(Topic ID: 315832)

For 4+ Months I've been Stuck in a Pinball Rut and Can't break it

By Gentax

80 days ago


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  • 37 posts
  • 19 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 61 days ago by pins4u
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    #1 80 days ago

    So whenever I play a table and I wanna get into it I'll hit a bench mark and from there I'll never be able to break it. After scoring 400 million in AIQ I had a string of bad games where it got to a point where I couldn't get past 2 modes/50 million points. As such I tried the following

    1. Reading guides
    2. Playing 5 ball mode
    3. Changing up my play style
    4. Playing other machines
    5. Taking long breaks
    6. Watching top players play along with video tutorials

    Despite all of this I couldn't break my 50 million point mark. It was then I learned about Battle Royal/shot drilling so I did just that. I spent hours drilling shots and went as far as to stuff the drain with microfiber cloth. The drills paid off as I was able to play and beat battle royal semi consistently so I get back to the game with all this practice and drills and then something happened.

    I couldn't score more than 25 million. Then it got worse, my scores dwindled and I chalked it up to bad play. Multiple people said I'm in a slump and that I need to learn how to break my overthinking and "get back in the zen." It was recommended that I "play badly" in the sense where I don't try to follow the high scoring advice and just shoot what I want. For over a week I did this I went for risky shots, double flipped, picked missions I didn't normally do, go for targets I usually ignore and well...I couldn't hit anything. In fact when I tried to play normal I was missing much more. It seems that week I took in playing sub optimally affected my skills completely so I took an entire week break from pinball completely. I return to the table fresh from that break and then my score limit was 11 million with many games at 5 million.

    Then I did something drastic just now, I did a 10 ball game. I decided to throw caution to the wind, 10 balls and on top of that I wouldn't look at my score. I would just play, there was no way I could choke on my score if I just didn't look at it. After my 10 ball game I looked up

    45 million

    How was this even possible? How could I score the same at 3, 5 and 10 balls? I'm at a loss now. I have done every single thing imaginable to try to improve my play (including NOT playing) but each time I either get back to same milestone as if I made no change or I regress in ability. Drilling, not playing, reading guides, nothing is helping me. I honestly don't know what I can do anymore except give up. I REALLY like playing pinball and I know effort doesn't guarantee progress but I shouldn't be REGRESSING this hard.

    #2 80 days ago

    just gotta get out of your head

    amazon.com link »

    #3 80 days ago

    It’s only pinball
    I would say try another pin then jump back at AIQ and see if anything changes
    Sometimes muscle memory can hurt you

    30
    #4 80 days ago

    It's probably because you called it a table

    #5 80 days ago

    I did play other pins then came back with no changes made.

    As for "getting out of my head" I had about a week doing that. I just slapped the ball around, not cared about what I was doing, I even played with headphones on so not to hear the callouts and after a week of "not caring" my scores and skills regressed further.

    #6 80 days ago

    Watch videos of top players, try to pick up some of the skill moves that they are using.

    #7 80 days ago

    Go back to basics. Ignore the larger ruleset and work on live catches, drop catches, dead bounces, and your basic nudges. Focus on reading the geometry of the game and figuring out which skill will allow you to get control. Don't beat yourself up for draining-- that's not the point of these games.

    Like others said, this is a mental hurdle that everyone trying to improve at something difficult will face. Instead of giving yourself false advantages like stuffing the drain or extra balls and getting frustrated when nothing changes, put the glass back on and rebuild your fundamentals.

    #8 80 days ago

    How long have you been playing pinball? I've been playing consistently since early 00, had plenty of rough stretches. As long as it keeps calling you back I wouldn't worry much. Also, I mesh better with some games vs others. As an example, I just kicked the crap out of the TWD, but get smoked by Willy Wonka. Honestly, I should be way better for as long as I've been playing. Lol

    #9 80 days ago

    Don't feel too bad, pinball has a lot of luck involved IMO. Even if you have great pinball skills, sometimes it's hard to match a game that you just get really lucky with certain key shots. That being said, I know I get frustrated playing Led Zeppelin a lot - I'm always thinking I should be getting close to my high score. Maybe once in every 10-15 games I will get in the ball park of my high score, but I can't tell you how many times I just restart the game because my first ball is so pathetic (yesterday had a 1 ball score of 20,000 on LZ). I bet every time I play LZ I have at least 3 or 4 restarts, and sometimes it's actually funny because I can go 3 or 4 restarts in a row and get progressively worse each time, even when I think it's not possible.

