First off, I want to apologize for how long it took me to hatch a Rocket League dribbling guide. I think I’ve put it off for so long because my ground game is my pocket ace.
I didn’t want to blow this one. It’s personal, you know?
Because at surface level, solid ground game might appear like the “easy road” to improving, but extracting successful plays from the field zone where opponents feel most comfortable takes work. It’s like scaling a mountain.
You face an unbridled urgency to trip up defenders. You need to maintain complete, unrelenting control of the ball. Then, you need a quick, precise goal… otherwise all that fancy footwork spirals down the drain.
It’s easy to rush yourself into throwing the ball away. It’s easy to mistime cuts. You might flick prematurely.
Once self-doubt comes barreling in on her tattered bronze chariot, life gets harder. She’ll ladle you up into her caustic, lifeless fingertips and clutch you between steely, piercing nails. Her carnivorous eyes peer straight through helpless scrubs like us. She can anticipate your every move. She’ll ravage you – long before your on-field opponents.
Look, I want you to walk away feeling confident. That’s 80% of the battle.
I want you to discern with crystal clarity when you’re trekking the right offensive path. I want you to feel certain that you’re plopping that ball onto your hood with the brisk efficiency of a well-oiled machine. Like Nexto, but Nex-Tier. You feel me?
I want you to know you’re optimizing your training hours and weeding bad habits by their entangled roots.
I want to help you punch your self-doubt right in her fat, stupid face.
Buckle up. We’ve got a lot of ground to cover today.
I’ll teach you every ground dribbling tip I know, Rocketeer.
I understand most of you came here to learn a traditional ball carry.
I get it. I was new once upon a time, too. I’ll teach you how. I pinky-swear.
But let me stress that great dribblers pull from a mixed bag of skills. The more variance you express in a five-minute game, the more success you’ll see in your overall win percentage.
So I’ll cover bounce dribbles and push dribbles, too.
Let me preface by offering a universal tip for better ball control: Try to curb your anxiety on defense. Most of my cleanest breakaways occur from nestling myself along the goal line while maintaining a clear head. Talented athletes remain patient and methodical under intense pressure. Virtual car soccer isn’t any different.
Re-watch some of your favorite ground dribble clips. I’d wager 80% of those clips manifested in their own half. They trained themselves on proper breathing through awkward situations.
That’s why coaches preach the gospel of freeplay. It’s exemplary turf for eliminating nerves on the pitch.
If you wandered into this article, I’m sure you’ve witnessed a ball carry. You tee the ball on top of your car and suspend it alongside you like a virtual magician.
Due to their versatility, hard carries spark wild unpredictability in your offensive plays.
Right. So here are some tips on when to ball carry:
Camping behind a rolling ball is still possession. Sure, that possession vanishes unless you outrace opponents. But don’t underestimate the elegance of simplicity.
Rolling a ball into opposing nets casual-Friday style cranks tilt-levels into overdrive. Blast the motions on repeat. Make them watch the replays. You’re flexing the idea that you outwit them.
I’ve had cranky opponents call me a “Camper.” They’ve told me to “Touch grass.” I savored it. I mean, I’m raising a family and juggling a website. They’re telling me, despite all that, I’m still goated.
They’ll spout allegations like “reported for smurfing,” despite the fact you’re flaunting your flashiest silver mechanics. You stalked the ball into their net like a lapdog… three times in a row.
POV: All their hours wasted on flip resets prove worthless if they can’t clobber the guy who rolls balls in linear paths downfield. It’s torture.
Revel in the salt of their tears.
I’m urging you, don’t sleep on the simple stuff. Flakes toppled champs without ever stretching for aerials. Granted, he’s a professional with defensive reads lightyears ahead of us.
Shot opportunities arise more than you realize.
I bet you can decipher what a bounce dribble entails. You chain together bounces on the ball.
Just because the concept is simple doesn’t mean it’s a chump’s mechanic. Bounce dribbles are the most potent offensive plays in Rocket League. You can change the ball’s angle and trajectory at the drop of a dime.
