(Topic ID: 216955)

What separates top players from everyone else


By sethi_i

1 year ago



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  • 177 posts
  • 96 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 1 year ago by Dan63
  • Topic is favorited by 14 Pinsiders

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    Topic poll

    “What separates top players from everyone else”

    • Accuracy 61 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%

    (241 votes)

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    There are 177 posts in this topic. You are on page 2 of 4.
    #51 1 year ago

    Another area that I didn't list was multiball play. I watched the video of KE getting to 5 Year Mission on ST, and the multiball play was astounding. I don't know that that really helps get to the Wizard Modes, but it's hypnotizing to watch. That really shows all of the other skills at once...controlling all of those balls while still hitting specific shots, keeping calm and knowing when to let a ball drain rather than trying to save every one....

    I'll definitely work on everything, but I think improving MB play will be my focus first. If that improves, everything in single ball play should as well.

    #52 1 year ago

    Good call. Watching some of these guys and gals in multiball is insane.

    #53 1 year ago

    A lot of things, but an easy indicator is the amount of *bling* & dolls glued to ones machines.

    #54 1 year ago

    Top players have $'s to spend and free time a plenty. Some even have sponsors and/ or a patreon to soak up expenses.

    On the other side takes practice and watching videos. Rule set knowledge can be a big plus also as many have stated. The biggest part is the mental game. Conquer that and the rest comes easy.

    #55 1 year ago

    Knowledge of the rules is definitely my Achilles heel when it comes to competitive play. I have pretty good flipper skills and ball control, but if it isn't a game I've owned, I generally don't know the rules that well. I rarely play in tournaments, but I know I'd do much better in league if I took the time to really study the rules to all the games. That being said, I simply don't care enough to do it. I guess that makes me more of a casual player, and I'm fine with that.

    #56 1 year ago

    Its all in their wrist and stance.

    #57 1 year ago

    One item that has not been mentioned is that most players have to play with some frequency to maintain a "healthy game".

    Personally, I noticed that if I do not play for a week or so, my play tends to suffer.

    Another thing that can help is playing with players that have better skillets and watch how they approach a similar game that you are both playing together.

    If two players of the same caliber are matched against each other and one has not played in a month and one has played a few games, each of the last 30 days... I believe that the player that has played a few games the last 30 days will have an advantage in that matchup.

    Also, the major contributing factor is the percentage of matches that you win as a player. If you win 51% of your matches, that's good...

    But a lot of the top players in the world win 70% of their matches or more compared against all players. It may not seem like a big deal but winning against 80 or 90 percent of the matches that you play is VERY difficult.

    check out the "WIN PCT" if the top 100 when matched against the top 250 players here:
    https://www.ifpapinball.com/rankings/power100.php

    I believe that a lot of the "luck" is removed from determining the top players when analyzing the win percentages.

    #58 1 year ago

    I asked this question to Pinburgh champ, Colin MacAlpine and he said consistency, especially in multiball. He said you have to learn to play a controlled multiball game because you need to do well THAT multiball, there is no room for failure in competition. At home you can play a loose multiball and blow it up a couple times out of a dozen and have crappy multiballs the other times. In competition, you need to take advantage of every situation and put yourself in the best possible position to win.

    #59 1 year ago

    According to "Outliers" (Gladwell), proficiency in anything is a result of practice.

    “Practice isn't the thing you do once you're good. It's the thing you do that makes you good.”
    ― Malcolm Gladwell, Outliers: The Story of Success

    “In fact, researchers have settled on what they believe is the magic number for true expertise: ten thousand hours.”
    ― Malcolm Gladwell, Outliers: The Story of Success

    And this one is my favorite - discussing analysis of artists that make 1st Chair:
    “Once a musician has enough ability to get into a top music school, the thing that distinguishes one performer from another is how hard he or she works. That's it. And what's more, the people at the very top don't work just harder or even much harder than everyone else. They work much, much harder.”
    ― Malcolm Gladwell, Outliers: The Story of Success

    So, 10,000 hours of pinball?

