Do I just have to realize I'm never going to be a good player?

(Topic ID: 66859)

Do I just have to realize I'm never going to be a good player?


By Switch

5 years ago



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  • Latest reply 4 years ago by gtown
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    #1 5 years ago

    Totally discouraged tonight. I am fairly new to pinball I have only been collecting for about 6 months. I am totally in love with the hobby but I have a goal to someday be good enough to play competitively in a league. I have watched every tutorial i can get my hands on, I have read everything I can get my hands on as far as technique. I practice every night but honestley i don't feel like my scores are getting any better.........It seems lately I walk away from my pins more discouraged and bummed out then when I turned them on which is a big problem. What am I doing wrong? I watch alot of guys and it looks like they barely ever have to nudge the table while myself i find the need to nudge almost constant, am I doing it right? Hell I don't know I guess i just need to vent more than anything. I am about to start facing the fact that I will be in pinball as a hobby of collecting rather than playing them?

    #2 5 years ago

    So does that mean you've only been playing for 6 months? If so, I wouldn't retire just yet; it's a little early for that.

    Being a decent player is a good goal, don't think you have to conquer the world. But being able to win a trophy shouldn't be the goal so soon. Just have fun for god sakes...It's only pinball!

    #3 5 years ago

    I suck at pinball but i think it's fun to play. I am a really good skier, tho, and when I see people who maybe aren't as good as I am, but they're having fun skiing- I don't think they should quit! I think if you are having fun and you find it takes you away from your everyday life... Continue to improve.
    It takes maybe 5 years to become a good skier, maybe 3-4 to be a good pinball player. You are just starting! You have way more time to go! It does help A LOT to play with or watch other good players. That is always how you get better at every sport.

    #4 5 years ago

    Watching the techniques is one thing, but to learn how to do them takes lots of practice. If you have been playing for 6 months I would reckon you are in a phase that I describe as 'you know enough to be dangerous to yourself'.

    In other words, you know what you should be doing, you probably do a lot of it, but it just doesn't tie together yet and, for a good while, you will actually play worse than if you were just flipping wildly. Give it time and it will slowly all come together.

    And I do mean slowly. I've been playing for just over a year now and I'm only just getting past the barrier I describe above. I play in a number of leagues and compete in tournaments, and I still only finish ahead of first timers around 60% of the time.

    I too have gone through times where I just feel depressed and that I'm not getting anywhere. But every now and again, for whatever reason, my brain seems to flip a switch and suddenly I'm executing on something that I was struggling with before.

    That being said, there are people I play with who are just simply lightyears ahead of me. I'll never be as good as them but at least I can give them a run for their money sometimes.

    #5 5 years ago

    Nope. No need to 'realize you're not a good player.' Just keep playing, and see where it goes.

    #6 5 years ago

    Just have fun and keep at it. I watch guys in my league nudge and push and save and am a little flabbergasted but I'm slowly learning. I was reminded of rule number 1 recently, let the ball hit the first flipper without flipping always, slow the game down.

    #7 5 years ago

    Try not flipping every time the ball comes down to the flippers. Just let it bounce back up off a flipper & pick your next shot. Slows down the game so you can think before you flip. Just my 2 cents.

    #8 5 years ago

    I suck at all my pins but that doesn't stop me from playing. I love the game and just "Keep on Truckin"

    #9 5 years ago
    Quoted from Breadfan:

    Try not flipping every time the ball comes down to the flippers. Just let it bounce back up off a flipper & pick your next shot.

    Exactly. Also become familiar with the ways your game behaves, if you don't flip does the ball always bounce a certain way when it comes down this ramp? Or what happens if I don't flip when the ball shoots out of this scoop? Chances are it behaves pretty much the same every time. Also ball control is key, its not nearly as exciting but try and trap the ball and hold it until it fully rests every time it hits your flippers.

    #10 5 years ago

    Really - 6 months and you're discouraged? It definitely takes longer than that to really get good. Do you happen to play a musical instrument? How long should it take someone to get good at playing the guitar? Sorry if this sounds too critical - but come on! Think of someone playing guitar for 6 months and entering the local talent contest - and then being upset that they didn't win anything. Have some tenacity - and it's a lot more fun "practicing" pinball as a beginner than it is practicing a musical instrument (when you're not very good that is).

    BTW - it is just like practicing an instrument - the more you practice, the better you'll get -> don't be so impatient.

    #11 5 years ago

    some people find it helpful to drill on certain techniques. Don't play every game as if you are trying to get your best score.... but instead practice a certain technique. Like a drop catch, bounce pass, etc.

    Watching others is a great way to see what they do when.. talk with players and understand why they made what choice. The pinball 101 videos do a good job of laser focus on ball handling skills and explaining them.

