Unlocking Optimal Performance in Rocket League: The Power of Coaching

The world of esports has seen an astonishing rise over the past decade, with games like Rocket League standing out as fan favorites. While traditional sports have long utilized notational analysis to understand the intricacies of optimal performance, this approach remains underexplored in esports. However, a groundbreaking study led by Smithies, Campbell, Ramsbottom, and Toth delves deep into this very domain, employing Random Forest models to shed light on the pivotal metrics in Rocket League. This analysis uncovers a treasure trove of insights that can guide Rocket League coaching to new heights.

Rocket League: A Goldmine for Notational Analysis

The allure of Rocket League lies not just in its captivating gameplay but also in the massive online data repository, comprising data from millions of matches. This vast dataset offers a unique opportunity for researchers to glean insights into gameplay patterns, strategies, and determinants of match outcomes and player rankings.

Key Takeaways from the Study

Drawing on match data from 21,588 Rocket League matches across four player ranks, the study hones in on several critical findings:

  1. Performance Indicators (PIs): These metrics were shown to influence the match outcome directly. Notably, the number of shots taken, shots conceded, saves made, and the time spent goalside of the ball emerged as the most influential PIs.
  2. Rank Indicators (RIs): Factors influencing in-game player rank included time spent at supersonic speed, time spent on the ground, shots conceded, and time spent goalside of the ball.

The Implications for Rocket League Coaching

For a Rocket League coach, these findings are instrumental in framing coaching strategies. Here’s how:

  • Strategic Gameplay: Emphasizing the significance of shots taken and saves made, coaches can tailor training sessions to refine these skills, ensuring players make the most of their scoring opportunities while thwarting opponent attacks.
  • Positional Awareness: Time spent goalside of the ball emerged as a crucial metric for both PIs and RIs. Rocket League coaches can thus work with players to develop a keen sense of positioning, helping them be in the right place at the right time.
  • Movement and Speed: The data highlights the importance of time spent at supersonic speed and on the ground. Coaches can design drills to improve players’ movement efficiency and agility, capitalizing on the game’s aerial and ground dynamics.

The Rocket League Coach: Beyond Traditional Coaching

Given the intricate metrics brought to the fore by this study, the role of a Rocket League coach extends beyond conventional coaching. They must be adept at:

  1. Data Analysis: A deep understanding of data analytics is imperative. Coaches can leverage in-game data to identify areas of improvement, making evidence-backed decisions.
  2. Feedback Mechanisms: With clear PIs and RIs identified, coaches can provide specific feedback, ensuring players know precisely where to focus their efforts.
  3. Customized Training: Every player is unique. Recognizing this, Rocket League coaching should offer tailored training sessions, addressing individual strengths and areas for improvement.

Conclusion: Rocket League Coaching – A Game Changer

The world of esports is evolving, and with it, the approach to coaching. The study by Smithies and team sets the stage for a new era of Rocket League coaching, where data-driven insights become the cornerstone of training. For players aspiring to climb the Rocket League ranks, partnering with a coach who understands these nuances can make all the difference.

Rocket League is not just a game; it’s a symphony of strategy, skill, and speed. And with the right coach by your side, you’re well on your way to mastering its melodies.


Smithies, Tim & Campbell, Mark & Ramsbottom, Niall & Toth, Adam. (2021). A Random Forest approach to identify metrics that best predict match outcome and player ranking in the esport Rocket League. Scientific Reports. 10.1038/s41598-021-98879-9.

Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

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