    #60 1 year ago

    There are on a few things I can think of, and I am approaching this in a different way than has been put into this thread so far. Being involved in competitive and casual pinball, I have noticed some trends. Ball control is a thing for sure, but it is such a throwaway term. There are various factors involved and are like so:
    - figuring out how to properly bump a table. It may seem to be obvious but this alone seems to separate casuals from average players.
    - insist on playing a table on hard settings, or a table that is not set up properly. Playing a game that is set up hard or incorrectly means that when you play another of the same that is not set up that way, you will do better.
    - If the game plays fast then you need to slow it down. You have to remember that these games are designed to make money, not to give you a long playing time. There are some games that are designed to be fast but if you play them at that speed, you will drain faster. There is no shame in slowing a game down.
    - Another thing is something I seem to always have done with EM games but recently started somewhat with modern games. That is to just watch how the ball moves when you are not hitting it. There always seems to be a lot of apprehension when playing, you can take a break during a game and just watch it. I'm not sure how to describe this, but I get a different feeling sometimes.
    - Apply different approaches to games in vs than when you play by yourself for fun or practice. This is a thing that I do, but it requires that you know how the rules to the game. I notice that a lot of people use the same approach any time they play a game. One example I can give is any game that has a super skill shot vs a normal skill shot with a bonus multipler bonus. When I am playing against someone, I am not actively trying to achieve a wizard mode and I put greater importance on bonus multipliers. It makes a big difference at the end of a ball when you have a good bonus x and the person you are playing never does. Often it seems to make up for whatever is gained by the super skill shot and is a safer choice to make.

    There are always people who have a high degree of accuracy in their movements, and I tend to not consider people like this because the amount of them is very small. This is not something that can be learned, which is why I don't consider it.

    Quoted from snyper2099:

    One item that has not been mentioned is that most players have to play with some frequency to maintain a "healthy game".

    I do decently well at the local pinball tournaments and I tend to think that it is because I just happen to have a higher average game than others. When we do the monthly league work, where you can play a game any number of times and your high score is all that counts, often I do not get to have the top score. When i am in tournament, my average scores seem to help in that regard.

    The most important thing I can think is that, in any case, you need to be comfortable and have a good attitude.

    #61 1 year ago
    Quoted from Tripredacus:

    I do decently well at the local pinball tournaments and I tend to think that it is because I just happen to have a higher average game than others. When we do the monthly league work...

    That's his point though...you're playing in tournies and leagues...I assume that's what he's saying.
    like myself I've been out of leagues and most tournies since my Daughter was born...it makes a big difference.

    #62 1 year ago
    Quoted from chuckwurt:

    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.

    I feel like game knowledge should be #1 on everybodys list.

    You can have the best nudging flipper control accuracy. But none of those match up if you dont know the game.

    And game knowledge can be even more magnified as well. Say one guy has played the game a handful of times knows what to shoot for. But the other guy has played it hundreds of times. The guy thats played it hundreds of times will generally win.

    I think what separates the top guys from your casual players is mostly ability to travel and take off work. And knowledge of games.

    Not to take away from the other skills because those matter as well. Im just saying #1 difference.

    PS: accuracy imo is definitely #2

    #63 1 year ago
    Quoted from bgwilly31:

    I feel like game knowledge should be #1 on everybodys list.

    It really isn't. Take a tournament game like TAF; it's MB most o fht time. Do you know how to lock balls? That's the knowledge of the game to a certain(t) extent.

    Quoted from bgwilly31:

    . The guy thats played it hundreds of times will generally win.

    This is also not true. Ask anyone that plays a game they own in a tourny and lose...happens all the time.
    We play in tournaments with games I've never played before and won.

    Accuracy, game knowledge, are all important but the ability to play in a pressure situation is super valuable.

    #64 1 year ago
    Quoted from bgwilly31:

    I feel like game knowledge should be #1 on everybodys list.
    You can have the best nudging flipper control accuracy. But none of those match up if you dont know the game.

    Yeah and no. At Pinburgh, most people are gonna run into games they've never played before, especially if you haven't played a lot of pinburghs. Lots of these are early 90s or older, so you watch your opponents, read rules cards, see what's happening. You've got to squeeze points or even wins on games you've maybe never played, only played in passing, or have faint memories of.

    I've managed to qualify for pinburgh finals all three of my trips there playing plenty of games for the first time ever. It's always the same games, so in a few years, maybe I'll know all of 'em!

    #65 1 year ago

    It's all of the things; and a shit ton of actually playing.

    #66 1 year ago
    Quoted from bgwilly31:

    You can have the best nudging flipper control accuracy. But none of those match up if you dont know the game.

    I think my game knowledge is pretty damn solid for only being in this for 4 years.

    I lose ALL THE time to people that can just be more accurate than me. I need that rules knowledge because I need to know how I can beat my opponent in fewer shots because I will most definitely miss a hell of a lot more than them.

