(Topic ID: 216955)

What separates top players from everyone else


By sethi_i

11 months ago



Topic Stats

  • 177 posts
  • 96 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 7 months ago by Dan63
  • Topic is favorited by 14 Pinsiders

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    Topic poll

    “What separates top players from everyone else”

    • Accuracy 60 votes
      25%
    • Flipper Control 40 votes
      17%
    • Nudging 19 votes
      8%
    • Steady Nerves 13 votes
      5%
    • Gameplay Knowledge 72 votes
      30%
    • If I Knew I'd be There 36 votes
      15%

    (240 votes)

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    There are 177 posts in this topic. You are on page 1 of 4.
    #1 11 months ago

    I've been watching a lot of video of my games in tournament play. The top tier players are amazing, obviously. They have the full complement of tools to draw from. I also see a lot of threads about getting to this wizard mode or that one. I don't consider myself a great player, but I don't think I suck either. I routinely put up some respectable scores. Yet BftK, Immolation, We're Ready to Believe You, and Enterprise Amok aren't even on my radar. The closest I've come is two modes to go for Immolation on GotG (and that's not even the final Wizard Mode).

    What would you consider the biggest difference between an average player and those that get to, and defeat, wizard modes? I'm sure it's a combination of factors, but if you had to say "work on this first", what would "this" be? Know the game...wizard modes aren't about points? Nudging to get potential drains back in play? Flipper skills to get the ball where you want it for the specific shot you want? Accuracy to avoid having out of control balls in the first place? Zen...don't panic and start shaking the shit out of the machine? Etc....

    #2 11 months ago

    #1 is bounce passing at the right time, IMHO. This goes hand in hand with “ball control”. A bounce pass executed at the right time will suck the energy out of the ball and let you cradle up. A bounce pass at the wrong time will send the ball to the opposite slingshot or down the drain. #2 is drop-catching, which I learned from my first “modern” pin, Space Station.

    13
    #3 11 months ago

    Ball Control, Patience, Steady Nerves, Knowledge of the Game, and Experience.

    To answer your question -- What separates top players from everyone else? High Scores.

    #4 11 months ago

    I believe it's reflexes, concentration and stamina in that order.

    #5 11 months ago

    patience, along with all of the skills listed above...

    38
    #6 11 months ago

    Some of the guys that beat me consistently drink Monster Energy while I’m drinking Dale’s Pale Ale. I think there is something to that.

    #7 11 months ago

    Look...I have been trying to piece it together myself for a little while. I have had several people tell me I am capable of being a top player....just like anyone else I have had my share of killer games....but it’s doing it consistently.....repeatability....and being able to do it in a tournament setting. There is true skill learned and demonstrated by top players. Everyone has bad games/house balls etc. Top players stick to strategies that work to their skills. It all comes down to ball control. Accuracy is a piece but gaining control after a bricked shot, learning risk VS reward and quickly learning the actual macine you are playing on can give you an edge. You can over analyze this all day but control/accuracy are the biggest tools to learn besides the rules of a given game.

    #8 11 months ago

    I feel like I have all of the basic skills down, though I'm sure others are better at them. I can bounce pass, post pass, drop catch. My shot accuracy is ok, but not great. I feel like what I lack and the best players have is solid concentration. If I try really hard, I can stay focused and nudge at the right time. But, more often than not, I let my concentration lapse, and then it is like I just watch the ball drain in slow motion knowing that I could have done something to save it if only I had tried to concentrate harder.

    #9 11 months ago

    Many of the things mentioned and I'd add nudging, not just down low, but up high. Small details in several areas end up totaling alot.

    #10 11 months ago

    focus!!

    It’s so hard to stay focused, game after game.

    #11 11 months ago
    Quoted from CrazyLevi:

    focus!!
    It’s so hard to stay focused, game after game.

    I can attest to that one. The moment I let my thoughts drift slightly after a few games (oh, that section of the playfield looks interesting--I didn't notice that bit before)--the ball drains

    #12 11 months ago

    I'm guessing that it's practice and experience under high pressure.

    #13 11 months ago

    I once drank too much bourbon and placed 2nd in a tough tourny... the other times I drank too much and didn't care..

    #14 11 months ago

    Patience. Way too much waiting around for your turn to play in tournaments.

    #15 11 months ago
    Quoted from Nokoro:

    I feel like what I lack and the best players have is solid concentration.

    I think that says something that I didn't even think of this. I find myself thinking of what a great game I'm having, or how bad it's going. I'm also often thinking about what I'm going to do next. Sounds like this could be a big obstacle to me getting to the wizards.

