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Oct 09, 10 at 9:28am ^Juicebox's guide to becoming a better player
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Eric "Juicebox" Albino is widely recognized in the Super Street Fighter 4 community as among the best Abel players in North America. He has earned himself a professional sponsorship with Borderland Gaming. He is not only a top player, but he also gives back to the community.
One of those community efforts is a series of podcasts he has recorded in which he shares some of his vast knowledge of the game. One of those is "How to Get Better at Street Fighter". Juicebox and Iplaywinner have transcribed the podcast into a series of articles broken down by topic, where it will be added to a new IPW Player's Guide.
Now the first thing you have to do, just like any other goal you might have in real life, is you have to set the goal. It needs to be a simple goal and it also needs to be achievable. An example of a simple goal that you might want to try pursuing is “I’m going to try to win one of my local tournaments”. If you’re not an incredibly confident person, or if you’re just starting out, you might want to say something like “I want to win a casual game with Alex Valle”. Or, “I want to place top eight semi-consistently at my local tournaments”. As you learn about the game and as your skills improve, these goals should seem easier to achieve over time. If they don’t, you’re not improving. Also, if you don’t meet those goals, you’re not improving. It’s important to set goals that are achievable, so that when you do achieve them, you can set a new goal. If you fail to achieve them, you have an understanding of why. As you achieve each goal, you should set new ones, with the idea being that you should be able to set higher and higher goals until you achieve the main competitive goal of your choice, which for me is to win EVO, but for you it may be different.
TECHNICAL KNOWLEDGE AND BASIC TERMS
Improving your skills in any fighting game (It’s not really limited to Street Fighter) is going to require a certain amount of technical knowledge about the game. That being said, I like to break the game down into its pieces; the different aspects of the game that can happen at any moment. If you can increase your knowledge about each of these aspects of the game, eventually you will get to a point where you can recognize every single situation in relation to its scientific definition in the game. Once you learn how to recognize the different aspects of the game, then you can choose particular aspects of the game and focus on them. Focus on them in training mode and in matches, and as you improve in each individual aspect of your game, you will notice that they bleed into each other and that your general skill will increase.
All right class, I’m about to give you a list of terms that you need to know. Bread and butter combos, hit confirming, anti-air, spacing or zoning, footsies, meter management, defensive options, reaction time, matchups, yomi, and adaptation. There is obviously a much larger list of things that you will come to know, but this is the list of items that I believe will most help you improve your game. Each of these items is vital to your improvement as a player, and each of these will be tested in any tournament situation. And now, for each of these items, I’ll let you know how you can focus on them and improve them.
Hey there street fighters. Today’s topic is probably the most complicated one that I’ve tackled so far, and that is how you should go about getting better. That’s right. How to get better at Street Fighter. Listen up. The most important thing you need to realize going into this is that it’s going to take time; lots of time. You need patience. Not only do you need patience in game, but you need the patience to realize that you are not going to get good right away. It’s going to take a little time, but if you remain persistent, if you keep practicing, and if you keep learning (this is the important part, the learning part), then you will eventually improve your game.
BREAD AND BUTTER COMBOS AND HIT CONFIRMING
Bread and butter combos and hit confirming are similar skills in that you will be practicing both at the same time when you go into training mode. However, they are separate. You definitely hit confirm combos that are very difficult and are not your bread and butter combos. As always, the number one thing to consider with these is: practice. PRACTICE. Hold on, let me highlight it more: P-R-A-C-T-I-C-E!! Sorry. I didn’t mean to be so forceful, but you have to practice. Go into training mode, offline, pick our character (I like to pick the dummy as random), and practice your combos.
The "30 Times" Training Method
I like to use the “30 times” method, which you may have heard me talk about, and that is for each combo that you plan on using in a match, including the incredibly situational and character-specific ones, practice them over and over again until you can land them 30 times in a row. If you fail once, start over at zero. This is what you can do to train your muscle memory. It may sound like it’s a bit of a chore, but believe me when I say that once your combos are perfect, first of all some characters get way better, as in Abel and his one-frame links. Second of all, because you are maximizing your damage, it will lead to victories. Know your combos, get them 30 times each, and use them.
