Looking for some coaching tricks to help your friends improve at Rocket League, eh? Well, sounds like it’s time to whip up that Mr. Miyagi sweatband.
I’ve coached hundreds of virtual athletes from sub-bronze to low-diamond – formal and informal. Many of those players eventually roasted past my skill level… so brace yourself for that frightening possibility.
Anyway, I’ll share some tips to keep the process painless, whether you want to successfully coach your friends or generate a tidy little side hustle coaching randoms.
Coaching Rocket League is one of the most fulfilling end-game pursuits you’ll find while buckled into a pixelated supercar. Hearing praise from a student who bustled through ranks is infinitely more gratifying than improving my own boring self.
But how did I land on this altruistic plateau? And what makes me qualified to stand on this pedestal?
Ah, I suppose I owe you a short narrative.
You see, once upon a time, I had a dream to become the world’s first plat 1 drafted into RLCS. Unfortunately, that fantasy fell to shambles as Musty went pro. My spirit was shattered. I had to retreat to the drawing board.
I grinded rank.
Once I started seeing results, I dabbled in coaching my friends. Then, I began analyzing replays. I hired an RLCS pro to correct my mistakes.
I began offering sessions to strangers.
Finally, I fired up a blog.
The point is: You don’t need a degree in education (or experience as an RLCS pro) to coach your friends in Rocket League. I promise. A mid-diamond can offer plenty of pointers to a low plat, as long as they verbalize that their journey is also in progress. And if you really are looking to fire up a side hustle coaching randoms, practicing with friends is the perfect starting ground.
You’ll get a better idea of effective coaching by outlining how information drips through the Rocket League community. It overlaps with our own personalized path to mastery.
Before a mechanic becomes solidified in our collective knowledge pool, it generally appears in some random Reddit clip where someone says, “Oh, hey guys, I noticed a thing.” Wavedashes and Flip Cancels perpetually live in this phase, thanks to their limitless applications.
Ex. Linkuru invents an odd training pack where only skilled flip cancelers can reach the ball before the timer expires.
After some time passes, a well-spoken content creator assembles a guide. The community deems the mechanic “consistent” and bestows a name.
Ex. The random new flip cancel earns the title of “speed flip.”
A high-profile content wizard jumps into the fray and spreads the newfound information like a plague with their unmatched talent in generating clickbait.
Ex. Musty conquers the speed flip, then creates a video titled “I discovered a kick-off that wins EVERY TIME in high ranked lobbies. Training pack included.”
Finally, information trickles to players who don’t consume RL content.
Ex. A player who watched Musty’s hit new video blasts into comms with his friends. He’ll ask if anyone knows how to speed flip, express his frustrations, and ultimately teaches his teammates, allowing them to flourish together.
On paper, coaching a friend falls into the final category. Although, the truth is, each new Rocket League concept you learned slid into different categories. You also battled through the same four-step process to subdue each mechanic yourself.
Every step of the way enhanced your game sense down to your very core.
Your intuition might pester you to coach explicitly through the “word of mouth” category. It’s a common mistake. Remember, that tone never harmonized with your route to enlightenment. To coach successfully, you’ll need to follow practices that stimulate your friends’ learning in all four categories.
Here’s a good outline to follow:
Bouncing thoughts back and forth will also help put fresh ideas into your head, upgrading your coaching finesse.
Articulation Phase: Go into a private match and request your student to spectate your car. Muster up the most elaborate details you can.
Repeat each concept 5-10 times and try to find a new angle of approach with each attempt. Use repetition to your advantage!
Exposure Phase: Swap positions with your student: Spectate their gameplay. Pay close attention to any mistakes you notice.
Don’t lecture. Politely correct. Then compliment a few positive things you observe. Confidence is important. Without it, your students won’t express their authentic habits.
From your student’s perspective, it’s reassuring to hear something you believe is true from a more experienced point of view.
Word of Mouth Phase: Share experiences that you’ve overcome. Pass down a few campfire stories that you heard while learning a core RL concept or mechanic.
It’s easy to overlook insight, but one or two sentences could be an incredible epiphany moment for your RL students. An hour session glossing over core mechanics proves fruitless for your aspiring rocketeer otherwise.
