rocket pass car. RL stock photo. Rocket League cover image

Everything You Need to Know About Flip Canceling in Rocket League:

This is it, my friends, the holy grail of Rocket League mechanics. Flip cancels provide the foundation for learning speed flips, half-flips, and everything in between. We’ll cover it all today.

In 2023, being unaware of flip cancels hurts you. Even in low ranks.

Seriously, flip canceling is arguably the most innovative mechanic discovered in Rocket League. I always wonder if it was unearthed by accident –  Just some dude with fidgety thumbs aimlessly twirling analog sticks during a late night free play session.

And yet, now that they’ve surfaced, Rocket League will never be the same.

What is a Flip Cancel?

Let’s start with the foundations:

  • Any time you dodge,  your car lunges into an ‘impulse action.’ Forward, backward, sideways, the impulse mirrors the direction of your flip. 
  • You gain a free, unchanging momentum boost. This is something we’ve all grown to treasure.
  • Yanking your analog stick mid-flip causes your vehicle to twitch.
  • No post-dodge directional inputs you press will dissipate your speed augmentation.
  • Your flip burst isn’t tethered to external forces. It stacks with boost or bumps from other players.
  • It’s impossible to cancel sideways rolls with your analog stick. Sidewinding flip motions are canceled by directional air rolling in the opposite direction of the flip. We refer to air roll cancels as stalls, since they cause your vehicle to hover motionless and unaffected by gravity throughout a sideways dodge. Stalls only boast one practical application: chaining flip resets. We’ll ignore them for now.

Is any of this logical? Not really. Don’t question it. It’s Rocket League physics. We love our car soccer simulator just the way she is. I, for one, praise our egg overlords. 

Rocket league eggs meme. Gladiator games egg overlords. RL crowd. "Just look at those pathetic humans: Still trash talking one another despite being enslaved in gladiator car-soccer combat"

Flip canceling allows fine-tuning otherwise automated dodge animations. To untrained eyes, this looks useless. In practice, however, we can remove every motion that points our boost thrusters upward, downward, or forward. Then, we can add boost to our predetermined burst to create a speed flip.

When you negate the second half of a flip, you land backward. But, again, your momentum sticks. This discovery dawned the most important mechanic in Rocket League history:

The half-flip.

Flip cancels allow you to maintain complete control of mid-flip momentum.

Flip cancels slam you back into the pitch earlier. Everybody whiffs. Good players recover faster.

Initial Training Routine: Perfecting The Half-Flip

Before covering the wacky discoveries that have arisen over the years, let’s focus on the simplest, and single most important flip cancel in the game: The half-flip.

We’ll be using a clock as a reference.

The “traditional” method is to do a diagonal backflip and yank the analog stick diagonally in the opposite direction. For example: flip at 10 O’clock, cancel at 4 O’clock.

I find this method… convoluted.

trying to learn half flips diagonally (building on fire) Your diamond coach you found on fiverr (smug kid meme) RL, Rocket League

Instead, I want you to flip straight back and cancel forward. Flip at 6 O’clock, cancel at 12 O’clock. Be as precise with your inputs as possible. Flip cancels are touchy!

If you succeed, your vehicle will face belly up in the opposite direction from where you started. Clearly, this isn’t a recovery yet. You can’t go very far with your wheels up in the air.

Still, I want you to practice landing belly up 10-20 times. Do it daily. Don’t worry about using air roll to land on your wheels yet. You need to get the feel for your analog inputs – even the slightest variation impacts your flip cancels.

Practice nailing that perfect 6 flip and perfect 12 cancel.

After the warm-up stage, start including air roll. Through this phase I want you to practice stringing these half-flips together. Do a backward half-flip, and when you land proceed to do a forward half-flip. This will help the process feel more natural – like pure thoughtless muscle memory. Having to think about whether or not to half-flip in-game will develop a bad habit.

  • Start in reverse. Flip at 6 O’clock, cancel at 12 O’clock while air rolling.
  • Land and accelerate forward.
  • Drive forward. Flip at 12 O’clock, cancel at 6 O’clock while air rolling.
  • Land driving in reverse.
  • Repeat.

Rocket League rewards diligence. If you fail, go back to the first exercise. 