    As you can tell I'm not that good at playing pinball - for me inconsistency is par for the course. I understand if you're a really skilled player with consistent high scores and all the sudden you drop off, it can be frustrating. You'll get it back eventually, just like an athlete, you have to not think too much and just react. If you have the shots down and you know the rules, just relax and let your instincts take over.

    #10 80 days ago
    Quoted from astro_judge:

    Go back to basics. Ignore the larger ruleset and work on live catches, drop catches, dead bounces, and your basic nudges. Focus on reading the geometry of the game and figuring out which skill will allow you to get control. Don't beat yourself up for draining-- that's not the point of these games.
    Like others said, this is a mental hurdle that everyone trying to improve at something difficult will face. Instead of giving yourself false advantages like stuffing the drain or extra balls and getting frustrated when nothing changes, put the glass back on and rebuild your fundamentals.

    What's the best way for me to drill these basic skills. In each game I do work on nudging and catching and drop passing as much as possible and even with those skills being used every game I'm stuck where I'm at. Most of the time my drains are from bad shots that instantly take me to the out-lanes at high velocities and that if I did hit these shots I wouldn't need to recover as badly

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    #11 80 days ago

    man i can't think of anything less fun than pinball drills, lol

    it sounds like you forgot how to have fun playing. try 3 or 4 beers

    also: it's okay to do something without improving at it

    #12 80 days ago
    Quoted from Gentax:

    What's the best way for me to drill these basic skills. In each game I do work on nudging and catching and drop passing as much as possible and even with those skills being used every game I'm stuck where I'm at. Most of the time my drains are from bad shots that instantly take me to the out-lanes at high velocities and that if I did hit these shots I wouldn't need to recover as badly

    Those drains are inevitable. Try to have a short memory and focus on improving one skill at a time. Live catch EVERYTHING. Drop catch EVERYTHING. Play one-handed to break your double flipping habit and learn how to anticipate the ball's path. Use these as warm-ups before just chilling out and playing. There's no magic drill that will unlock everything.

    #13 79 days ago
    Quoted from SonOfaDiddly:

    man i can't think of anything less fun than pinball drills, lol
    it sounds like you forgot how to have fun playing. try 3 or 4 beers
    also: it's okay to do something without improving at it

    It's one thing for improvements to not happen/be slow. However with me its my actual skills regressing which is the frustrating part

    #14 79 days ago

    Try a longer break. 1 month to 3 months. Do another hobby and come back later. I know that seems like a long time but I have done this when hitting a wall with various activities and it can be a big help. When you come back you will be a little rusty but that will come off quickly. Your brain needs time to rest and work things out in the subconscious. You may also rediscover the fun that you may have lost in your pursuit.

    Or try smoking a fat doobie.

    #15 79 days ago

    I did not read the whole thread, but why are you starting it all over again?
    https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/4-months-of-daily-pinball-playing-and-i-still-have-a-2-mode-curse

    #16 79 days ago

    Pinball is supposed to be FUN first and foremost.

    Playing competitively or trying to "beat" high scores or other peoples scores takes away the FUN for me.

    Try just bashing the ball around a bit, enjoying a beer and relax....oh, please STOP calling pinball machines 'tables'.

    #17 79 days ago
    Quoted from Gentax:

    What's the best way for me to drill these basic skills. In each game I do work on nudging and catching and drop passing as much as possible and even with those skills being used every game I'm stuck where I'm at. Most of the time my drains are from bad shots that instantly take me to the out-lanes at high velocities and that if I did hit these shots I wouldn't need to recover as badly

    How well do you know the rules of the games you’re trying to get better at? Definitely try and get as firm an understanding of every inch of the rules.

    Also. Try and remember what specific misses are leading to your insta drains and really work on not even putting the ball on that path, or improve your nudging to save those via slide saves or harder moves.

    How often do you dead bounce? Do it more. . Try playing for an entire session one handed to help improve dead bouncing.

    Also if AIQ is your only game, it’s pretty difficult. Try switch it up with practicing on other games.

