Teaching an ol dog new tricks

Hi guys, I’m writing in the hopes that there’s someone out there that can shed some light on something that’s bothering me.

I’m 31 years old. My previous experience with SF was when I was a kid with SF2 for SNES. We played for fun with the friends and I didn’t new any competitive scene or anything. Learning how to do hadokens an shoryukens was the top of the top. In my adult life I played some of the Vs games but it was only casual.

Fast forward 2009. With the release of SF4 my love for fighting games has rekindle, and I started playing after the console version was out. There’s one difference now, I learned of a competitive league here on my country, and I’ve been playing inside of it for a couple of months.

I’ve been trying to systematically improve my game. I train/play as much time as I can. I have a Job, Kid and Wife, but still I try to at least play 1hr each day on weekdays and more on Fridays and Saturdays.

Now my problem. I know that offline competition is the best way to improve your game but because of my personal schedule, the online aspect of the game is the one that I can dedicate the most time because I’m in my house. I do have improved but I think that with the time I have spent on the game I should be better. I need some way to organize/prioritize/develop/etc. my skills as to become a better player.

As of now I know of 3 things that I need to improve upon:
[]Better ground game. My spacing/footsies need a lot of work.
]Reliable anti-airing. A game breaker for me.
[*]Controlling the flow of the match. Sometimes I have a 70% lead and the my opponent rushes to me and I loose the control of the match and loose the round.

So anyone that can help me on any way on this, ideas, information, whatever please do so. If you have time to spare to play with me or something. I’ll be really grateful. I’m really dedicated to this and I want this 2010 to be a year where I can say that I have really improved.

Thanks for reading.

P.D. My main is Ryu and my secondary is Zangief.

i completely sympathize with your situation. my situation is similar to yours - i played and grew into the original street fighter and sf2 at a local pizza place with my brother. like you, being able to consistently throw out fireballs and dragon punches meant you were the local pro. never really played any other sf2 iterations, and never even touched the alpha series at all. i played sf3 a little in college, but nothing too serious either. and now that sf4 is available on home consoles with online capabilities, i’ve never been as serious about street fighter until now. but, i’m married, have a job, and a baby on the way so i can only imagine my time playing sf4 is dwindling.

my first piece of advice is probably something you already know and/or didn’t ask for: remember not to become too obsessed with the game. it’s hard not to. sometimes i get a little obsessed with it too. it’s easy to think, darn it i want to spend more time training to do this, to do that, try out different characters, try out a new combo or strategy i learned, practice online against others, etc. you have a wife, a kid - don’t sacrifice precious time with them for the sake of improving on street fighter. don’t get me wrong, i don’t think there’s anything wrong with spending an hour a weekday and a little more on weekends - i’m just saying, don’t let get on that slippery slope where you think, oh an extra hour here and there won’t hurt…and then that becomes 2 hours everyday. and then 3 hours everyday.

as for improving your skills, there are a few considerations. who is your main? who do you have the most trouble fighting against? do you know the best way your character can control space in different situations? i learn best by reading other people’s thoughts, and this forum is great at that. there are a few great general articles on controlling spaces and footsies somewhere around this forum - i’ll try to find it and post them later. go to each specific character discussion forum, and you’ll see loads of threads all about strategies, both general and opponent-specific. watching youtube videos of the pros are really fun and beneficial too, especially when you try to break down why and how they are able to trap their opponents. don’t worry about the most damaging or flashiest combos for now. combos mean nothing if you’re even not able to put your opponent in a situation where you can execute the combos to begin with.

i would be glad to play with you (not that you can necessarily learn a lot from me, i probably have mediocre skills at best), but it seems like you’re on PSN but i’m on XBOX…

Maj has been writing articles about how to play footsies. They’re really good. They’re on his site, sonichurricane.com and also linked in the general SF4 section(Learn Footsies to make your ground game not suck).

Could probably point you to some other stuff, if I knew what character you played.

Maj’s article: http://www.shoryuken.com/showthread.php?t=221097

Controlling space: http://www.shoryuken.com/showthread.php?t=34761

Thank you for your reply guys. You know, what i’m finding the hardest is aplying all that information to my game. Is it just me or do I need a lot of time for this to translate into a result I can see?

