Rocket League is a very popular game with a simple concept that will take many hours to master. Most people will hit a wall after playing for about 50-100 hours and not know how to improve or what they could be doing better. Luckily, I have 31 essential Rocket League tips to improve your gameplay and help you reach new heights!
In Rocket League, speed is everything. Most new players stop and wait for the ball. If you do this, you will lose all of your momentum and be slow to react. Instead, try going in a figure 8 pattern while you wait for the ball or if you aren’t sure how a 50/50 will turn out. This way you keep your speed up and will be able to quickly react to whatever the outcome may be.
Rotations are key to ranking up in Rocket League. Well, it is easier to rotate with people you play with all the time, a general rule of thumb is to give your teammates space. Imagine the field is split into 9 even squares. The goal is to not be in the same squares as your teammates. Here is a great video on rotations and how to do them.
Utilize Free Play
Free play is one of the best tools to practice mechanics. There are many different ways to utilize free play, but the best thing to focus on is to just hit the ball as hard as you can, recover, then keep hitting it. You aren’t trying to score here, just getting strong hits, recovering, and keeping control of the ball.
Utilize Training Packs and Workshop Maps
Perhaps the best way to perfect a skill is to utilize user made training packs and workshop maps (if you have steam). You can search training packs by code or name. I recommend doing these a lot, until you master them. Here is a list of my favorite training packs and workshop maps:
- Shots you shouldn’t miss: 42BF-686D-E047-574B
- Shooting Consistency: 4912-A5C9-9A56-555D
- Wall and ground to air dribbles: 9D87-258C-3C05-6FA9
- Defensive backboard reads: 9F09-E4D3-EAB0-69AD
- Dribbling Challenge #2 by French Fries (Steam workshop)
- Lethamyr’s Giant Ring Map by Leth (Steam workshop)
- Speed Jump: Rings 2 by dmc (Steam workshop)
These are just a few training packs and workshop maps to try out. Pick a few and practice them daily. These aren’t supposed to be easy. If you feel it’s getting less challenging, add some air rolls or extra jumps to the mix.
Practice Quick Cuts
A cut is the ability to turn a lot more quickly than a normal turn. You can achieve this by turning and tapping the powerslide button at the same time. Doing this will help you be able to rotate back faster or go for a shot you didn’t think would be available. This is also useful for getting the ball on your car to dribble.
It’s proven that if you are calm and relaxed you will perform better overall. Don’t let chat, whiffs, or losses get you down. If you feel you are getting frustrated or stressed, take some time to do some quick breathing exercises.
There are many different videos or apps for breathing exercises. Find one that you find relaxing and do it whenever you don’t feel focused.
Boost conservation is vital to helping you play better. With boost you can get up to speed quick, get in the air faster, and much more.
Have you noticed the trails that appear behind your tires sometimes? That means you are at full speed. Therefore, any boost you use will be wasted. You will only lose speed if you turn, jump, or go up the wall. Also, if you have no boost, two diagonal rolls will get you to max speed quickly.
Pickup Boost Pads
One big mindset to get out of the habit of is to always think you need 100 boost to do anything. You see it a lot, where someone goes for the boost orb instead of defending or taking a follow up shot. Instead, go for the boost pads that refill 12% of your boost. They are a lot easier to get, you can maintain your rotation, and with 3 pads, you can hit just about anything.
In order to get up in the air quickly, you will need to double jump and boost at the same time. A good habit is to hold the boost button and jump button simultaneously while tilting back the thumbstick. Take some time to practice fast aerials as you will backflip A LOT until you get used to it.
Save Your Second Jump
In situations you don’t need to get in the air super quick or the ball is easy to reach, save your second jump to use as a flip for a more powerful shot. Once one of your tires are off the ground, you have 1.4 seconds to use a flip or jump. This will reset again when all four tires touch something solid, whether it be the ground, the ball, or even another car.
You can even get creative and jump again right after you hit the ball to kind of “stick” to it, making it easier to begin an air dribble. This is pretty advanced though, but they do it pretty often in the RLCS.
Change Your Camera Settings
The camera plays a big part in seeing the field and helping you control the ball. However, the default settings need to be adjusted. Here are some recommend changes you should make immediately if you haven’t done so.
- Field of View: 110
- Distance: 270
- Height: 100
- Angle: -4
- Stiffness: 0.5
- Camera Shake: OFF
Mess around with these until you find the perfect settings for your playstyle.