    In my case, my advanced rules knowledge really only puts me on level with my opponent. It’s not the reason I beat them. I’ve won 100% of my matches where I’m making all the shots.

    #67 1 year ago
    Quoted from Duvall:

    So, 10,000 hours of pinball?

    You can learn to do something if you put enough time in, but some people will still never be 'great'. It's not ENTIRELY just time spent.

    Like this guy that tried to brute force his way into being a professional golfer: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dan_McLaughlin_(golfer)

    #68 1 year ago

    To me it's all about commitment. Anyone can develop good skills but not everyone has the time, energy, finances or access to commit to playing in a league 3 or 4 times a month. Some of the best players I know would never waste their time on a tournament but could easily compete with the pros.

    #69 1 year ago
    Quoted from chuckwurt:

    I think my game knowledge is pretty damn solid

    Quoted from chuckwurt:

    I lose ALL THE time to people that can just be more accurate than me.

    Quoted from chuckwurt:

    I’ve won 100% of my matches where I’m making all the shots.

    So as a successful competitive player, with self-proclaimed questionable accuracy, how well do you play solo? Can you get to final Wizard Modes (ignore unreachable ones)? Can you beat them? Is that even something that you care about? It's definitely a goal to "beat" every one of my games.

    #70 1 year ago
    Quoted from sethi_i:

    So as a successful competitive player, with self-proclaimed questionable accuracy, how well do you play solo? Can you get to final Wizard Modes (ignore unreachable ones)? Can you beat them? Is that even something that you care about? It's definitely a goal to "beat" every one of my games.

    I’m horrible at making/beating wizard modes.

    I’ve beaten GOT but that game has nice wide shots that are easy to make. The tasks needed to be completed can be much easier if not focusing on score.

    I’ve beaten WCS, but that’s a very shallow game and the wizard mode is very easy to beat.

    I doubt I ever beat sopranos. None of my other games have wizard modes. Haha

    I didn’t even come close on these games I had for 6 months or more:

    Tron
    TWD
    Star Trek

    I guess that’s why I like competing so much. I have a lot more success with that than just me vs the game. Plus many other things that are awesome about competing.

    #71 1 year ago

    It's not just one thing. The top players are better at control than most, more accurate than most, and they don't lose focus on what they're trying to do. They take ownership over their drains and losses and then correct what caused them to fail. They have a crazy deep level of game knowledge, or at least know the best one or two ways to approach about any game they have to compete on.

    I think to be a great tournament player, you also have to be consistent. You might be able to blow a game up once in a while, they can do it often.

    #72 1 year ago

    One thing most people never think about is to learn what NOT to shoot for. There are lots of targets and ramps in pinball machines that are dangerous to shoot for or put the ball out of control.

    Skilled players will know which shots to avoid and / or when the reward is worth the risk of making the shot.

    #73 1 year ago

    I'd say I'm only mediocre - I have days where I'm pretty dang competent and competitive and maybe even good, and I've won a few tournament rounds, but I've also come in last on a few and my day-to-day consistency is almost non-existent. But even at home I don't get to play much, I really need to fix that...

    ...anyway, I will say the whole rulesets thing truly is important. Chuckwurt has alluded to this via several great points.

    But few things were as frustratingly illuminating to me as a player, and what would truly be required for tournament play, then the time I was an effing GOD on MET, played for what felt like 20 minutes (and maybe was with people lining up behind me), claimed some xtra balls, made a few few modes, whatever, I had NO IDEA what the rules or modes or anything was... I just aimed for my shots (blinking lights?) and was having a great day of accuracy. Hearing songs, getting multiballs, it was freaking awesome! But of course, it eventually ended.

    I don't remember what my final score was. I mean it was good, I thought... but it didn't crack the machine's board. And then I watched the girl behind me, a much better player who was also much more familiar with MET, go three-and-out in like 4 minutes and essentially double my own score. WTF???

    Now if I'd stumbled into my god-mode accuracy on an 80's or maybe even a 90's game, I surely would have killed it. But any modern Stern, it seems god mode is not enough: you NEED to know the rules!

    This is personally very frustrating to me because there are so many rules even before you add stacks and personalities (characters / houses) and other stuff... so if you're not CONSISTENT enough (which I am not) it can be very difficult to truly explore and appreciate the nuances of a ruleset even casually, let alone competitively.

    So yeah, play mechanics are important. They are the foundation of all pinball. You need to start there! But there's a reason everyone wants the kitchen sink and deep rules in the 21st century. Don't discount modern rules: if you're only mediocre, you need to know the rules that best make every shot count.

