I bought a fightstick some months ago, and I'm enjoying it a lot, I find it more fun to play fighting games with it, but I feel like I've stopped improving.

I read in several places that it takes months to get used to it and that is true, but for some time now I've stopped improving. I think that I need to start doing some specific training in order to get better because I still play worse compared to how I played with a joystick.

I play mostly SSFIV and as an example, I loved to play with Makoto with the joystick but I can't play with her at all in the fightstick, like, I can't execute the moves fast enough. Also, with Akuma I can perform a lot of combos in training mode, but in the heat of battle I always execute the move wrong, like when I'm blocking and try doing a: c.mp -> QCB lk I'm always holding down back, so the move doesn't come out.

I'm figuring out my mistakes as I watch replays and stuff, but I feel I have become stagnant in my current execution.

Is there some kind of exercises or some daily training which I can do to improve my execution with the stick?

  • 1
    Never heard of a fightstick before and at first I thought it was some sort of motion detection thing where you were physically throwing punches and so forth.
    – Davy8
    Commented Jan 21, 2011 at 15:13

5 Answers 5


When I first made the switch, everyday when I started training I would just go through basic motions. When I say basic I mean, right, left, up, down, up right, up left, etc. Really take the time to feel out going right, going left, etct. Then practice dashes back and forth. Then what I do for special moves (since I've also had execution problems with them, especially supers/ultras), is try to do them 30 times in a row. It's hard! Start slow at first for things like fireballs, then move on to dragon punches, and then supers. It's really hard to get up to 30, but once you start getting into the teens, I think you'll find your execution has greatly improved.

  • 2
    Really good tip. Remember, you want to make the same move/special/combo 30 times IN A ROW. If you fail the 28th try, REPEAT. This is harsh, but very useful.
    – Wilerson
    Commented Jan 20, 2011 at 19:23

Is far better practise a hour a day than play seven hour straight on saturday.

As Sam said: "The x times in a row" is the way to go for execution improvement. Do some special move or combo in the left side aiming for x perfect execution in a row. If you miss one, restart the session from beginning. Do the same for the right side.

Try start with 10 in a row, then start to increase. Focus on your major problem (a combo or special move).

For combos, try to split it in small segments.

Don't give up and try not to have a relapse.

There are some good links:

EventHubs.com: Tips on switching from a pad to a joystick

LvLGrind: 5 Things to know when Learning to use a Fightstick

Learning to use an arcade stick 101

Ultimate Japanese Balltop Joystick Holding Guide

Bonus: Don't give up! To keep trying, look at this: Nica's KO's hands


If your I fire ball player like akuma you should consider getting a 360 or octagonal gate on your stick. I found the square restrictor very difficult for akuma combos, especially the bread and butter. If your using the te addition it's a five dollar part at LizardLick.com and so worth it.

  • Agreed, I find fighters are impossible when using a square gate. I upgraded my fight stick to a octagon gate ASAP
    – Rapida
    Commented Apr 18, 2011 at 8:08

"Also, with Akuma I can perform a lot of combos in training mode, but in the heat of battle I always execute the move wrong, like when I'm blocking and try doing a: c.mp -> QCB lk I'm always holding down back, so the move doesn't come out."

Try practising your combos with the AI turned on? :)

Its all about becoming so familiar and fluid with your combos that you can go through the motions and pull it off at any time. For instance, I'm a big fei long player, and practicing his Renkkukyaku into fierce + Shienkyaku is very easy to do in training mode, but when you are pulling it off in the middle of a fight when you aren't sure if the opponent will block that first hit on the Renkkukyaku takes lots and lots of practice.

  • I hate the AI in training mode, they always do the same cheap crap. I try to practice with a friend as much as possible, but it is still hard to remember to always move the hand forward :( Commented Jan 20, 2011 at 17:35
  • Set the dummy to random block (CPU - > BLOCK - >RANDOM), this will help hit-confirming combos.
    – Wilerson
    Commented Jan 20, 2011 at 19:21

You have to use the correct techniques to get any benefits from it. Because they are the only way to make the execution easier besides muscle memory.

Basically you have to train:

  • Stick motions (quarter circles, dragon punches etc.)
  • Plinking
  • Double Tapping

In the long run you will improve the most from practicing combos in training mode. Learn the specials, get some Bread and Butter (BnB) combos for your character and execute them over and over in training.

Try to include plinking and / or double tapping to make the combos easier.

In the end a fightstick is just another controller for fighting games. A $100 mouse does not make you a good MW3 or Starcraft 2 player, it just lessens the technical difficulties you might encounter. I still like my fightstick better than any normal controller :).

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