Rocket League – The Ultimate 3s Guide to Rank Up!

After the last guide’s success, I figured to make another guide mainly focused on 3s! This guide will support you ranking up, mostly focused on lower ranks (Bronze to Champion), but from own experience I know that some higher ranks could use some of these tips too!

Basic Rotation

If you’re playing with friends, this is a very very important step to winning more games! Rotation is CRUCIAL as a strong rotation will give you the most benefits regarding pressure, offense and defense!

Having your teammates by your side is one thing, but rotating with them is another. You can see rotation as playing “organised”, reason being is that rotation actually helps you know your positioning and where on the field you should be, rotation might also make positioning easier if you know what your position’s “goal” is.

There are many advantages to rotating the right way,

Let’s start with naming the positions.

First position

The first position refers to the player being in front of the field with the ball and their objective is to shoot it in net, set up a pass for second, dribble the ball further into the field or challenging the ball if they don’t have posession. Basically anything that gains their team advantages and leads to an eventual goal!

Second position

The second position refers to the player being behind the leading player and their objective is to support the first position’s play, whether that be a pass, 50/50 or failed shot on net, they are there to support the play, and make decisions off of the first position’s decisions.

Third position

The third position refers to the player being in the back, this is the player that sees all of his teammates and reacts based on if an opponent shoots a shot across the field to net, or when the play turns defense. When the play becomes defensive, this player has to buy time for his teammates to get back, but we’ll discuss defense in the next section!

Rotation simplified is just basically:

  • First goes to Third.
  • Second goes to First.
  • Third goes to Second.

Now that you know how rotation is supposed to work, and what your position’s objective is, let’s move on to the next section!

Sudden Defense Rotation

When the opponent booms the ball to your half, the rotation scheme gets switched up. If this situations happens and first and second are out of position, this is what should happen within your team.

First position

First position becomes third and should return to his/her half as soon as they can.

Second position

The second position stays second, though if second is out of position when the opponent booms the ball into your half, he/she still has to return as quick as possible to support first’s play.

Third position

Third becomes first and should support his/her teammates by letting them recover, third should try to buy as much time for them as he/she can, challenge when necessary and try to regain possession and pressure!

Now gaining pressure and possession back is really important as if nobody really puts pressure on the ball, they will keep making opportunities for themselves to make a possible pass or goal, you could also slow the play down so you know your teammates are in a good position to actually support you again, this is also what builds pressure. You don’t feel that much pressure when it’s 3v1 neither right?

Recognizing Rotations and How to Deal with Situations

There are common reasons why you should rotate and when, though even though it’s listed here, in some situations it’s better not to rotate back, but that’s very dependent on the situation and comes with game sense.

Here’s when you should rotate and why:

When you have no angle but your teammate does.

If you have no angle to shoot the ball or pass it, let it go, rotate back so your teammate can follow up the ball again, and communicate it with your teammates with a simple “All yours!” spam until chat is disabled! Not really though, but DO communicate it with your teammates and flip away from the ball.

When you’re in a bad position e.g: The ball is behind you or you’re underneath the ball.

Naturally when you’re in a bad position, you should try to focus on getting in a better position so you can make more advantages for your teams.

When you made a hit and you can’t follow it up.

Making follow ups is good, though some situations its better not to follow it up, and frankly sometimes it just isn’t worth it to follow it up.
Let it go and rotate back into third!

When the opponent is way sooner to the ball than you.

There is no point in taking 50/50’s when he’s way sooner to the ball than you, this will only bring you out of position and leave your team in a 2v3 situation.

Now, there are more situations when to rotate, though this is a fundamental base for your rotational decisions and in some situations you don’t have to rotate immediately.


Another very CRUCIAL thing when it comes to 3s gameplay, if you’re in a premade team this will help you out quite a lot, you’ll need to communicate with your teammates what you’re doing so they can support you.