    I wasn't thinking of tournaments in this question, just how well those guys play. In a home setting, focus is probably even harder. More distractions and the feeling of --- I can always play again.

    #16 11 months ago

    Consistency.

    #17 11 months ago

    All the above. But stamina is one I feel like I’ll never have. I’ll never have the ability to sit there and grind out 500 million on Spider-Man to beat my opponent, or stand at a B66 for an hour to beat three other guys that scored over a billion. Like my pal snyper2099 always says, I want to find out who the better player is in 10 minutes. Not an hour and 10 minutes.

    I’ll rank them in order of importance in my observations:

    1. Accuracy
    2. Steady nerves
    3. Flipper control
    4. Game knowledge
    5. Nudging

    For me personally nudging is my #1 skill because of how shitty my accuracy is.

    #18 11 months ago

    5 balls, set to Easy, with the glass off!

    #19 11 months ago

    I feel there is one very small but big detail factor not included: Their Score

    #20 11 months ago

    All of the above.

    I've heard Zach Sharpe say that his strongest area is recovery because his accuracy is poor...but I think he means "compared to the other top players in the world". I'm sure his accuracy is at least a 8 out of 10, if not higher.

    None of the top players in the world have huge deficiencies in any of the areas you mentioned, that's why they're the best.

    If you want to know the next thing you need to work on, start keeping track of how you lose each ball. Not just where it went, but what caused it to be out of control in the first place.

    #21 11 months ago

    beer wasn't a choice?????????

    #22 11 months ago

    Practice, practice, practice; playing every title available; learning every game's rules and the best point exploits for each ball.

    In particular, learning what's different about a game's tournament setup versus standard play. Some are quite different and make it way easier to rack up the points. Case in point: For TAF, they disable the magnets since everyone was timing them out to get them to shut off anyway. Can you imagine how easy the rinse and repeat on the multiball jackpot would be on TAF with the magnets disabled?

    #23 11 months ago

    Another skill I might add: being able to play well on your first attempt. There is a big difference between scoring 200m on your 500th play on the machine you have at home, and scoring 200m by walking up to that same game on location (or in a tournament).

    #24 11 months ago

    I think people are undervaluing nudging. Go watch Bowen tutorial and see how often he saves the ball heading for the outlanes.

    I know focusing and improving on this skill has had the biggest impact on my comp play.

    I do agree with others that focus has a big part to play in tournaments. You always need to be commited to every ball no matter what.

    #25 11 months ago

    From watching the worlds best players at close quarters:

    - being able to handle competitive stress

    That’s what sets the best players apart from the rest.

    It goes without saying that they have great skills. But lots of players do. Yet the same 10 dudes keep winning all the titles.

    rd

    #26 11 months ago
    Quoted from SimonBaird:

    I think people are undervaluing nudging. Go watch Bowen tutorial and see how often he saves the ball heading for the outlanes.

    Is there a general pinball skills tutorial by Bowen, or are you you talking about his game-specific ones? The only non-game-specific tutorials I could find on PAPA’s channel are flipper skills.

    #27 11 months ago

    Gather information as you play the game. Pinball is as much a mental experience as a physical one. Pay attention to the sounds the game makes and open yourself to what information it gives you. What may initially appear to be nothing more than flashing lights and arrows are actually a roadmap to what is happening within the game. On a very basic level, if something is trying to get your attention in a big way, it is generally worth the effort to hit it with the ball, but this doesn’t mean you should do so wildly…

    Every flip matters!

    Every time the flipper is engaged, it should be engaged with a specific purpose. Whether your are attempting to hit a specific target to start a mode or just to gather information, you should always have an associated reward in mind any time you put the ball at risk.

    #28 11 months ago

    Having not played in very much competition (so take this with a grain of salt); but whenever I play a game that I know nothing about, but have a wingman spotting me, I can blow a game up like no other. So my vote goes to gameplay/rules knowledge being the most important key factor. If you don't know what to shoot and when, it becomes very easy to drain out.

    #29 11 months ago
    Quoted from Eskaybee:

    If you don't know what to shoot and when, it becomes very easy to drain out.

    But what if you never miss?

    #30 11 months ago

    Giving a shit, mostly.

    #31 11 months ago
    Quoted from Miguel351:

    learning every game's rules and the best point exploits for each ball.
    In particular, learning what's different about a game's tournament setup versus standard play. Some are quite different and make it way easier to rack up the points.

    This is something that separates top players too. There are many games I walk up to and have no idea what to do.....knowing the exploits to get a good score should not be overlooked.

