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Going for the Fifty-Fifty - A Rocket League Guide for Improvement

Wolfii

Wolfii

Sat 6th Oct 2018 - 2:01pm

Fifty-fifties in Rocket League prove to be a difficult topic to explain. To briefly brush up on this aspect to the game, a fifty-fifty is where a player from one team and a player from another team go to hit the ball at the same time.

The name 'fifty-fifty' arises from the 'fifty-fifty chance' of the ball going in favour of either one player or another player. By calling it a 'chance', then, this might suggest that fifty-fifties boil down to simple luck. But this is really not the case at all.

How Fifty-fifties Work

In a scenario where two players are going head-to-head towards the ball, there are a few factors of which can determine the outcome of the face-off. These factors include:

  • The angle that each player has on the ball, whether this is facing directly at the ball or coming from the left or right and so on.
  • Who is going to reach the ball first, as a result of which player is closer to the ball or which is going faster towards the ball.
  • How each player is approaching the ball. For example, one player could be jumping or flying towards the ball where the other is remaining grounded.

All of these factors can contribute towards the complexity of a fifty-fifty, and this can be why this aspect of the game can be so confusing. So let's go over them.

The Angle on the Ball

The angle of which two players are approaching the ball can help in the fifty-fifty process. 

If the two players going for the ball are at different angles, the fifty-fifty will be more likely to go in favour of one individual. Opposingly, if the players are heading towards the ball at equal angles to one another, such as straight forward, the ball may be likely to come to a stand-still and remain stationary.

Below is a clip of a three versus three match. I am approaching two defenders with full possession over the ball. After faking one defender, I aim for a fifty-fifty goal with the last. 

There are two factors, really, that contributed towards the success of this goal. One was the fact that I had jumped whereas the defender had remained grounded, and the other was the angle we both had on the ball. As opposed to hitting the ball straight forward, the defender approached the left side of the ball and flipped right into it. The problem here is that I was already on the right-hand side of the ball from my perspective.

If there is nobody on the direct opposite of the ball to you in a fifty-fifty situation, you are much more likely to be favoured in the shot direction. Here, I noticed the defender was not completely opposite to me, and so could shoot the ball to the left despite his attempt to hit the ball away. If they were directly opposite to me, however, and had hit the ball, the shot would have been either put to a stand-still or pinched in a random direction.

How You Approach the Ball

Flying, jumping, being upside down, or coming off the ceiling; there's endless ways to approach a ball, really. However, there are ways that will benefit you when you wish to go for a fifty-fifty with another player.

Ways to approach the ball that will probably not help you in a fifty-fifty include:

  • Falling from the ceiling or the wall.
  • Staying grounded when another player is pre-jumping. This is shown in the clip previously.
  • Flying when the opposing player is dribbling the ball. 

On the other hand, ways that will actually benefit you include:

  • Small jumps to make sure the ball does not go over or under you.
  • Staying grounded and just flipping into the ball if the opposing player is doing the same.

Here is a clip of a one versus one match. This game mode tends to have a higher frequency of fifty-fifties. This is due to there only being two players, meaning fighting for possession of the ball is at a high. Here, the defender jumps rather high off the wall and boosts downwards to try and beat me in a fifty-fifty to gain possession. 

To counter this, I had performed a small jump. This meant that the defender had no choice but to hit the ball directly downwards and into my flip. This caused the ball to roll on the floor into the blue goal. If I had remained grounded or had flew too high, the fifty-fifty would have gone in his favour.

Knowing how to approach the ball is just as important as knowing how your enemy is approaching it. If you know how to counter said approach, you are more likely to beat them in these sticky situations.

Kick-Offs

Unfortunately, one of the most frustrating parts of Rocket League is being prone to kick-off goals. Yet, as easy it is to accuse these goals of 'luck', they are simply fifty-fifties that require just as much thought as any other fifty-fifty might. Remaining grounded on a kickoff or flying too high will likely lead to a kick-off goal being scored on you.

The point, here, is that kick-off goals should be thought of as any other fifty-fifty instead of simple luck.

So Are Fifty-Fifties Really Lucky?

The answer is no. As we have discussed, fifty-fifties require genuine thought about not only how you are heading into one, but how an opposing player is too. These factors mentioned are the main features of a fifty-fifty, but there are truly many more that you will come to notice in play.

One way I can recommend that you practice these is through private matches against a friend. On kick-off, try different ways of approaching or hit the ball from a different angle. Also try slightly delaying your hit or perhaps even air roll slightly to see how this has an effect. So on that note, I encourage you to experiment and to not blame Psyonix or the game for how 'lucky' these shots might seem.

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