Along with kuxir pinches, dribbles, and air dribbles, I practiced ceiling shots while I was hard-stuck silver (…and utterly unprepared for complex mechanics.) Back in those days, my ceiling shots only enraged me.
I spent hours gazing into an enigmatic abyss.
On one hand, chucking my precious hours into a meat grinder blessed me with shareable insight. That’s a big ‘Hooray!’ for you. I’ve already asked myself every ceiling-shot-related question fathomable.
But I also spent that time spiraling through a grim battlefield of self-hatred – pondering things more synonymous with existential dread. Something about helplessly drifting through space resonated with the fleeting, beautiful tragedy of what it meant to be alive.
Here’s the bottom line:
My experience was a murky reflection of how smurfing sculpts a fresh Rocketeer’s game sense.
And with that comes a PSA to my boys in silver. Don’t be like me. Before sending your opponents into a rage-quitting frenzy with ceiling shots, you’ll need to get a feel for wall reads first. Learn how to receive passes. Adapt to your teammates’ shortcomings. Bookmark this page and return once you feel comfortable flying off walls – because flying from the ceiling is the final frontier.
Unlike my other premature trick shot attempts, ceiling shots spoke a listless, otherworldly language. Sure, I bombed my air dribbles, but I still felt moments of clarity while drilling them.
Ceiling shots were a different beast. Unwieldy. Untamed. Unbreakable.
None of the guides or tutorials adrift in the vast sea of the internet could quench my fierce desire for mastery. I questioned whether I was falling off of the ceiling too slowly. I questioned if I was outright missing button inputs. I meticulously studied my boost habits.
Nobody provided definitive answers.
Then, one miraculous day, ceiling shots clicked. Instantaneously. I’m not exaggerating. I just landed one hit after the other with perfect consistency. I’d even go as far as saying a ceiling shot is the easiest trick shot mechanic in Rocket League.
I’d like to help alleviate that painstaking process for you. Let’s scribble the best tips for landing consistent ceiling shots. That way, you can pass the misery to unsuspecting foes – rather than tormenting yourself.
The biggest problem I needed to face was myself. I was afraid to hit the ball hard enough, especially while rolling it along the ground.
When rehearsing new things, we tend to start slow and speed up as we get more comfortable. I’m here to tell you: The only way to master a ceiling shot is to dart at that ball with everything you’ve got.
You aren’t falling off of the ceiling too slowly.
You aren’t mismanaging your boost.
You’re likely not giving yourself the resources or space to reach the ball for that final touch. You’ve got to whack it. Show it you mean business.
Hard hits lob for the ball for a longer duration. Use as much boost as you think you’ll need to catch back up to it. Don’t give yourself any time to question your decision-making skills.
Overcoming your fear of failure is 80% of the battle.
While most of you know about the infinite flip timer, there’s one thing I can’t stress enough: Don’t rush yourself into wasting your flip. It defeats the entire purpose of driving miles out of your way to take this shot. Ceiling shots aren’t just a blind trick shot for showing off to your friends.
They provide genuine value: The ability to change the ball’s trajectory at lightning speed against an otherwise fully-prepared defender.
Give yourself time to reach the underside of the ball. If you’re successful, you’ll scoop that funky-looking sci-fi globe back toward the top shelf of the net.
That scoop throws off some of the most potent defenders.
While we’re talking about flips, there’s another massive tip I should share: Don’t default to front flipping on every shot. Again, use that extra touch to trip up defenders. Aim for the post with the least amount of coverage.
You’ve officially scuffed your shot once that ball bops into the ceiling.
But there’s good news. You can still reach the ball if you jump off the ceiling right before the ball bounces. That translates to improving your reads. Luckily it’s a pretty simple read. If a ball isn’t slowing down as it climbs 75% to the top of the stadium, it’s time to start preparing for the worst.
Earlier jumps are usually better, but a second before the bounce is usually plenty of time.
Once you hop off, you’ll be racing a second and a half flip timer, so be prepared to chug boost like a German scholar who just waltzed into Oktoberfest.
With enough practice, you’ll start hitting these shots. They won’t threaten opponents quite as ruthlessly as a standard ceiling shot, but they will save you from floating in No Man’s Land for half an eternity while your opponent picks up a clean empty net.
This is huge.
An air dribble setup always starts low on the wall, whereas you can initiate a ceiling shot from the top edge of the wall, halfway up, or wherever you’d like.
Air dribbles require matching the ball’s speed and trajectory. They take on a more vertical arc to reflect that. An upward arc on a ceiling shot smashes the ball into the roof, blasting the ball down and out of reach.
A well-executed ceiling shot carries a strong horizontal arc. More lateral space equals more time.
Here’s a helpful mantra to keep in your head as you practice: Air dribbles are a mastery of precision, while a good ceiling shot is a mastery of speed.
Actually, if I had to draw a parallel, I’d say a ceiling shot resembles setting up a Kuxir Pinch. Sure, we aren’t smashing our noses into the wall like masochistic frat boys struggling to woo pretty women. But the speed, spacing, and attack angle are identical throughout the early stages of both shots.
“But coach, I can’t pinch either!”
-45% of my readers
Fair enough. Here’s a breakdown:
The success of a ceiling shot is already decided upon your first touch. That brings me to my next point:
If you’re aiming for the enemy net, you should target it dead center with the precision of an elite sniper.
Your final touch only provides about 30 degrees of wiggle room. Don’t fall into the habit of wasting that adjustment to fix sloppy first touches!
Sure, a “smart” flip could alter the ball’s course…
But you’ll be surrendering the most valuable asset to your ceiling shot by doing so – her velocity.