Remap Key Bindings
The default key bindings are pretty mediocre and should be adjusted to make things easier. Below are my preferences, but you should find bindings you feel comfortable and stick to them. There is no “right way” to bind your buttons. However, it is a lot harder to switch once you get used to one set. Here are my controls (Controls are Xbox/PlayStation):
- Acceleration: RT/R2
- Reverse: B/O
- Steer: L Thumb/L Thumb
- Jump: A/X
- Boost: X/Square
- Powerslide: LT/L2
- Air Steer: L Thumb/L Thumb
- Air Roll: LT/L2
- Ball Cam: Y/Triangle
- Air Roll Right: RB/R1
One important thing to note is that whatever you change your bindings to, it’s very common to keep powerslide and air roll on the same button/trigger.
Defend From the Back Post
The back post is defined as the furthest goal post from the ball. For example, the ball is heading toward your goal from the right side of the field. The left edge of the goal would be the “back post”.
In defensive terms, this is the easiest way to get in a better position for a save. If you are playing near post and they shoot over your head, there is nothing you can do to block it. Whereas, you are on the opposite end of the goal, you have much more time to react and get that save. Try to rotate back so that you always end up at the back post before the other team shoots.
Learn Basic Dribbling
Dribbling is the ability to keep the ball on top of your car and guide it where you want it to go. This can be done on the ground and in the air. I find it easier to turn ball-cam off as you dribble to help keep the camera steady. Obviously, air dribbles are a bit trickier to master, but there are some good training packs that focus on dribbling.
- Air: A467-E390-2000-9A7E
- Ground: Free play (Get the ball on your car and carry as long as you can)
- Steam workshop: Dribbling Challenge #2 by French Fries
Be Aware of Your Surroundings
It’s easy to get tunnel vision and focus only on your car. Try to get in the habit of looking at the edges of the screen often to get a read on where your teammates and opponents are. Soon you will be able to realize if you are the last one back for defense or where to pass to your teammates.
Newer players tend to just focus on the ball and chase it thinking they should be the ones to hit it. If you open up your vision, you will be able to tell who is near you, and whether you should go for it or get setup for a pass.
Trust Your Teammates
This may sound difficult, but you need to put faith in your teammates. If you see they are going for a shot or trying to make a save, don’t try to go for it also. Instead, get into a position for a follow up hit in case they miss.
There are few things worse than double committing on a ball. So just play it safe and don’t get toxic if your teammate misses an easy shot. There will be plenty of chances for another one.
Use Quick Chats
Getting used to using your quick chats can really be helpful for quick communication when playing with random players. I recommend slotting at least “I got it!”, “Take the shot”, “Faking”, “Defending…”, and “Need Boost”. Use these consistently until they are pretty much muscle memory. Memorizing your quick chats is probably the most useful skill to learn.
Demos are Good to an Extent
Many people think that demoing someone is cheap and not a part of the game. That is completely wrong. Demos are a tactical way to take out a strong defense or turn the tide if you can’t get the ball off of your side of the field.
Get in the habit of turning off ball-cam and taking out anyone near you as you rotate. If you just set up a high center and you see someone sitting in their goal waiting for your team to take a shot, take them out!
Just don’t go out of your way to demo someone who is halfway across the field. This messes up rotation and can put you in a bad spot.
Don’t Worry About Free Styling Until Grand Champion
You are watching the RLCS and just saw Squishy make a sick air dribble into half flip with a flip reset to score. You then spend the next few hours learning how to score in style. Well, I hate to burst your bubble, but mastering the basics first is way more important. In fact, free styling isn’t even needed until you get halfway through Grand Champion!
I see it time and time again. The opponent gets a nice hit off the wall, begins spinning their car going for a fancy air dribble….and misses. If you can master the basics of hitting the ball accurately, controlling the ball where you want it, and getting good clears, the freestyling will come.
Don’t Get Toxic
As with any highly competitive game, there is a lot of toxic players and trolls. Don’t be the person that spams “What a Save!” when your teammate misses an easy save. The only thing that will come of that is frustration and that player missing more shots.
Instead, saying “No Problem” or a quick “Sorry” or “My bad…” if you mess up, can help keep things calm. It will also help you perform better to try to make up for that mistake.
Practice Your Kickoffs
Do not underestimate the kickoff. A goal that gets scored 10 seconds later can still be attributed to a bad kickoff. Players may be out of position, or the other team is able to capitalize with a quick follow up to a stagnate ball.
The best way to practice kickoffs is in duel (1v1). Don’t focus on rank. Just focus on getting faster kickoffs and sending the ball where you want it to go. Here is a good video on 3 different kickoffs.