    #12 5 years ago

    Keep at it., you will get better..!! Pinball is a game where you instinctively get better at.
    If you can chew bubble gum and can tie your shoes at the same time, you will get better.
    Hopefully, you are good at video games....It takes eye, hand coordination to pull off the good shots..
    your a future papa champion, I just feel it...

    #13 5 years ago
    Quoted from flynnibus:

    some people find it helpful to drill on certain techniques. Don't play every game as if you are trying to get your best score.... but instead practice a certain technique. Like a drop catch, bounce pass, etc.

    I spend entire sessions trying to do one or two things on one particular game. Such as one flipper technique and making one shot over and over. That has helped me the most.
    Knowing the geometry of risky shots vs reward will extend your ball times. And truly understanding how the rules interact such as stacking (as opposed to just knowing what they are), and having a strategy to use those rules to your points advantage is the next step.

    #14 5 years ago

    Ill evoke your empathy.....I am playing 41 years and still suck!

    #15 5 years ago

    Ditto to what everyone else says. I've really only been playing since June but have put in a lot of time on a variety of machines and while I see a lot of improvement, I still rarely make any catches, don't spend much time in control and rarely nudge well enough to help.

    What you're describing is how I felt about a month or so back. I knew enough about pinball to know I wasn't doing as good as I felt I should and it was frustrating. I broke through that and am at a nice place of knowing I'm still beginning but have enough control to have more confidence. I can now appreciate the slow but steady progress I'm making and the highs and lows that go with it.

    Keep at it and keep it fun!

    #16 5 years ago

    Just play and have fun getting better is just an added bonus to the fun. I try to get my friends to play pinball but they get intimidated watching me hit the shots I'm after and just give up before they really tried. Competition is fun and as long as you just do it for fun and don't worry about it too much you'll realize after some time how much better yo are

    #17 5 years ago
    Quoted from SealClubber:

    I spend entire sessions trying to do one or two things on one particular game. Such as one flipper technique and making one shot over and over. That has helped me the most.

    Good advice.

    Try and nail one shot over and over.

    For example, the left orbit shot. Hit the left orbit, and as the ball loops back around to the right flipper, try and catch the ball or bounce it. Do what needs to be done to stop the ball. Then hit the left orbit again. And catch it. Again. Again. Again. Etc.

    How you stop the ball will depend on the machine you are playing. Some you can live catch. Some you can't. Some you can dead flipper it to the left. Only time on the game will tell you what technique works on that particular machine.

    The best advice I can give is "slow it down" Stop the ball whenever you can. Think between shots.

    If you just stand there and flap the ball around, you'll get the occasional big score due to luck.
    But generally your scores will be low. If you can *control the ball* then you will get more consistent. And that is the key.

    I naturally want to spank the ball as hard as I can. That's the way I played for 20 years. Now I have to constantly tell myself "SLOW IT DOWN" If I can keep focused on that, I do well. The minute I just start pounding the ball around, it's all over.

    rd.

    #19 5 years ago

    Get the Pinball 101 app. Real interesting techniques. Eye opening for a newer player.

    PAPA strategy vids are great too.

    Best of all, you'll improve while playing pinball. Can't beat that.

    #20 5 years ago

    just remember you wouldn't be failing if you were not trying.

    #21 5 years ago
    Quoted from OLDPINGUY:

    Ill evoke your empathy.....I am playing 41 years and still suck!

    me too... although 45 years for me... i played my first pin when i was 5 and was instantly hooked...

    pinball is like golf and sex... you don't have to be good at it to have a good time...

    op, the VAST majority of people who play pinball never even consider entering a tournament (count me in that majority), and we still enjoy it a great deal...

    learn two things:

    - have fun while playing... play for the sake of playing... if the only thing that matters to you is achieving high scores, you might as well not even bother any longer*...
    and
    - don't care about the end result...

    that second one is one of the real keys to being "good" at anything... the old "stay in the present" routine... i mentioned golf earlier... i am a "better than adequate" golfer... my best rounds come when i have no idea what the scorecard says...

    * and if you are going to "collect for the sake of collecting, and not play them", do the pin community a favor and release your machines back into the wild again...

    #22 5 years ago

    If the only people who played golf were good at it..................
    Or bowling, or poker, or fishing, or.............................................
    Same thing with pinball. Just play for fun. Don't worry about being good at it.

    #23 5 years ago

    theres more to pinball than playing .. become a good tech

    #24 5 years ago

    This is an awesome thread. I feel like I have a ton of room to grow here and hit the frustration point often...

