If you are a regular Rocket League player, you probably don’t give too much thought to the kick-off. For many players, it’s just a way to get the game started and little more.
You shouldn’t underestimate this humble little aspect of the game, though. It is one of the few certainties of the game: it will happen at least once and the variables are largely the same each time.
Knowing how to take a kick-off properly and even thinking of some kick-off strategies can give your team an early advantage over your opponents and bring you the victory more fluently.
Here are some tips to help you out:
There are three things to focus on during a kick-off:
- How to approach the ball & dictate where it goes
- Where you hit the ball
- How to practice kickoffs
Each of these points are interconnected so it’s important to think them in the context of each other.
We’ll use the diagonal kickoff as an exmaple as it makes the point more clear, but the same principles are the same:
#1 How to approach the ball & dictate where it goes
Let’s say you want to win the kick-off. You’re going to want to hit the ball in a way that gives you the best chance of getting the ball into your opponents’ half.
To achieve this, we’re going to have to think about your approach to the ball, where you want to make contact on the ball, and where you want to hit the ball to.
Hitting the ball directly:
If both players hit the ball from a direct line the ball will pinch to the left or to the right, or sometimes the ball will stay where it is (also known as a ‘dead ball’)
Hitting the ball from a more central position:
If one of the players goes for the ball from a more centre position then the ball will only pinch to the right (therefore a higher chance of winning the kickoff)
#2 Where you hit the ball
You’ll want to approach the ball as centre as you can, to increase your chances of winning that 50/50 and winning the kickoff. If we approach it from a more direct position we’ll end up hitting the ball from the side which decreases our chance of winning the kickoff
You’ll want to use your flip to speed up early enough. If you flip too late you’ll have a hard time hitting the centre of the ball because you won’t have enough when you land.
You need to hit the centre of the ball – so be careful when you decide to flip: if you jump too late you’ll end up hitting the bottom of the ball, if you jump too early you’ll end up hitting the ball too high
Example jumping (flipping) too late hitting the ball too low
Example jumping (flipping) too early, hitting the ball too high
If you approach the ball form the centre as well as hit the ball in the centre then you’ll have the highest chances of winning the kickoff
#3 How to practice kickoffs?
In order to setup your kickoff, one of the best ways to practice this is by going into free play and respawning until you get the diagonal kickoff.
In terms of a routine drill to get warmed up, (especially if you’re thinking of playing 1s!) is the following:
- Spend 5 minutes before you start playing practicing kickoffs
- Focus on your approach and dodge (flip) timing
- Try to get 3 kickoffs in a row that tick all the boxes we’ve talked about
- Maintain using your boost the whole time by flipping diaginally rather than a forward flip
You can watch the video where you can see these exmaples played out as clips on YouTube:
If you’re interested in learning more about kickoffs or other aspects of Rocket League then consider booking a coaching session with me on my profile – or ask me any questions on Discord too – all the information you need is in my profile.
Good luck with your kickoffs!