If you cancel your flip too early, you’ll notice your nose floating skyward like a puppy-dog begging for scraps. That’s a bad habit. If landing kills your momentum, you either forgot to swap your throttle direction or settled with skidding wheels.

If your motions look clean, do a few laps of interchanging forward and reverse half flips.

You’ll fall into a rhythm. Eventually, you’ll notice your index fingers following a pattern, too. You’ll be reversing at the start of a half-flip and accelerating forward as you land. You’ll be able to drive in a straight line while flipping your car around like a fish out of water.

Once you’ve progressed that far, I want you to start incorporating boost into the second half of your flip. The moment your car is facing your intended direction, the boost will give you an extra nudge. The timing shouldn’t be too difficult if you practiced the other exercises first.

Congratulations! You have unlocked lightning quick recovery skills!

From here, you’ll be ready to perform the diagonal half-flip mentioned above. 4 O’clock to 10 O’clock and 2 O’clock to 8 O’clock. These will mess with your brain at first, but you’ve got the timing memorized. Just focus on the inputs. You typically won’t need to air roll to perform these. “Traditional” half-flips are mostly useful for challenging the ball in awkward positions.

Enjoy your new trick as a supersonic acrobatic rocket-powered battle-car.

What Are Common Mistakes Made While Flip Canceling?

  1. Timing. Not all flip cancels are performed the same. There are hundreds of variants to fiddle with. A half-flip is performed with a slow cancellation input held for a prolonged time. Some flip cancels, like delayed flicks, require quick inputs and immediate releases. 
  2. Imprecise input angles. If you tried the half-flip exercise, you probably noticed that directional inputs leaning slightly left or right suffered abysmal landings. There are occasions where funky directional inputs come in handy, like pre-flips or JZR flicks. More often than not – precise opposing inputs or cardinal direction inputs yield optimal results.

Advanced Flip Cancel Techniques:

The Pre-flip:

Pretty simple stuff. Just try fiddling with the idea of getting to the ball using a dodge, and play with the analog stick to try and find that perfect angle to shoot. This is where you’ll learn the fine-tuning skills required to hit our next mechanic.

Speed flipping:

The Speed flip is the second most important form of flip cancel to master. This is a forward diagonal dodge with an immediate cancellation input. It’s quite a bit different from a half-flip.

Why worry about the speed flip? It’s the fastest dodge in Rocket League. You can also boost throughout its duration. I typically find it to be lightning fast, and more than a light feather of boost is unnecessary.

What makes this flip faster? You are removing unnecessary motion from your vehicle’s flip to land on the ground earlier. There are dozens of methods of performing a speed flip. Which makes it seem tougher to learn than it is.

Some players use air roll on a standard frontflip to produce a diagonal flip, for example.

Our speedy-boy mechanic shares some similarities with a half-flip, although it isn’t as cut-and-dry as “Just cancel in the opposite direction” like we learned earlier. These can be toggled. Typically, for my speed flips, I cancel in the opposite direction and inch the analog stick toward the 6 O’clock input before releasing. 

Timing and angle are everything, but they’re also exceptionally adjustable. Give it a week of practice and you’ll understand what I mean.

Suspicious Frye says, "Not sure if I should follow the first tutorial I saw or the one that claimed that whole guide was a lie."

It sounds vague, I know. The result isn’t. If you perform a speed flip correctly, you’ll do a diagonal dodge while moving in a straight line. Take a moment to look at a diagonal flip and you’ll see the car changes trajectory toward the direction you flipped. With a speed flip, you’re flipping straight forward… except your car is suspended in a sideways motion like a diagonal flip.

For the sake of easy learning, do a diagonal flip and aim your cancel for 6 O’clock. You’ll see a barrel-roll-style car animation.

Now, here’s where the variations occur:

You don’t want to hold your cancellation input for the full duration of the flip. Instead, you want to hold it just long enough for your car to perform a “hooking” motion that doesn’t occur in a typical diagonal flip. It takes about a quarter of a second to perform, perhaps a little less. Holding the cancel for any longer will delay your flip. 

Don’t let that intimidate you. A speed flip without the “hook” is still faster than a standard diagonal flip. You’re still making progress!