    That's when I go and take apart a pin

    #25 5 years ago

    You will have good days and bad days. My Iron Man still kicks my ass and makes me feel like skills need improvement. Then I can play BDK, Metallica, or SM and kick ass. Nudging is one of the hardest skills to learn and takes time. I really have learned a lot by watching Bowen. I noticed you have a High Speed. Watch Bowen then practice,practice, practice.

    http://pinball.org/videos/tutorials/high-speed/

    #26 5 years ago

    Putting too much emphasis on your score can keep you from having fun, and it can cause you to play poorly. Start forcing shots, and most games will punish you. I'm guilty of this myself.

    Having a game that is low stress also helps in times when you feel like nothing is going right. For me that game is Card Whiz. Even though it is difficult, the slower pace has a calming effect.

    You will get better. You will have ups and downs. Just try to roll with it.

    #27 5 years ago

    I've been playing only almost 2 years and I'm not a super great tournament player either I try. Some guys you will see have been playing almost all their life's or half of it. I've just been practicing my skills at arcades and learning ball saving techniques and ball control is the main thing don't just flip catch hold and aim repeat. For some it may take a little longer then for others some have a born gift I guess. Don't give up only 6 months in when I first started I thought I was doing good until I saw real tournament players I had to step up my game. I placed 57 last year in Chicago Expo hoping to do better this year. One great thing is you have machines and your dispense to practice on many don't like me.

    #28 5 years ago

    One of the beauties of pinball is the going from a string of games where you absolutely stink... to having it all come together for one glorious game. It has this "IT'S HAPPENING!!!" feeling that is sooo cool.

    I'll never forget the first time I beat the grand champion score that was seared into the memory of my F-14. It was a score that seemed insurmountable. And after hundreds of tries it all came together... I was in the zone... I had all of the multipliers lit, shot down Yagov and had 3 landings... and was still rolling. I was never able to replicate that moment (came close, but never matched it). It's what keeps me coming back to these crazy machines.

    #29 5 years ago

    I am resigned to the fact that I will never be as good as truly good players, but I certainly can become better than I am. It all depends on what you choose to focus. Compete against yourself, and you'll be less likely to be discouraged. Also, variety is the spice of life. I wouldn't spend all of my time on one or two machines.

    #30 5 years ago

    just have fun playing. don't turn it into a competition.

    #31 5 years ago

    I think that I actually got worse as I got older but I really think it is because I don't play nearly as often as I did 10-15 years ago.

    Just stick with it and set small goals for yourself. Don't put too much pressure on yourself to get a new high score but instead try to pick a personal goal for yourself like getting to a certain mode in a game, or completing a certain mode or score X number of jackpots during multiball, etc. It will help you be more consistent with certain skills.

    I remember playing pinball with a friend and co-worker many years ago and watching him not flip and instead letting the ball hit the lowered flipper and bounce over to the other one. At the time I said "man I don't have the confidence to do that" and he said "you will, give it time" fast forward a few months or so later after a lot of practice and he was 100 percent right, it was a skill I learned and now has become second nature to me.

    6 months is nothing, you have years of practice and hopefully fun ahead of you. Pinball is a skill anyone can learn and get better at, it just takes practice, and lots of it.

    I can't emphasize enough the not putting pressure on yourself as it will likely make you play worse. I used to get stressed out and put pressure on myself to play well and win in our pinball league and it would just end up making me mad and want to quit playing. Once I stopped caring about how well I played and just viewed playing in league as a fun social activity where I can spend time with friends and happen to play some games I started playing better at league for the most part and enjoyed it way more, even if I was losing. There has been times that I've lost almost every game of a particular session but I still had fun because in my mind I'm just playing games with my friends and if I happened to win then that was just a nice bonus.

    Also playing in a league with players better than you will help you improve as you see things they do that you can try for yourself. I have seen it happen with players in our league who were pretty new to the sport and after a couple years in the league their playing got way better from when they first joined.

    #32 5 years ago

    Sometimes it's about finding the right machine to learn the right technique.

    I'm also fairly new to the hobby and it took me about a year to understand the timing of catching the ball on the flipper. It clicked with me on AC/DC...just one of those things where I caught the ball once and instantly realized that my timing had been 1/100 of a second off before, but I hadn't been able to figure it out. I was able to get really damn good at it on AC/DC because the layout was very well-suited to where my ability was at for that particular skill.

    Now I can catch the ball on any machine, am decent at passing, and somewhat less mediocre at nudging.

    #33 5 years ago

    Thanks for the pep talk guys I am back at it and swinging the flippers again..I will not give up!! Glad I'm not the only one who sucks but just can't get enough of these damn machines.

    #34 5 years ago

    A lot depends on the pins you're playing and what shape they're in.

    Make sure they're leveled properly, rubbers are in good shape, playfield reasonably clean, flippers have enough oomph, etc.

    High Speed is a great pin, but not an overly easy one. If that's the one you're playing a lot, take a break and play some JP.

