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Rocket League
Rocket League

Rocket League guide: Covering the backboard

You know what the worst thing is about Rocket League? No, it’s not the occasional server lag. Or the fact I once felt the need to purchase the Proteus DLC. Nope, the worst thing about Rocket League is, in fact, conceding goals. That DLC was pretty poor though.

Rocket League Proteus art

So tip number one is that conceding goals is bad. The rest of this guide - and for the next few weeks after this - is how to defend like the pros and make sure you concede as rarely as you possibly can. Our first lesson is to defend the backboard. Learn this one simple trick and you’ll be keeping clean sheets faster than you can say “the Proteus is a weird little car with creepy pincery arm things and I can’t believe Cole wasted his money on purchasing it”!


Why should I defend the backboard?

Great players use the backboard to devastating effect, purposely shooting high and then following through to score against the hapless goalkeeper from a horrible angle. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2j4jiqCvdK4 Covering the backboard stops this filth in its tracks. Your car is already sat there, waiting, as your opponent lines up his hit. This means they’ll either change their mind and take a weak shot that can easily be saved, or you’ll be on hand to bat the ball away if they do still choose to shoot above the goal. Keep an eye on Fireburner covering the backboard in the timestamped clip below, meaning his teammates - who are both in net - aren’t forced to make a tough read. https://youtu.be/ny3yw4YVIhU?t=2248 On the other hand, look at the panic that sets in to the NRG defence when Dignitas attack their backboard and no one is covering it!


How do I cover the backboard?

Instead of aerialling, the easiest and most boost-effective way to cover the backboard is to drive up the ramp of the wall. Once you’re up there, you can stay there as long as you need. It sometimes is necessary to aerial up though, especially if you’re approaching the backboard from in front of the goal itself. If you’re aerialling, make sure it’s a fast launch aerial to save yourself some boost and get there faster. Once you’re on the backboard, you should usually aim for your own corners when swiping the ball away. Going for pure distance can just gift the ball to your opponents, as we can see from Fireburner here:


When should I cover the backboard?

It’s sometimes better to ignore the space above the goal completely and head straight for your score-net itself. But here’s a list of when you should really really cover that Backy-B:

  • Your teammate is already covering the goal.
  • Your opponent does not have a shooting angle, so will definitely aim for the backboard.
  • Your opponent is dribbling the ball from the corner near your goal.
  • Your opponent is aerialling from very high up, meaning they’re likely to go for a double tap aerial.

With that last example, you should still be able to easily save the ball from above if they do decide to shoot. But remember…


Saving direct shots from above ain’t easy

So your opponent’s taken a snapshot and you’re stuck above your goal. Saving it’s simple, right? Just fall down and dodge downwards at the right time. But that last part - dodging at the ‘right time’ - is easier said than done. That’s because you can’t dodge downwards. Instead, your car flattens out horizontally a split second after you press the dodge button. Keep this in mind when making Spiderman saves, otherwise you’ll end up locking out just above the ball, which will roll in beneath you. Here’s a very entertaining section of a brilliant old tutorial (written by a very handsome and talented ginger!) to fully explain this concept via the medium of video.

Covering the backboard makes you at-least-slightly-better at defending. But there will still be times when you need to aerial away a bouncing backboard ball from above. These are horrible to read, and the best way to practice is by using Torment’s training pack. Let us know if these tips helped, or anything else you’ve been wondering about, in the comments!