Here comes an important one:
Tell a few jokes. Share your biggest blunders. It’s crucial to end each session by reminding your student that you’re human. It shapes your accomplishments into something attainable.
These four steps encompass all popular coaching techniques: Replay analysis, demonstration, and live coaching. It’s the most organic progression, and anyone served the full four-course meal will walk away feeling satiated. Throw in your distinctive style, and you’re irreplaceable.
While the template above works, individuals have varying motives and missions. We’ll want to adapt our training regimen accordingly
This guy will constantly notify you that he already knows everything. Brush off any statements that come off as dismissive or rude. Deep down, he’s listening. He probably does have a decent notion of game sense but struggles to apply those concepts to real-time events in a Rocket League match.
These players require the most patience. Don’t emphasize things they’ve already heard. Instead, challenge them to a private one vs. one match and ask them to focus on particular skills. If their timing is wrong, let them know. Speak up if you have tips to make a specific skill easier to do consistently.
An occasional flex doesn’t hurt, either. Just be cautious not to downsize their ego to impalpable ash.
This player gets a special category because they wrestle with overcoming mental barriers the most. Conniving plat lobbies infested with bad attitude batter this player until they recluse deep into a bulky shell.
In most scenarios, apologetic players have more pristine positioning than others in their rank, but they’ll hesitate to commit to the ball. Sometimes you’ll catch a student who’s leagues ahead of their peers. They’ve been dawdling around in the same rank for years, and miscalculated touches are engraved into their reads – ultimately holding them back.
Their heads loop through dreadful cadences such as:
Just play a handful of casual games with this person. Let them know when they’re needed while wearing a friendly demeanor. You don’t need to be the guy who wakes up blaring Frank Sinatra or finds joy staring at photos of running water in front of a urinal. That’s unrealistic. But a good attitude will single-handedly carry this student’s growth.
Reassure apologetic players that you aren’t taking the game too seriously. Let them know that you’d rather watch them push past their comfort zone than win the game.
Altering someone’s motives is a skirmish that’s seldom worth the effort. Preaching the value of winning to someone who wants to breeze through Rocket League like a Harlem Globetrotter will ruin your coaching experience AND theirs.
Play their strengths.
Give aspiring freestylers the experience they want, and they’ll blossom. They’ll willingly put in the extra work on their own time. And when they’re ready, they’ll approach you about the more practical things like positioning and stancing.
Your classic self-proclaimed freestyler tends to overlook fundamental mechanical abilities, namely aerial car control. They take shortcuts while aiming to perform flashier tricks, producing inconsistency.
Quietly nod in agreement with a student who claims he can air dribble. He probably does succeed occasionally. Instead, tell your twirly-octane aficionado that you’ll offer some tips to make fancy shots more effortless.
First off, let’s cover how to physically share replays:
When it comes to coaching, I prefer discourse through Discord. Despite what the name suggests, Discord is unbelievably organized. You can open up a voice channel and share your screen without much resistance. I’ll link a more descriptive guide here.
Note: If you’re coaching over your phone, you’ll likely need to download replays in advance.
Now that we’ve cleared up the basics, it’s time to tackle the big stuff.
It’s simpler to point out mistakes in someone’s game sense after catching them red-handed. You can point out errors, and they’ll witness the immediate consequences.
Don’t correct every little mistake. Your objective is highlighting issues that your student is blatantly unaware of. That translates to honing in on habitual mistakes. Sometimes our fingers slip, or we panic. Don’t overemphasize the little things. Promote a comfortable environment where the student can speak openly:
“Yeah. I knew that. Honest mistake.”
Cool. Move on. Time wasted here is time lost on meaty content.
Pause frequently. A frame-by-frame examination helps your student absorb information in bite-sized chunks.
Use an overhead camera to highlight positioning issues. Some screen shares allow mark-ups, but zooming into an area is hardly a hassle when one isn’t available.
Overhead camera is a godsend when it comes to giving a new, holistic perspective. Abuse that power.
Show missed passing opportunities. Rocket League content creators love to funnel hollow mechanics into our brains with fancy clips or complex tutorials. There’s a reason for that: Mechanics are concrete and easier to teach without examples. Although, you know as well as anyone that brute-force mechanics are the slowest path to achieving rank.