    #18 79 days ago

    Sell it buy a new one

    AIQ baffled me a bit with scoring, hitting shots for a long time in that game doesn’t necessarily give you a high score

    I like games where hitting your shots and advancing through modes will give you a good score even if youre not maximizing the deep nuances of the code, those should just take your score to another level

    #19 78 days ago

    You've gotten a lot of great advice already. The only thing I could possibly think of to add is to check out the game setup. Has it become out of level? Did the degree of incline change? Maybe something like this has made the shots more difficult to hit or the outlanes more thirsty

    #20 78 days ago

    i needed a forty to play my way in to league finals at last night's meeting

    got an eight

    *shrug* c'est la vie

    #21 75 days ago

    It does seem like you made another thread with the same complaints.

    Post a video of you game play and someone on here can give you more specific pointers to where you are struggling. Otherwise it’s a bit like trying to diagnose your golf swing over the phone.

    #22 75 days ago

    Set up a couple cameras that are recording your playfield and you playing.

    You may find it educational to see yourself play by watching your body and eye movements as compared to what goes on under the glass.

    Examples; did you scratch an itch or maybe look at the dmd/monitor just before the ball drained?

    -Mike

    #23 71 days ago

    The 2 mode curse was a hyper specific thing now its a constant skill deterioration. In fact I incorporated advice from the previous thread and in recent plays gotten worse. My 10 ball game went up to 20 million where it currently stands

    #24 70 days ago
    Quoted from Grizlyrig:

    Set up a couple cameras that are recording your playfield and you playing.
    You may find it educational to see yourself play by watching your body and eye movements as compared to what goes on under the glass.
    Examples; did you scratch an itch or maybe look at the dmd/monitor just before the ball drained?
    -Mike

    Took the your advice and others and filmed myself. Had two really bad games and thought would be a good one to be evaluated

    #25 70 days ago

    You should let your ball come to a full stop when you trap. This is a prefect time to take a mental break and think of what you need to do to next. When draining take the time to think of what you did wrong or could did differently. But what do do I know. Swing away Merrill.

    #26 70 days ago

    Just play for having fun and ignore the score, that's what I do. I don't care about score at all and almost never look at my points while playing. Sometimes I get to put in my initials and that's when I look at what score I actually got.

    Am I any good at pinball? No, not really, but I'm enjoying every second of my playtime and that's what matters to me. Score is irrelevant (I don't play in competitions either obviously).

    #27 70 days ago

    Your flipper skills seem pretty good to me. +1 on really focusing on trapping the ball and taking your time to consider a shot, aim, and shoot. Ona critical shot, I will trap the ball and spend several seconds invisioning the angles and timing, like I’m on an archery range preparing to hit the target or something. It’s boring to watch but it helps me with accuracy. Have a strategy of why you are making every shot - every time you flip the ball you should be able to explain why you sent it where you did. I noticed a lot of outlane drains - how do you have them set up? I would not be shy about setting them conservative (smallest opening) to have more fun playing. Finally, and maybe this is just cause I’m older and my reaction times aren’t what they used to be, I find the newer stern flippers are actually too powerful. Each flip blasts the ball around so fast it is easy to lose control. Consider actually lowering flipper power. Don’t be afraid to adjust and dial your game to make it pleasurable for you - hey, it’s only pinball!

    #28 70 days ago
    Quoted from Gentax:

    Took the your advice and others and filmed myself. Had two really bad games and thought would be a good one to be evaluated

    Something is a little wonky with the video encoding and it is dropping a lot of frames. I can hear flips but am not seeing them all.

    #29 70 days ago
    Quoted from bigguybbr:

    Something is a little wonky with the video encoding and it is dropping a lot of frames. I can hear flips but am not seeing them all.

    I figured out the issue with the camera. Here's another upload with the issue fixed

    #30 70 days ago
    Quoted from Gentax:

    I figured out the issue with the camera. Here's another upload with the issue fixed

    Much better, it's a lot easier to see now.

    2 little things I see besides some times where nudging would help to save some drains and that you seem to be better at trapping up on the left than on the right.

    1) You attempt some drop catches when the ball is heading towards the tip of the flipper (look at 4:17). That's a guaranteed drain. Drop catches only work when the ball is heading towards the middle or base of the flipper. You would probably want to try to use a live catch instead in those instances. Check out ABE_FLIPS video here at 47 seconds where he gives a great visual and examples.

