As much as newer players may wish it away, being proficient in the air is a massive part of playing Rocket League.
If you’re new to aerials, or you’re just looking to improve your flying game, this article is for you!
1. Start predicting
Okay. First tip. Start predicting.
This is huge. A good chunk of the time, you’ll be required to get up in the air and go for an aerial when the ball is actually changing directions.
So the ball flies hard at the ceiling, in front or somewhat in front of your opponents net and you have two options: you can wait until you’re comfortable going for the ball and then go for your aerial. Or you can jump right away, before its even hit the ceiling and give yourself a much better chance at beating your opponent to the ball.
This is true before you’re really mastered basic aerials: you have the easier but less effective option of just waiting till its easier for you to hit. Or you can risk a bit and go for it early when it’s at a spot you’re a bit uncomfortable with.
The better you get at predicting early, the easier the trickier aerials will be later!
2. Power through the ball
Alright, next on our list may seem a little bit bizarre but it really does matter. When you’re going for an aerial, you might think of yourself as “hitting” the ball. It’s true. You are hitting the ball with your car, much like you’re hitting a ball with your foot in soccer, a club in golf or that wooden oar in cricket (idk what they call that thing).
But the key to really generating power and just having the right feel and momentum in sports is to imagine you’re actually swinging whatever object—a bat or a golf club—actually through the ball. This will help you obviously hit the ball harder but it will also help with your overall form and position.
Sometimes you’ll want to go for a softer hit but this still applies: you’ll set yourself up for that hit with your flying trajectory and then on some level really try to power through the ball.
In golf, there’s a problem that lots of players have, especially with putting, called deceleration. Basically, you take this big nice backstroke, and then because you’re trying to hit it nice and gentle (tap tap scene), you slow down your forward stroke. Your back stroke is longer and faster than your front stroke and this just doesn’t work.
The same is true in Rocket League. You want to be moving through the ball with speed, not backing off.
3. Start turning aerials into double touches
Next, we have a somewhat advanced tip. Start to think about how you can turn specific aerials into double touches.
This is something I’ve been doing quite a bit lately and obviously its going to be tough if you’ve never really practiced double touches. But oftentimes, the best way to beat a single defender on aerials is to just turn that aerial into a little double touch.
Obviously, turning it into a pass is also a great option. But you’ll know, when the time comes, to just bang the ball off the backboard and go for the double touch.
It’s best to practice this in any aerial training pack as most aerials can be turned into backboard shots.
4. Master the air roll
Air rolling can give you an extra level of precision when placing aerial shots, as well as setting up double touches and passes.
If you haven’t begun to experiment with air rolling on your aerials, it’s probably time. It’s hard to explain which types of air rolls are best for which shots because it really isn’t a science. It’s one of those things you’ll start to do automatically as you begin to master control of your car in the air.
They key to mastering air roll really is to master control. And the way to do that, is to start by learning how to fly upside down.
This is easier said than done: your controls will be backwards and it will take quite a bit of time and practice. But once you do, you will start to master flying sideways and freestyling.
5. Learn the two-step aerial
The last thing, and arguably the most important thing, is something I’ve been doing that I like to call the Two-Step Aerial.
So I’m beginning to think of my aerials as really two stages: the setup stage and the execution stage. And this really helps when you’re trying to add that little bit of precision to your shots.
When you first learn how to hit aerials, you sort of just boost and fly, without really letting go of the boost. You make adjustments while flying, sort of like a rocket at the ball. And often I do that as well, especially when I’m trying to beat someone to the ball.
But when I have a shot where nobody else is really going to challenge me and I want to hit a solid top corner shot, I boost myself to the basic area I want to be at in the air, let off the boost a bit, then boost again into the exact spot I need to be to place that shot where I want it.
So you boost up to the right position, come off the boost a bit, then readjust your car and boost into and through the ball. This really does work well for me when I’m wanting to have an extra level of precision on my shot.
I hope you find these tips helpful as you work to improve your aerial skills!