In Rocket League, learning to hit power shots is relatively simple to learn and beneficial in ranking up quickly through the lower and middle ranks. My friend went from Gold 2 to Diamond 1 in half a season solely by working on their power shots and power clears.
While each player is unique with regards to how they progress in the game, I think we can all agree that in the middle ranks, being able to hit consistent power shots to the net is a powerful tool for any rocket league player to have in their arsenal.
Mastering power shots to clear the ball towards the opponent’s net is an easy way to build pressure, score goals, win more games, and thereby rank up fast from Bronze and Silver to Diamond.
At first, your shots may not be accurate, but it still helps to keep the ball more on the opponent’s side of the field. Later when your accuracy improves, you’ll score more goals because the ball can travel so fast it catches most players by surprise.
Beyond diamond, however, power clears may not be too effective, since most opponents in those ranks are skilled enough to handle them. Nonetheless, power shots are still useful for passing and shooting.
What are Power Shots and Power Clears?
Different people refer to different things when they use the term “power shot”. I’ll get into those details in a minute, but first, let’s get a basic understanding of what the term means.
A shot is called a power shot when the ball is hit with power from the nose of your car so that the ball takes an arc-like path or trajectory. Using a power shot to clear the ball back towards the opponent’s goal is called a power clear.
Now if like me, you went looking for power shot tutorials on youtube and found yourself confused, don’t worry. Yes, people are calling different things power shots, but the confusion lies in the type of shots, not in the philosophy behind them.
What’s common among all those tutorials is that they all talk about generating a lot of power in a short interval to meet the ball such that the front of the car makes solid contact with it and booms the ball across the field or into the net.
Types of power shots
In squishy’s power shot tutorial, he tells you to drive away then hook and flip your car into the ball right after it bounces. This is also called a bounce power shot. The hooking action gets your car’s front edge to hit the ball. In sir timbers’ power shot and power clear tutorial, he tells you to jump to meet the ball when it’s on the rise after a bounce. This is also called a half-volley power shot.
The Half-volley power shots in sir timber’s video and the bounce power shots in squishy’s video are the same thing with a minor difference which I will get to in the next section.
There are two other kinds of shots that I’m not going to talk about in this essay – ground shots and aerial power shots. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m not sure if a ground shot can be called a power shot. Besides, all you have to do to hit a ground shot is drive into the ball that is rolling or sitting firmly on the ground – so what’s there to discuss?
And as for Aerial power shots, that is not something I’m qualified to talk about because, in all honesty, I can’t hit them myself.
When to use it.
You can use a power shot in as many different situations as your creativity allows you to. In online games, you’ll see players using it for shots, passes, and clears.
For clears, the ball is mostly traveling towards you from the opponent’s side and you hit it a split-second after it bounces to send it back towards their side. For shots at the net, the ball will mostly be bouncing in front of you but it could be moving towards the net or it could have just rebounded off the wall and been moving towards you.
This is the minor difference in squishy’s and sir timbers’ video tutorials that my noob brain couldn’t comprehend at first. See, there are two kinds of momentums (momenta?) at work here. One is the vertical momentum of the ball right after it has bounced. The other is the horizontal momentum of the ball i.e. which direction it is moving towards i.e front, back, left, right.
In sir timbers’ video, when he is demonstrating using all-star aerial training to practice power clears his car meets the ball in half-volley but from the opposite side of the direction the ball is headed in.
In squishy’s video, the direction the ball is headed in and the direction his car is headed in are the same. It would be hard to generate as much force upon contact as we could with some sort of opposition. Hence the hook.
How to hit power shots?
The short answer is through practice and patience.
But that’s not helpful. When you watch the pros hit power shots, you see so many variations. Which one should you work towards learning? Don’t worry, simplifying the process of learning how to hit power shots is the entire purpose of this essay.
It is natural to get overwhelmed when you first start practicing hitting power shots. Especially if you try to factor in all the variables like watching the ball’s trajectory, predicting the time of bounce, reading the ball’s direction, and also trying to make the best connection with your car.
Instead of doing all that and smashing your controller on the wall after multiple whiffs, just follow this simple progression of timing, power, and direction that will make learning to hit power shots both fun and easy.
Power Shot Progression
STAGE 1: TIMING
For ease, I’ve further divided timing into 3 of its sub-stages.
Timing Sub-Stage 1: Chipping
Meeting the car right after the ball has bounced is all about timing. But don’t try to do that right away. We want to train our brains to learn the bounce timing to perfection. So start by teaching yourself to first meet the ball at the bounce.
Head over to all-star aerial training and start paying attention to the little circle on the ground which indicates where the ball is. Practice watching this circle as the ball begins its descent and just try to drive your car into the ball to meet the bounce. That’s it, do this over and over again until you perfect it. Bewarned that this will take lots of time and practice but from here on it only gets easier.
Timing Sub-Stage 2: Advances & Delays
Once you’ve perfected chipping the ball exactly on the bounce then practice deliberately introducing some time variability (advances and delays) and see how that affects the ball. To do this try driving into the bounce a split-second before and a split-second after. Note how this affects the trajectory of the ball.
Timing Sub-Stage 3: Jumps, Flips & Dodges
Once you’re able to advance or delay meeting the bounces at will, then it’s time to introduce some action. From here on you will add a layer of jumping, flipping, or dodging to hit the ball. Try doing all these while continuing to play with time variability. Notice how it affects the trajectory of the shots.
Finally, when you have enough practice with all three of the above sub-stages, you’ll be confident coming towards the bounce just a little bit late so you can jump up and meet it or flip your car into it.
Now you must keep single-minded attention on consistently hitting the ball with the nose of your car with as much power as you possibly can, right after it bounces. Do not move to stage 2 until you’ve become consistent with all these – hitting with power, with the nose of your car, and right after the ball has bounced.
STAGE 2: POWER
After mastering all sub-stages of timing, you’ll find yourself hitting the ball way more consistently. From this point on start becoming aware of how much power you are generating before hitting the ball and how far the ball travels. Practice making variations in pre-hit power by trying to approach the ball both with and without boost and at varying speeds.
Before hitting shots keep a general target of the desired distance you want the ball to travel and try to hit it in that range.
STAGE 3: DIRECTION
Once you’ve mastered timing and power, the last stage is direction.
From here on, start consciously being aware of the angle at which you approach your shots. Always aim for the desired spot on the field where you wish to hit the ball. Try different variations in your angles of approach, layering them on top of time and power variability. Notice and learn how all three variables affect where and how the ball goes.
Among all three stages of progression, timing is the hardest to master. I’ve heard from unconfirmed gossip that there are pros that are such masters at timing the bounce that they don’t even dodge when hitting a power shot. What ends up deceptively looking like a chip shot turns out to be a power shot. And all this in games, not practice.
Do you believe in such stories? Me personally, no. I’d take that with a pinch of salt. I won’t believe it until I see it with my own eyes. No matter how good you are, I simply don’t think that something like that is possible with a breakout hitbox in the first place. Octane or Fennec – maybe. Merc – possibly. Anyways the point is that timing is the most crucial aspect to work on.
After you’ve mastered all the above progressions and want to become the god of power shots, here is a list of training packs for ranks gold and above. These packs are way more advanced than the basics that I talk about in this essay. So tread carefully, better don’t attempt them until you’ve mastered the three progressions.
That’s it. Stop staring at the screen and go practice!