The best part about being a Rocket League player is the journey of starting from zero and slowly making your way up the ranks. In my first week of playing the game, when I was ranked at bronze, I used to be terrified of going up walls because I couldn’t wrap my head around how the physics of ball and car worked up there.
Weeks later when a friend from the higher ranks gave me an hour-long in-person tutorial on wall mechanics and wall play, I was mind blown. Not because of how wrong I was about walls but how obvious and simple the logic of wall play was in Rocket League and how I never saw it that way.
Most beginner rocket league players fear the wall more than anything else because their dodges don’t work, everything is sideways and they whiff all the time. As intimidating as the wall may initially appear to low-ranked players, it is honestly simple to understand and easy to conquer, if you’ve been taught with the right perspective. This essay aims to cover everything there is to cover about the ball on the wall so beginners can get comfortable and even go on to master it all – wall shots, wall play, wall hits, wall aerials, wall dodges & flips, wall clears and wall passes.
How do you get better at walls?
First of all, please understand that in Rocket League, the ball physics on a wall is pretty close to the ball physics on the ground. Yes, everything is pivoted 90 degrees and gravity is acting sideways – but apart from those two things, everything else is the same about the way the ball behaves.
Car handling on the wall
There are two basic things that new players will need to familiarize themselves with about car handling on the wall.
- You have to keep moving to maintain traction on the wall in Rocket League. So, when you take your finger off the gas and stop driving either forwards or backward then your car begins to slide down the wall.
- When on the backboard wall, just like driving backward (during shadow defense) the steer directions are inverted. So left takes you right and right takes you left.
Start by trying to get yourself accustomed to the pivoted perspective of being on the wall. Do this by spending 10-15 minutes driving on the wall in freeplay every day. Make random turns, power slide, and test different speeds until you feel comfortable. There is no need to jump, dodge or include any mechanics that make you leave the wall at this stage. Do this every day for about a week or until you are comfortable with being on the wall, then move on to the next part.
A note on Ball Cam
Once you are familiar with car handling, you can then start playing around with a basic custom training pack for wall hits. Don’t get too eager and jump ahead of schedule yet. All we are going to do is attempt simple wall shots (those where the ball is planted firmly to the wall) by driving on the wall and into the ball.
The core concept that you have to understand is that an important part of getting good at rocket league is about managing ball cam. Nowhere is this more evident than on the walls. What that means is that you always want to control the car in relation to the ball and your target such that your ball cam is working for you and not against you.
So on a wall, your approach must be such that the ball cam lines up behind your car and the ball is visible in front. I made a poor-quality video trying to explain this sometime back. Here it is.
Types of Wall Shots
Most rocket league experts broadly classify wall shots into 3 main types:
- Shots where the ball is on the wall (involves zero mechanics, just timing).
- Shots where the ball is just a jump or a dodge away from the wall (involves one mechanic, plus air roll).
- Shots where the ball is at a considerable distance from the wall (involves timing, multiple mechanics, air rolling, and a lot of practice)
The first shot is obviously the easiest since all it requires is making contact with the ball as you drive on the wall. This is what I asked you to begin working on in the previous section where I explained the concept of ball cam management.
Practice this with a basic training pack for 10-15 minutes a day for up to two weeks or however long it takes you to become confident. Introduce variations in boost, the path you take to the ball, and try using vehicles with different hitboxes until you are comfortable making contact with the ball under all kinds of different in-game scenarios.
After that, you’ll want to begin practicing the second type of shot which involves driving and jumping or side-dodging into the ball. Finally, you can begin working on the third category of shots in which the ball is at a larger distance from the wall.
This will require you to either jump and preserve the second dodge for when you make contact with the ball or jump by pressing down the jump button for longer, then air rolling to stabilize your approach towards the ball for an aerial hit. These kinds of shots are varied and can be difficult to summarize in words. Everything from the trajectory of the ball, to your angle of approach, can vary thereby making the shot difficult to take. But even that can be mastered with enough practice and patience.
A note on the Ball
Typically you’ll want the nose or corners of your car to make contact with the underbelly of the ball. This ensures the ball travels horizontally towards the intended direction and also pops up vertically, enough to cover the horizontal distance. In some cases, though you may want to make contact with the ball laterally. When you do that, you’ll notice how in these shots, the ball immediately begins to drop in altitude as it moves away from the wall.
