Tips For Playing Rocket League

Tips For Playing Rocket League

Rocket League. Oh, Rocket League. Football, with cars. It’s a game people can’t stop playing, but it’s also a game a lot of people suck at. So here are some tips which might help you suck a little less.

They key to getting better at Rocket League (at least until you get real good, and can master walls and flying) is to realise that, yes, even though there are cars, this is still at its heart a game of football. The Beautiful Game. If you know the fundamentals of actual football, you’ll be in a better position to master the fundamentals of Rocket League, because they’re often the same. If you don’t, or want to see how they apply to Rocket League, read on!

Master Both Tutorials

The game includes two tutorials, a basic and advanced. Play them both, then master them both. It’s not much to ask. You’re going to need to be pulling these moves off at breakneck speed and at a split second’s notice, especially the difference between a regular forward flip (for shooting) and a sidewards flip (for “headers” or tackles).

Don’t Ball Rush

I see this almost every game, and every game, it makes me laugh/cry: all six (or whatever) cars all chasing the ball around like angry chickens. This isn’t how you play real football, and it isn’t how you play Rocket League. The pitch is big, so make the most of it! If you see 2-3 other cars contesting the ball, there’s no need for you to get in there and make a further mess of it; instead, drive away into open space and wait. Charge up your boost. The ball is soon going to go flying away from that pack, and if you’ve got full boost and a good angle on it, you’re in prime position to take a shot (or make a clearance!).

Cross The Ball

Know why the game rewards you with points for a “center ball”? Because crossing is an integral part of football, and can also be an integral part of Rocket League. If you’ve got the ball against the wall near the goal, don’t try and turn around or do something fancy. Whack it into the middle off the fence, and hope a teammate is there to put it in. Even if they’re not, the ball will be hanging around the front of the opposition’s goal, and that’s when this game is at its crazy best.

Work As A Team

Teamwork is vital. If you’re playing with friends this is easy, but if you’re playing with strangers, there are still ways you can work together silently. When you “spawn”, generally one player will be further back towards their own goal than the others. That player should volunteer to be the “goalie”, someone who hangs back and can tidy up long shots or make a last-second tackle. Instead of speeding in trying to get the first touch, just reverse a little and get ready. I’ve seen (and scored) goals off the kick-off that wouldn’t have gone in if someone had been goalkeeping.

Don’t Be Afraid To Defend

This is related to above, but there’s no shame in defending! Everyone wants to get the goals and the 100 points and the glory, but games are made up of both attack and defence, and if you play without the latter, you’re going to lose. I’ve found defending to be pretty fun; there’s a cruel joy in depriving people of goals they thought they’d score, and once you get good at clearing the ball (which you get points for) you can quickly turn defence into attack. Try not to be a traditional “goalkeeper”, though; sitting still in the middle of the goals will be almost useless. Instead, wait around your own goals, then as soon as you get a good angle on an approaching shot/ball, race out and get it. If you’re trying to get a touch only a few feet from the goal, you’ve left it too late.

Tips For Playing Rocket League

Watch The Ball, Don’t Chase The Ball

One of the things that makes this such a bonkers game is the size and speed of the ball. The way it floats makes keeping track of the ball (and controlling it) difficult, but it’s never harder than when you’re in close quarters with other cars trying to get a touch. One thing I’ve noticed is that 90% of players are driving around in the ball’s shadow, which is a fruitless pursuit; the smarter thing to do is to pull back (or pause) and see where the ball is actually going to land, then make sure your car is in the right position to get it when it does. Kinda like dogfighting in a plane/space game.

When In Doubt, Hit Another Car

I used to play American Football, and my coach had a very simple rule for new recruits: “If you’re ever lost and don’t know what to do, hit someone. Anyone”. It was sound advice then, and it’s sound advice for this very different type of football. If you suck but are having fun, or just want to vent, or have a spare moment, or the other team has one player in particular who is just whupping you, destroy them. Get enough speed up and hit them cleanly and you can “kill” them, their car exploding and forcing a respawn away from the action. It feels good and you’ll even get some points for doing it.

Use The Second Camera Option

The game gives you a choice of two camera views. One follows your car directly, like a traditional driving game, the other links your car’s view to that of the ball, so that both are always in view. The latter is a little harder to come to grips with, but you really need to master it: you simply can’t play Rocket League well with the default “behind car” view, because you don’t have enough information as to what’s going on with the rest of the game.

Keep Calm In Goalmouth Scrambles

The game is at its most chaotic when the ball is bobbling around a goal but not actually going in. Every attacker wants their goal, every defender wants the ball gone. It’s tempting for every player in the game to get in there, but hold up; defenders can often accidentally put it into their own goal, or attackers knock away a ball that was already going in, all because they get within six feet of the goal and lose their fucking minds. If you don’t have a clear shot or angle on the ball in this situation, get out of there and leave it alone before you make things worse.

Avoid The Walls

I know you can drive up the walls, and sometimes you have to, and sometimes it looks cool, but try not to. Unless you are an A++++ superstar at this game who can flip and fly and stuff (and if you are, you aren’t reading this), driving up walls slows you down, gets you out of the action and screws up the camera, making it hard to orient yourself.

