How Different Game Modes Can Help You Improve - Hoops
Sun 1st Jul 2018 - 7:30pm
The skills you will develop while playing Hoops are not unlike those picked up in Dropshot. However, I would argue that the Hoops game mode takes those skills and bumps them up to the next level. In the last article, we looked at how Dropshot helped you work on your wall play, game awareness, and your aerials. This time, we're going to take those skills a little further and really put some good tools in your tool belt. Equip your NBA antennas if you have them. We're playing Hoops!
We're starting with walls again because we have so much to talk about here. The Hoops arena is smaller than the standard maps and have basketball hoops jutting out of the back wall instead of the usual built-in goals. Having the goals horizontal and raised makes dribbling on the ground almost futile. Instead, many players choose to roll the ball up a wall and boom the ball down into the opponents' net. The hoop itself presents an obstacle that makes it difficult to get to those incoming shots as a defender. To really give yourself an advantage, you'll have to start working on your backboard defense. Parking yourself above net gives you a less obstructed view of the player with possession and can make getting the save much easier. Backboard defense has become the meta in the higher tiers of competitive play and Hoops forces you to get into that habit really quickly. Practice sitting above the goal and jumping off for those epic saves and solid clears and your team will surely be grateful. Plus, having that skill in your pocket means you'll be more prepared when you head back to ranked.
The offensive benefits to wall play should be clear after your first few matches. Taking the ball up a wall allows you to actually see the goal you're going for. You can also take the ball around the corners and have an excellent chance of it rolling right in that way as well. Ceiling shots can really come into play in Hoops also. The smaller arena and plentiful boost pads make this game mode a great place to start experimenting with that advanced mechanic. We talked about those types of wall shots last time and this is a solid place to practice all of them, but we said Hoops is going to take those skills further. The smaller arena comes into play again by allowing you to use pretty much every wall as your backboard. I've seen goals get scored by drilling the ball off our own backboard and all the way down the court. Whether it's a cheeky little chip off the actual backboard or a boomer off the side wall, bouncing the ball off of a wall can help you harness your momentum and control the path of the ball without the fear of accidentally clearing it. It also gives you an option when it comes to getting around defenders.
While Dropshot taught us with its high ceilings and its kickoff that aerials are really important, Hoops expands on that by forcing you into the habit of the quick double jump aerial. Not only is it impossible to win the kick off without it, it's also the only way you're going to save any goals if you are sitting in net. You'll learn how timing your jumps differently can affect your height and get you where you need to be. Since aerials are used both offensively and defensively, anything you can do to improve your aerial game will pay dividends for your game overall. Getting up quickly with double jump aerials is the next step in your mastery of the game. If you can get to the ball first, you can control the pace of the game. Outpace the other team and you've set yourself up for an easy win. You will get the most practice with these at kickoffs and sitting in your hoop but once you get comfortable with the mechanic, you can use them anywhere on the pitch.
We talked last time about how important a good rotation is. Hoops is definitely no exception to that, but the smaller arena usually means faster play. I mean to say that there are going to be a lot more turnovers than you would find in a standard game, which means you are going to need to make those rotations happen faster if you want to stand a chance. Don't let that intimidate you though. The faster you're able to rotate, the better you will fare in the long run. If you have ever played with a friend that was a few ranks higher than you, then you may have had a hard time winning challenges or even getting to challenges. The higher you rank up, the faster and more consistent opponents you will playing against. A smaller arena is the perfect place to give your mental game a work out and help you get into the mindset of playing faster. Like we talked about earlier, outpacing the other team is crucial to winning matches and a tight rotation sets you up to do just that.
Hoops is great practice for so many things. It's also a blast every so often when you just want to change things up. If you have baller friends that can't get into Rocket League because they can't get into soccer, give them a Mountain Dew and a controller and hit them with the Hoops! You get to practice and grow the community at the same time! Basically, just play Hoops, keep improving your game, and make friends.
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