Being the Smartest Player in Your Game - A Rocket League Guide



Sun 27th Dec 2020 - 6:46pm

Here is one factor that might separate you from the professionals: being incredibly game-smart. But fixing this is not as simple as just knowing where your teammate is, for example. There are many aspects of being smart in Rocket League, but don't worry, we are going to cover them right now.

Positioning and Rotations

Veterans of the game are sick of hearing it, but it is perhaps one of the biggest parts of being a smart player. Rotations. For you newer players, rotations are how you and your teammates position yourself around the field. It should act like a constant cycle. Like this:

So, let's break this down. Player 1, as labelled, has possession of the ball and is pushing forward towards the blue side of the field. So, if you find yourself to be player 1, you should basically be at the forefront of the play, leading your team forward.

Player 2 should be supporting player 1. In an instance where the opponents take the ball away, player 2 should be ready to attack them to try and regain possession. If they are successful in doing so, they become player 1, as they now have possession of the ball.

Finally player 3. This player should be the furthest back. In case the opponents hit the ball far down field towards your side, player 3 should be ready to make some defensive plays whilst players 1 and 2 retreat back to their half. Hopefully that wasn't too complex.

You can think of it this way:

  • Player 1: Offense
  • Player 2: Support
  • Player 3: Defence

Since you have all bases covered, this makes it so much less likely to be out of position, if done correctly of course.

As Rocket League games are so unpredictable, having offense and defense covered at all times is crucial. You never know when the opposing team are going to get a lucky pinch into your net or a breakaway clear that you weren't expecting. Being vigilant at all times is how you become a smart player.

Positioning in Defence

So, you understand rotations. But what if we zoom in on the specific parts of positioning? For example, how should you position as a defender (or player 3, as discussed previously)?

To answer this, let's discuss what you should not be doing.

  1. Drifting in the middle of the net

When retreating back to net, you may be tempted to drive straight at the net and drift so you face forward on the goal line. There is one major issue with using this technique. Sure, it may be fast in terms of recoveries, but it is simply inefficient. Imagine a scenario where you are in the middle of the net, and the opponent shoots in the top left or right of your goal. It is going to be very difficult to save.

Alternatively, then, you should be positioning yourself at either the left or right post of your net. This way, you can cover any spot that the opponents shoot at with much more ease.

    2. Staying on the wall

Don't be a wall-crawler. If the opponents are grounded, you must stay grounded too. If you are wanting to be a very smart player, you should be able to predict where the shot will be. If it looks like a ground shot, stay on the ground. If it looks like an aerial or ceiling shot, you may want to move up onto the backboard to get a better clear. Predicting your opponents' shots comes easer with time.

    3. Being too stationary

You are going to get nowhere if you sit in the net constantly. Unlike real football (the correct term), there is no need for a dedicated defender. This is because if you stay in net, you are interrupting your rotations, and it simply will not work very well.

Awareness of Other Players

Awareness of your fellow teammates and opponents is something a lot of players dismiss, despite it being such a huge part of the game.

As a smart player, other players' positions should always be in the back of your mind. As simple as it sounds, never forget to use the right analogue stick to look around and check where they are at any time. Having this awareness helps to avoid double commits, improve rotations and improve general positioning.

For example, if the ball was bouncing uncontested on the field, you should check if you are the closest to that ball out of you and your two teammates. If the answer is yes, you can go for the ball and hopefully gain possession. But if the answer is no, you should let the closest teammate go for the ball. This way, there are no double commits or broken rotations.

Your Mechanics

So, being smart in this game comes heavily from having good rotations and excellent positioning at all times. But what about the flip-side; mechanics?

You may watch professional players pulling off flip resets, air dribble bumps and the like, and want to try and replicate their moves. However spectacular you become at ceiling shots and air dribbles, though, it does not necessarily mean you are a smart player. That being said, if you can use them at the perfect time in a real game, that does make you a smart player.

So, in a scenario where you have possession of the ball, and your two teammates have left you alone, you may wish to go for an air dribble from the ground, to try and get it over as many opponents as possible. This is to buy time for your team to return back to net.

Alternatively, if you had decided to go for a simple ground shot as the last man in defence, this is much riskier, as you are giving up possession. 

Having multiple mechanics under your belt will aid you greatly in online matches, but only if you use them at necessary times. That is the true way to become a smart player.


When it comes down to it, being a smart player arises from many factors. These are:

  • Your ability to rotate and position well at all times in online games
  • Being aware of where you, your teammates and your opponents are on the field at any given time
  • Having a good range of mechanics to use at appropriate times only, and being able to distinguish between good and bad times to use said mechanics

if you abide by these three areas, you are likely to become smarter and make better decisions in-game. That being said, though, be sure not to take the game too seriously. Always remember to have fun, even if that means breaking a rotation or two in casual games.