Rocket League Backwards and Freestyle Aerial Guide by Bits_n_Bobs
Please note: Playing online will always be better than practicing by yourself, so feel free to ignore some of the practice mode suggestions and play online instead.
After many hours of practice and testing, I feel somewhat confident giving tips to others to set them in the right direction. This post will be broken into three parts:
2.Wall Hits/Sideways Aerials
Before I go further I would like to answer a few quick questions that I am sure will be asked. Feel free to skip this part if you don’t have anything to ask.
Q: Why would I want to learn how to do backwards/freestyle aerials? Isn’t it pretty pointless?
A: No. The biggest thing that you can gain from these is learning how to properly control your vehicle at any angle. This becomes very important in higher level games and is in no way a waste of your time.
Q: Does flipping your car backwards do anything or is it just for show?
A: The top of your car typically gives you much harder hits than the bottom.
Tip #1 Control
The most difficult aspect of attempting backwards aerials is that it causes your controls to seem like they are backwards. When the bottom of you car is faced towards you, pushing your thumbstick left will move your car to the right and right will move you left.
I forced myself to learn these controls was simply by going into Freeplay and started by positioning my car on the wall in front of the bulbs. You should begin by exiting ball cam, jumping off the wall, pulling back and aiming towards the opposite bulbs on the other half of the map.
Repeat this for a while until you begin to get the hang of controlling your car backwards across the map. After you’ve done that, attempt the same thing, but go a little farther out than normal:
Swap sides every once in a while to help gain better control of moving backwards left and right.
Tip #2 Liftoff and Rotation
Now that you have trained yourself to fly backwards off a wall it is time to train yourself to do it off the ground. When starting out simply start your aerials as you normally would with the only difference being that you will have to rotate a second or two later after you lift off.
At first, try to get quite high in the air by double jumping and then attempt to rotate 180 degrees so your car’s bottom is facing you. If you continually fail at the rotation portion, then here is a helpful tip:
Stand in the middle of the stadium, jump, pull back and hover. Now attempt to spin your car by holding your air roll button and pulling directly right or left.
If you are not pulling exactly to the right or left it will cause you to tip. This is because when you hold your air roll pushing on the thumbstick vertically still works as normal, but moving it horizontally just causes your car to roll. Remember this as it will help you in the free-styling portion later on.
Tip #3 Anticipate, anticipate, anticipate
Anticipation is by far one of the most important aspects of aerials and unfortunately is a bit difficult to teach. Anticipation helps you beat the opposition (and sometimes your teammates) to the ball, thus giving you a greater chance at scoring.
To wrap up the backwards aerial portion of this post and help you improve your anticipation I have a few more suggestions.
- Just play the game. Go for the aerials you normally would, but try rotating a second or two after lifting off. Pulse your boost if necessary because nothing feels worse than having the shot, but running out of boost just before you get there.
- Practice. Go into aerial training (any difficulty) and try to hit them all backwards (or at least make contact). If you miss a shot, reset until you score one.
- Take it slow. These things take time and energy to learn. You will (most likely) not learn this overnight. Don’t get ahead of yourself and don’t get discouraged. Learn from your mistakes, watch others, ask for help or tips, save replays and review. You will get it one day.
More references and examples
The thing that help me improve the most when it came to backwards aerials was watching others do what I couldn’t. Below are several examples of backwards aerials that I have made and a few links to various players, clips or montages that I feel will help you improve by watching.
Wall Hits & Sideways Aerials
Tip #1 Understanding the wall
Sideways aerials are equally as important as backwards aerials when it comes to helping you gain full control of your car. Wall hits are key in nailing those sweet off-the-wall shots, clearing the ball or centering the shot for your teammates.
The simplest thing to understand about wall hits is that if you are above the ball after it has reached its apex, you will not hit it. Obviously there are some exceptions, but you will naturally learn those in due time. The problem with wall hits is that sometimes the ball goes too far away from the wall, causing you to miss your hit……….that is unless you can start to learn how to control your car off the wall. See where I’m headed?
Tip #2 Getting off the wall and into the air
When the ball goes up the wall, but is too far out for a simple dodge roll to be effective, you must jump off the wall, propel yourself towards the ball using your boost and possibly, if done quickly enough, use your dodge roll. There are many different ways this can be practiced, but the goal remains the same…Hit the ball.
The best advice I have ever gotten for hitting aerials off the wall was from Sad Junior.
First go into aerial training on rookie difficulty and position yourself on the wall. Next, go into ball cam (or don’t) and jump off the wall while aiming towards the ball like so:
It will take some time to break the habit of not rotating your car straight, but try to give yourself some restraint. This might not seem like it will help, but when you can control yourself from any angle it will help you out tremendously. If you’d prefer a moving shot, then head to the rookie striker practice and hit some of those shots instead.