    #74 1 year ago
    Quoted from jar155:

    I think to be a great tournament player, you also have to be consistent.

    I understand why a lot of the responses are focusing on tournaments and competitive play. I asked about the top players, and the top players compete. But I was meaning to focus on their abilities with regard to completing the final modes of games, not just winning tournaments. As chuckwurt mentioned above, I don't think you have to be able to beat the games to be able to beat other people playing them.

    #75 1 year ago
    Quoted from sethi_i:

    But I was meaning to focus on their abilities with regard to completing the final modes of games, not just winning tournaments.

    Two totally different things.

    #76 1 year ago
    Quoted from sethi_i:

    But I was meaning to focus on their abilities with regard to completing the final modes of games, not just winning tournaments.

    Ahhhh I see.
    Then there really isn't much to it; knowing the rules and being good, which is made up of ball handling skills, accuracy, save skills, and the ability to repeat these actions.

    #77 1 year ago
    Quoted from TheLaw:

    It really isn't. Take a tournament game like TAF; it's MB most o fht time. Do you know how to lock balls? That's the knowledge of the game to a certain(t) extent.

    This is also not true. Ask anyone that plays a game they own in a tourny and lose...happens all the time.
    We play in tournaments with games I've never played before and won.
    Accuracy, game knowledge, are all important but the ability to play in a pressure situation is super valuable.

    Well this is why i said accuracy is #2

    playing a game you own in a tourney can sometimes be a nemesis. Because no game plays the same. However if your playing it vs a player that doesnt know the rule set then you are generally still going to win.

    Knowledge comes first and accuracy is second.

    Accuracy is very important imo as well. Bricked shots put the ball in danger. But without knowledge accuracy is not as important.

    #79 1 year ago
    Quoted from bgwilly31:

    playing a game you own in a tourney can sometimes be a nemesis.

    Ain't that the frikkin truth. I don't take those games lightly like I used to.

    #80 1 year ago
    Quoted from bgwilly31:

    playing a game you own in a tourney can sometimes be a nemesis.

    I distinctly remember playing on Bank 7 at pinburgh in 2016 in the first round next to a group that Adam Lefkoff was in. When they were getting ready to play CSI he mentioned how he had a CSI and he liked CSI and dammit he better do well at this one (I guess the rest of the round wasn't going stellar).

    He did not do well.

    I know the feels.

    (Note: I had to look up the specifics like bank number and round number -- but the focal point of what he said and what he did is what I remember)

    #82 1 year ago

    How do you make this poll and not include "Practice"?

    That's the secret to every skill known to mankind. Practicing. And not just mindlessly - practicing perfectly. Efficient and accurate practice is the #1 (and only) route to improving at everything under the sun. And really it sums up everything already mentioned. Rules knowledge, flipper skills, aim, decision-making under pressure, ability to adapt to subtle differences in the same machine at a different location. All stems from practice.

    #83 1 year ago

    practice (resized).png

    jmp (resized).jpg

    #84 1 year ago

    I had a long talk with Bowen a couple of years ago and asked him what was the quickest way for an average player to become better or even good. His immediate reply was learning to nudge and manipulate the table. Bowen said he avoided doing this early in his career as he thought it was more style over substance. He was convinced otherwise by a top pro, learned how to nudge and realized it was not possible to consistently score well without acquiring and using this skill. Check out the IMDN video Stern just put out with Zach and Keith playing and watch just how often they save the ball by nudging. Truly amazing.

    #85 1 year ago

    when I see an old "i used to be a pro" pinball player say "I love working the bumpers", and jiggle the machine like heck when the ball is in the bumpers, much respect to that person.

    #86 1 year ago
    Quoted from GotAQuestion:

    How do you make this poll and not include "Practice"?
    That's the secret to every skill known to mankind. Practicing. And not just mindlessly - practicing perfectly. Efficient and accurate practice is the #1 (and only) route to improving at everything under the sun. And really it sums up everything already mentioned. Rules knowledge, flipper skills, aim, decision-making under pressure, ability to adapt to subtle differences in the same machine at a different location. All stems from practice.

    I thought that was implied. "Practice" is generic. In golf, you can stand on the driving range and practice bombing drives right down the middle all day. If you think that is the key to golf, your overall game will suck. What would be the most important area to practice on?

    #87 1 year ago

    Someone should make cards like this for the top 50 players. But with things like Multiball, Accuracy, Flipper Skills, etc.

