Rocket League - Applied Mechanics #1: Making the Most of Possessions
Sat 9th Jun 2018 - 11:33pm
Possessions are the most important step towards scoring goals. However, if your possessions aren’t efficient, it is far more difficult to score. In this first edition of Applied Mechanics, I want to go over a few of the best ways to make your possessions better. I'll showcase the crucial elements that make a possession effective in each ranked playlist.
General Possession Tips:
No matter how many players you're facing, the most important part of a possession is putting the ball in a better spot than it was. Simply pushing the ball down the field is not enough to score goals. Instead of shooting the ball at the net each time you get possession, try putting it in a spot for your teammate to score. Controlling the ball is essential to doing this, as you can send the ball where you want. This also means that it's not always best to touch the ball immediately. If the other team is about to take possession, it's usually better to get in position to either block their counterattack or let your teammate take it instead for a better angle. With the general tips out of the way, here are some specific tips to make your 1s, 2s, and 3s possessions even better.
Solo games require a whole different level of possession, since you're the only one on your team. It's difficult to put the ball in a spot that you can follow up with, and trying to do so while keeping your net clear is even harder. In order to counteract the openness of 1s, you should control the ball as soon as you get possession. However, because 1s are so open, your opponent can use that same space against you.
When you're pushing, you should be watching your opponent. It's important to be strategic with your pressure, because overcommitting will concede a goal. If they pressure you, you can either continue to control the ball and attempt to get it past them, or you can turn back and get in a more defensive position. To make this decision quickly, decide if the ball is closer to you or them. If you are closer, your best chance is to try and get it past them with a flick, fake, or other creative hit. If they have the advantage you need to make the decision to push and go for a 50/50, or to retreat back to net. If you think you can beat them to the ball or arrive at relatively the same time, go for a 50/50.
Here are some tips from Azure RL to help you win those 50/50s more often.
If you think they will beat you to the ball, you may need to give up possession and go back on defense. If you end up pushing a ball with only a hope of touching it, you will likely get scored on. Instead of hoping for a chance to hit the ball away from them, use that time and boost to get on defense and prevent the goal. It's always better to lose an offensive opportunity than get scored on.
2s are a perfect middle ground between team play and solos. There is more room than 3s to control the ball individually, but also a teammate to pass to in tight situations. It's easier to find your team and set them up in this mode because there are fewer people to follow.
2s have more room to pass, which means there is more room to be intercepted. Because of this, it's a bad idea to backpass. In 3s there is usually a player back to take the pass, but in 2s your teammate is likely pushed up with you. Leaving the ball in the open is the best way to give up possession and get scored on. However, just because you can't backpass doesn't mean you can't make use of passes in general. The open space in 2s means you can pass more directly to players than in 3s. Whether you have the ball or not, being in open space away from your teammate leaves you open for more passes, and ready to push in if an opportunity comes up. 2s, for this reason, require solid rotations for effective possessions.
Whether you're in Solo Standard or with some teammates, the same tips apply. Being aware of your teammates is crucial in 3s, so these tips should help you put the ball in a better spot for them. It's significantly harder to pull off solo plays in this mode, so unless you're a mechanical god, try using your teammates to get around the opponent's defense. Because there are 3 players on the other team, there are more defenders which are able to rotate in and save the ball in tougher situations. Team play is the best way to bypass tough defenses.
In order to utilize your teammates, you'll want to do three things. First, prioritize team plays. Like I said earlier, efficient possessions are all about putting the ball in a better spot for your teammate. This doesn't always have to be a pass. Instead, putting it in front of the net but out of reach of the defenders is an effective way to set up a teammate. If your teammate is pushed up with you, they should be there to take the shot. Be on the lookout for when your teammates do this too, so that they feel confident in passing to you. Just like in twos, you'll want to make sure that there is enough space between you and your teammates to make plays and pass. If you are too clustered, it will be difficult to make those plays.
Second, avoid weak shots. This all comes back to avoiding solo plays. If you're in a bad spot, it's better to set up your teammate than to take a weak shot that will likely just give possession to the other team. Anticipating when you will put in those tough situations will make it easier to get rid of the ball. Doing before the other team can pressure you and take the ball away will mean your teammate will have more time to score or set up another pass.
Third, keep a player back. This person doesn't have to be sitting in the net. In a future Applied Mechanics, I will talk about effective rotations, but if all three players are pushed up then once the other team inevitably gains possession, you will get scored on. Keeping a player back simply means having someone close to midfield, slightly behind the line. This will allow them to go back and save a ball if the other team starts to push, but it will also let them push up if there is a good opportunity to score. Being this third player is necessary for a successful 3s team.
Possession is the most important step towards scoring goals. But just because you have more possessions doesn't mean you had better ones. Making your possessions better will result in more goals and get around a good defense. This generally means putting the ball in a better spot for your teammates or you to follow-up on, and hopefully with the tips I've shared here your possessions will be more effective at scoring. I hope you will be able to apply these tips to your game, and good luck climbing the ranks!
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