Rocket League: Kick-off strategy guide

Rocket League Kick-Off Strategy Guide

One of the most misunderstood and frustrating plays in Rocket League is the kick-off. This is due to the possibility of conceding immediate and consecutive goals, especially in solo duels. In this Rocket League guide, we’ll be looking at how you can improve your standard kick-off approach and strategies.

Understanding kick-offs

The kick-off is essentially a balanced 50-50 challenge between two players. While you may think kick-offs are pure luck, every kick-off happens for a reason.

Up close, the ball is actually bouncing multiple times between the two cars. After so many bounces between the two cars, the ball eventually finds an exit path (a path of least resistance) and spills out into that direction.

It’s important that you develop your kick-off strategy if you want to play in the champion rank or higher. If you’re looking to reach champion, check out our Rocket League Guide to Champion.

First, let’s look at kick-off positions. There are five kick-off spawn positions in Rocket League: the center-back, the two off-center, and the two far sides (diagonal). Each team will always spawn in the same formation on the opposite side of the pitch.

Read More:  The RE-45 Autopistol | Apex Legends Gun Guides

Basic kick-off approach

If you’re new to Rocket League, your kick-off probably consists of driving forward, boosting as much as you can, and slamming into the ball as hard as you can. The key to a successful kick-off isn’t just speed, however. Your approach angle and impact method matters just as much.

To improve your kick-off, these are some adjustments to make in your approach.

  • Add in two front flips — The first flip is during your approach to propel yourself faster. The second is to make contact with the ball, which adds extra power into your challenge. You should jump at the ball and aim to flip into the center of the ball.

Rocket League Kick-off Guide Flip

  • Conserve your boost — Ideally, you want to complete your kick-off with roughly 10-15 boost remaining. This is to help regain your momentum after the challenge. Don’t boost while your car is upside down during the first front flip. If you do, you will be boosting yourself away from the ball and slowing down your approach.

Rocket League Kick-off Strategy Guide Boost

  • Remain goal-side — Hit the ball center mass, relative to your own goal, even from the off-center or far side (diagonal) positions. This blocks the ball from going straight towards your own goal. Secondly, it improves the chances that you’ll push the ball past your opponent if their kick-off isn’t as disciplined as your own.

 

In the clip above, you can see how the orange player’s goal-side angle prevented the ball from entering the orange side.

Apply these three points to your kick-off to make them look something like these.

Center-back

  1. Boost directly forward and collect the first boost pad.
  2. Stop boosting to front flip towards the ball.
  3. Land straight and then boost to the ball.

Off-Center

  1. Boost directly forward.
  2. Stop boosting and front flip towards the ball when you’re level with the near boost pad.
  3. Land straight, boost to the ball.
  4. Collect the boost pad just before the ball.

Far Side / Diagonal

  1. Boost directly forward and collect the first boost pad.
  2. Stop boosting to front flip.
  3. Land straight and boost while turning your car into the ball.

Advanced Kick-off Approach

Once you’re more mechanically capable in Rocket League, you can further streamline your approach to the ball with these adjustments.

  • Corkscrew and diagonal flip — The corkscrew flip is achieved by pointing your analog stick at a 10 o’clock position or slightly lower. This is between a side flip and a diagonal flip. Side-flips and diagonal flips can be used on the advanced kick-off approaches to have a similar effect. However, the corkscrew flip makes your boosting more effective by shooting it behind you, rather than diagonally to the side.
  • Power-slide — A slight powerslide to the opposite side of your intended flip can be used to compensate for the trajectory.

Center-back

  1. Boost directly forward and collect the first boost pad.
  2. Slightly power-slide turn your car to the left or right.
  3. Corkscrew flip in the opposite direction, towards the ball.
  4. Feather your boost during the flip to adjust your trajectory.

Off-Center

  1. Boost and turn towards the near boost pad.
  2. As you collect the boost pad, corkscrew flip towards the ball.
  3. Feather your boost during the flip.

