Aiming, adjusting and Adaptation.

Hello fellow TiltForum Members,

I am looking for advice regarding aiming accurately from traps as compared to on the fly. I know mileage helps, but if I am shooting for the same target/ramp/lane and KEEP on missing it. i’m in the habit of choosing another target after 3 shots (and then get back to the original target). Sometimes I will adjust my “altitude” over the table to see “over the game” or lower to “look up and through the shots” I am aiming for with the flippers. Sometimes this means I am getting a bird’s eye view and sometimes I am looking right past the ball on the flipper to the shot I am looking to hit. During multiball I will often focus on a spot in the center of the PF and let my peripheral vision account for the balls further up the table and down by the flippers at the same time.

With this in mind. I am interested in hearing other players and how they deal with shots, aiming and adjustment to missed shots for more accuracy. When accuracy is a matter of life and death in a pinball game, how do you find the shots you need as quickly as possible?

Thank you.


A friend of mine would always ask “how did you miss” to see if I shot too early/late etc. Then you adjust. The key is to always make that a question you are asking as you shoot. I used to just know that I missed the shot; now I try to notice that I shot late and next time need to shoot sooner.

I know folks who crouch down to get more a “drains eye view” vs a birds eye view which seems like you’d more easily see the trajectory? I just am taller and don’t like to crouch and am lazy so I don’t try that (think Lyman stance)


I pretty much exclusively use the timing of the flip, because my initial opinion comes from when I (visually) think the flip should be. If that visual is wrong, the timing of the flip needs to be adjusted.

Related, it makes me much less likely to shoot for that from a moving ball until I have a better handle on the timing of that shot.

At least for me, shifts in my body position are generally for situations when I’m shifting from aiming to recovery and vice versa.

There are schools of thought that suggest you should avoid using language (and judgement for that matter) when trying to adjust. Visual what you want to do and observe the result non-judgementally, your intuitive learning process will adjust.

On the other hand, bkerins tutorials are almost the opposite of this sports psychology approach. Seems to be working for him. So maybe you should use self deprecating humour.

I look at the flipper as timing. So for me the hardest games to play are the old sega/ early Stern games where the flipper power seemed inconsistant (GoT LE feels the same way to me). Just keep adjusting that timer in your head and you should get it :wink:

The tutorials obviously would be a lot less interesting if there were no talking. I don’t talk nearly that much while playing, and usually that happens when things are going badly.

Singing, though, means it’s going well…

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Any long time high level players remember a time when their accuracy sucked and what they did to fix it? Was it just hours of play or did you take a more analytical approach maybe? I have better accuracy now than I used to but, its inconsistent at best. I can have a ball where my accuracy and timing seem dialed in. Then everything is gone on the next ball. For some reason my control moves tend to be more accurate and consistent than my shooting accuracy.

Ive tried using the flipper as a gauge and trying to remember the same spot and adjust, basically looking at the flipper only. Ive tried a variant of that looking at the flipper with the target in my periphery. Ive tried timing. Ive tried “feeling” the shots. Maybe its time to visit the optometrist? :dizzy_face:

Release the Kraken

Yep … Still trying to figure out how to fix it :slightly_smiling:

Yelling at myself seems to help but YMMV on that. Anyone else is welcome to yell at me if it helps their game :wink:


I was trying to figure out if I could aim better on my very first shot on an unfamiliar machine from a trap. I don’t know how to decide where the ball should be on a flipper before hitting the button. Usually I take an educated guess and adjust.

I’ve tried thinking to how it compares to shooting a gun such as a rifle where you have the sights at the end and front of the barrel (probably not correct terminology.) This helps you orient your body and eyeball into the correct position to see where the gun is aiming. Is there any sort of way where you could physically orient yourself with the pinball machine so that the shot can be revealed to you? I don’t know. I’d love to be the first person to discover it

No dice. The direction of the shot depends strongly on the flipper power and the starting and ending angles (I can do the math if you really want, but it’s not pretty) in a way that a rifle bullet does not (and of course a rolling ball rather than a trapped one makes it worse). You can always say that ‘more towards the end of the flipper’ is ‘more that way’ for a shot, but that first flip is necessary to start calibration.

Fortunately, most same-era games from the same manufacturer tend to be similar in their setup, so the same flipper-spot on AFM will get you close to the shot you got on MM, for instance…

Flip duration seems to matter, especially when going for shallow shots. You don’t always want the flipper guiding the ball to the flipper’s ultimate position.
Adjustments due to the speed of the ball coming down the flipper, to me, seems affected by ball spin, a related variable.
Most of the time I SUCK at shooting, but when I really got it going on with the tight shots, I’m thinking more of “I’m redirecting the ball,” rather than flipping it away.

I move my angle of view to favor the current shot, if from a cradle. I get real low if I’m playing well, and it seems like a conversation with the ball. But what do I know?

Definitely what GeneX said. Pay attention to how you missed the shot. Too early, too late. Then adjust. Sometimes if I just barely miss a shot(like a lane or ramp that rattles on the way in) I just tell myself “Just make the exact same shot and it will go in”. And it usually does.

Another thing that has helped me a great deal. When the shot is tight, timing is so critical. In order to get that flipper button pressed in at the exact moment in time, try pressing harder. I used to play the trumpet and that same philosophy worked. A difficult passage of music with fast fingerings on the valves, you press HARDER to be more accurate. I was at a tourney in someones home a few years ago and all the way across the room I heard someone shout “Hey, could you hit the flippers ANY harder”? :grin:

BTW, I won the tournament…

I wanted to ask this very question at the Andrej/Bowen seminar at Pinburgh. But as I turned out there was enough questions to be asked.

I surely have not cracked the adaptation skill to any higher degree yet. But, from time to time I sense something weird in my play. I find it easier to time the flip to make the shot I want when I serve up a slower rolling ball on an extended flipper - let it down - and hit the ball mid air. How is this possible? I don’t know. But I it must be due to some ill-fated uncalibrated pre-stated reasoning on where on the flipper a certain shot must be.

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I was in the audience at Pinburgh and was SO tempted to ask this question as well.

Now I just gotta find Andrei and ask him how he does so well on the fly.

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