What is rotation?
Rotation is where the furthest player forward ‘rotates out’ (retreats behind their teammates) when they’re no longer involved in the play. This allows them to grab boost while their teammates attack the ball from a better angle. Good rotations are the key to team synergy, as each player knows when to attack and when to stay back.
What’s each player’s role in a rotation?
A good player will usually rotate between these three basic roles:
If they don’t have the ball, they should attack it ASAP. Even if they miss the ball, they have two teammates behind them who can defend. If they do have the ball, they can pass, shoot, dribble – anything that helps their team get a goal! After losing the ball, rotate out and grab boost. You should do this immediately, so your teammates can push forward and keep offensive pressure.
This player should position themselves to receive a pass (or attack the rebound if the First Player shoots). If the First Player’s dribbling, the Second Player should ‘shadow’ them. This means driving close enough to the First Player to gather up any 50/50s (but not so close they get in their teammate’s way!). Finally, when the First Player rotates out this player usually replaces them in attack.
This player defends, usually from around the halfway line. They should follow the play from left to right so they’re always behind the ball. If it goes over their teammates’ heads, it’s their job to prevent the counter-attack. This player should always ensure they have plenty of boost, and be ready to push forwards as soon as the team rotates. Note: The lines between each role blur as you gain rank. For example, pro teams love a risky ‘three man attack’, where both the Second and Third Players move up at the same time to offer themselves for a pass. The info above is not set in stone, but it’s a great starting point!
Why should I rotate instead of ball-chasing?
Even if your teammates suck (and believe me, plenty will), it’s important to let them into the rotation. This is because...
You can pick up boost
Without boost, you’re pretty rubbish in attack. You can’t really dribble, or generate much shot power, and good luck flying up for a ball that’s in the air. By rotating out you can go back and grab a 100% boost pill, then return to the action with a full tank of gas.
Your teammates may have a better angle on the ball
Even with full boost, hitting a ball sideways is risky. That’s because a loose hit into the middle is just as likely to set up your opponents as it is your teammates. Rotating out allows your teammates who are further back to attack the ball. As they’re travelling forwards, there’s less risk of the ball popping out into the center and your opponents launching a counter attack.
When should I rotate back?
It’s not always obvious when to rotate back. Here are some common reasons you may need to:
- Your teammate calls a loose ball for themselves.
- Your teammate has a better angle on the ball than you do.
- The ball is behind you.
- The ball is directly above your car.
- You’ve run out of boost.
These don’t always mean you have to rotate. For example, you can harass your opponents and make them rush their clearance even if you’ve run out of boost. Or you can position yourself to receive a pass. But usually any of the above happening means it’s time to head back so your teammates can take over.
Before you go, here’s some extra stuff to take into account:
Avoid ‘ball-side’ rotations
If the ball’s on the left, you should ideally rotate back on the right side of the pitch. Rotating ball-side can confuse your teammates, who can’t be sure whether you’re going for the ball or not. If your teammates then hesitate pushing forward, your opponents can use this extra time to steal the ball.
You don’t always need a boost pill
Boost pills give you 100% boost, but sometimes it’s better just to drive over a few boost pads. You’ll have less boost, but you’ll remain much closer to the play and can keep even more pressure on your opponents.
Steal your opponents’ boost pills whenever possible
Boost-starving your opponents makes it absolutely horrible for them to defend. When rotating back, keep an eye on the boost pills in your opponents’ half. If you can, steal them whenever you rotate out.
Rotations are incredibly important and affect teamplay all the way up to the very highest level. By mastering them, you can take on teams with far more mechanical skill than your own! Next week, we’ll discuss the controversial ‘half rotation’, where the First Player begins to rotate out, then cuts in and becomes the Second Player instead of the Third Player. For now though, good luck with these tips, and thanks for reading!