The Importance of 1v1s in Rocket League



Fri 20th Nov 2020 - 1:35pm

The most dreaded playlist in my entire Rocket League line-up outside of Chaos (4v4) is definitely Solos (1v1), mainly because it is an incredibly unforgiving place to be. As much as your teammates can frustrate you from time to time, having them there to back you up proves to be a luxury after spending some time in some 1s matches. However, it is often referred to as one of the most effective ways in Rocket League to train and improve, and today we are going to look at why that is. Essentially, in my opinion, it comes down to discipline, repetition, kickoffs, and 50s. 


In 1s, it is incredibly easy for one to be punished for going for an overly extravagant goal or even something as simple as over-committing to a challenge. Because of this, 1s forces players inevitably through trial and error to develop the safest ways to approach defending their nets (i.e. shadow defense as shown above), as well as incorporating some bump, demolition, or fake plays in their offense to cut down on their chances of being punished for their mistakes. In other words, the game mode forces you to be conservative in your movement, smart about ensuring you are always able to respond to your opponent, and consequently translates to proper boost management for the same reasons. All of that in turn comes into play in other game modes such as 2s and 3s, cutting down on the possibility of over pursuing a challenge when your teammate isn’t back as well as simply making you more aware of your decision making. All of this is also reinforced by the fact that you don’t have a teammate, therefore, forcing repetition. 

Repetition and Kickoffs: 

Perhaps the biggest factor of 1s that helps players improve is the fact that you spend more time touching the ball than in almost any other game mode. Your mistakes are your own, and in turn, your successes are your own. There is no one else to blame, and no one else to back you up. As a result, you are forced to adapt and change your playstyle through brutal repetition of your mistakes coming to the surface, something that can be covered up by blaming teammates or genuinely having a ball-chasing teammate who is wreaking havoc on the field.

Now, one can say the same for free play or even workshop maps, however your mistakes aren’t as quickly forgotten as resetting the ball and trying again immediately. In 1s, playing against a live opponent helps you gain that crucial experience that can directly translate to your other game modes, as well as help build your mental fortitude to deal with the inevitable losses that will come your way during your career. On that same note, 1s kickoffs, perhaps one of the most frustrating areas of the entire match, exemplify this quality perfectly. 1s can help to adapt the way you approach the ball, improve your recovery afterwards, and ensure you don’t get scored on quite so easily and early. 


The last crucial factor of 1s that helps your gameplay immensely is 50s, which plays a lot into the previous two points as well. There will be an abundance of times that you are forced to contest an opponent, trying to position your car in the proper way and time your contest in such a way that you come out victorious. This breeds a mentality of thinking about what you want the ball to do, something that as simple as it sounds, is often overlooked. You may often find yourself mindlessly clearing a ball as hard as you can to your opponent or thrusting yourself towards an opponent in hopes of stopping a shot or a dribble, thinking little of what comes next. The simple presence of mind to attempt to control that next step’s outcome can and will result in initial frustrations and shortcomings but leads to ultimate success on the pitch. Additionally, the prevalence of 50s does not go away in other game modes, and your ability to conquer these will translate to many more opportunities for your team. 


With all of that said, what it really comes down to is that 1s, while incredibly punishing, forces you to deal with your mistakes head on, and correct them to achieve victory. The sheer volume of interaction is not something that can be replaced or simulated elsewhere unfortunately, and 1s is not for the faint of heart. However, if you are able to conquer the frustration and commit yourself to becoming a quality 1s player, despite the acclimations and differences in team-based game modes, I can assure you that you will find incredible results with your gameplay.