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Unlock Your Potential in Training Mode: Part 1 – The Beginner’s Practice Plan

If you’re learning Street Fighter 6 or any new fighting game for the first time, it’s tempting to just jump in and hit buttons. The more, the better!

But, for most this just leads them down a path of frustration, when they eventually hit a wall and start seeing things happening in-game that they aren’t truly understanding.

What you really need is just a basic practice plan. Something to either warm you up before jumping into games or to truly understand the character you want to play. After all, in order to get good at anything, you have to practice.

Of course this leads us into Practice or Training Mode. Practice Mode is going to be your best friend and the foundation for any goal relative to “git gud!” at the game. Here we can safely hit buttons against a CPU dummy and gather data.

Now, what most tend to do first is figure out what all the special moves are for their character… and maybe what cool combos they can eek out. This isn’t necessarily wrong…but, it’s not optimal for the beginner player to truly unlock their potential.

As a beginner, you have three main goals when entering training mode:

  • Reduce Input Errors (Build Muscle Memory)
  • Identify Your Options (Learn What’s Safe)
  • Learn Basic Combinations (Make Them Automatic)

This entire guide on Practice/Training Mode will be broken up into these main three parts. In Part 1 of this guide, we’re going to focus on the first topic: setting ourselves up with a basic practice plan to reduce input errors and build muscle memory.

The Basic Practice Plan: Part 1 – Reduce Input Errors

Maximizing our game plan means we have to reduce input errors (an input error is basically any time you hit the wrong button or have improper timing).

To accomplish this, we’re going to make it as simple as possible… Start with one move and do it over and over again.

For example, let’s say you’re going into Training Mode and you choose Street Fighter’s staple Shoto, Ryu, as your character of choice.

Once inside Training Mode, if you hit the start menu, you’ll be able to see all his special moves.

Two stick out for our purposes, his Hadoken (Fireball) and Shoryuken (Dragon Punch).

Start with his Hadoken and you can see the inputs needed as rolling his movement, pressing down, to down forward, to forward (otherwise known as a quarter circle forward) then hitting punch.

If you do it correctly, with the proper timing, he should yell “Hadoken!” and fling a fireball across the screen until it eventually hits the clueless CPU dummy.

Obviously, if you didn’t do it correctly, try it again…maybe faster with your quarter circle forward (QCF) or ensuring you’re hitting punch right as you get to the forward part of the motion.

AND, if you did it correctly, do it again. In fact do it 10 more times. My goal when practicing this way is to always do the move 10 times in a row without fail.

This is an excellent way to warm up and ensure you’re building the proper muscle memory to be able to pull this move off in a real match. In fact, high-level players will warm up in much of the same way… it may not be one move at a time, but they’ll often hit practice mode before stepping into a match.

This actually reminds me of a story I heard of one such player, who would grab his fight stick and practice combos and sequences on his controller without it even being plugged into anything. The goal was more to warm up the hands and reinforce the muscle memory he had for his attacks.

Now, once you throw Ryu’s fireball 10 times successfully, go ahead and jump over the CPU dummy, so he turns around and faces you on this new side, and do it again.

This is where things can get daunting for some beginners because now QCF is the other way as forward is always towards the opponent. In a match we have to be prepared to play both sides even if we favor one over the other.

Now the game plan is the same as before… fire off a Hadoken 10 times in a row successfully trying to minimize or eliminate input errors and making it natural to pull off the motion.

Here’s the cool part, this same motion you’re practicing with Ryu practically exists with almost every other character. In fact, this same motion exists across many characters in all other fighting games. And, he even has another move that uses quarter circle back which you’ve been kind of practicing since switching sides. That’s why it’s so crucial to build the muscle memory here.

What to Practice Next?

Once you got his Hadoken down, the next logical special move is his dragon punch. This is one of the more complicated moves for a beginner in the game, but once you build the muscle memory for it, it’s no more challenging than throwing out a fireball.

However, for our basic start, we’re not going to go there. We’re going to work on dashing…yep, just good ol’ dashing.

Obviously if you hit forward your character moves forward, but if you double tap forward they lunge forward quickly…this is their dash. And, you can also double tap back to dash backwards.

For our purpose here, we’re going to practice dashing forward until you push the CPU dummy into the corner of the screen. Then jump over their head, landing on the other side, and dash the other direction pushing them all the way back. Rinse and repeat.

The dash is a simple, but crucial move. Depending on your controller, it could take some figuring out as you build the muscle memory for it. And as simple as the command is, don’t take it for granted as this is something you’re going to want to practice and build up your speed for in terms of performing the move.

Now, Can We Practice the Dragon Punch?

I mean, yes… nothing is holding you back, however, if you’re itching to get into a match, I’d say there’s something more important to practice first.

That’s learning and identifying all of your normal attacks. When you understand what your regular attacks are you’ll learn to identify your options and which of these moves are safe to perform.

Ready now? Continue on to Part 2 of Unlocking Your Potential in Practice Mode: The Buttons You’ll Hit the Most.