    2) I would suggest you take your time and slow your game down a little. You slap at the ball sometimes trying to play it on the fly and it puts it out of control and leads to drains. At 5:05 you try to get fancy with a tip shot but put it out of control and drain SDTM. Bowen makes a great point in a lot of his videos that your flippers are the only place on the whole playfield where you have real control. Don't be in a hurry to get it away from your flippers and put the ball in places where you are no longer in control.

    #31 70 days ago
    Quoted from bigguybbr:

    Much better, it's a lot easier to see now.
    2 little things I see besides some times where nudging would help to save some drains and that you seem to be better at trapping up on the left than on the right.
    1) You attempt some drop catches when the ball is heading towards the tip of the flipper (look at 4:17). That's a guaranteed drain. Drop catches only work when the ball is heading towards the middle or base of the flipper. You would probably want to try to use a live catch instead in those instances. Check out ABE_FLIPS video here at 47 seconds where he gives a great visual and examples.
    2) I would suggest you take your time and slow your game down a little. You slap at the ball sometimes trying to play it on the fly and it puts it out of control and leads to drains. At 5:05 you try to get fancy with a tip shot but put it out of control and drain SDTM. Bowen makes a great point in a lot of his videos that your flippers are the only place on the whole playfield where you have real control. Don't be in a hurry to get it away from your flippers and put the ball in places where you are no longer in control.

    Any tips on slowing the ball down outside of a drop catch? I notice with JP that the ball moves rather fast coming down the lanes so outside of a ski jump its hard to really cradle it hence why I shoot on the fly a lot

    #32 70 days ago
    Quoted from Gentax:

    Any tips on slowing the ball down outside of a drop catch? I notice with JP that the ball moves rather fast coming down the lanes so outside of a ski jump its hard to really cradle it hence why I shoot on the fly a lot

    Dead flips and live catches help when drop catches aren't useful.

    ABE_FLIPS has a game on JP he streamed that is good quality. You can see him using both techniques quite often to get control.

    #33 68 days ago
    Quoted from Gentax:

    Any tips on slowing the ball down outside of a drop catch? I notice with JP that the ball moves rather fast coming down the lanes so outside of a ski jump its hard to really cradle it hence why I shoot on the fly a lot

    Always ski pass on this game.

    #34 68 days ago

    Play 2" flipper EM games for a while, gives you a bit of a reset mentally, plus you'll get used to short games. I always go back to ems or even woodrails when the modern games get me frustrated, helps me.
    Play some of those with the atomic cabinet, gives you a place for those 3-4 beers.
    Play all era's of games, gives good perspective and clears the head.

    #35 68 days ago
    Quoted from Gentax:

    I figured out the issue with the camera. Here's another upload with the issue fixed

    I wouldn't focus on your nudging and the outlanes- for now you are doing well there.

    You lose most of the balls because your control techniques are failing. (trapping, live catches, drop catches)
    Often you try to catch a ball or trapping up at the wrong time, which causes the ball to bounce into the slings, the center drain or shoot back up the inlane too far. You can avoid alot of those drains with simple dead bounces. Those take out the momentum of the ball and you can trap up. Check out my tutorial on Dead Bounces and also the latest one "Shielding".

    The MOST IMPORTANT PART is to be able to recognize your mistakes you are doing over and over again. This way you can learn and improve. At my modest pinball level i can do so on most of your drains, and thats how I also improve on my own skills. It takes alot of experience and work. Watch your own videos and identify what went wrong on every drain. (forget the outlane drains for now, thats not your problem). I see alot of potential there, I'm sure you can step up your game alot! It's just a plateau you can overcome.

    Also watch other Jurassic Park streams and compare how others handle certain situations and copy their tricks, if they work out for you too.

    cheers

    #36 62 days ago

    Status report. Took some serious deadpass/drop catch training. After finding out my table was not steep enough I made an adjustment. The next game right after it I score 400 million

    #37 61 days ago
    Quoted from Gentax:

    After finding out my table was not steep enough I made an adjustment.

    You mean while you were having breakfast at "the table' you came to the realisation that your PINBALL MACHINE wasn't set correctly?

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