Best way to communicate is through voice call in some VoIP application like DC, though if for whatever reason you can’t talk to someone directly, use in-game chat, check the options menu, it actually has quite a lot of good chats you can use to let your teammates know what you’re doing like In position! and more!

Be sure to tell your position and also your rotational position so they also know you’re rotating first, second or third. At some point of time this will become natural though, and you can focus on more decision based communications!

Additional Tips per Position

For each position I’d like to give some tips on a variety of things, couldn’t really categorize them anywhere, so these are tips that you might find useful!

Tips for first position

  • Some challenges you don’t have to take at all, if your second is in a good position and you’re in Voice Chat with him, feel free to tell him you take it or discuss it before the game starts so that your second is prepared for this, it’s basically free possession!
  • Try to keep possession and don’t shoot the ball away immediately, best is to either dribble it if you have the space for it, or pass it over to your teammate. Whether its you or your teammate taking over, keeping possession is always very important!
  • Communicate with your teammates what you’re doing, whether that’s quick chat or through voice chat, if they know what you’re doing, they can prepare themselves for it!
  • When you just became first position due to sudden defense by losing possession in one way or another, try to give your teammates as much time as you can to fall back so you don’t end up in a 3v1 where you get knocked out as last man.
  • To continue on “wide” rotations, by this I mean you rotate towards the far post of the net to third. Far post is considered the opposite side of where the play is. So if the ball is to the left side of the field, far post is right and vice versa.

Tips for second position

  • Whether in voice chat or not, you’ll need to keep close eye on what your first is doing, try to read what he’s doing and where he’s going so he can set you up with the pass or let the ball go when he can’t get a good shot anymore. Though this requires a lot of awareness of what’s happening on the field.
  • Try not to push up too close to your first, try to position yourself that when that time is there for a pass he can see you or if he can’t get an angle anymore and has to rotate back that you can take over the pressure and possession from him.
  • This tip kind of goes with the second one I gave, but also try to position yourself in advance for sudden defensive rotation so you can help your teammate out when needed!
  • Do not interrupt first’s play, wait for his clear rotation out, even if he stays, try to be the smarter man. If you push when he stays it often leads to double commits, and leaves your third in a 3v1 situation.

Tips for third position

  • Do NOT push up too far for a play, you’re the defensive wall that protects the goal, any shot can go quickly into a boomer in net.
  • When in communications, try your best to give out most information as you can, you’re third, you can see the whole field and all the players! Use this information wisely!
  • Try to position yourself so that when you do need to clear, you can clear it into your corners or where the opponents are not!

Tips for ALL positions

  • Try to think ahead of what you’re doing, so when you’re in a good position to eventually make a pass, announce it some time before you do it. Don’t wait until the last moment where your teammate can’t get in position for a pass!
  • Make your rotations clear and wide by making it obvious you’re rotating out, by flipping away from the ball so your teammate can keep the pressure going and create more opportunities for your team.
  • Try not to cut in rotations when it’s absolutely not needed, sure the ball might be coming towards you, but there’s a huge possibility that while you’re rotating, your teammate was already pushing forward to do something with that ball that might prove better results.
  • This is a difficult one, but certainly helpful when needed. Keep an eye on how your teammates behave, for example: You’ll notice when your teammate doesn’t have any boost, so if you suddenly have to save something with low boost but your teammate doesn’t behave like he has no boost, then don’t jump for that shot unless you really have to, so you can come in and possibly defend a second shot coming in. This is really situational as not all saves are great into the corners and some bounce right back to the ground!
Helena Stamatina
About Helena Stamatina 3021 Articles
I love two things in life, games and sports. Although sports were my earliest interest, it was video games that got me completely addicted (in a good way). My first game was Crash Bandicoot (PS1) from the legendary studio Naughty Dog back in 1996. I turned my passion for gaming into a job back in 2019 when I transformed my geek blog (Re-actor) into the gaming website it is today.

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