Double flips and other bad habits

Among other faults in my pinball playing, I seem to be an inveterate double-flipper. I know how bad it is, but far more often than I’d like to admit I seem to find myself double flipping and draining in key moments. What suggestions do people have for training away this habit? I’m aware it’s bad, so there’s no need to repeat so. Even if you don’t have a solution, I’d be curious to know other players’ bad habits and how you practice.

While I’m fortunate currently to be storing an Old Chicago for @Karl13 that I can practice on, I’d be interested in knowing about techniques to make the most for practicing on location, since many players don’t have games at home or at friends’ homes.

Please cure me of this double flip affliction.

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Think serving a tennis ball, throwing a bowling ball, pitching a baseball or some other sport where you focus on using just one hand for your shot. Swatting a fly. Whatever you instinctively never do with both hands. Visualize playing like that.

Also practice using dead bounces, maybe even to excess at first. Just to get out of the habit of flipping too much.


Practice playing one-handed for as long as it takes to stop this habit.


Thanks. I have been doing better with dead bouncing. That was something that I happily seem to have taken away from Pinburgh. I hadn’t thought about the link with double flipping, but it makes sense. I’ll keep practicing.

Another bad habit is not nudging. I had this problem and the only solution I found was to nudge constantly. I also found it helpful to loosen or remove the tilt bobs in my machines so I could nudge as hard as I wanted. I think its better to learn to move the machine first then learn to dial it back when you put the tilt bob back in. Don’t take advantage of being able to swing the machine around or you won’t learn anything except back pain. :pill: :pill: :pill:


My worst habit is holding the flipper up after flipping. Sometimes for just a second or two. Sometimes until the ball comes all the way back to the same flipper. I know it’s a bad habit but I can’t seem to break it. I marvel at some players who seem to play as if they are playing with no hold flippers. Every single flip is a quick flip and drop. How would you go about training to do this?


Practice with this skill in mind, as opposed to just trying to play well. And when you practice, be mindful of when you’re flipping quickly and when you’re not. It will also help to assess drains during practice and record, say, how many per hour could be attributed in some way to holding up a flipper. Then keep track of this number with an eye toward improving it.

When you get down to zero, you can stop. :slight_smile:

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I used to do this too! To make matters worse when I first started playing I used my middle finger instead of my index finger to flip. Now I use my index and instead of pushing the button in and holding, I sort of push and drag my finger off the button in one motion. I get calluses on my index fingers from doing it though.

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I noticed a quirk in my game a while back that’s kinda the opposite of holding the flipper too long. Sometimes after I flip, I pull that hand completely away from the button. It’s usually on a long and/ or high confidence shot. Ramp return to a flipper, orbit shot that goes all the way around. Completely unintentional, hand just backs off real quick.

I wouldn’t call it a bad habit as it rarely causes a problem (high confidence shot). I gripped on it for a while thinking other players might dog me for doing it. Then I saw KME do the exact same thing. Any other ‘hand lifters’ out there?

Stetta was lucky to keep one hand on the game at all times. d:^)


I do this too! But I tend to do it after something like a save. I think it’s like a nervous reflex in my case rather than anything done deliberately or with confidence!

More than once I’ve found myself doing this and watching my amazing save with my hands away from the machine, only to find the save wasn’t all that amazing after all…


This wouldn’t work on location, but if you somehow have access to machines set on free play…

Shoot the in lanes on the fly. Don’t catch or trap up at all. Your goal is to only flip when the ball is at the very tip of the flipper. You only shoot at the inlane. Your success rate will be nearly nonexistant at first, but after you do it a few thousand times, you should be able to hit a few in a row easily.

Not that shooting the inlane is an incredibly useful skill, but in the process of trying to you learn other skills. You have to let the ball dead bounce when it hits anywhere but the tip of the flipper so you see how the ball reacts to dead bounces from every direction, giving you confidence in using a dead bounce during regular play. Some games you can get three or four bounces off the flippers by nudging before you have to flip. You also develop a feel for exactly where the tip of the flipper is. Pretty usefully for one handed slap saves.

In your case, you have to keep the other flipper down to shoot the inlane so you train yourself not to flip.


By far my worst habit is trying to live catch on machines with scissor flippers only to see the ball trickle off the fat end of the bottom flipper.

The way I have tried to resolve this is by not having my hand on the flipper button at all and just allowing it to dead bounce across, not always successful, but certainly more so than anything else I’ve tried.

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Fixed it for you. :slight_smile:


I am guilty of most of the bad habits listed above but by far my worst bad habit is a mental one–letting a bad ball or bad game put me in a bad I-can’t-play-pinball-mood and affecting all my subsequent games. If I could find a way to shake off bad or unlucky play and not let bad streaks become self-perpetuating I would be a much better tournament player. That and the resultant adult sulking in public behavior is a bit conduct unbecoming a player but that is another issue entirely.


This is as bad a problem for me as double-flipping, if not worse. I appreciate the question.

double flipping and draining in key moments

I call this the “attempted-rage-slap-save” for letting go of a bit of anger after a relatively unsaveable SDTM.

I certainly enjoy some good Schatzing

A big part of of tournament success is a mental thing, I’m sure. I know that when I’m tired, anxious, nervous, depressed, or whatever, I’m playing way worse than when I’m in an easy-going mood where I just pinball and don’t really care about the score. And I play particularly bad when I’m trying really hard. Surprise, surprise…

A pinball mate of mine recently told me about his “Zen of pinball”. He said “you need to care just enough about the results to almost not care.” Unfortunately, I don’t have any real suggestions for how to get into that state. What works for me is to tell myself that, really, this is just one silly game of pinball out of many and that, if I don’t win, I’ll still be able to feed my family and that none of my friends will abandon me.

In the grand scheme of things, pinball ranks actually quite low on my list of priorities. It’s just that, if I don’t keep reminding myself of that, I tend to completely forget it :slight_smile:


Check out the inner game of tennis.


My goal in 2018 is to forget chasing new games and try to become a decent player.

Watched loads of Papa videos and now do plenty of dead bounces, live catches when they come off.

But, I am confused over this topic - double flips.

I have noticed bad drains when say the left flipper is up and the right remains down. Big gap.

If I hold both up in a ‘defensive’ position, the gap is smaller so less drains.

I want to know if this technique is the dreaded ‘double flip’ and if so what to do instead??

I have only this weekend started holding them in this defensive position so wanted to check out if this is wrong…I suspect it is!