    We need more tips on pintips.net!

    #32 11 months ago

    I'm an experienced pinball player but i'll never be great because i just don't absorb the rules for every game. I'm lucky if I can remember how to get to a multiball.

    #33 11 months ago
    Quoted from chuckwurt:

    1. Accuracy
    2. Steady nerves
    3. Flipper control
    4. Game knowledge
    5. Nudging

    this is spot on. I will say that the New Stern games favor Game knowledge quite a bit higher and for a mid range player it is the easiest way to beat other similar players. I have seen many average players beat really good players on a new Stern because they knew the rules better and that game knowledge made up for lack of accuracy or flipper control.

    #34 11 months ago

    Watch the video of Bowen playing TNA at TPF (it's on YouTube). He really gives a great tutorial on how to play better. Talks about dead flips, drop catch, live catch, nudging, etc. This helped me a lot. Plus, owning SW (a brutal and fast game) has made me a much better player because I have to practice and implement the above skills to keep the ball in play. I think Bowen is a great teacher. He has some instruction videos on YouTube under PAPA as well. Fyi, he says practice playing one handed (one flipper) will make you a better player.

    #35 11 months ago

    Here's my MO: Qualify high and then choke in head-to-head. My IFPA rank sucks, and gets worse daily, since WPPR points reward participation as much as outcome, and I have a fkn job. That said, I can tell you what I lack:

    1. Attention Span. Players like KME attack Banzai Run in terms of chopping wood by getting ABC, Cliff Jump. Rinse, repeat. That's not going to be a "fun" way to play, but I can tell you it's a winning strategy.
    2. Flipper skills. Live-catch takes practice. I'm still working on that one. Watching Bowen play my TNA was a tutorial I'll never forget. Short plunge, live catch. There is NO substitute strategy that works as well. I'll put my drop-catch up against anyone's, but live-catch is far more important.
    3. Have a game plan. I can't tell you how many times I end up screwing up because I play by instinct (how I play at home) instead of with a defined strategy/agenda on each pin. Tournament strategy is about POINTS--not objectives. Sometimes--like on TAF--it's best to AVOID multiball.
    4. Go to your happy place. AVOID THE YIPS. This often becomes my Waterloo, until I have nothing to lose and play relaxed. Playing while afraid to lose the ball is the surest way to choke. Take it from a tried and true choke-artist.
    5. Know where the points are. It literally took me decades of play to resign myself to avoid the CF drop targets, and to light, then shoot, spinners, spinners and more spinners on most 80s pins. Firepower is not about multiball.

    #36 11 months ago

    I'd probably be a better player if I didn't like so much beer with my pinball.

    Tailgating in the parking lot sounds much more enjoyable to me than waiting in a freakin' queue for 40 minutes just to play one game.

    #37 11 months ago

    Saving the ball through nudging and minimizing risk through shot selection. Turns a 3 ball game into a 5 ball game.

    Also, they can reduce internal/external distractions better than anyone.

    #38 11 months ago

    1. Accuracy
    2. Accuracy
    3. Accuracy

    I have learnt to control ball pretty well, I know some rules on some games inside out, can nudge but everytime I miss a shot, ball is out of control, at risk of a drain.

    Not only is shot accuracy number 1, it's the hardest to learn and improve.

    I know if I had the shot accuracy of the best players, I would be a half decent player. But, if you keep missing a certain shot, you are going to drain way sooner.

    #39 11 months ago

    Accuracy and ball saving have got to be the top 2 for me. When I got my first pin, a Comet, I took the glass off and would routinely place the ball to come down to the flippers and just try make the same shot over and over for a while, then move on to other shots. It was a big help over my first set of scores. GRACEFULLY nudging the machine is clutch, draining all 3 balls in under a minute leads to low scores :p

    #40 11 months ago

    I consider myself an excellent player. Where do I consistently score higher? On machines I know the rules inside out and on which I developed successful risk reward strategies. On other machines I have no specific strategies, I play great shots and amazing saves but, surprise surprise, I am not consistent.

    So in my opinion, once you developed solid technical skills, it's all about knowing the games rules, having proper smart strategies, and of course being able to stay concentrated over time (a mental skill, but also linked to phisical stamina). In a tournament you also need to be able to give your best under pressure.

    Also fundamental is knowing a specific machine well, or learn it quickly. Maybe top players spend more time reaching a location in advance?

