In this article, we’re going to break down how you can communicate like a pro in Rocket League without ever having to talk to your toxic teammates!
My name is Sabi. I am a professional coach for GamersRdy. I have over 10 years of professional coaching experience and a Masters degree in sports psychology.
When we think of communication in Rocket League, we might think of tournament comms, messing around with friends, or Psyonix’s flawless voice chat. Now ask yourself, what do all of these have in common? They are verbal forms of communication which are only available at specific instances and not at all if we are climbing the ranks solo.
In this article, we are going to break things up into two different sections, discussing both verbal and non-verbal communication so you know how to play like a pro in any situation you might find yourself in.
Let’s begin with verbal communication. We will be comparing good and bad comms and give you a few tips and common mistakes to start thinking about in order to avoid making them yourself.
This article is going to be discussing communication from a highly competitive point of view so don’t feel pressured if you are just having fun with your friends. Either way you will likely find value from the information presented in this article.
If you’re looking to learn more about teamwork and comms check out Wayton’s course on Teamwork in Rocket League
So what determines good vs bad communication? Short answer… efficiency.
Rocket League is a game where there is a ton of information to absorb at any given moment. This means that we need to be efficient with how we are conveying information to our team. If you start communicating in full sentences you might run into a few problems such as cluttering the comms, talking over your teammates, or not focusing on what is actually important.
A very common thing you most likely do when you are playing with your friends is to say something along the lines of “Good try”, “Close one”, “Unlucky”, “Thanks”, “Nice Try”… the list goes on and on. And while these are all nice to hear in a game they are far more polite than they are necessary. In that time that you told your teammates “nice try” after a missed shot, you could have been communicating your intention so that your teammates can better react and position accordingly.
These are what we call “filler words or phrases” and they are usually something that you do completely subconsciously and are therefore a bad habit that can be tricky to escape.
The very best thing that you can do if you are looking to improve your comms with a team or duo partner is to record yourselves while you play and listen back to it. Write down everything you guys say that is unnecessary in one column and good call outs in another. You will be amazed how just how much clutter you can remove to clean up your comms!
While you’re already listening to your own comms lets talk about another issue that many players face: lengthy call outs.
There is a very easy exercise that you can immediately start implementing into your games. Think of a time when you tried to call out something specific, maybe along the lines of “I’m rotating back post, oh crap never mind, I just got demoed. You guys don’t have a 3rd anymore” This is a lot of very helpful information but as highlighted previously this does more harm than good because of the time it takes to say it.
So instead take this sentence and try to begin chipping away at it. How can you get the exact same information across while taking away a few words? You could reduce it to something like “going back, demoed, no 3rd” which would be a great step in the right direction but try to go even further.
Are there different words you are not considering that get the point across? Is there a different way to say the same thing?
The call out for this exact situation that I use with my teams is “help” which means I was in a good spot but something unpredictable happened and I can no longer cover that option effectively.
So you can chip away even more and turn that lengthy call out into something more manageable such as “Leaving, Back full, help!” This shows intention, position, and boost amount while also quickly communicating when things didn’t go as planned.
Try this with some of your most common phrases to see how you can make them as short as possible to clean up your comms.
So, up until this point, we have discussed how you can convey information to teammates who are willing to communicate and are actively trying to play to win and give you the best chance at doing so.
But how do we deal with the average player we encounter in solo queue? Since we can’t send out a Discord link to everyone we play with in hopes they join, we need a different way of talking to and listening to our teammates.
You might not realize it, but every little thing you do in game sends a signal to your team and the opponents. Every time you shift momentum. Every time you boost. Every time you jump, flip or dodge, you are displaying intent and communicating with those around you. Non-verbal communication, or body language, plays a critical role in winning games.
Lets give a few examples:
Lets say you are playing solo 3v3 and you get placed with a duo that is in voice chat with each other. Because of this, they just talk amongst themselves and make no effort to include you in their intentions. They already know who is going for kick off and if the other person is following up or not.
One simple trick that you can use to gain some additional information is to look at the tires of your teammates before the kick off. You are not doing anything of note for the first three seconds during a kick off anyways so look to see if your teammates wheels are facing forward, most likely indicating a cheat, or to either side indicating the intent of going for a boost pad.
You can use this to make a more well-informed decision about whether you should yourself cheat or go for boost, since in 3s you want to make sure both are being covered by someone.
Another very prominent body language hint you should be looking out for is a teammate dodging back to your defensive half.
This usually indicates that they are low on boost and that they are working their way back with no intention of going back for the ball. Remember that if they are upside down or in the air there is no way they can quickly turn around which gives you the ability to push forward and pick up the pressure.
Hesitation is one of the things we want to avoid as much as possible, because when we hesitate, it shows. We do a little wiggle dance as we struggle to make the decision to either challenge or wait. In the time that it takes you to make that decision, your teammate could have made the to go. If at that moment, you decide to challenge, you have now caused the double commit due to your indecisiveness, even if it technically was your ball to go for.
To round it off I will give you one last piece of advice when it comes to reading other player’s intentions. If a player is on a defensive rotation but grabs the opponents’ corner boost, this sudden increase in boost will often inspire players to rotate back into the play instead of going back. Therefore, you need to learn to read your teammates body language in order to avoid over committing.
Hopefully by now you will have a better understanding of all the intricacies that go into proper communication in Rocket League. These are only a few of the many examples so try to keep your eye out and see if you can pick up on any other common body language signs.
Until next time, good luck in ranked, and have a wonderful day!