Alright. Now we’re familiarized with the three ground dribbling methods. It’s time to take a peek at what’s happening under the hood.
Since the flat-nosed Breakout reigns supreme as the best air-dribbling car, it’s common for my coaching sessions to unravel with students questioning their car choice for ball carries.
Let me settle something up front: Ground dribbles feel similar on every chassis. There are a few subtle differences a seasoned dribbler can detect, though.
Hybrid hitboxes, like the Skyline/Endo/Jager, have an easier time cutting into the ball. They have mildly augmented handling. The buff goes out the window the moment you throttle your boost. Turning in Rocket League naturally decelerates you – meaning you’ll scarf down more boost, too. Hybrid hitboxes have less rigid edges. That helps minimize the consequences of over-correcting your turns in a carry.
Dominus and Plank hitboxes flick harder. Their longer bodies behave like an extended fulcrum. Of course, they’re low-riders. That makes it easier for opponents to stuff you like a turkey before your flick ripens. But it also allows you to catch a ball with more force without bouncing it overhead. The Batmobile is now 100% reflective of other planks. If that sentence reads like Spanish to you, Batmobile hitboxes devolved into a whole… thing.
Breakout hitboxes, like the Animus or Samurai, have less mass. Coupled with their soft noses, this simplifies following pops through the air. This comes with the added drawback of less powerful touches. But their flicks pack a deceptive punch! Breakouts are longer than the Dom and Plank. They also turn slower, reducing lost speed and increasing cut times.
Merc hitboxes sit tallest from the ground. This is the newest standardized hitbox addition. Psyonix introduced it so they could include the Battle Bus in a Fortnite crossover event. Anyway, with a Merc hitbox, you’ll flick past more challenges at the cost of shot vigor. It’s basically a reverse Dominus.
Most camera settings work fine.
Sometimes I catch silvers with camera angles cranked crazy high “for faster aerials.” Or the occasional plat burying their camera miles behind their car “to avoid getting bumped by teammates.”
Both statements ring false. Those are the types of decisions we make when we’re seething with rage. Don’t feed your inner beasts.
Try something like this:
These are the median camera settings used by active RLCS pros. Evidence suggests about 94% of players Champ 1 or above use settings within these parameters.
These settings aren’t dribbling-exclusive. They’re optimized for keeping dribbling efficient without hindering other aspects of your game.
You can dribble without turning your camera into a satellite. Trust me on this one.
There are five methods for starting a ball carry. I’ll divide them into “cuts” and “catches.”
I should emphasize it’s critical to match the speed of the ball before cutting.
Catches, on the other hand, hang loose. You’ll want to match speed to a degree – since it eases the upcoming steps. But you’ll often rely on boost to scurry beneath the ball indicator. Once positioned, you can always ease on/off the accelerator to better align with the ball’s pace.
Are you ready to identify with aquatic mammals encapsulated in circus tents? You’re about to balance a ball on your nose for hours. Of course, hollering “Arf! Arf!” is 100% optional.
In a bounce dribble setup, it’s important to tap the ball the moment it’s springing from the ground. The later you arrive to tap, the further forward our spherical companion arcs. The ball also loses stored momentum as it slices through gravity.
Earlier taps yield better control.
For bounce dribbles, never flip into the ball until you’re ready to shoot.
You can draw exceptions to both these rules when plowing through a challenge. In those cases, always ensure you’ll flip second for a 50/50. Your opponent’s tires are sizzling compared to yours. Not even a flawless flip-cancel can brute-force you into winning that 50/50.
Push dribbles bolster one monumental advantage over bounce dribbles and ball carries. They aren’t stifled by speed and timing constraints. Your hook shots pack a wallop from this setup. You’re swift to exploit mistakes.
Rolling the ball opens up insane delayed 50/50 challenge opportunities that even work on nuanced shadow defenders.
You also pick up a multifaceted toolbox brimming with new fake opportunities. Roll dribbles offer more fake variance than any other form of ball control.
I’ll delve into hooks and fakes under “Lanes of Attack.” For now, we’ll showcase the roll dribble’s signature move.