Ceiling shots are effective because they’re powerful. Your flip should accentuate that strength.
A ceiling shot isn’t necessarily an aerial trick shot. SunlessKhan once made a brilliant analogy he pulled from Toy Story, of all places.
You aren’t flying. You’re falling with style.
You’ll never have enough time (or boost) to fly back upward. Once gravity latches her grimy little fingertips to the hood of your car, she isn’t letting go.
You can boost downward and forward. Gravity won’t object to that. In fact, gravity offers you an extra bump in momentum once you learn to co-exist. Use that to your advantage!
I dug up a blooper reel. Here’s a slideshow of the first ceiling shot I scored in silver:
All things considered, I nailed my reads. I anticipated where I could meet the ball on the ceiling, the lob was manageable, and I even predicted a half volley bounce off the ground.
But my air roll habit annihilated me. A decent defender would’ve snatched that ball mid-air. I’d look as useful as a Claptrap in Borderlands 2.
Air roll wastes your valuable setup time. It’s also inhibiting your ability to boost downward. Remember that cruel Ursula-looking mistress called gravity? She’s waving hello.
Even if you don’t need that downward boost to catch up with a falling ball, you’ll want it to reach the ball’s underbelly.
Angle your nose toward the ground, and don’t scoop back up unless you’re preparing your final touch on the ball.
And if you air rolled? You won’t find the time for final adjustments. Do not pass go. Do not collect 200 credits.
Ceiling shots are a boost-hungry mechanic. You’ll need every drop of boost you can guzzle down.
Work smart, not hard. That’s how you’ll see results.
Instead of practicing ceiling shots from one angle in a hundred different areas, practice a hundred different angles from six areas. Learn to whip out shots from those max boost pads first and foremost.
Once you get the hang of the most common shot locations you can play around with other angles all you want.
If you’re sick of opponents diving in to challenge your ceiling shots, you can speed them up by jumping off the wall and flying upside down toward the ceiling.
It’s a simple concept. You’re just cutting the amount of ground you’ll need to cover to catch up to the ball, like taking a shortcut through the woods.
Except taking uncharted shortcuts through the woods is seldom the easiest path. These ceiling shot setups are no exception.
First, you’ll want to acclimate yourself to air rolling left and right while climbing at a 45-degree angle. You’ll also want to get into the habit of rolling in-field from off of the wall. Considering how natural it feels to roll in the direction that points your wheels to the ground, this can be a tough habit to break.
The challenges don’t end there. You’ll need to land on the ceiling holding powerslide – especially if you struggle to align your wheels with your momentum, which I also recommend practicing.
Traditional ceiling shots setups won’t work, either. You’ll need to lob the ball further forward. If you don’t, you’ll outdrive the ball every time.
This setup breaks the rule I mentioned earlier about ceiling shots being vastly different from air dribble setups. This version is quite similar, even the part where you jump at the precise moment of contacting the ball.
This setup also bears similarities to the opening stages of a flip reset or ceiling pinch, barring the fact you want to remain a little further behind the ball in this scenario. In fact, wall-to-ceiling shots are the perfect preparation for those mechanical marvels – if you’re planning to learn them.
Stay close to the ball, and always have a backup plan. Flying off the wall onto the ceiling isn’t a setup for rigid players with tunnel vision. Instead, it’s one of those flowy freestyler maneuvers that aligns an extra flip they may never decide to use.
Once you master this, the next step to further shorten setup time is bouncing the ball off the bell curve of the wall – rather than rolling it cross-field. I can’t begin to describe how much precision that takes.
I cover the concept of wall dashes in-depth in my Wavedash Tutorial.
But for an upward wall dash, it won’t take much precision at all. Just double-tap your jump button while driving up the bell curve of the wall. Your car won’t go meandering through the endless void of space here like it would from the ground.
That’s right. There’s no mid-flip conundrum. Zero. If you experience any awkward floatiness, just double-tap faster next time. If you can’t figure it out after five tries, you honestly deserve an award.
This wall dash is painless. My 80-Year-Old grandma could tackle it.
Give it a shot. Shatter the Rocket League physics engine.
Once you get the hang of an upward wall dash, you can use it to recover from a bad setup. You can also catch back up to a ball your opponent knocked away in a side-by-side 50/50 challenge.
People always market things as one-size-fits-all, but how often is it true?
Adaptability is the single most important trait that separates men from the boys in an online Rocket League match.
If you set up a ceiling shot too far into the enemy half, consider saving your flip for a filthy double-tap that bounces off the enemy backboard.
If your opponents are giving you an ocean of space, don’t be afraid to risk a pogo off of the ground into an air dribble catch.
When you’re feeling brave, experiment with reverse mustys from the ceiling.
And if the net is wide open, there’s no shame in pummeling a ball straight into the ground.
Before wrapping up, I need to topple an important subject.
I once had a music teacher who said:
“If I go one day without practice, I notice. If I go two days without practice, my friends notice. When I neglect three days, the world notices.”
Rocket League is a video game. Instead of plugging “ceiling shot practice” into that quote, apply “getting sunlight.”
You need to take care of that noggin if you want to improve. Also, your hands, eyes, and probably Whiskers, your poor malnourished cat.
I always play better after taking a 2-3 day hiatus. I mean, you’ll probably need to spend an hour warming up the next time you decide to boot up, but it’s worth the extra step.
You’ll come back with an open mind, a refreshed attitude, and a maxed-out determination meter at your disposal.
So, if you want to stop playing like a bot:
Only once you have mastered the Jedi art of leaving your front porch will you begin to grasp the deadly art of using ceiling shots to send opponents crying to their mamas.