Is like when I’m thinking about what i need to do about my game when I’m off, I think to myself, I need to do this or that, I need to stop doing this or that. But when I’m actually playing I dont apply all of the things I was thinking about.

What should be a good way for me to try and incorporate all that information and knoledge and translate it into execution when I’m playing?

Haha, I can definitely sympathize with this shit. :slight_smile:

I think it’s important to just really pay attention when you’re playing online. It’s so easy to zone out on your couch, play kinda mindlessly, and just react to things as they move. But you’ve gotta make yourself THINK – what does your opponent like to do, and how can you counter and exploit his tendencies? If you don’t know how to counter him, play out your set, then get right into training mode and figure it out.

Make the best of your hour. Come out of your after-work session knowing that you learned something new.

On another note, here is some advice that might help you, and something that I’m only coming to terms with now: you don’t need SRK theory. Does it help? Absolutely it does – there are some hella smart players on this board! But as a learner, the amount of STUFF that’s on SRK can be straight up overwhelming, and imo it can hinder your game more than help it. At the risk of repeating myself, this game consists of a bunch of characters who can each do a bunch of shit. Learn how your characters shit can beat other characters shit through your one-hour sessions of playing and training mode.

This may sound weird, or it may cross the line with being obsessed, but I think it helps to record some of your matches and re watch them. Now they don’t have to be recorded with any fancy equipment, even just a camera on a tripod would do. But I’ve come to learn some of my mistakes by seeing them first hand. It may have not seemed like a mistake when I was playing, but by seeing a replay of your fight it’s a little easier to spot.

It’s not just you. The ground game is probably the hardest aspect to learn when it comes to 2D fighters. It’s no coincidence that it took nearly 20 years for someone to finally put the effort into creating something informative about footsies. You’ll notice that in nearly every clip in Maj’s footsies articles, the outcome only lasts for a split second. And put into perpsective of the match, to the untrained eye it will probably just seem like random pokes, or counter moves on reaction. The reason it’s so hard to explain and actually convince people that the techniques work is because 50% of the technique relies on understanding your opponent’s play style. You can’t really communicate something like that easily. Stuff like “If he does this 20% of the time, and this 60% of the time, he will fall for this move 34% of the time” just won’t work, and it would probably be a lot of crap anyway.

Footsies is one area of the game that simply emerges from certain styles of gameplay at a certain level, and it’s one of those things that is best learned IMO by playing against a lot of different people. You can learn about the techniques out of a book or on a forum for sure, but noone is going to be able to tell you how to time your normals, how many whiffed pokes are enough, what the exact spacing is etc. If you want to learn that, you just have to get a feel for it in gameplay.

Thanks guys for the information. I’ve decided that I’m going to put the little time that I have into learning smartly.

I’m going to use Maj’s article as a foundation on learning footsies. What I’m going to do is take each of Maj’s articles on footsies and use it as a template for practicing, one article a week, starting with the introductory one.

I’ll keep track of my progress by playing with my local friends and see if I can effectively apply what I’ve focused on in that particular week and decide if I need to keep on or move to the next.

Maybe I’ll even keep posting on this thread as a journal of my experience.

After a long night of playing against a friend of mine who was kind enough to give me some pointers I have realized that a couple of things.

First, my footsie game is very very slowly improving. I was able to more consistently apply pressure without jumping.

Second, my game suffers a lot when the other player is a very aggressive one. I need to work more on controlling the pace of the match. Against a more controlled playstyle I do a lot better than with players that “Rush that shit down”. I tend to freeze too much and fall to the trap of poke poke poke, jump in, poke poke poke, jump in.

Also, something I hadn’t realized before. I attempt two many throws!!! He kept punishing me for attempting to throw him in situations where it wasn’t a safe bet. Like right after a jump in, en between his pokes, etc, etc. I need to stop doing that. Damn bad habits are hard to get rid of.

And ambiguous jump ins destroyed me when he used a fast character like ken. I’ll hit training mode and try some and see when to block, when to DP, when to backdash, etc.

I’m going to try today and get more quality matches against some locals.