Last week, I wrote an in-detail post about how anyone at any rank in Rocket League can make exponential improvements in their game using deliberate practice and the importance of effective replay analysis. This brings up another question – What is effective replay analysis?
The correct way to analyze your replays is by focussing on goal events (hits and misses), rewatching these events again and again from various points of view, and making notes about what you could have done differently for a more favorable outcome.
For simplification, let’s break it down into 4 steps.
Step 1: Focus on goal events.
Step 2: Go back 30 secs before an event.
Step 3: Repeat step 2 from other POV.
Stet 4: Take Notes.
YOU are the subject of analysis
The biggest mistake players make in replay analysis is getting obsessed with the mistakes of other players, especially teammates. The entire point of this exercise is to find potential avenues of improvement in our game.
You can only improve if you accept wins and losses equally. Let whatever happens happen. Could YOU have done better? And if yes, what can YOU do differently next time.
Even if a teammate makes a mistake, can you go back 20 seconds and see what you could have done to prevent that mistake from happening or how you contributed to that mistake.
With that out of the way. Let’s look at each of these steps in a little more detail.
Step 1: Focus on goal events
This step should cover all goal events, both hits & misses, and for both you and your opponents. We want to analyze everything – how we score, how we defend, and how we miss or get scored on. This is because we want to watch what mistakes we make, what can we do better, and what we can do differently.
Besides that, also look out for potential scoring opportunities that you may have avoided maybe because they were tough, maybe because of your incorrect boost pathing. Try and figure out something that you could have done better to score for your team.
Step 2: Go back 30 secs before an event
Go back 25 – 30 seconds before an event and start watching what you are doing, where you are on the field, can you sense what’s going to happen in time, how do you approach the event, did you manage boost effectively, were you aware of where your teammates were, etc.
Step 3: Repeat step 2 from another POV
Now we will repeat step 2 over and over again from various points of view: teammates, opponents, bird’s eye view, etc. Again focus mainly on what you as an individual could have done better such that the outcome of events could have been more favorable for your team.
It is easy to be blind to our mistakes, particularly when watching replays from just our pov. Watching the same event from different points of view immediately shows us how predictable we were or how bad our move was.
Step 4: Take notes
Take lots of notes. This is where you can shine.
Write everything that you can observe about yourself that could be done better or improved.
Was your timing perfect? Did you react late? Should you have dived into the action earlier? Should you have hung back for a while and collected boost instead? When is the right time to challenge? Are you able to force opponents to make mistakes? Are they able to do that to you?
Keep your focus broadly on game sense and narrowly on the tiniest specific details like ball possession, player awareness, rotation, correctly predicting bounce, etc. Then go back over and over again to see what you could do differently.
Learn to Prioritize
As you can see, when done this way, replay analysis can be a great self-reflective feedback tool that can help you identify the right areas to work on and improve.
But there is also a downside, sometimes replay analysis leaves us with too much information and without a coach, players can be left with an overwhelming amount of data on what to work on and what to improve. This is mostly true of players in the lower ranks.
If this is the case with you, then you have to prioritize. What you must do is to look for repeating patterns of mistakes over multiple games. And be sure there is enough evidence that the mistake was costly to your team.
Then list down the mistakes in descending order of costliness and frequency. Work on those that are both very frequent and costly to your team. Also as a bonus, here’s a great video by SunlessKhan on what to work on and how to improve at any level of skill.
A final point I want to make here is to watch replays of all kinds of games – the bigger the variety, the more facets of your own game you will be able to see. Don’t just pick replays where your team dominated.
Instead include those games that were very close or those where you were dominated. You ideally want to analyze how you perform under all three situations: high, moderate, and zero pressure.