It seems like a lot of what I hear about footsies is often summarized as ‘zoning with normals’, or jockeying for a good position using normals. This is how I heard John Choi define it during that one sitdown with Seth Killian, for example.
But how exactly does one use their normals to either land a hit or get into an advantageous position?
Right now I’m assuming that this comes down mostly to asking yourself: what is he trying to do, and what is he going to try to do, how can I stop him from doing that? If your opponent’s walking you down and controlling space that way, then you can stop him by sticking out a normal and making him hesitant to walk into that space. If your opponent’s walking backwards to whiff punish that attempt thinking that you’re trying to stop him from walking forward, you can just not do anything and take the space or continue to walk him down or maybe even hit his whiff punish attempt. But obviously if you’re not doing anything or walking forward to get into an advantageous position then your susceptible to walking right into your opponent’s foot just like you were doing at the start. I would also think that this comes down to knowing the ‘right’ normal for the situation too- obviously certain normals that are longer and slower might be better to keep your opponent from walking forward or might have a better hitbox for specific situations and spacing and characters, but I don’t really know much about this kind of decision making.
I feel like this understanding is really basic right now and just want somebody to tell me where I’m wrong, how footsies goes further than this, if this even is footsies, etc. I also think this must get a lot more complicated once you start to factor in fireballs and certain character’s specials and fighting game mechanics other than normals and walking, but I just want to hear somebody who knows what they’re talking about talk about this.