Improving spacing skills

After watching the matches at Evo this past weekend it became very apparent to me how important spacing is in SFIV. I know I need to improve my spacing and spacing recognition skills, but I’m really not sure what the best way to go about doing this is other than just to play matches and gain experience. I really wonder how the good players at Evo are able to always maintain the correct spacing.

I realize a lot of this specific spacing scenarios are character and match-up specific, but I’d like to improve my spacing recognition skills. What I mean is, how do the pros know that they are actually at the exact right distance? Is it just their vast experience makes this spacing second nature, or are there some sort of visual or timing indicators that are used?

Are there any tips or shortcuts to getting better at spacing? Maybe something specific that can be practiced that will improve your spacing skills?

When an opponent jumps at you with an ambiguous jump-in/cross-up, is there any telling sign that can reveal what side they land on? When I do the same to an opponent, is there anything that would indicate to me that I am or am not jumping at the exact right distance to do a cross-up (or ambiguous cross-up tatsu)? How do I recognize a safe jump to bait a DP?

There seems like there must be a way to practice this that would help me improve more quickly than just being aware of spacing…

Just experience man. Just play your main character and learn the range of its pokes. And then when you think you know max range, try to use it a little further away until you really know max range.

Then when you know your main’s pokes, learn other ppl’s pokes by watching them. If you are blocking their pokes, try to walk away from them and try to stay just outside of max range of them. Repeat until you can recognize their max range too.

Just play a lot and think about what’s happening on the screen.

Another tip would be to learn the exact ranges that your throws leave your opponent. It’s always the same, unless of course they’re in the corner.

That kind of exact and consistent range tends to help a lot with doing many cross-ups/mix-ups. Though often you’ll have to do some minor adjustment, like walking back or forward or waiting a little while.

Training mode.

Spend some time there, learning how far out you can be and still have your pokes connect.

They often have more range than you would expect.

Also, definitely get fluent with the fine art of dashing…this is SOOOO important too.

Yeah that’s a good approach: think about what’s happening on the screen. The point of spacing is so that your spacing/position allows you to be in control of the match.

Your latter questions are learned by experience.

For the former questions, something you can focus on is learning how your best anti-air works. Ryu for example… what’s the max range you can stay at and still be able land to dp? what’s the range where your dp can get stuffed by a jumping attack? The more you experiment, the more you learn what works when using a dp and what doesn’t work. Therefore, you learn the proper spacing for that move/normal. Repeat for every other move/normal your character has.

play the game

play the game plus watching replays of yourself, and come out with answer to why u lost. edit another tip is to not use honda…

Hey hey…no need to bash honda. He’s awesome…I don’t care what anybody says, if you like Honda use him!

As far as spacing, you will learn with experience.

Good spacing comes from understanding the range/startup/recovery of your own moves and your opponents.

Every character has notable pokes and notable moves used at a distance.

As everyone said, just comes with experience.

Thanks for the replies everyone.

I know the basics in that I know how far my normals go and what sweep and throw range is and all that stuff…

I guess I’m noticing that I’m getting caught SRKing into safe jumps and guessing wrong on ambiguous crossups and was just wondering if there were any subtle tips or tricks that people use to keep track of spacing.

Knowing the range of your throws is a great tip. I do that now in that I only go for a cross-up tatsu (Akuma player) after a throw because I know exactly how far I have to walk before I jump from doing it in training mode. I was hoping some of you more experienced players had some subtle ways of gauging distance accurately, but I guess it’s just one of those things that you eventually become better at through being aware of spacing at all times and gaining experience.

It’s from experience and practice.

In the heat of a match, there’s no time for visual indicators to judge your distance. When you’ve played the game enough, you’ll begin to see/feel familiar situations that you’ve encountered many times before. That’s when your intuition kicks in.

Just plain old practice.