of them. I sent the guy a message and thanked him for the lesson. I could have quit at any time - he wasn’t forcing me to be subjected to the loses. But I know I was learning, so I stuck with it.

Look, I’m all about a little handholding - I think this forum could use a little more of it, but what do I know, I’m a newbie - but that dude managed to give me a lesson without spoon-feeding me information. So there’s one of - what is in my experience - rare instances that seem to be the ideal of the veterans of this forum. Actual learning without spoon-feeding. But be warned - I was still shook up for a day or so.

But that’s just my 2 cents. I figure someone’s gonna have beef with me making this thread, but it’s something I think could be useful to people trying to claw their way out of newbie-dom. So, I’ll don my asbestos suit, and hope I help-a-newb.

This is why I typically only play a few rounds with each person I come across during “Player Match”. I think the ego hit from those loses hurts more than the potential successes gained from the “I am adapting” experience that you’re talking about. When you get flooded with different match ups, I think the opportunity to learn becomes more limited even though you’re exposed to more situations. This is because you’re struggling so hard just to even stay afloat.

What I try to do is just do player matches and add people who have green bars; toss em a “gg” or some other nice saying, friend request em, then play em again later. Then you have a chance of befriending them and then you can ask them to only use one character for a few rounds.

stay afloat? are you serious? you’re playing street fighter, not escaping the sinking titanic. try and have fun while you play, win or lose. if you make it into a stressful (very serious) situation in your head, you aren’t going to be able to play at your best. the most important part of SF is to keep a cool head. if you lose your cool, your execution, problem solving ability, ability to react properly, they all go out the window.

also consider that SF4 doesn’t fit everyone’s playstyle (largely derived from your personality pre-SF), other street fighter games are more focused on the gung-ho, offense-based type of personality that i believe gets people into fighting games in the first place. you might want to try out third strike & super turbo as well, and see if you have more fun with those.

Don’t get me wrong - I have fun playing Street Fighter. But that particular instance was a very intense thing. I do my “wet and wild” scrubbiness “just for fun” matches with some friends and Soul Calibur - the enjoyment I get out of IV is getting better. I seriously want to be competitive - and not the least of the lessons I got out of that session was staying cool under pressure. Which is a massive pitfall for me - if someone starts doing a repetitive tactic, especially if I know how to get out of it but I’m screwing up the execution, I’ll hand them the match on a silver platter because I get frustrated. I’m working on that, though - it’s especially tough with Gief because there are so many situations like that.

I used to have issues with losing until I realized “there is no spoon”. Once you realize that points as a whole, be it winning or losing is just an illusion, you will be free from the frustration. You learn by making mistakes and learning from them.

When I win, it’s awesome.

When I lose, it’s just a game.

Works for me. :tup:

Your match-ups improve more if you use the same character and fight against the same opponent / character over and over again. That’s what I’ve experienced. If you and / or your opponent keeps switching characters, you won’t get that much better against the other character(s) of course. It also helps to focus and concentrate more if you really want to win.

I’ve been playing the game for so long, I don’t really get as angry anymore when I lose because I realized that it’s not the game or my opponent, I blame myself for the mistakes I’ve made and what I should and should not have done during the match. If I really wanted to win, I could have made better decisions and just played better overall. That’s the way I see it now.

I wish the game had either a rematch option (like Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars for the Wii) so I can go in with a different strategy or a replay-saving feature so that I can watch my matches over again, see my mistakes and learn from it rather than backtracking in my mind and having to think about why I’ve just lost ('cause that’s what I currently do, lol).

Losing - Personal Experience

Hello everyone, my name is deadfrog and I’m a loser.

I’m used to losing it’s more about how bad I lose.

Usually I can get a few solid hits in but sometimes I get trapped in the corner and they walk all over me. I can’t even block right. I usually have to quit and go to practice mode to make myself feel better.

Practice mode works pretty good for getting your key moves and combos memorized.

I find that when I make mistakes with characters, it always comes down to my focus being clouded in frustration. I’ll see something that can be exploited and what I want to happen in my head just doesn’t in the game. After I lose, I think about the match and what I did wrong.

What I’ve found is that most of the time, I am simply not executing motions, or even button combinations that execute the things that I want to do at those points. The hardest time you will have while learning is trying to play against someone without knowing your characters moves, combos and especially counters.

When I play a new game or a new character on a game, I’ll take that character into practice mode against a randomized opponent in stand still mode until I have the specials and combos down without thinking about them, facing both sides of the screen.

Once I’m confident that I can execute that character well enough to not look at a move list or combo list, I turn the CPU on to the random opponent and turn the difficulty up as high as I can. It helps a little bit, but playing the CPU is always different than playing someone.