Upon releasing your cancel, you want to spend the remainder of your hang-time looking for the right landing. Sometimes you’ll want to air roll. A powerslide never hurts. Although, with a good amount of practice, you’ll land facing forward on all four wheels pretty consistently. 

Remember, successful execution is all in the cancellation inputs. These little afterthoughts just help to correct any awkwardness that occurred in the early stages. They can also help adjust your trajectory to a new threat on the field.

Master this and you’ll be faster across Mannfield Stadium than the developers of Rocket League ever intended!

Flip canceling off of the wall:

There are two reasons to flip cancel off of a wall.

Situation number one: You need a little extra nudge forward to hit an aerial. Maybe you’re low on boost. Maybe you need to be a little faster to the ball to make a clean touch. Either way, Captain Flip cancel comes to save the day!

Like pre-flips, there isn’t a clear-cut way to approach these touches. They vary in angle.

A skilled player can time a flip cancel with enough precision to land on the underside of the ball to catch for an air dribble. A pro player can land beneath the ball to pick up a flip reset. I don’t expect that of you. I just want to paint a picture of how limitless the mechanic truly is.

Situation number two: You can flip cancel off of a wall to set up double touches. A good double-tap is infinitely more powerful than an air dribble or a ceiling shot. They’re deceptive. It tells a defender that you threw the ball away and missed your target. Joke’s on them.

Of course, double touches are tough to master. They require a touch strong enough to slam into the backboard, and they require you to have the resources to make it back to the ball once it bounces.

The flip will provide you with the power you need on the ball, and the cancel will help your car maintain trajectory and allow you to boost toward your destination. Simply flipping in this situation will leave you out of the play for too long. By the time the flip ends, you’ll be trying to catch up to your dad who left to pick up a pack of cigarettes 12 years ago. It’s too late.

Contesting the ball:

For years, Fireburner was considered the king of the 50/50. He could dunk on all the pro players in the game. For Fireburner there was no contest at all. Unfortunately, he’s retired now. Even today, his method works flawlessly.

We’re going to talk about how Fireburner became the King of the 50/50. He flip cancels.

It’s no secret that when two opposing players attack a ball, the player who catches the larger chunk of the ball will win the challenge. As most of you know, that means tackling the center of the ball with more forward momentum than the opponent.

Sometimes you want to delay the challenge by letting the opponent chip the ball first and getting a centered touch afterward.

Sometimes you anticipate your opponent to delay the 50/50, and you have to be taller than them on the rebound.

Well, in all of those cases, a flip cancel gives your dodge more precision. These dodges are similar to speed flips, where you want to time the “hooking” motion of your car to line up with the moment you’ll make contact with the ball. In this scenario, it’s best to exaggerate the hooking motion by releasing your cancel immediately.

How Important Are Flip Cancels to Master?

Rating: B+

me in freeplay. Flip cancels jealous girlfriend, practicing that flashy air dribble. Hot girl RL meme

Getting around the field faster means you can make more aggressive rotations, put more pressure on the ball, and save more potential goal opportunities from your opponent. Any mechanic that promises you to get around the field faster places high on my list.

The beauty of the flip cancel is that it’s multifaceted. Not only will you play faster, but you’ll also win more challenges.

This is without a doubt one of the most important mechanics you can learn in Rocket League. The only thing holding it from an A rank is that it isn’t helping low ranked players develop ball control or positional awareness.

But make no mistake, players at any skill level can see improvements to their gameplay by continuing to build and fine-tune their flip cancels. If you want to win more games, practicing this will accomplish that for you.

What’s The Story Behind Flip Canceling?

The first known half-flip was executed by pro player Kronovi in an RLCS match in 2016. The announcers were pretty baffled. It didn’t take long before everyone was racing to learn the technique.

More forms of flip cancels began appearing in freestyler clips.

I like to credit SunlessKhan as the YouTuber to popularize flip cancels in double taps. He uploaded a short tutorial around the time he finally started breaking into high champ ranks. 

The Speed flip wasn’t mentioned anywhere until 2019. The YouTuber Linkuru posted a video challenge of an untouchable ball that could be reached after executing a diagonal flip cancel. Soon afterward, Musty posted a video proving to the world that he could outpace champs in kickoffs with the new mechanic.

Then we entered the age of the speed-kick. The rest was history.

That’s all I’ve got. Get out there and practice!