It’s your job to convey the truth: ranking up in RL doesn’t have to be so difficult. Teamwork makes the dream work. You know, all that cliché Anime stuff.
Still, students will cling to mechanical aptitude, so it’s best to oblige them. Here’s a list of widespread mechanical errors to monitor:
Bonus points: The utter simplicity of the mechanics highlighted will be an eye-opening experience for them.
Nothing trumps the old-fashioned “watch and learn” approach when it comes to developing car control or new mechanical skills.
Students also benefit from spectating any homebrew training routines you prepare for them.
Any time you reckon visual aid could come in handy, don’t be afraid to break it down in an isolated private match. It’s time well spent.
Now, let’s knock out the best way to script the setting:
If an exercise seems a little drab, it’s okay to joke about it. A good drop line or two comes in handy. I’ll often crack the joke, “I know you’re sick of hearing your dentist tell you you’ve gotta floss… but you gotta floss.”
Then reassure your student that warm-ups only take 2-5 minutes a day. Nobody envisions them grinding something so simplistic until sunrise. Building skill takes time.
You get the idea.
I typically allow my students to join in and practice pretty liberally. If they’re raring to go, it’s best to strike while the iron is hot. I’ll hop out and spectate to verbally correct errors early.
However, I advise skipping this step if a student has wandering eyes or darts off fidgeting with a dozen unrelated mechanics. Catering toward interests is fine, but only if your student gets engrossed.
We’re talking about the guy who:
You’ll recognize the student when he comes knocking on your door.
If you catch yourself in this situation, politely end the segment and prepare for a replay analysis.
The YouTube fanatic with the insect attention span isn’t the only student who struggles to retain information.
We all have our limits.
The human brain only retains about 30% of the information thrown at it after a full rotation of the sun. That’s roughly 34 Gigabytes of data. (I figured the info might click if I compared it to a download size.)
After a week, statistically speaking, 75% of learned information gets tossed into a metaphorical landfill.
Our retention nearly triples when paired with visual aid, but I still wouldn’t count on unloading heavy barrels full of information on your unsuspecting RL students.
You’ll forget those numbers in an hour, and that’s okay. They aren’t the main takeaway.
Here’s the trick: We learn by anchoring new knowledge to prior knowledge.
So, if you want to be a methodical coach, hone your attention toward your student’s interests. Then, find points where those interests intersect with the most substantial issues in their gameplay.
(Kind of like how I’m low-key training you to become a better teacher by anchoring the information to your interest in Rocket League.)
Sorry, I couldn’t resist. I won’t break the 4th wall again. I swear.
Always end each session with a recap of your most valuable points. Save the point that aligns best with your student’s interests for last. It’ll arouse their attention. That way, you can ask if they have any questions and recieve genuine inquiries that leave a marvelous final impression on a coaching session.
Bonus Tip: If you don’t mind wearing the outfit of a shady bearded mother, you can recommend some solid Z’s the night after a session. Scientists have proven that a good night’s sleep helps with daily memory retention. While you’re at it, force ’em to eat fish oil and pack clean underwear for when you inevitably nail a freestyle clip on them.
They say that good artists draw inspiration and great artists steal. There’s no sense in re-inventing the wheel every single day.
Information and presentation both improve as they pass through more sets of hands. Even if you’re the best car soccer player in the world, you’ll still benefit from having a conversation with the most articulate player in the world.
Heck, even talking to a newbie helps put some fresh ideas in that noggin of yours. Sometimes we repeat the same process so often that we begin to gloss over the finer details.
A new set of eyes is the most valuable teaching resource in existence.
Rocket League is a highly personalized experience. You spend your time fixated on your own habits with marginal feedback. You’re bound to develop quirks that bewilder a stranger.
In many ways, Rocket League bears resemblances to driving. Sure, you think your driving is on point…
But have you ever hopped in a car with someone else and been mortified by their habits? Absolutely. The experience felt so foreign to you. It was only natural to reach up for that dumb little handlebar on the roof.
TL;DR: You’re never too good to hire a coach.