Sometimes catching the opponent out of position is quick and easy. They might:
In situations like these, don’t durdle around with the ball. That only buys players extra time to defend.
Just mash boost and roll the big round-squishy straight toward the finish line.
Let’s shift gears to highlighting the offensive prowess of our newfangled tricks.
But first, a public service announcement about dealing with those “monkeys” you loathe so much:
Regardless of your plan of attack, your number one goal is baiting out opponents.
And, by the power vested in Buffy Sugo, they’ll dive. You won’t always have time to snap axles, so it’s important to develop thoughtful 50/50 habits when things go awry. In most circumstances, whoever flips first loses the challenge. Low 50’s provide another reliable escape route against opponents signaling premature dunks.
Here’s the point: Don’t get hung up on the dribble. Sometimes you’ll run out of time to hoist the ball. Backing off of a play feels bad. But you look like a bigger idiot watching yourself eat dunks in replays.
Don’t be that guy. I’m offering plenty of other offensive plays to fall back on.
Difficulty Level: 1
Compatible Setups: Roll Dribble, Ball Carry, Bounce Dribble
Fakes are the easiest trick in Rocket League. More importantly, they tread the avenue of least commitment. You haven’t flipped. You aren’t shredding through your boost reserve. You aren’t chucking the ball to your estranged father (who left for a carton of eggs 25 years ago.)
With fakes, you’ll recover instantly when a play backfires.
Of course, the real tussle is awareness. I’ll shed insight from my thousands of hours dumped into RL.
Difficulty Level: 2
Compatible Setups: Ball Carry
When an opponent charges within a five-car length diameter of you, any pop will trip them up. There’s no sense in surrendering the ball to a flick where single hops prevail.
Single jump catches unshackle your inner solo-carry skills. Rekindling possession after a high hop enables you to tackle 2 or 3 defenders at once.
If you add a little directional air roll into the equation, you can even emulate powerful flicks without losing yourself in the painful eternal flip animation.
Difficulty Level: 3
Compatible Setups: Roll Dribble, Bounce Dribble
Conceptually, hook shots are simple: Drift, then slice the ball the opposite direction. The real grind lies in timing.
With these tips, you’ll be a certified hook shot marksman.
Difficulty Level: 4
Compatible Setups: Bounce Dribble, Ball Carry
Flicks are best served on opponents who challenge frequently, and perpetually direct. Flicks present quick, nigh unstoppable directional changes. They’ll award you many goals throughout your RL career.
And the most basic, rudimentary flicks are among the most consistent offensive plays in Rocket League.
Here are a few tips for basic flicks.
Delayed front flip flick:
Diagonal flip flick:
Backflip flick: Backflip flicks are the undisputed king of high pops. Unlike a standard trunk flick, you’ll never accidently outdrive the ball. And it’s nearly impossible to screw up… Just backflip. If you’re center field, you won’t generate a better pass without mystical magnets or questionable ball-deflation tactics.
Those are just the basics.
Beyond that, numerous flicks exist. Most of them borrow their names from pros or content creators. Veering off to explain them in detail would blow this post outside of scope. Instead, I’ll organize a list to get you acquainted.
Here’s a link to my Musty Flick tutorial. I’ve also covered the Evample and Skadoosh flicks in my wavedash guide listed below. I’ll whip up guides to the Mognus, Tornado, JZR, and Breezi Pop… eventually.
The others nestle themselves above my pay grade.
Difficulty Level: 5
Compatible Setups: Ball Carry
Wavedash catches are extra speedy fakes that don’t gain relevance until you confront opponents with mid-champ level awareness. I cover wavedashes extensively here, but I’ll list the info relevant to dribble-catches:
Difficulty Level: 6
Compatible Setups: Bounce Dribble, Ball Carry
When coupling pristine ball control with awesome aerial car control, vaulting into the skies becomes a viable option. I hit the major details in my air dribble guide, but I’ll lay some groundwork here:
You’re probably itching to flick. Don’t!
Patience is a virtue.
