Hook Shots In Rocket League - A Guide For Mechanical Skill
Sun 23rd Jun 2019 - 12:07pm
Dribbles, ceiling shots, air dribbles, flip resets, and double touches are talked about very frequently in the Rocket League community. The reason for this isn't too complicated, as it's just that they are effective and potentially flashy mechanics. Sure, these are all very impressive when done right, but there are still mechanics that are not talked about or acknowledged by all players. One of these mechanics is the hook shot.
For a lot of players, this term may be unheard of. For others, it might be vague or for some, it can be recognisable but not fully explained. The reason this mechanic is not always discussed is because it is not on the level of flashiness that, for example, a ceiling shot flip reset is. However, they are very under-utilised and yet, they are one of the most effective mechanics Rocket League offers.
What Are They Exactly?
A hook shot is where a player has possession over the ball, for starters. They would guide the ball at an angle towards the opponents' net, so that it is rolling at a reasonable pace. The player would then quickly boost towards the side the ball is rolling and hit the ball at that opposing angle towards the net. Since this mechanic is quite difficult to describe in words, below is a clip of me in Free Play training performing a hook shot.
These kinds of shots create a lot of power. As shown here, the momentum that the ball is carrying when rolling to the left gets completely cut off by the momentum of your car hitting into the ball at the opposite side that the ball is rolling. You want to make sure that you are not boosting too much, as this can cause the ball to be hit far too high.
Angle and Speed
The two major factors of a successful hook shot are the angle you hit the ball at and the speed you are hitting the ball at. Alternatively, you need to take into consideration the angle the ball is rolling at in regard to the goal you intend to score in as well as how fast the ball is moving. Remember, if the ball is moving too fast, hook shots will become much more difficult.
In terms of angles, the direction that the front of your car is facing when you hit the ball will determine where the ball will go. As with the clip above, I aimed my car to the far right of the net and this allowed me to get a power shot to the top right corner. If you wanted to aim more centered, ease off the hard angle and go slightly more towards the middle of the ball. Hook shots come along with precision, which is why they are surprisingly difficult to perform.
Speed is the other factor, and you can think of speed as directly correlated to the height of the shot you are taking. The faster you go when hitting the ball, the higher the ball will go. The slower you go, the lower it will go. Bearing this in mind, avoid going too slow or too fast, as you don't want extreme height or a slow, rolling shot.
Passing to Yourself
Something that is also somewhat under-used is the ability to pass to yourself. Passing to a teammate may not always be applicable to the situation you are in, and so you have a choice. You could either:
- Go for a dribble play to maintain possession of the ball
- Stall until a teammate is available for a pass
- Pass to yourself
If that last option is what you wish to do, there are a few ways you can do this. For example, you could:
- Flick the ball high up, so you can follow up on it
- Use the side walls by hitting the ball onto it and attempting a redirect
- Use the backboard of back wall to hit the ball after the rebound.
Hitting the ball onto the wall which the opposing team's goal is a part of is a great way of passing to yourself. This is because the defenders on the other team are likely to think you are taking a shot as opposed to a self-pass, and so they could either pre-jump for a save or position themselves on the chance of you taking a shot. If you perform a hook shot onto the back wall, then you can follow up on this when the defence becomes confused, allowing for a successful shot overall.
Below is a clip of a self-pass from a hook shot, and a follow up leading to a goal. This was done in Free Play training, but you could imagine the defenders in an online match scenario struggling to defend against this type of shot.
Defending Against This Shot
Hook shots, as I mentioned, are very hard to defend against. It is no easy task because it is difficult to identify when a player is going to try one. However, if you find yourself in the net awaiting a shot from an opponent, keep a look out for some pointers that mean the player is going to do a hook shot. These might be:
- Guiding the ball slowly at an angle, with it rolling on the ground instead of on top of their car.
- If the player drives out at a wide angle to get momentum behind a shot.
Unfortunately, there are not too many more identifiable factors than this, but make sure to stay grounded and try not to pre-jump for a save. Pre-jumping means that you jump and boost in the area you think the ball will go. However, this requires extreme accuracy and knowledge of the situation. If you think a hook shot is coming, stay grounded until the ball has been hit and attempt to quickly fly to save it, but only if the shot is on target.
This might sound difficult and that is purely because it is. But this is a huge reason as to why this mechanic is so effective in-game. Due to the power you can get behind this shot, as well as the top-corner shots you can get from it, defending against this shot is extremely tough.
To practice this mechanic, do as I did in the clips above and try them out in Free Play. When you feel comfortable with how the ball physics work, and how the two significant factors of speed and angles work together to accumulate to a perfect hook shot, take your skill into online matches. Let's bring more attention to this sort of mechanic. As air dribbles become easier to read and save, it's about time we use more incredibly unpredictable hook shots.
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