Even after listing an airtight lesson plan and a dozen tricks to pair with it, there’s still a missing element.
Good teaching transcends the world of Rocket League. Take a moment to reminisce about your favorite teacher.
No, not the one who always let you sleep through class and let you watch Fight Club for the millionth time. Not the slender fresh-out-of-college teacher who always wore low-cut blouses, either.
(But we’re getting warmer. Unwittingly or not, Miss May appealed to your human senses.)
I’d wager your favorite teacher wasn’t some dude towering in front of the class giving monotonous, hour-long lectures. They treated you like a human with thoughts, interests, and varying capabilities.
Your favorite teacher probably spent time listening to your thought patterns – finding more compelling methods of conversing with you. Most importantly of all, they believed in you.
Alright, I’ll tone down on the sappy vibes.
Here’s a teaching template I ripped from a Ted Talk with one of those unorthodox competent-yet-liberal super-teachers like you see in blockbuster films:
Your favorite teacher offered you choices.
Sure, you still had a paper to write, but you had the option to spit an essay on the most expensive tradable cosmetic items in Rocket League if you wanted. You could ramble on about the rarest items or how much it sucks to trade.
That eased the process of investing the time and energy required to submit a project that filled you with pride.
Granted, too many choices puts a person into paralysis, but 2-4 options for practicing a core skill goes a long way.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
Last of all, take into account different learning styles. 65% of us learn visually. Some learn best through auditory stimuli. I’m a kinesthetic learner myself.
Something as simple as recommending a dedicated music playlist for training can heighten results to unexpected levels.
Sparking creativity in the people you mentor helps them remain engaged. You can retain attention best when you permit them to be a little silly or reward habits that feel unfamiliar to them.
Juggling inventiveness with laying down the law on active mistakes might appear arduous. You’ll need to be creative yourself to strike the right balance.
At the end of the day, Rocket League is a video game. It should be fun and emotional. Sucking creativity from the game transforms it into a chore. We don’t want that.
A great teacher is a phenomenal listener.
Look, I already covered this earlier, so I’ll get straight to the point:
Listen first, talk second. Personalized information dwarfs repeated mantras. Ideally, you want to point out a critical error that your student hadn’t considered.
Working on projects together etches distinct memories into a pupil’s mind. Shared experiences are more captivating.
Plus, there’s that elephant in the room:
Rocket League is a team-oriented game, you dunce. Developing a stronger teamwork mentality could be the missing link between your student and his/her desired rank.
But how can a coach incorporate a solid collab amidst the pressures of actually coaching? Well, it boils down to instincts.
Another trick is to share your weekly goals with your student. Establish a pact with them, telling them you’ll work just as hard to refine your Rocket League flair. The extra sense of camaraderie and dedication speaks volumes about your character.
Good collaboration gets your student hyped for their next coaching session. End of story.
Back in the dark ages, a man named John Heywood wrote the classic line:
“You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.”
Forget that guy. He’s a total dingus. He probably couldn’t even score a reverse-musty double tap on an open net.
While you can’t push an aspiring rocketeer to train hard on their own time, you can inspire them.
While you can’t force aspiring rocketeers to assess their positioning, you can push them to reflect during an active session.
Maybe Haywood’s problem is that he led his horse and was too lazy to coax it. He didn’t treat that horse with the care and compassion needed to communicate effectively.
Seriously, don’t skimp on pushing your protégé to use their wit. It leaves a lasting impression – and wakes students up from a potential nap. It also eases some of the strain off of your rigorous coaching routine.
Give yourself a breather. Put your student in your shoes. You might find it helps your student build respect for your hard work.
I know I’ve served a lot of food for thought on your plate today. I’m sorry for that. I want you to succeed out there.
The truth is, passion and dedication will fuel your growth. A good painter puts care into every brush stroke. A talented actor rehearses nonstop. As long as you bring the right level of charisma and devotion, you’ll be a successful RL coach.
Study hard, play hard, and coach gently.
Then, everything I’ve told you today will be icing on the cake. You’ll be as fuel-efficient as a Prius… but not quite as… helplessly flamboyant.
The other stuff comes with a sprinkle of repetition. You’ll formulate your unique style. Try not to overthink it.