After reading over ten chapters on footsies, by now you should have a fairly good idea of what the playing field looks like, where you stand on it, and where to go from here. Well, what if you realize you suck at footies? Worse yet, what if none of this seems appealing to you? My advice would be to keep at it. Developing solid fundamentals requires practice, effort, and time. Don’t bother chasing after shortcuts. You’ll only end up with more holes.
That said, you don’t necessarily have to play footsies if you don’t want to. There are other valid approaches to fighting game success. Of course it’s not as simple as ignoring the matter, because if your opponent knows how to play footsies properly, they’ll draw you into it whether you realize it or not. You’re bound to get demolished whenever you let that happen.
Therefore you must find ways to actively avoid, escape, or otherwise negate your opponent’s ability to hurt you through the offensive methods we’ve reviewed thus far. It’s extremely difficult to manage against seasoned veterans, but then again it’s probably more sensible than trying to beat them at footsies.
The universal solution can be split into two main categories: extreme defense and extreme offense. Both styles are geared toward staying out of mid-range, where skillful footsies are most effective. Additionally, there are countless matchup-specific means of bypassing footsies for various periods to various degrees, but they’re too narrow in scope to discuss here.
Extreme defense involves a lot of blocking, walking backward, and outright running away from the first sign of trouble at every safe opportunity. The goal is to take someone out of their gameplan through sheer frustration. This strategem dumbs down the game enough to level the playing field, thereby reducing the overall effectiveness of ground fundamentals. Simply put, you’re trying to avoid footsies by operating well outside that hazardous mid-range zone.
Extreme offense entails constant reckless attacking, dashing in, crossing up, and maintaining overall consistent pressure. As above, the goal is to rattle someone enough to lure them into equal or greater recklessness, abandoning their gameplan in the process. Obviously this manner of all-or-nothing gambling is highly inconsistent, but on a good day it can lead to lucky wins against even the best players. In other words, you’re trying to negate footsies by crossing over the mid-range boundary and relentlessly sustaining close combat.
Stage position is important as well. It’s critical to keep out of corners at all times when fighting corner pressure specialists like Guile and Sentinel. Against some characters, such as Urien and Gouken, it’s better to stay midscreen in general because their damage potential is far more reasonable away from those combo-empowering walls.
Sometimes it’s simply wiser to run away and build meter, when it would tilt the matchup scales heavily in your favor. For example, ST Dhalsim has direct reactionary counters to everything Ryu can do, but gaining access to his Shinkuu Hadoken super gives Ryu instant comeback potential. It’s also smarter to run away from an opponent who already has meter, rather than face the possibility of single-combo death when you’d need to land three combos to win.
As you can see, there are quite a few situations where it’s easier to avoid playing footsies. Never underestimate the power of blocking, because it’s much safer than trying to be a hero all the time. Calmly do whatever it takes to win tournaments. However in training, i wouldn’t pass up the opportunity to practice footsies against better players, because you’ll probably learn more from an intense loss than a mindless win.