Utilize the Half-Flip
The half flip is the quickest way to turn around or recover from driving in reverse. As you drive backwards, you want to back flip then immediately cancel it by holding up on the thumb stick. This will leave your car upside down facing the opposite direction. Simply finish with an air roll to get your wheels back on the ground.
This sounds easy but will take many hours of practice to master. Driving from post to post in free play, only using half flips, is a good way to practice.
Powerslide When Landing
Momentum is a huge feature in Rocket League. If you just performed an aerial shot or got bumped to outer space, then you might not land in the right direction to keep your momentum. This will cause you to come to a complete halt. Instead, try holding the powerslide button as you land to help keep some of that speed, while you straighten out.
Warmup with Social Matches
No matter what sport you play, there is always a warmup. Do you see soccer players take the field right away and face their opponent? No. They spend about an hour warming up with drills and practice kicks. This applies to Rocket League as well. Take the time to warmup with at least 2 or 3 good social matches before hopping into the ranked queue. It doesn’t hurt to do some drills in your favorite training packs also.
Limit Your Losses
For a competitive person like me, this is a tough one. You always want to end your night on a win, even if you lost the last 3 or 4 games. Don’t do this. Get rid of that mentality. Scrap it.
One of my favorite strategies for playing ranked is to imagine you have 3 lives. Every loss, you lose one life. However, if you get 2 wins in a row, you gain a life. This helps drastically limit your losses and can keep you from turning a bad night into a terrible night.
Master the Walls and Ceiling
Each standard Rocket League map is a giant rectangular cube. This means you can drive on the walls and on the ceiling (before gravity brings you back down). Getting used to driving on the walls to go for a ball, or realizing it is going to hit the ceiling, can greatly increase your reaction time and help setup a tough shot for your opponent to save.
Also, clearing balls from the top of the goal, or backboard, can be very effective.
Get Comfortable in the Air
If you aren’t comfortable going in the air for the ball, focus on this NOW! Getting in the air and being able to hit the ball before it hits the ground is pretty much a requirement to get past gold rank. You don’t need to do any special air rolls or flip resets at this moment, but just getting in the air and getting a decent shot off will be good enough to get you to champ.
A common practice to get used to flying in the air is to go into free play and hover around the ball. Circle it several times without hitting the ground or walls. You can expect to hit the ground a lot your first time. But once you get comfortable add in some air rolls. After that, flip your car in random directions and try to recover while also circling the ball. Doing this for just 10-15 minutes a day will greatly improve your aerial accuracy.
Taking constant breaks will help keep your mind feeling refreshed, calm, and collective. A good strategy I use is to imagine you are playing a best of 5 series. After you get your 3 wins (or 3 losses) you take a 5–10-minute break. Take this time to get a quick snack, use the bathroom, or just focus on something in nature.
If you repeat that cycle 4 times, try to take a longer, 30-minute, break to unwind.
While this may not be the most exciting thing to do, it is probably the most beneficial tip. Save about 3 or 4 replays whenever you play. Then, when you have time, go back and watch each one. Try to focus on the 10 seconds before you get scored on.
What happened? Was the rotation off? Is there a way you could have gotten back faster? Is there a pattern? These questions are what you should be asking yourself. Don’t worry about what your teammates did, you can’t control that. Focus on what YOU can control.
Watch High Level Gameplay
Whether you are watching the RLCS or some professional Rocket League players on Twitch, you will pick up on certain techniques. These guys are the best of the best, and whatever they are doing, you should try to focus on too.
If you spend about 15-20 minutes before playing to watch some high-speed gameplay, your mind will get used to the fast-paced action. When you begin to play, you will notice that (unless you are in the top 1%) everything seems slower, and you will be more responsive.
Remove Distracting Items from Your Car
As cool as it may be to don that shiny new car topper or flashy wheels, it can also distract you from getting the right hit. Toppers and antennae specifically, can trick you into thinking the hitbox of your car is bigger than it actually is. There is a reason you see many experienced players have the basic setup with no toppers and antennae. It is still possible to make a nice-looking car without all these flashy items.
With all these tips, it may seem a bit overwhelming to learn everything at once. Instead, focus on 2 or 3 until you feel you have mastered them. Then come back and pick another 2 or 3. I guarantee you will see your rank improve drastically if you follow these tips.
Be sure to check out my Definitive Rocket League Rank and Distribution Guide for 2021 for everything you need to know about the ranking system and some bonus tips to rank up!