Using the Backboard Effectively
Tue 3rd Apr 2018 - 9:30pm
At all levels of competitive play, the backboard is used to try and find a way round a defence. Though backboard plays have become less popular due to increased backboard defence, there are still plenty of opportunities to exploit this area, especially at low ranks, and if you master the basics, you should be well on your way to your next rank up.
The Basics (For Bronze, Silver and Gold)
These are the bare bones of using the backboard:
Hit the ball to above the goal without jumping, then fly up to then hit the ball with your wheels or the nose of the car as shown in the video above. This is a very simple, effective technique that once consistent, will lead you to scoring goals on well-defended nets. This is because you are putting the ball in a place where it is very difficult for the defenders to reach when they are inside their goal.
- Try to aerial very soon after your first touch, this will give you time to adjust your flight to meet the ball.
- Also, try not to get too close to the wall when taking the second touch, as this makes it much more difficult to get the shot on target.
Times where it is effective:
- When the goal is well defended to a shot
- When you have a teammate to back you up
Times where it is ineffective:
- When your teammates have overcommit and there will be no one back to defend the counter attack
- When your opponents have a man defending the backboard
- When the goal is undefended (obviously)
Putting the ball on the backboard also can work as a very dangerous pass for a teammate as defenders are likely to be disorientated when the ball goes over their heads while you or your teammate have vision of the ball throughout, meaning that you are far more likely to beat your opponents to the ball.
This will take practice to make consistent and so be sure that you are confident in your ability before trying this in your ranked matches as it is a high-risk high-reward play, which will leave you out of position if you are unsuccessful.
However, simply hitting the ball at above the goal is still a good idea, as it is likely to force an attempted save out of the goalkeeper which if missed will leave an open net. This is called forcing a mistake and is an idea that I will cover in an article soon.
Advanced Techniques (For Platinum and above)
At the higher ranks, the previous technique will no longer be viable in most scenarios due to its lack of speed meaning that it is easily intercepted. So you’re going to have to get more creative, but we are still using the same principle. Here are 3 more challenging plays that use the backboard that should be your default when given the time and space:
1. Ground aerial to backboard
Here you should jump as you are hitting the ball, (this will often be able to take an oncoming defender out of the play) and aerial after it to tap it down after it has hit the backboard. This is a more advanced version of previous technique and should be the next step in developing your aerial ability. For me, it was easier to make consistent than air dribbles and is great to try when you have boost and the ball is bouncing. If you are comfortable enough, try to use air roll to hit the ball with the back of your car as it gives more consistent power when hitting the ball down.
2. High shot to backboard
This is very similar to the last one, the first touch is critical as you have to recover in the air and fly after the ball. Try and take the first touch with the nose of your car and boost as you take the touch to ensure you maintain altitude, then adjust during your flight to hit the second touch down into the goal.
3. Air dribble to backboard
This is a situation which is very common when air dribbling as often you will have to take the ball over more than one defender (like in the clip above from Bluey's montage) which usually means that the ball is travelling off target above the goal. If you know you are about to be challenged, lift the ball above the oncoming defender and boost backwards to decrease your momentum, then tap the ball down. Your main challenge will be getting the final touch under the crossbar so make sure to try and slow yourself down as much as possible.
4. Wall dodge hit to backboard
Here you are going to want to hit the ball after it bounces on the wall, or when it has popped off the way if you are dribbling, by side-flipping into it and then trying to line yourself up for the rebound. This play is great for interceptions and passes from your teammates but is very difficult to pull off more than once so consider going for a wall shot or a pass to a teammate if you are less confident.
The main advantage of aiming for backboard plays is that it increases your margin of error when shooting. Let's suppose that you're taking a shot, by aiming above the goal you increase the number of possible outcomes from the situation that are positive as even if you miss the second touch you have still put the ball in a dangerous place (provided you have a teammate there). In fact, most of the plays that now use the backboard at pro level are passes for teammates like this one from Squishy:
There are also so many other benefits to your overall game by practising these:
- Improve your aerial control
- Improve the placement of your standard shots
- Give you more of an understanding of the way the ball interacts with different parts of your car
- Make your passes more accurate and weighted better
So here are some helpful training packs to practise on and soon you'll be hitting crazy double taps in your own games!
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