This article explains how to be a good Goalie in Rocket League, with tips, tricks, strategy advice and advanced techniques for stopping shots like a pro.
The ability to take charge of the goal area in Rocket League, whether on a permanent basis or as part of a fluidly rotating team, is absolutely crucial if you want to rise up the ranks at a decent clip. As with all aspects of the game, anticipation of the ball is the key element for success here, but it requires quite a different approach and mindset.
In our guide to playing this crucial role in Rocket League, we've pulled together all of the most important info you need to start the process of mastering this aspect of the game. It'll be updated over time, but for now should be an excellent primer for all levels. Let us know in the comments if there's anything else you'd like to see us cover, and we'll investigate for the next edition.
The first port of call for the wannabe super-goalie should be the in-game Training system - make it a regular part of your play-time. There's no substitute for the pressure and uncertainty of a live match, but the Goalie Training module is incredibly useful for sharpening up your skills.
Don't stop using this system just because you've beaten it a few times either. Regularly work through the Rookie, Pro and All-Star challenges here until you can consistently deal with every degree of difficulty thrown at you. Anticipation management is half the skill of getting good at Rocket League, and this mode will teach you it in spades.
There are two schools of thought when it comes to positioning as a goalie in Rocket League. You can either face the ball looking straight out from the goal-mouth, or maintain a side-on position with your vehicle lying along the length of the goal-line.
If you prefer to man the goal face-on, consider tucking yourself just behind the goal-line to increase your view and gain a little extra distance for intercepting shots. Halfway between the goal mouth and the back of the net is the sweet spot to hover around, and you should keep realigning your car to face the ball at all times too - don't just sit there idling and waiting for something to happen.
Alternatively, you can position yourself side-on to the action, and alongside the goal-line itself, covering more of the width of the goal in the process. From here you can move back and forth, zip into the action, or dodge block a shot. Regardless of how you choose to tackle the problem though (no pun intended), do always make sure that you keep moving to match the current position of the ball as it lies across the width of the pitch.
Spend time mastering both of these positions, as you'll likely need to switch up depending on the flow of a match, and where the action is currently concentrated.
Here's a final tip on positioning. If you have a teammate in the thick of the action and you're the only one on goal, stay there. Don't be tempted to get stuck into the scramble for control. If your teammate wins the encounter, your team has the ball! If they don't, you need someone (ie you) to be ready to handle the threat that's almost certainly about to head your goal's way...
Save shots or stop shots before they start?
At every stage of the game you need to ask yourself whether you are better off saving the shot from a relatively static position, or playing aggressively and preventing the shot from getting under way in the first place.
Only practise will help you make the right choice in any given scenario. If you've made the decision to play aggressively though, commit to it and avoid taking half-measures. Dithering will only help your opponent.
It's within this context that you'll learn the main benefit of remaining face-on to the action from the goal position. By looking straight out, you can much more easily rush an attacker and boot the ball off them before they can even get their shot off. Doing so will of course expose the goal, and so confidence and practise are essential here.
As a general rule of thumb, if an opponent is closer to the ball than you are, they are in your third of the arena, and you have no other teammates nearby to help, it is probably better to hang further back and deal with whatever shot they choose to take. Play it passively, in other words, and use all the time you have to anticipate and react to the incoming shot.
There are no hard and fast rules here, but that's a pretty good rule of thumb in your early days with the game at least.
Manage more than just the goalmouth
Although your priority should be to protect that precious goal line, you can still harass the players on the other team, and potentially force them into making costly mistakes.
Don't be afraid to needle away at the action that's taking place further down the field, for example, zooming forward to block off an avenue they might want to pursue, and then rapidly reversing back into position. You can prod and poke like this to really put the other team under pressure. The more rattled they are, the more likely they are to fluff their shots.
Naturally, you're introducing the potential to gift goals to the other team by playing too aggressively, but if a team can safely work this extra bit of pressure into their group effort, they'll gain a significant advantage.
As we've probably made clear by all of the above, you should not limit yourself to covering a tiny pocket of action around the goal itself, but rather you should be making aggressive clears and keeping your position fluid.
That means you need to grab your fair share of boost as well, but bide your time and don't grab any top-ups unless the action is quite some way away from your goal, and going for a pick-up won't leave you horribly exposed.
Make constant use of the boost spot right in front of you though, topping up at every opportunity. This is the easiest spot to reach, so make it your own!
It's not easy being a great goalie in Rocket League but mastering these core competencies will make you a potent member of any team. It's a lot of responsibility to take on - particularly if your team stubbornly refuses to rotate into the goalie position with the flow of a match - and so you may feel a lot of pressure as you learn.
Just remember that it is a learning process, so try to focus on improving one element at a time and ignore the haters you'll inevitably encounter along the way.