Struggling with some stuff lately

Hey guys. I’ve been having some trouble lately and I was hoping somebody can offer some insight. Thank you.

(I play Evil Ryu)

  1. I keep getting pressured by my opponents block-strings. I often find myself getting nervous in these situations, and I end up resorting to pressing buttons in hopes that I will escape the block-string, but these attempts are rarely successful. And when I don’t press buttons, I just get thrown so I have no idea what the right approach is here. I also notice that after the opponent has me in the corner, they will walk back, and then I’ll try to poke and it’ll just whiff and they will punish me for it. So obviously my footsies aren’t the greatest.

  2. What do I do when I’m being zoned by Ryu or Sagat for example? I normally try to neutral jump to avoid the fireballs, but my friend said not to neutral jump because then the other player will use that opportunity to advance forward and he will gain the space advantage. So, if not neutral jump, then do I just block? I mean I guess blocking makes sense, because after a while the opponent will realize his fireballs aren’t working and he will jump in and I can use that opportunity to anti-air them. So I guess blocking works best against zoning?

  3. How can I practice my fireball spacing? Is there a way to do this in training mode? I often have people just jumping over my poorly spaced fireballs, and then I eat damage from a full combo, and that’s not fun.

  4. My normals keep whiffing. I use my cr. MK a lot, and I find that I press it even when it’s out of range, so should I just use my normals more sparingly, only if I know they will land? I just wish I could learn the range better so that I wouldn’t throw them out so much unless i knew they would hit.

  5. How do I learn to play more patiently? People keep telling me that I’m too impatient, but I’m not sure how to be more “patient”. Do I throw less fireballs? Do I jump in less? What are the traits of a patient player exactly?

  6. Is execution something that should be practiced daily (30 - 60 min) in order to maintain and improve?

  7. Should I refrain from DPing on wake-up? I find it lands like maybe 40% of the time, and the rest people will just block it.

  1. set a dummy to do those blockstrings in training mode, and find places where you can backdash or focus-backdash out. Learn the spacing of normals in training mode to prevent whiff-punishes in the corner and better your footsies.

  2. Neutral jumping fireballs is perfectly fine, as well as focusing one every time you get grey life back. Your goal is to stop them throwing fireballs so if they move forward that’s what you want. Walking forward and blocking is also a way to beat that, and if you are close you can get a focus-forward dash through the fireball and punish.

  3. Record the dummy jumping forward as different characters and note the jump ranges. Then, don’t throw fireballs at those ranges. Another thing I found helpful is to notice whenever you block a jump-in after a fireball: You can DP every time.

  4. Training mode boxes are designed to help you learn spacing. Also, throwing normals out at ranges where they will whiff unless the opponent walks in or presses a button is an important part of footsies and becomes more important as you learn matchups. Keep throwing out normals, just know why you’re throwing them out.

  5. Just don’t do as much. Focus on the fireball/SRK game as Ryu or E. Ryu and not on winning. You aren’t going to improve over the course of one game, it’s about practice. You want fireball spacing and anti-airing to become second nature. As I said earlier, developing patience and getting better is never moving without a goal: always have a reason to throw a fireball, dash, throw out a normal, or jump.

  6. Yes. That said, don’t spend all your time in training mode like I do, because although my execution is pretty good, fundamentals are more important.

  7. Wake-up DP is a calculated gamble, not something you should do all the time, or even most of the time. I may do it once to show the opponent that I can and will, making them more scared to pressure, as well as DPing unsafe jump-ins on wakeup. Wake-up DP is a bad habit to develop and hard to drop. The more you improve spacing, anti-airs, and execution, the more attention you can pay to the opponent and figure out when to DP. Right now, it’s a bad idea.

I want to answer this one specifically because this has been on my mind lately.

It’s hard to tell exactly what people mean when they say you’re impatient (do you have any clips of you playing?), but to me impatience is when you give in the urge to take an unnecessary gamble in an otherwise good situation. As an E. Honda main, a lot of impatient shoto players will go in on me despite having a spacing advantage. A good, patient player will try and force me to approach them, which Honda really struggles doing.
Impatience can also come out of a desperation to get out of a bad situation. Let’s go back to Honda vs any shoto. When a shoto tries to zone out Honda, since his tools are very limited to dealing with fireballs, an impatient player may resort to jumping in, using a random ultra (you can do it on reaction if you’re ready for it but since it’s a charge move your opponent can easily play around it) or repeatedly focus through the fireballs (all high risk/high reward approaches). A good, patient honda will try to be much more careful with the approach, with more neutral jumps, blocking and walking foward with the occasional high risk approaches to throw your opponent off. It’s slower, but it pays off much better and is much harder to punish.

Those are just a couple of examples. Generally speaking being patient means to not resort to high risk moves out of desperation or greed.
Being more patient generally comes with an overall confidence in using your moves and getting used to their spacing. If that doesn’t work then it might require a change in your mindset while playing. Are you the kind of player that panics easily when you’re in a bad situation? Are you someone who feels uncomfortable in neutral so they always try to gain an advantage no matter how high the risk? Playing patiently might come harder to you.

  1. Learn to crouch tech. It’s not a free ticket to never getting hit or thrown again but it is a tactic that is very fundamental to SF4. While crouching, press LK+LP rhythmically to your opponents attacks. Time it so that you press them when you can potentially get thrown. This basically means pressing them shortly after you would’ve been put in block stun if the enemy pressed a button. The idea is, if your opponent does nothing a will come out, if he attacks you, you’ll be in block stun so no will come out and if he tries to throw you, you will tech the throw. He can beat this by changing the timing of his attacks so that he counterhits your (aka a frame trap).

  2. Your friends advice make no sense. If you’re being zoned out it’s pretty safe to assume that you want to close the distance. If your opponent decides to make that easier for you, he done goofed.

  3. Figure out each characters farthest reaching air normal and use training mode to determine the maximum distance they can hit you from. However, the issue isn’t spacing, it’s timing. If people jump in on you all the time it’s because your fireballs are predictable. It’s perfectly fine to throw fireballs in ranges where people can touch you. Watch replays of your games and see how predictable your fireballs are, it can be hard to notice while actually playing.

  4. is a pretty whiff punishable normal so you should try to only use it when you anticipate that it’ll make contact. Footsies is commonly described as a rock-paper-scissors game of walking forward, whiff punishing(aka walking backwards) and poking, where walking forward beats whiff punishing, whiff punishing beats poking and poking beats walking forward. You mention that you’re impatient, are you perhaps trying to poke people that are backing off? That’ll only work against characters with bad walk speed. IMHO, you should press when you think that your opponent is going to walk forward, or is stationary.

  5. Basically, being impatient means trying to force a situation. Fishyashs explanation is good.

  6. What SaucySnake said. Training mode is good and important but the majority of your time should be spent on games. When you improve you might see better gains by shifting that balance more towards training mode but not when starting out.

  7. If you’re playing to improve there’s literally no reason to ever wake up with dp. Getting knocked down is an opportunity for you to practice being calm and patient when pressured. If you’re playing to win it’s fine to throw out one once in a while. It depends really, how much your opponent respects your wake up.