Practice your hops and powerslide turns before graduating to flicks. And before dabbling with those, you need to comfortably juggle the ball.
You’re lucky. Kids today get access to ball key binds in freeplay. Back in my day, we shoveled through the ol’ Kronovi method. We used the wall as a crutch and drove laps around the field. In 15 feet of snow. Uphill, both ways!
I uhh… couldn’t resist.
PC players can also access rigorous workshop maps. Although, the maps are geared toward tightening skills rather than learning.
So I dredged up 5 training packs and 5 freeplay drills instead.
Wayton designed this pack special. Catching the ball requires zero effort. You don’t even need to turn. Focus on balancing cross-field and familiarizing yourself with prevalent overcorrection errors.
This training pack helped familiarize me with ball positioning for complex flicks. He provides equal distribution to both sides of the field. As you progress through the pack, you’ll topple increased distances and tighter angles. This training pack also helps you efficiently drill wavedash catches.
Recommending a shot pack designed for aerial backboard clears might sound counterintuitive. Especially one focused on awkward corner bounces.
Hear me out:
You won’t improve your catches unless you practice them in a natural setting. Krux programmed this defensive training pack funky. It’s a striker pack with your target goalpost nestled behind you.
For dribbling, that becomes a perk.
I want you to clear that ball hard. I mean, really send it.
You’ll have 5-6 extra seconds to:
The timer expires after your catch, and that’s sincerely helpful. It’ll pressure you into balancing across the field. This drill:
It’s honestly my top pick.
With this training pack, you’ll perform high pop catches while toggling an active ball-cam. Shots rain in from behind, far-side high pops, and from bounces off the wall. They’re all incredibly awkward. If you can catch these, you’ll catch W’s.
Want to master hook shots? Try slapping complete 180’s into your jockeying routine. The skill sets for shadow defense challenges and hook shots are identical. If you can force yourself into faster possession pickups, you can dispatch lethal hooks.
Kevpert’s 1’s pack trounces the territory. It’s unparalleled.
Suck it up, buttercup. Play 5-10 1v1’s a day. You’ll see progress. Ignore your rank. Deficits come with acquiring new skills. You’ll emerge from this a stronger human being.
It’s important you drill dribbles against live opponents. Otherwise, you’ll never notice when you’re making plays from lousy areas or sweeping up the ball like a snail.
Drill: Use the wall to help balance the ball while you familiarize yourself with the impact of your touches. When this feels too easy, it’s time to learn how to cut in-field without dropping the ball.
Purpose: Defenders find plays rolling along a wall unthreatening. At higher ranks, they’ll even acknowledge challenging here is a fruitless and avoidable risk. Long after you conquer dribbling without the wall, this field zone requires unique skill sets. And it presents frequent possession opportunities.
Drill: Powerslide in circles with the ball propped up. Feather your brakes to make more dramatic turns. Boost and powerslide, too.
Purpose: Outplaying opponents on shadow defense opens thousands of doors to counter-dribble. But most players suffer insecurities making dramatic turns with the ball. If you can boost and powerslide simultaneously, you’ll outplay anyone.
Drill: Chain bounces until you tie or break your personal record.
Purpose: Mistimed pops occur all the way up to Grand Champ lobbies. Develop your reads and car control, and you’ll consistently harp on open nets.
Drill: Pluck the ball up from a corner boost and roll it diagonally across the field. Then, attempt a hook shot after passing the half-field markers. As your consistency matures, hasten your shots and widen your angles.
Purpose: Collecting possession of the ball escalates your clears into counterplays. This drill trains you to derail hyper-offensive teams at the precise moment they retreat for boost pads.
Drill: Pop the ball. Drive directly beneath it. Powerslide a meticulous 180. Continue your bounce-dribble chain. Repeat.
Purpose: It’s statistically proven that higher-ranked players powerslide more times per match. The average grand champ powerslides 16 and a half times per minute, with each powerslide lasting for only a tenth of a second. I’ll drop a graph below. Powerslide mastery is, without a doubt, the most important skill in Rocket League. This drill helps consolidate bounce dribble chain regimens with hook shot preparation. With a few reps a day, you’ll notice yourself sprucing up your bounce-dribble plays with more aggressive finishers. Honestly, you’ll notice your everything improve.
