Sophomore Series: Training Mode Guide

A little while back, I got some warm words of encouragement from Gootecks on twitter [@gootecks], and he proposed a question as to how I could make more of these guides for players. I was honest with him and said the biggest block for me is actually finding good ideas to write about. In less than a few seconds he responded with quite a few topics. So you guys can thank him for this one.

The purpose of this guide will be on how to effectively use training mode; one of the biggest overlooked aspects of improving is the genuinely using Training mode to  improve. So below I’ll go over some of the reasons you should use training mode, and even give some examples as to how you can get started right away! So you open up training mode, you fiddle around with your character a few times. Maybe do a few combos until that big yawn hits you. That means it’s time to stop boring yourself, and hit up online or go to a friends and play a couple.


You’re doing it all wrong. Training mode is an AMAZINGLY useful way to learn and improve your fighting game prowess, and all this time you’ve been just glossing over it. Shame on you.  Well today you’re going to learn to maximize your training mode time. First off there are three reasons we do training in fighting games.

  • Training for repetition
  • Training for understanding
  • Training for creation

Training for Repetition

Each of these is different in their own right, but will strengthen an important aspect of your game. Let’s first start with repetition. I wish I could accurately communicate how many posts on forums, twitter, and facebook groups I see complaining about execution, but there is no analogy accurate enough. If you’ve been around the fighting game community for any length of time, you have likely heard it yourself. Think of execution like golf: If you have a bad swing, how do you improve it? You practice the swing. This is the lowest form of training mode application and perhaps the most widely known use for training mode, this is solely for improving execution skill. Regardless of whether you practice a combo or a set-up, the purpose of this training is to build and reinforce muscle memory. The goal of this kind of training should be consistency. If you can consistently perform a combo or a set-up you will develop a kind of internal timing so that at a moments notice in an actual match should also have no problem executing.

My Repetition Regimen:

  • Start by trying to perform a combo or set up on the side you feel most comfortable with [left or right side of the opponent]. Your goal should be to perform the combo or set-up 10 times in a row, without fail. If you make a mistake, restart your count at zero. The goal is 10 times consecutively, accept nothing less.
  • Once completed, switch sides [relative to the opponent] and perform the set-up or combo again 10 times consecutively without fail. Again, if you make a mistake, restart your count at zero.
  • Finally once, you’ve completed the combo or set-up on your non-dominant side, switch sides again and then perform the combo or set-up on alternating sides. To be more clear, once on the right, then once on the left, repeating. You should do this a total of ten times [5 times on the left, 5 times on the right]. Again if you make a mistake, start back from zero.


Training for Understanding

Now we’re going to take the training wheels off a bit and show you some of the other uses of training mode, more specifically we’re going to look at how you can learn more about and understand the characters and the game through the eyes of training mode.

Have you ever had a moment in a match, or been watching a video and you thought to yourself “Wait, what just happened right there?” That is the purpose of training for understanding. This is the utilization of training mode; to gain knowledge or understanding about the game. Personally I see this as a kind of defense-centered training. Why defensive you ask? Well, in a game like Street Fighter, knowledge is a weapon. If you don’t know how to react or what to do in a certain situation, you will quickly find your life bar depleted. For that reason, having a solid understanding of not only your character but the game’s system mechanics as a whole is vitally important. This kind of training can be supplemented however. Luckily, we are in the technological age, combined with the growing popularity of the fighting games genre as a whole, you can find tons of informational videos online about almost anything. Of course, these are helpful, but I whole-heartedly believe you should go into training mode and try these things out for yourself, so you can learn all the intricacies of the situation. Below, you’ll find a very simple situation, that should ease you into this sort of thing.

Situational Analysis:


In Street Fighter V, go to training mode and choose Ryu for Player 1 and Birdie for Player 2. Record the Birdie doing his LK Hanging Chain attack [qcf.HK] to Ryu across the screen. Once you input the attack, hold back until the move finishes and Birdie does a crouching block. Then set the training dummy to play the last sequence.

Your job as Ryu is to stand at about half screen and find a way to beat the hanging chain, whether avoiding the attack as a whole or hitting Birdie before he has time to block.