Another aspect of ball behavior is learning to read the ball when it is on its way up the wall. The best way to do this is to practice sending the ball up a wall in freeplay. Doing this for a few hundred hours will make you familiar with all the different kinds of approaches the ball can take during its path up a wall, thereby helping you make better wall reads in-game.
Generally, when the ball is smoothly rolling towards the wall, it remains planted to the wall or stays close to the wall at height. While a slightly bouncy ball is often at some sort of a gap to the wall. It is, therefore, safe to assume that any kind of bounce will induce a gap, and the greater the bounce, the greater the gap.
Wall Play & Strategies
Wall Defense for Beginners
Most of these are for the backboard or the walls near corners. There are three types of defensive wall moves.
- Wall Clears – These are just bounce-shots but on the wall. When clearing a ball on the wall practice hitting the ball with the nose or corners right after it has bounced off the wall. This sounds hard but is actually all about timing and can easily be learned with a few hours of practice. If you’ve already practiced bounce power shots on the ground then all that experience will carry.
- Wall Catches – Catching on a wall is simply coming in between the wall and the ball at the point where you predict the contact between wall and ball will happen. Use the hood of your car, not the nose, and not its corners so that the bounce and momentum of the ball dampens. Catching is a great way to slow down or control the pace of the game in a lot of situations where it may be required. For instance, to kill time so your teammates can get boost or get into position or move in to cover an open net, etc.
- Wall Passes – These are nothing but wall clears that are hit diagonally across the field. When passing from the wall, you are essentially clearing the ball – only you are doing it so the ball goes to the other half of the field as far as possible. Why the other side, you may ask. Simple, because your teammates will mostly rotate backpost and not ballside. Therefore you want to be passing to them around where they are (possibly grabbing mid boost) so they can begin the offense.
Wall Offense for Beginners
When we talk about wall offense we’re talking about opportunities of attack on sidewalls, towards the opponent’s half of the field. Most of such offensive wall play is not beginner-level, since it requires players to be able to consistently do more advanced jumps off the wall and be familiar with aerial hits.
So for this essay, an easy end to this section is to simply work on the three kinds of wall shots we discussed, with custom training packs. Once you are good enough to accurately be shooting directly at the net from the wall for the third kind of wall shot then you will be ready for advanced offensive wall play, which perhaps will be the topic of another essay.
Practice & Training
Keep your practice simple, spaced, and regular. As in try doing it for up to 30 minutes every day. Focus on progressions. Start by breaking down the mechanics of the thing you are trying to practice down to its smallest elements. Focus on one thing at a time and perfect it, then build a layer of an additional mechanic on top.
For instance, to practice performing the third kind of wall shot, you’ll first begin by practicing driving up the wall on the right path, then once you are doing that correctly in all your attempts, you will practice adding jumps at the end. Do this over and over again until you are doing that correctly. Then add air rolling or side dodging, then add boosting, then just try to touch the ball every time, then add your second dodge, and finally practice placing your shot.
For all basic backboard defense like clears, passes, and catches, freeplay practice with ball control features on the d-pad is more than sufficient. Simply drive up the backboard and hit your d-pad key for ‘pass ball’. That will bring the ball flying towards you.
For all other scenarios, here is a comprehensive list of custom training packs with their codes.
Christo5’s Wall Shots & Aerials Training Pack: B00C-128C-7D85-DBB3
Sabi’s (gamersrdy) Wall Shots Training Pack: 9369-DAD2-1EAB-9B25
Poquito’s Wall Shots Training Pack: 9F6D-4387-4C57-2E4B
AirChargedGaming’s Wall Shots Pack: 44E3-C9E6-40A8-22C1
Hoodyhooo’s Backboard Defense Pack: 99E5-4AA3-60D5-44BD
Luugi’s Wall Play Custom Training Pack: 3CBA-47A1-95E1-217D
Wheelchair Lflegs’ Aerial Off-Wall Pack: 5BFE-60D6-0D59-79F2
Off170’s Wall Shots Custom Training Pack: 0208-0D8A-6545-4696
tRose888’s Back Wall Clears Pack: 23C2-024C-9C08-CF31
Wayprotein’s Back Wall Shots Pack: B185-5419-CF91-B420
Wayprotein’s Basic Wall Clears Pack: 70F1-3753-10A1-BA21
Wayprotein’s Advanced Wall Shots: 872B-1941-BC35-8E3C