With the abundance of mechanics to learn in Rocket League, I like to grade them. Then you can decide what’s worth your time.
Feast your eyes, dribbles are the only mechanic I’ll rate higher than flip-cancels.
In 3’s, a bally carry usually hauls as much promise as a letter written to Santa Claus. Still, dribbling is the pinnacle of developing ball control.
Learning to dribble doesn’t substitute superb awareness and positioning. But once you build your mental repertoire, dribbles exploit floundering enemies unlike any other tool at your disposal.
If you’re ranked gold or below, I suggest spending more time twisting the ball with roll dribbles. But don’t feel discouraged. I’m basically re-enacting Mr. Miyagi from The Karate Kid right now. Wax on. Wax off.
Your nostrils flare with the smoldering breath of Car-Ball-Jutsu, as prophesied in all the ancient texts. You’ll unsheath your primordial blade and draw it upon your foes. A ragged cloth loosely wraps its handle. Ingrained into the razor-sharp edge lies an inscription. Upon your touch, the blade will drown the evening sky with an ambient lurid glow. Infernal voices will chant a super-weeby proverb neither of us has ever heard…
And you’ll flick a ball so hard that your opponents scroll straight to the forfeit button. They’ll retreat to their provincial muddy straw estates on Fortnite.
Trust the process.
If you’re one of the dozen people who made it to the end of this guide, you’re probably fervently passionate about Rocket League. I’ll drop some RL ground dribble-related trivia before signing off. We can draw heaps of inspiration from dedicated RL trailblazers.
With the long road ahead, you’ll appreciate the fat dopamine hit of watching the world’s finest dribblers disintegrate defender’s suspension kits into geletin. They’ll plant some fresh ideas in your head, too.
Mizu mentioned in my interview with him that he’d set a new ground dribble world record at 65 minutes during a live stream. Unfortunately, I can’t track it down.
But his fans swear by it. He did perform it for an audience, so I’ll credit him. The footage is just drowning somewhere in the Twitch archives.
Before that, the longest recorded ground dribble was set by Sebadam way back in 2017. It lasted 33 minutes and 45 seconds.
Evample holds the current world record of 120 nauseating spins before spilling the ball… or his guts.
Anyone who watches Evample probably isn’t shocked. And if you’re uninitiated, I featured Evample in my top Rocket League Youtuber picks. He’s worth the watch!
Rocket League’s first ground dribble is almost untraceable. Back in the RLCS dinosaur days, the term “air dribble” hadn’t caught on yet. Both mechanics were interchangeably coined as dribbles.
And air dribbles became an overnight sensation thanks to our boy Kuxir.
Team Rocket was the first RLCS team to balance the ball on their cars. The standout names in this org were Doomsee and Linkuru. Although I suspect their coach, Ryuu, drilled the skill into their practice sessions, making it hard to distinguish who first discovered the ball carry.
IBuyPower/G2 Lachinio was probably most consistent with ground dribbles in RL’s infancy, but every player to grace the iBuyPower roster dominated in ground plays. Kronovi and 0ver Zer0 helped define the 2015 RL meta. SadJunior and Gibbs weren’t slouches, either.
Dappur began spicing up his ball carries with wavedashes circa 2017. He clipped on Leth, Gimmick, Kaydop… pretty much all the major 1’s names of the time.
And… the rest was history.
My vote goes to Chausette45.
He dominated DreamHack Valencia by single-handedly dribbling past entire professional 3’s teams. I’m talking about top-tier teams like NRG, Cloud9, etc.
Chausette toppled all the fan favorites back-to-back.
He concocts brisk plays from thin air. He knows the most devastating flicks. Most importantly of all, he doesn’t throw himself out of position or put his team at a disadvantage.
I draw most of my inspiration from Chausette. But I’m keeping a watchful eye on Zen, too.
Anyway, that’s a wrap. Thanks for reading!