That about does it! Like I said, a lot of these are common to actual football, not just Rocket League, and that’s a big part of why I love this game. It’s also something I find fascinating: everywhere I look are Americans getting really into this game, and the reasons they love it aren’t necessarily for car violence reasons, but football reasons: the agony and the ecstasy of goal-line clearances and last-minute winners, the joy of scoring, the pain of not scoring.

For all the billions FIFA and MLS and US Soccer and TV networks have spent trying to get the game to stick in the US, it’s weird that so many people I know online are only understanding football now, through a game about cars, but whatever, so long as we get there in the end!

If you’ve got any other good tips, leave them below and I’ll add them to the post!


    • It’s almost exactly like soccer, except there’s no referee so there’s no point in crying if you fall over.

      • Pretty much. Except for the fact that you can boost in mid air to literally fly like a rocket towards the ball for an amazing mid-air intercept.

        • I’ve seen amazing mid-air interceptions that were then adjusted (still in mid-air) to strike the ball a second time that managed to score a goal. It’s crazy how good some people have gotten.

          • yeah to be honest, the second i found that you can rocketboost in mid air I thought “man some people are going to be so bullshit good at this I may as well quit now”

  • I sincerely disagree with the wall comment. Double jump from half way up the wall will put you center field and can help you get across much much faster than driving will. It’s hard to hit the shots, but oh so worthwhile.

    • I understand what you are saying, but it’s very easy to cross the entire length of the field in a matter of about 3 seconds without boost. Just forward-flip twice and you have almost crossed the entire length.

  • Must admit after playing the game for about 5 hours, I’ve only ever seen a handful of players hang around under the shadow of the ball. Not that I’m refuting Lukes experience… maybe it has something to do with the server you play on. Oceania and Europe may have the whole soccer thing going on, maybe the US servers haven’t picked up the offence/defence thing as quickly. Eh who knows?

    Edit: Ok, so ive played 4v4 for a while now and I see where the milling around under the shadow of the ball comes from.

    • Yeah this is my thoughts, but again, could just be lucky / unlucky with games. Most games I’ve played there’s always been a decent set up with 1 hanging back for defence, 1 going nuts for the ball and the other 1 (or 2 in 4v4) floating behind the play / in the middle for crosses.

      Either way I still think this game is just incredibly fun with friends. The clan I game with has set up 5 teams in a 3v3 round robin tournament, first games are tonight, cant wait 😀

  • I’ve been getting a lot more goals or at least shots for goal that just just miss, by hanging back about middle between the goals and the centre, the ball will often pop across the centre.

  • Agree with mostly everything but the ball rush, it’s a lot of fun to see everyone crash into the ball and each other at the start, just make sure you have at least one person back to defend if it goes flying at your goal.

  • I try not to ball rush, but the temptation is far too great. Blindly jumping in is probably the best part of the game.

  • I agree with everything but the wall part.
    Learning to be able to hit the ball off of the wall can give you great un-contested shots, or can get the ball away from your goal easily (as no one else goes up the walls usually).

    My advice is use the chat option when playing online (d-pad commands).
    Tell people “Nice Shot!”, “What a Save!”, etc (including the opposing team) and I find people start to play better, and it becomes much more friendly and even more enjoyable, and they usually start saying it back and to others also.

    Also, and I often forget this, but simple double jumping can work wonders. I almost always jumped then flipped, completely forgetting about double jump (sans flip) for extra height.
    I don’t see many people online do it either, so it’s great for getting to the ball first in dog-fights.

    • I’m a fan of scoring goals and posting Rekt personally. Oh god The taunting is so much fun.

  • Don’t sit still. If you stop, someone is liable to blow you up. This goes double for players sitting in goal. Only stop if you have line of sight to all opposing players or if you need to reverse.

    When clearing the ball, try to hit it back down the pitch just off centre. If you hit it straight down the pitch, the opposing player who is defending can charge up for a free shot, and if you hit it to the side it may bounce off the side wall and back in front of your goal.

    To get the ball down the pitch, run it along a side wall and into the opposing corner, and watch the ball bounce and curve into the centre like magic. If you see a team-mate about to do this, hang around midfield and get ready to charge in.

    Hitting a ball is always easier if you have a run-up, both for increased striking speed and being more able to judge the ball’s trajectory before impact.

  • All good points. I’d Only add that timing your hits for a half volley are so so important. The amount of contested balls I’ve hit coz I’ve got the timing on a half volley down…. The only way to beat a good half volley or well timed jump is of course flying. But fort. Not everyone goes there with its risk/reward factor. Also defending is a lot of fun. Just wish it involved more recognition points.

  • Great game, loving it. Watch the best of the best on twitch or YouTube – kronovi, Biggs, m1k3rules. There is a great team work video between kronovi and mikerules.

  • Get your ground game right first. A good air game will beat you to a lot of goals but they will also make errors. Start by sticking to the ground except when striking the ball and focusing on your position. Putting yourself in the right place at the right time is half the game. Once you start noticing people beating you in direct ball challenges because they get air and therefore to the ball first, try to match them and eventually exceed them with air game.

    • Or more succinctly: you are ready to try to meet the ball in the air when you are already confident with meeting it on the ground.

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