The last thing to practice is to go into an online match (or Freeplay respectively) and try to boost out to the ball if it rolls outwards off the wall.
Tip #3 Get a good starting angle
When jumping off the wall towards the ball you may notice that you have some difficulty with keeping yourself in the air. Instead of jumping off the wall horizontally, attempt to jump at a ~45 degree angle. The more your car is facing towards the ceiling the higher you will go.
Tip #1 Anticipation
This is by far the most important part of freestyling. I know I’ve touched on this one in the previous sections, but I feel this point must be reiterated again as it is genuinely a necessity to hitting any aerial. Aim ahead, keep an eye out for your teammates and opponents and if you see a shot, go for it! To practice anticipation just play the game. That is all…
Tip #2 Boost first, rotation later
The biggest problem I see with people starting to freestyle is their inability to keep themselves in the air. I know that when I began my first instincts were to jump, boost and immediately start flipping. In order to properly freestyle you need to give yourself a second or two to properly lift off. After you feel that you are high enough in the air stop boosting and begin to give your aerial your own unique style, whether that be purely flips, rotations or a mix of both.
I will talk about my own personal style and what I feel works best in a bit, but for now just practice flailing of the wall in Freeplay and aiming towards the ball. Right now your main goal will be just to hit it.
When you begin to get the hang of freestyling and hitting the off the wall you can continue by doing it on the ground. I suggest going into the rookie striker practice and finding the shot that launches the ball in front of the net (You can do the pro version, but in rookie it will teach you to anticipate and take it slow). Give the ball a second to be shot and when you feel ready, jump, boost and twist.
Seeing where the ball is going and having the foresight to see when it will reach there is the major key in this tip. If you can’t seem to get the hang of this, then feel free to move on to the next step and come back to this one at a later time.
Tip #3 Take it slow. Baby steps.
Not everyone will get freestyle aerials down quickly. For me it took a few days and even now I don’t feel completely confident in my ability to hit one. It takes skill, practice and a bit of luck, so this tip is all about taking it slow. Pace yourself and start out with some simple ground freestyles:
Go back to flipping in Freeplay and find out which flipping technique feels best to you.
The next thing I would suggest if you are still feeling overwhelmed in online matches, is to go into rookie aerial or striker practice and attempt some fun freestyle on the ground and off the wall.
Tip #4 Use practice modes as training
Freestyling can easily be done by yourself with enough practice, but sometimes Freeplay does not give you the sort of shot that you would get in-game. Head into rookie striker practice and look for one specific types of shot (do what you wish with other shots).
The shot you should look for is started on the side of the map pointed towards you. Try to hit the ball high and follow it up with a freestyle hit.
Tip #5 Reorient yourself
Freestyle is not just about aiming ahead, flailing and getting lucky with hitting the ball. There are times where you will have to stop your flipping and concentrate on using the rest of your boost to position yourself to hit the ball. Remember this, “A solid hit looks better than a fancy miss”.
Tip #6 Figuring out what works
A freestyle can be a few rotations or one, but creating various techniques can help you. To start off with a style in mind you need to understand how the ball is going to react. For instance, I myself typical hold down right/left when flipping or rotating in the air.
First, get yourself in the air and head towards the ball while rotating or flipping. Keep in your mind what sort of shot you are going to hit. If it’s a low rolling ball, then a single jump with a reverse flip might help propel you towards it.
Another example of a low scoring freestyle goal is to turn yourself backwards, whether that be from a drift or being backwards ahead of time. Lift yourself in the air with some boost while backwards and dodge roll forward to increase your momentum.
Tip #7 Add that last second flair
I can’t tell you the amount of times that I have hit a standard aerial and regretted not twisting or flipping at least once to add that bit of “style” to the end of the shot. Just look and you can see how a very simple shot can become so much more appealing to look at:
Instead of doing a single jump aerial why not rotate backwards and use your dodge roll to really make your simple shot shine:
To practice these outside of online matches you will once again head back into the practice modes (preferably striker) and attempt freestyle shots, while keeping in mind to add a “small little something” to the end of your shot. Whether that’s a simple rotation or flip, just remember that as long as the shot goes in it will always look nicer whe you add more “flair”.
Tip #8 Use the wall
Jumping off the wall at an upwards angle can save you the boost that it would normally take to get in the air. Begin practicing by once again going into rookie striker or aerial practice and launching yourself off the wall towards the ball. Pull a few flips off in the air before boosting towards the ball to give it that much needed freestyle “elegance”.
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