Once I have that character dialed, I move on to another one, and then another until I am confident with all of the characters in the game.

Being a good loser is more important to me than winning. I could care less about my ego. If I suck at a game that I’m trying to be good at, sure it’s frustrating, but I understand that regardless of the game, I’m going to lose at some point. You don’t play tetris unless you plan on losing. I take that with me in every game.

You gotta take your lumps. That’s all it is. You’ll never get better unless you take your lumps. Losing will make you better. All there is to it. The exercise you describe may not have been fun, but it sounds like a pretty thorough and good workout.

I’ve never been shaken up from a match or a series of losses lol. Just pick it up, throw a GG and either keep at it or move on.

Losing and knowing why you lost will make you better - and considering I eventually beat every one of his characters except his Guile, I think I accomplished that. I had a music teacher who told me this and I’ve always remembered it - “Practice makes permanent. Perfect practice makes perfect.”

Yup, getting absolutely destroyed by someone who is flat out superior without understanding or at least understanding why you lost is of no help. It has nothing to do with taking your lumps or anything of that sort.

That is excellent advice from your music teacher, Scheater5.

ShotgunSteve, I agree that I’ve never been shaken up, having it affect my following game, but blitzed a little on what I did in that round. Sometimes it takes me a litte time to figure out what I’m doing wrong. Sometimes I lose a match because it’s out of my control (loop throwing, etc.) and sometimes it’s because I choke on the controls. It really helps me to have my character down in motor memory, even over visual memory.

I think everyone goes in with a little bit of an ego and that ego has to be broken down to a certain extent to start learning from a loss. Losing 20 or 30 fights in a row to someone who is much better does slowly teach me their playstyle and their tendencies which in turn excersizes the part of my brain that adapts to strategies and patterns. I think losing that much also toughens us up mentally. By conditioning our brains to accept loss we are able to learn without letting it get to us too much. Really, you have to lose to get to this point. It feels great to win, but if you only won you would never move forward, and obviously the opponents that you are fighting wouldn’t be all that great.

Even the best players lose and they continue to learn throughout. I was lucky enough to see a grand finals between Justin Wong and Combofiend this weekend. The last time I saw these two fight on a stream, Jwong destroyed Combofiend’s Abel. Combo used Abel this past weekend throughout the tournament, but when it came time to fight Justin, he picked Cammy and really for the first set made Justin look like an XBL Rufus. Justin picked Cammy for the second set and the matches were really even, and then the third set Justin went back to Rufus, adjusted beautifully and won. This is a great example of how you can learn from losing on so many different levels.

I tend to leave when I see people stomping me with every character on the roster. Whenever you get a player that is able to beat you with a varied cast like that. You’re unable to learn the matchup. He is beating you using basic fundamentals that work with all characters. He’s already read you, and your playstyle. He’s now able to adapt with anyone in the cast.

Truth be told, this person is good at fighting games, and SF4’s engine. But he’s not all that good at SF itself. He’s not going to learn, nor teach you anything. He’s not there to learn, or improve. At all. He has given up on ever reaching a higher tier of play. He’s just having fun at your expense, and denying you the ability to learn.

Once you beat this guy two matches in a row, I guarantee you he will leave the game. His reasons for playing you are done with.

Possibly the most useful (and enjoyable) times Ive ever had playing SFIV online are one night I played Ken against some Rufus for like 90min (unfortunately this was insanely late at night so I could not think, and I think my brain finally told me to fuck off to sleep and ragequit after about the 25th match), and playing Rose against someones Guile for a solid 2h+ on a Sunday once, losing at a ridiculous rate in both instances. Most online play ends up coming down to throwing your gimmicks at someone and finding out if the other guy knows how to stop them, long sessions like that mean the gimmick is out there, you have multiple chances to eventually find a way to stop it, and then you get to the real game where you`re picking real options instead of (50% lag) shenanigans.

The guy who wins 2 matches then starts playing Dan and Vega is generally pretty useless, unless the message is as simple or universal as block something already and stop getting thrown

To get good in any game you have to be able to get destroyed without it detering you. So yes, It totally does. How many scrubs start a new game, get absolutely destroyed, then immediately quit? Lots. That’s why you gotta be able to take the lumps. Because you will get them, and you have to accept that.

@SimpleKiss - yes, but I think Kage’s point is that is a different lesson. Learning the game does not require you to “take lumps” - learning the game requires you to learn from mistakes. Learning to accept defeat, to understand that you are not the greatest and need to improve - that requires “taking your lumps.”