In this article, Ytzi outlines the best way to look back over your replays in order to get the most out of them.
Have you ever watched a sporting event and found yourself criticizing players much better than yourself? It’s a lot easier to spot the mistakes and missed opportunities when you’re not in the middle of it.
Self-analysis is an important tool for any player looking to take that next step. But when you’re focused on playing the game, it’s unlikely you’re free to analyze every decision that you make, nor should you be trying to do so; the time to analyze your play is after the game, not during.
Judge yourself after the game, not during. When you forfeit control and just watch yourself, or anyone for that matter, it becomes a whole lot easier to see what’s right, what’s wrong, and to understand why that’s the case.
Looking back at replay footage can be an excellent way to assess your development as a Rocket League player. Here are my tips when it comes to analysing your replays:
Pay Less Attention to Mechanical Issues
People often dwell on the mechanical issues in their game when the reality is that mechanics are rarely ever what is holding them back.
If you’re reviewing your own play, it should be for the purpose of improving your rotation, decision-making and overall game sense. Mechanics will improve naturally or with specialized training. What’s more important is whether or not you made the right decision.
You can make the right decision and execute it poorly; that doesn’t mean that it was the wrong thing to do and that you should reconsider it the next time. After all, you’re not going to improve if you stick around your comfort zone, and confidence is half the battle.
Be sure to make note of any repeat mechanical mistakes, but don’t go into your analysis expecting to make that your primary focus.
Don’t Pay Attention to Your Teammates’ Mistakes
However many players are on the field, there is only one that you can control: yourself.
It doesn’t benefit you in any way to dwell on the mistakes that your teammates may or may not have made or to place any sort of blame on them. What happens, happens and it’s a waste of your time and energy to focus on anything other than your role in it.
Every mistake your teammate makes is an opportunity for you to learn and to grow. Your teammates will never be perfect, but you can improve the way that you adapt and react. Put all of your energy into yourself and you’ll be rewarded.
Analyze Every Goal that Your Team Concedes
You don’t need to go through your entire replay to find the weakest parts of your game. After hundreds of hours spent coaching and analyzing replays at every level, it’s obvious to me that the primary difference between each individual rank is the type of bad goals that are conceded.
You need to put the ego aside and understand that you played some sort of role in nearly every single goal that your team concedes. Whether it’s minor or major, it’s almost certain that you could have done something better in order to prevent that goal – or the situation leading up to it – from occurring.
Here’s how I would go about analysing:
- Start saving all of your replays from games where your team concede multiple goals. It doesn’t matter if you won or lost. Just that there are goals for you analyze.
- For every 5 replays saved – or whatever number makes sense to you – take a short break from playing and analyze them. It shouldn’t take long.
- Fast forward to each goal that your team concedes and watch through it from your perspective to find what you could have done better. Maybe you have to rewind 5, 10, or even 15 seconds to find out what that mistake was. Maybe you have to look at the play from your teammate’s perspective or an opponent’s perspective. You might even need to resort to the free cam and view the play from above.
- If you can’t figure out where you went wrong, you’re not looking hard enough. Maybe you’re unsure, but that’s okay.
- Write down what you think you did anyway and you can save those uncertain goals to show to someone else and get their take on it.
- When you figure out what the problem is, take note of it and move on to the next goal. Eventually, you’ll find the patterns and understand what it is you need to change.
- Start changing those habits and continue to repeat the process.
This is a compact and effective strategy. It’s short, it’s easy and it might just be the most important thing you can do to up your game.
Ask yourself these simple questions
During the analysis process, these questions can be helpful to structure your time:
- Did your teammate miss an easy save, or make a really avoidable mistake challenging in the backfield? Well, why are they under pressure in the first place without you there to support them? How could you better prevent them from being in that situation to begin with?
- Is your teammate not challenging soon enough in defence? Well, maybe you’re not rotating far side or you’re rotating close to the ball, and they don’t feel comfortable challenging without the assurance that you’ll be back to support them or that you aren’t going to challenge the ball yourself?
- Is your teammate overcommitting for your crosses from the corner and getting beaten over the top? Well, perhaps your passes aren’t high enough and high crosses would make the ball more difficult to clear while also buying you time to put yourself in a supportive role by the time any contact in front of the net would be made?
- Is your teammate rotating right next to the ball and making poor challenges before goals happen? Well, maybe you’re not being patient enough before you challenge the ball?
Narrow Your Focus
It’s going to be an overwhelming and ineffective process if you try to focus on every little thing that you could do better. Instead, narrow it down to just one or two aspects of your game that you feel you need to work on the most.
You should at least have a decent idea as to what your weaknesses are. Narrowing the focus in on a specific skill-set that will better allow you to spot the patterns and bad habits. Take note of those moments and what the issues are and then take that knowledge into your games.
The important part of this is that you recognize the problem scenarios and can immediately recognize when you’re in a similar position during the game. Try out new strategies and find what works. The more you fail, the sooner you’ll find yourself succeeding.
Whenever I analyze a replay for someone else, I make sure to end it with notes of just a handful of areas they should make their primary focus. Do the same for yourself.
Take Advantage of Alternate Perspectives
The replay tool gives you important information that you weren’t privy to in-game.
Every once in a while, watch through a game from your teammate’s perspective; watch from your opponent’s perspective; watch in free cam.
Each time, be sure to focus on yourself. Is your movement predictable and consistent? How could you have made things easier for them?
Also, understand your opponent’s perspective. Is your movement and decision-making predictable for them as well? What could you have done that would have made them uncomfortable?
As great as it can be to simply watch yourself play from your own perspective, it’s not something you haven’t seen before. All of those moments where you ask yourself, “Why wasn’t my teammate there?” or “Why did my teammate cut me off?” or whatever questions you may have, can all be answered by doing just that.
Those moments where you watch your opponent and say, “Wow! That was really stupid,” you can watch and say the same of yourself. Often times it only takes a small realization for an important lesson to click.
Celebrate the Small Victories
You can analyze your mistakes all you want but that won’t stop it from being a gruelling, discouraging process at times. Remember to compliment yourself and take note of the things that work.
As important as it is to recognize the weaknesses in your game, it’s equally as important to recognize your strengths and play to them.
When something works that you don’t often do, add it to your arsenal and try to incorporate it into your game more often. You are where you are for a reason and those strengths got you there. Don’t forget about them.
Look beyond yourself
Let’s be clear about one thing: self-analysis is no substitute for a set of outside and more experienced eyes. It’s good practice to get analysis done by someone more experienced than yourself on a regular basis – perhaps once a month.
Fresh eyes come with a unique perspective and if you’re willing to lower your guard and consider what they are saying, you’ll get a lot out of it.
Even if you ultimately decide that their advice is nonsense, you’ve gained insight into another perspective and opened your mind to the possibility that you were wrong. This is important and can lead you to reconsider the rest of your game.
On top of this, analyzing replays for other people is a really great way to improve yourself. When you watch other people play, you recognize patterns and you start to think about the game in a different way. You discover things about your own game in the process and it simplifies a lot of your decision-making, which is the ultimate goal.
You have the tools at your disposal to be your own coach and improve your game. And when times get tough, there are some great people out there willing to help you along the way.
Good luck on your journey, whatever it may be. Be sure to not get discouraged if things don’t work out. It’s only reasonable to expect that you’ll get a little bit worse before you get better.
Whenever you try to improve any part of your game, you’re going outside of your comfort zone and you’re going to fail. Once it clicks, you’ll be better off for it.