You should ask yourself  the following questions:

  1. How can I escape this situation?
  2. What is the lowest risk way to beat this situation?
  3. What are Birdie’s options to beat my counter?

The last note I’ll give you here is to try everything. No matter how illogical it sounds or how dumb of an idea you might think it is, still give it a shot. You might discover something new.

Good players use training mode to practice combos. Great players use it as a kind of lab to study different situations that arise in their matches. Do this for all kinds of scenarios and situations you encounter in your matches.


Training for Creation

The first two parts covered training for repetition and also training for understanding. In this final part I’m going to show you training for creation. This would initially be really hard to do on your own, BUT since you’ve made it this far I’ve technically already given you all the tools you’ll need to be successful. So what exactly is training for creation?

Training for creation utilizes your understanding and knowledge of the game to create new, well-researched, and practiced situations to give yourself a competitive advantage in a real match.

Players up to a decent level in fighting games have a habit of looking up videos of top players and just xcopying them to get better. This is good, but the difference between that kind of player and a top level player is that the top-level player researched the situations in their match and created ways to make advantage positions for themselves. The player who copies, only knows the movement, but likely doesn’t fully understand the purpose or work that went into creating that information. This is the true essence of training for creation.

So what exactly is it? Before you learned how to look at a situation in a match and ask questions to break it down. Next I gave you a goal of looking at each situation to create the lowest risk way to escape it [Check back at part 2, it’s italicized]. So in essence you’ve already trained for a specific goal using knowledge and understanding of the game’s mechanics before. “Hell, this should be a cakewalk then.” is what you should be telling yourself now. So at this point all you need to do is change your goal. Before you even go into training mode, have a purpose. What kind of purposes or goals can you have, you ask? Take a look at the following situation:

Again, go into training mode with Ryu for Player 1 and Ken for Player 2. Turn on attack display, and record the training dummy to do an uppercut and hold crouching block until Ken recovers and goes into a block. Set him to play.

Your job now is to block the uppercut and find the most damaging follow-up. How much damage can you do? Some things you should keep in mind:

  • How much damage can you get for 1 meter? 2 meters? a full super gauge?
  • Does using V-Trigger increase the damage?
  • Does the screen position change the amount of damage you do?
  • Is there a set-up that does less damage, but puts you in a better position to mix-up the opponent and potentially get even more damage?

So that is just one example of using knowledge of the game mechanics to create a competitive advantage in a given situation. Once you can find the situation, you need to use training for repetition to perfect the timing. These two things together should allow you to perform it in a real match. But combos are just the tip of the iceberg. You can use training for creation for a myriad of things. Combos, Option-selects, knockdown situations, set-play, etc. Anywho, I say all of this to show you the breadth of things you can do with creation. You just need to go into training mode with a goal, and use what you know, or learn more to achieve it.

For what it’s worth, I feel I should  let you know that sometimes, what you want to achieve just isn’t possible with your character’s tools, or your knowledge alone. For this reason, sharing information with others is a really good idea. Putting a ton of heads on an idea is way more beneficial. You can use facebook groups, rivals, friends, only forums to do so and at the same time, get more involved with the fighting game community.

Well, this is getting a bit long, so I’ll wrap up here. Now you should have all the tools you need to make the most of your training mode time. You know how to train to perfect your timing, to understand the game, and to use that understanding to create a competitive advantage. One last time, you guys can send out a big thank you to Gootecks [@gootecks] on twitter. Here’s to making your own success.

Good players use training mode to practice combos. Great players use it as a lab to study. Top players use it create their path to victory.

One Reply to “Sophomore Series: Training Mode Guide”

  1. “Says Fighting Games are Not Hard… then says don’t play someone you like… play someone easy.
    Look dude, people are better off picking whoever they like even if they are Super Hard to play. and if that character is too hard then its better to find that out as soon as possible so you can give up faster and play something that you actually do enjoy. Because Fighting Games actually are Inherently Difficult, theres no point in sugar coating it, you ‘re just going to piss off alot people if you lie about how hard they actually are.”

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