    As someone else mentioned watching the papa vids and pinball 101 is an excellent idea, too.

    The idea is to have fun. I find I enjoy pins with shallow rule sets so I don't have to be so shot oriented in order to enjoy the game.

    -2
    #35 5 years ago

    This is AWSOME!

    #36 5 years ago

    A lot if it is understanding the rules of the machines and exploiting them for a lot of points. If your ball times are good, then you're just shooting for the wrong stuff.

    #37 5 years ago

    Keep playing and never give up! I have been playing pinball for about 38 years and I'm still finding ways to improve!
    And waiting to get "good enough" to play in a league is totally the wrong concept. You should join a league and by doing that you WILL get better, and have fun in the process! Best of luck to you!

    #38 5 years ago

    One thing you might try when practicing is to change the balls per game to a crazy high number like 8 or 9. There's nothing worse than getting close to developing a tecnique when the game ends. This will give you more game time to practice a shot. Don't worry about your score...focus only on the shot or tecnique you want to work on. After some time, return to 3 balls (or 5) per game and try to hit the shot you've practiced. Rinse and repeat with each new shot or tecnique you want to try.

    #39 5 years ago

    Don't get discouraged. Pinball is a lot like my favorite hobby, Golf. I'm a single digit handicap, & I practiced a lot to get to that point. In pinball, just like golf, you need course management. You can have great skill, but without proper course management your not going to score well.
    Pinball course management is knowing the modes & how to score, not just proper flipper/ball control. Know the rules for each pin & how to score. The PAPA videos are the best! Check em out & fun!
    Oh, by the way I'm a below average pinball player as well, but I sure have fun!

    #40 5 years ago

    Take the glass off, stuff a sock into the center drain and practice getting the ball under control.

    Passing, catching and death saving.

    #41 5 years ago
    Quoted from Jackalwere:

    One thing you might try when practicing is to change the balls per game to a crazy high number like 8 or 9. There's nothing worse than getting close to developing a tecnique when the game ends. This will give you more game time to practice a shot. Don't worry about your score...focus only on the shot or tecnique you want to work on. After some time, return to 3 balls (or 5) per game and try to hit the shot you've practiced. Rinse and repeat with each new shot or tecnique you want to try.

    Great advice!
    All my games are set to 5 ball games. I'm not a purist, it's about me & my friends & family having fun!

    #42 5 years ago

    Don't put extra pressure on yourself by aiming at that tournement trophy.

    Have fun and keep coming back for more, that's the only way you can keep it fun and last till you die

    #43 5 years ago

    when starting out. All you need to do is focus on the flipper skills and learning the game. Once that happens you will start cranking out nice scores once in awhile. It used to be 1 outta 20 games I would play a great game now its closer to 1 outta 4.

    #44 5 years ago

    Try and play for fun, and play often. You will get better. No need to stress yourself out. Some of the people you are watching in videos have been playing constantly for 10, 20, and 30 years. It would be like watching pro basketball and getting upset because you can't hit 80% from the three point range.

    #45 5 years ago

    Take it from Allen Iverson: Pratice!!!!!

    #46 5 years ago

    Haha, he does say he plays every game like it's his last.

    #47 5 years ago

    We talkin about PRACTICE!.......I was terrible for a long time, then after much practice, I've become a world class player and will challenge for the #1 player in the world status soon.....

    #48 5 years ago

    Unless you have high levels of natural talent, it takes a while to get good. How good is also relative. To the ordinary player you may seem to have incredible skill. To an A player, you may still look like a scrub. One thing you have to realize is most good players have been playing pinball for real for at least a decade. Give it about 5 years and see if you aren't better.

    #49 5 years ago

    To get thin, eat what skinny guys eat. To get good at pinball, watch a lot of PAPA videos. To become a great lover, watch...well, you know what I'm saying.

    #50 5 years ago
    Quoted from swampfire:

    To become a great lover, watch...well, you know what I'm saying.

    Watch highlight videos of people who are paid to put on a show...?

    I've only been playing for a few months (but playing a LOT in that time). Two friends came over to play my High Speed for the first time last night - I had put about 500 games on it in the month that I've owned it. We played 4 games. These two guys have been playing a little pinball, but not much, and have never played High Speed before. Yet, I got my butt kicked the first 3 games. It was embarrassing.

    Then on the 4th game, I put up 2.7 million without even hitting the jackpot and crushed all previous scores for the night.

    At least for me, at the stage I'm at now, there is enough short term luck that it often feels like I'm getting nowhere. Then suddenly I'll put together a really good game that I know I wouldn't have been able to do a few weeks earlier. (Often this happens when switching environments - playing on location when I haven't in a few days, or playing at home when I haven't in a few days).

    Keep at it!

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