Music and Training
The last thing to remember about bread and butter combos and hit confirming is that they should be natural. You should b able to do them without thinking about them. Because of this, listening to music is actually very, very useful in training mode. Get your favorite pair of headphones (o r maybe blast it out the TV, your choice), and listen to some of your favorite music. And actually listen to it. Try to practice your combos while paying as little attention to the game as possible. What this will do, is it will decentralize your brain functions. You’re using a lot of brain power to focus on the music, and the little bit of brain power you’re using in your hands is the muscle memory for your combos. In fact, at that point, the only thing working on your combos is the memorization of the buttons and your hands and fingers. As such, if you listen to music while you are in training mode, it becomes a way of focusing on your manual execution and your timing. Also notice that it displaces these combos from the sound of the game. If you can do the combos without the sound of the game, and even without the visuals of the game, then they are a part of your muscle memory. That’s right, try your combos with your eyes closed. That’s when you know. Oh yeah, and one more thing. PRACTICE!
You’ll have to know what yours are for your character and if they require some sort of specific range or timing. And you’ll also want to know if they change based on the matchup. A good example that I have is Abel vs. E.Honda. For all of Honda’s jumping attacks, I can anti-air them with my crouching medium kick. That is, all except one. If he does his jumping medium punch, at the right angle and at the right timing, it will actually beat my crouching medium kick no matter what I do it at. So for that, I actually have to anti-air with medium punch Falling Sky or the EX version. And that’s pretty much all there is to anti-air. Know what they are, know the range, know the timing, know if they change based on the matchup. Go into training mode and try them out. See if you can find any new situations where you may require a different anti-air than what you’re used to.
SPACING AND FOOTSIES
For each individual matchup, you’ll want to know the range that you want to be at. Generally speaking, this is going to be a range where your normals are effective and, hopefully, your anti-airs are effective as well. Though, in some matchups, you really don’t have a choice. There’s not a lot of training mode things that you can do as far as spacing and footsies. All you can really do is try to conceptualize the myriad of possibilities that can happen at that range you want to be at as well as every range. And you want to try your best to control them. Be confident in your decisions and utilize your tools to avoid knockdowns and to try to apply pressure. That was a very quick and dirty explanation of spacing and footsies. I would highly recommend you read Maj’s “Guide to Footsies” (insert link). That is going to be a major starting point to improving your footsie game, and once you can improve your spacing and your footsies, not only will you get more anti-airs, but your general offense and defense will improve. That is a great, great thing to have under your belt.
This aspect of the game is highly character-specific , as some characters need meter much more than others, but you want to approach this by trying to create a general strategy for your meter use. As always, I’ll give you the Abel example. Abel builds almost a full bar of meter if he combos forward medium kick to hard punch to Change of Direction. He gets lots of meter from his mix-ups because you’re going to end up blocking a lot of jabs and if he lands a command grab he gets a little over half a bar. Therefore if I’m winning, often, on offense, I have Super before I know it. And if I’m not winning on offense, I can use my meter for defensive options. After you’ve developed your general meter management strategy, just as was the case with anti-airs, you’ll want to look at your character-specific matchups, and you’ll want to see if your meter management strategy might change based on the character you are playing against. A good example here would be Abel vs. Ibuki, where with my meter I can successfully EX Roll from 99% of her Kunai “Vortex” attempts. And because of this, it’s not very often that I get to land Super in this match but instead I choose to focus my meter use on FADC combos and with EX Roll to escape her mix-ups.
Last but not least, you’ll want to consider your Super move. You’ll want to wonder if the different strengths do anything different, if it does really good damage and should you throw it on the end of your combo, or do you think you’ll be a sitting duck if you land it because now you won’t have defensive options. From character to character this is going to vary, but your Super is important as far as your meter management, because you’ll need to decide, if you finally get it, if you want to use it.
DISCLAIMER: I did not create this. This is a reference to learn the game of Street Fighter better. All credit goes to Eric Albino. I'm just gonna add on; amazing read for anyone wanting to get better @ the game ;].
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Nov 12, 10 at 6:23pm ^re: Juicebox's guide to becoming a better player
Interesting pieces of advice.
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Nov 15, 10 at 10:06am ^re: Juicebox's guide to becoming a better player
Read mine, it's better.
Remember spring 2004-spring 2005
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