Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Rapid Improvement, Part 1

Recently I've been teaching a friend of mine the basics of the game. I've taught a fair number of people how to play, and I've come to realize that there are no good guides (that I know of) on how to improve, and improve rapidly.

Watching two beginners play street fighter is a lot like watching two beginners play chess. P1 makes a huge, game losing blunder. P2 then fails to capitalize on it, and makes his own game losing blunder. P1 incorrectly capitalizes on that, and makes his own blunder. It's hard not to cringe while watching.

But we've all been there. We've all started as newbies. When I was in college I had a systematic system to teach rank beginners how to play and how to improve. So I'd like to start a series on how to improve in your street fighter play rapidly.

Level 1: The blocking drill

Most rank beginners that I observe lose their games simply by failing to block. A typical losing beginner sequence will be something like the following (vs Ken)

1) Get hit by low roundhouse (should have blocked high)
2) Opponent jumps in with jump roundhouse and hits (should have blocked high)
3) Opponent follows up with a low roundhouse (should have blocked low)

I'll see this 3 hit sequence happen again and again in beginner play. The fundamental problem isn't uncommon at high level play either. I've won many games that I should have lost when my opponent simply failed to block a lethal jump in combo.

In college, I devised a drill that helped new players learn to block correctly. We both pick Ryu. One player has the role of attacker, and the other (the one doing the drill) has the role of defender.

The attacker attacks the defender with the following moves:
* any crouching kick
* any standing kick
* any jumping kick

The defender may only block.

The defender wins the drill if, by the time the timer has reached zero, he has taken no life.

Some tips for the attacker:
Jump roundhouse, low roundhouse
Walk up low roundhouse
Walk up, jump straight up roundhouse (on the way up)
Walk up, jump straight up roundhouse (on the way down)
Jump roundhouse, jump roundhouse again
Jump in whiff, low roundhouse (this one seems especially hard for beginners)
Stand roundhouse
Stand roundhouse, low roundhouse
Stand roundhouse, jump roundhouse

10 or more hits: Basic blocking is a fundamental problem. Keep practicing.
4-6 : You're getting better, but you will still lose your games because of blocking.
1-3 hits: Better. Keep doing this from time to time and strive to reach zero.
0 hits: Very good


another_sf2_n00b said...

> So I'd like to start a series on how to improve in your street fighter play rapidly.

I can't wait for the rest of the series!

Nate said...

I just want to be sure this isn't a typo. I should block high against low roundhouse?

I'll admit that this problem (missing blocks on basic jump-ins) is a serious issue for me, especially against Ken.

PSN Name: Dietlama for anyone who wants to run this drill.