    4th-Edition-Character-Card (resized).jpg

    #88 1 year ago
    Quoted from MarcelG:

    when I see an old "i used to be a pro" pinball player say "I love working the bumpers", and jiggle the machine like heck when the ball is in the bumpers, much respect to that person.

    Back when my father in law used to come over, he'd play my games and shake the shit out of them. That's how I learned to nudge.

    #89 1 year ago

    So Gameplay Knowlege is the #1 reason voted for why top players are better? So if someone just studied the rules more they could be best in the world? It is an important reason but seriously, I mean c'mon now , I mean you can't be serious - maybe skills play a much larger part.

    #90 1 year ago

    I always wonder how consistently well the modern players would do playing old EM games with huge flipper gaps, monster outlanes with no inlanes, and two inch flippers.

    Flipper control is a piece of cake when you grew up playing those kinds of games. Three inch flippers and inlanes make it so much easier to control the ball.

    #91 1 year ago
    Quoted from Duvall:

    According to "Outliers" (Gladwell), proficiency in anything is a result of practice.
    “Practice isn't the thing you do once you're good. It's the thing you do that makes you good.”
    ― Malcolm Gladwell, Outliers: The Story of Success

    I like Gladwell and have read Outliers. I also love his podcast, but the 10,000 hour rule been resoundingly disproved.

    http://www.businessinsider.com/new-study-destroys-malcolm-gladwells-10000-rule-2014-7

    Still, 10,000 hours of pinball sounds good to me!

    #92 1 year ago
    Quoted from epthegeek:

    You can learn to do something if you put enough time in, but some people will still never be 'great'. It's not ENTIRELY just time spent.

    Yep. Anyone can improve their game with a lot of practice and by becoming better acquainted with the rules, but you still have to be blessed with a certain level of natural ability if you ever want to reach the upper echelon. For example, if I dedicated my life to pinball, I'm fairly certain I could eventually make it into the top 100. I might even be able to crack the top 50, but I doubt I would ever make it into the top 20. Those guys are just a lot more naturally gifted than me.

    #93 1 year ago
    Quoted from gweempose:

    Those guys are just a lot more naturally gifted than me.

    People joke about it when talking about pinball as a sport, but it's just like elite athletes - not just anyone can play in the major leagues because some people are just naturally gifted and no amount of practice or dedication are going to get you in the top ranks.

    #94 1 year ago
    Quoted from Spyderturbo007:

    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.

    spyderturbo007 Hmm, I'm playing you This Thursday! What are you drinking? Got to keep my points up.

    #95 1 year ago
    Quoted from EMsInKC:

    I always wonder how consistently well the modern players would do playing old EM games with huge flipper gaps, monster outlanes with no inlanes, and two inch flippers.

    No need to wonder, just look at the results from the classics. The same players tend to feature at the top of both.

    #96 1 year ago
    Quoted from Tripredacus:

    When I am playing against someone, I am not actively trying to achieve a wizard mode and I put greater importance on bonus multipliers. It makes a big difference at the end of a ball when you have a good bonus x and the person you are playing never does. Often it seems to make up for whatever is gained by the super skill shot and is a safer choice to make.

    I would argue that it is a more risky choice. If you've got a POTENTIAL massive bonus, you're more likely to be worried about tilting it away and thus lose the ball.

    Obviously, it all depends on the game, no-one is going to care about tilting away a bonus on GotG - GB however is a different story, and how the tilt is set.

    Points on the board are always a safer bet IMHO.

    #97 1 year ago
    Quoted from sethi_i:

    What would you consider the biggest difference between an average player and those that get to, and defeat, wizard modes?

    you also talk about watching tournament play... but those are two very different things.

    Getting to wizard modes on standard set-up games (location, home) is a goal achievable by many, but to do well in tourneys against top competition is something very few people will ever be able to do.

    #98 1 year ago

    Rules knowledge over skills and natural talent and the ability to perform well under pressure??? I doubt it. Rules are easily memorised, but skills take hundreds of hours to hone to perfection. And the rest: you're born with it or you ain't.

    #99 1 year ago
    Quoted from Billy16:

    His immediate reply was learning to nudge and manipulate the table.

    I've been playing competitively for over 2 years now and I'm still learning this. More often than not I tilt. Please help.

    #100 1 year ago
    Quoted from VectorGamer:

    I've been playing competitively for over 2 years now and I'm still learning this. More often than not I tilt. Please help.

    Play more EMs... You'll learn not to tilt your bonus away.

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