    #41 11 months ago
    Quoted from Shapeshifter:

    1. Accuracy
    2. Accuracy
    3. Accuracy
    I have learnt to control ball pretty well, I know some rules on some games inside out, can nudge but everytime I miss a shot, ball is out of control, at risk of a drain.
    Not only is shot accuracy number 1, it's the hardest to learn and improve.
    I know if I had the shot accuracy of the best players, I would be a half decent player. But, if you keep missing a certain shot, you are going to drain way sooner.

    I think of accuracy as not just the ability to make the shot but the ability to adjust very quickly to make a shot on the second try after you miss on the first try.
    As an OK player, it can take me 3, 4, 5 attempts to finally find that shot. Great players get it on the first attempt and if not then they adjust and get it on the 2nd for sure.

    #42 11 months ago

    Performance enhancing drugs!

    #43 11 months ago

    Commitment is #1. Lots of practicing skills, studying rules, and showing up for lots of competitions.

    #45 11 months ago
    Quoted from SimonBaird:

    I think people are undervaluing nudging. Go watch Bowen tutorial and see how often he saves the ball heading for the outlanes.
    I know focusing and improving on this skill has had the biggest impact on my comp play.
    I do agree with others that focus has a big part to play in tournaments. You always need to be commited to every ball no matter what.

    Nudging is higher up there to me also. I'm terrible at it, but routinely see top players savings balls without a danger or understanding when and how to nudge. I've tried to figure out this skill for a long time and feel like it's what would really make my game excel. I feel like I've watched every available tutorial out there and it still doesn't click.

    #46 11 months ago

    Anticipation is a great tool for the arsenal too. The more you play, the quicker you can identify where the ball is going to go and make the corresponding move. The greats can recognize a center drain or a ball careening towards an outlane well before the ball even gets there.

    #47 11 months ago

    I've won my fair share of tournaments and would class myself as a top player

    My biggest 'pros' are:

    Know the rules. There is often a huge difference between optimal/safest scoring strategy and getting to the wizard mode or shooting what the machine is telling you to shoot. To not only have a strategy in place to get the best score, but the ability to change that strategy as the game situation changes.
    (Example: You need 20mil on Met to win the game - go for Sparky MB, you need 200mil - you've got to be going for CIU). Knowing when the high value high risk strategy is your best option.

    Ability to make shots on the fly! I know it's not seen as the thing to do, but if you can regularly make shots on the fly it's as important a tool as being able to live catch and cradle up - especially in multiballs.

    Accuracy. Or more importantly the ability to learn a shot on a new machine that you've just stepped up to. As mentioned above - we can all become good on a machine we've played 50 plus times. The majority of the comps in Europe are single game qualifying style. You don't get to play the same machine a dozen times as you would in a HERB style qualifying. There are people who can average high scores with a very low variance in their scores, I tend to be the exact opposite, which is something that happens based on the strategies I play. Go big or go home. (Example Last years BOp, in the 8 qualifying machines my positions were somewhere in the region of 1st, 2nd, 2nd, 40th, 45th, 50th, 85th & 110th!!!). With the mid-range games I was only 1 or 2 shots from starting the stacked MB needed to get a massive score, F knows what happened with the 2 low scores.

    Gaining control. In contrast to making shots on the fly. There are times when it is best to gain control and think about the next shot.

    Nudging. Or I would say when not to nudge. I see people nudging just because they can, and they feel it's the right thing to do, when in fact it's not achieving anything positive at all.

    Resilience. Not getting too distracted by a house ball, or 2, or by your opponent blowing up a machine. I've lost count of the number of games I've come from MASSIVELY behind on my last ball to take the win, or set the GC. I've only ever once given up on a game, or thought I couldn't make a comeback. (I was 250mil behind on Family Guy going into the last ball.)

    Practise. You need all of the above skills to become second nature, so when you are under pressure in a tournament, you don't even need to think about executing them.

    Above all, it has to be said that there are people who are just great at pinball, a natural ability to be able play. I hate those kind of people

    #48 11 months ago
    Quoted from chuckwurt:

    But what if you never miss?

    Then I'd be rich working at stern

    #49 11 months ago
    Quoted from Eskaybee:

    Then I'd be rich working at stern

    Haha. Point is in my experience in comps is the highest level players have incredible accuracy. And if they don’t have the best accuracy compared to their peers, their nudging skills are off the charts.

    You step up to a game you know backwards and forwards with a top level pro that has never seen the game before, rules knowledge won’t help you while you’re bricking to death and they are making shots.

    That’s why I ranked it so low on my list. Plus 3/4 of the games out there have a rule set that can fit in the palm of our hands.

    #50 11 months ago

    Too much free time!

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