Team Scenarios

You won’t always be the player who will be challenging the kick-off. In these situations, you should have a good idea of what role you’re going to play.

Decisions

If you spawn in the mirror position of your team-mate, you should make your kick-off intentions clear immediately. Use quick-chat commands such as “I Got It” or “Defending…” to confirm your plans and avoid double commits.

Next, you need to decide which supporting kick-off role you’re going to use to contribute to the play.

Roles

If you’re not going for the kick-off, there are many supportive roles which you can play to contribute to the team play.

Cheating

Cheating means to slowly follow behind the kick-off. The cheater will attempt to salvage possession of the ball after the initial challenge. They can choose to start a passing play or take a direct shot.

 

Peeling

Peeling means to immediately turn to grab a full boost pad.

From the center or off-center positions, turn and boost towards the nearest corner full boost pad. From the far-side position, drive backwards, half-flip and then boost yourself towards the boost pad.

 

If you can’t half-flip, this mechanic is covered in our Rocket League Guide to Diamond.

It’s very risky to peel in 2v2, as your own goal will be unguarded for a few seconds. Also, resist peeling if you can see that another teammate is already preparing to do so (tip: check their wheels).

Goaltending

Goaltending means to not leave your goal area until the kick-off is safely over. It ensures that at least one player is ready for the worst. Most teams adopt this when they’re near to winning the match and just need to play safely for the final moments.

More kick-offs

Below are some more advanced kick-off techniques you can also learn for teamplay scenarios.

Fast kick-off

A fast kick-off is mostly recognized from professinoal Rocket League players such as Joni “Jhzer” Humaloja. It’s useful for reaching the ball as fast as possible on the far side spawn positions.

  1. Immediately boost forward.
  2. Collect the first boost pad and oversteer the ball.
  3. Corkscrew flip late towards the ball so that the rotation ends making contact with the ball.
  4. Aim your contact with the ball to be with the car’s corner nearest to the ball.

This can be useful when you’ve noticed your opponent is on the same side of the kick-off (like above) or has been slow in their previous kick-offs. This strategy works well with a cheater taking possession of the ball after the challenge.

Fake kick-off

A fake kick-off means to fake the challenge for the ball. This is done by approaching the ball and turning away from the challenge at the last moment.

If this is done convincingly, your opponent will hit the ball directly into your half. A teammate who’s goaltending can then take possession or start a passing play.

 

Controlled kick-off

A controlled kick-off is done best when two players can communicate their kick-off intentions. It involves making deliberate off-center contact with the ball, with still enough coverage to block the goal-side angle too. It’s done to purposely guide the ball’s exit path to a preferred side of the pitch.

 

In this clip, the defender communicated that they were peeling to the right. The challenger then purposely made contact to the left of the ball’s center. As the left side of the ball was being blocked, the ball pushed out to the right. The supporting player was then able to take possession of the ball after collecting the full boost pad.

Adapting to your opponent

If you’re consistent with your kick-off approach, you can further improve your strategy by watching your opponent’s kick-off. If you notice that your opponent will not be hitting the ball goal-side (in the center), adjust your kick-off angle to guide the ball’s exit path to your advantage. You can also use hooking and pushing to accomplish this.

Hook and Push

These are two different ways to hit the ball on kick-off instead of a front flip. The hook and push method uses side-flips to make contact and push the ball in your desired direction. Johnnyboi_i explains this technique in depth in his 1 Simple Trick to Win More Kickoffs in Rocket League video guide.

Practice

You don’t need to wait for ranked games to be able to practice any of the kick-off approaches. By jumping into free play training, you can respawn yourself between the five starting positions and take as long as you need to perfect your kick-off.

Final Tips

Here are some final tips to help your kick-off strategy.

  • Remember your opponent’s previous or favored strategy. Adjust yours to counter it next time around if necessary.
  • Don’t attempt the same strategy against someone who’s constantly winning kick-offs. Mix up your strategy until you win the possession.
  • Maintain a winning strategy until your opponent successfully counters it, unless you’re trying to keep your opponent guessing.

Read More!