Training: How to Study Sets



Wed 7th Feb 2018 - 9:46pm

Somethings that newer players seem to skimp out on are reviewing their recorded sets and studying top players to learn more about the character they play. This form of practice and learning is what helps mid-level players break barriers in their play to achieve higher heights. While you can pick up things from watching top players play, studying sets is more than just watching a set you played or the set of a top player, which I plan to break down and describe today. 

Studying Sets (General) 

While you should look for some different things in reviewing your own sets versus a pro’s, there are some basic aspects that stay consistent. When you begin reviewing a set, you should have some sort of way to take notes handy. I use pen and paper to take notes, but you can do whatever works best for you. While studying a set, you should be pausing, playing, and rewinding quite a bit. This will allow you to analyze specific situations completely and fully, allowing for you to learn the most from these recordings. Write down notes that are specific to the character match-up, general game notes, and more. What you might want to do is go through recording with something in mind you want to learn about, scrub the entire video about that specific thing, and then go back through again with a different focus. 

Studying YOUR Sets 

When approaching recordings of a set you played at a tournament, you should be mainly focusing on finding holes in your gameplay and seeing what type of things you have down. While studying a set, pause when you reach a point where you lose a stock or take a large amount of percent. Rewind back in the video until you find where the other player got the best of you. Copy down what happened, you will need it for later. Look for technical flubs and take note of how many times you flub certain techniques. This should give you a solid idea of what needs refined, allowing you to optimize your practice sessions. While we are looking for holes, we also need to figure out what we are doing well, as a sort of reassurance that practice is paying off but also to realize what setups and techniques work best in specific situations. 

Studying Other Player’s Sets 

While I mentioned sets of top players before as videos to study, I believe it to be important to not look solely at the top of the competition for ways to improve. Something that has stuck with me from my high school basketball days is my coach telling me to watch college sports to look for ways to improve, not professional sports. He told me this because while the players in the professional leagues might be better than the college players, the actions and decisions of college players are easier to digest and learn from, giving you a stronger study source. So, when you are looking to improve, don’t immediately look to the best of the best.

Take a set of a PR or higher ranked player who plays the same character and find them playing the match up you want to learn more about. This is an appropriate time to bring out notes from your sets where you lost a stock or took a large amount of percent. Start the set and watch for a similar sequence to arise and see how this other player dealt with it. Did they fall into the same trap? If they did, just keep watching and find a time where they did something differently that allowed them to beat the opponent in that instance and take note of what they did differently. Look for strings and actions that this other player performed that allowed for them to get the upper hand and note them. is an amazing resource for finding sets of specific match-ups.

Conclusion (Pulling it All Together) 

Armed with these sets of notes, you can now analyze what needs done to improve. Failed tech notes will give you a solid idea of what you need to grind out to strengthen the technical side of play. With the notes from sets of better players, you can now use them to correct the issues found in your own sets. Finally, notes of what the other players do that allow them advantage gives you tips that might not be for patching holes, making for more efficient play overall. 

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