Flow States and the Quest for the Infinite Ball
Using the latest findings from the scientific literature and work from the Sports Lab at MIT, Tasker Smith will provide an overview of what is known about mental states in sports, and apply it to competitive pinball! This will be the first public presentation on this topic, which is slated to be issued in book form in about a year! The seminar will take place on Friday morning to allow tournament players to attend without conflicting with any competition! No pinball show has ever had a seminar like this!
For more about the tournaments taking place at Pintastic this year, see
The whole show takes place November 18-21 in Sturbridge, MA.
Ironically, while that video features post-production elements, live pinball streams do not! Announcing a live, unpredictable event is very challenging. You have to be able to see into the future while reporting on the present. It takes tremendous concentration to get it right, and mistakes are inevitable. You just try to minimize them.
I do like Levi’s core guidance of keeping the viewer informed and engaged and reminding everyone what’s at stake. These have been at the core of my commentating style for quite a while. You have to speak to a wide audience of game experts, casual players and total newbies while making the whole thing relatable. You need to be quick with facts, and you have to be able to make a difficult thing easy to understand. (I usually pretend I’m trying to explain it to my mother.)
Honestly, I didn’t think the commentating examples brought out those core concepts enough. It sounded a little chaotic sometimes, with everyone trying to pounce on the big moment.
On another note, too many tournament streamers are overwhelmed by all the technology available to them. They pause to do telestrations, rewind instant replays and do all kinds of crazy things with stingers, etc. These add little rewatchability value.
Just report on what you see and people will keep watching - again and again.
The late John Madden may have been the greatest sports commentator ever. He rarely raised his voice, almost never talked about his glory days, and focused intently on what was good or bad about what we just saw. He was teaching us how to better understand what we were seeing, and he channeled the experience through himself. THAT is the big missing piece from most pinball streams, and we as a group must always strive to keep improving there.
Teaching is a big part. I think that is going to be the biggest key to better engage people. Sure, it’s cool doing the local scene and rivalries, but if you’re not in it you don’t know what’s going on. I think SDTM with Pincinatti did a great job streaming as well. Educated and interesting.
Of course, there were no post-production elements for those who attended the session live at Pintastic, thus no irony earned.
We could do this again in the future; let me know if you would want to come to Pintastic and be a participant. For that matter, you can pitch an idea for some other seminar/panel/workshop that you would help to present at a future Pintastic show. The 2022 show is June 23-26.
I should of added that we need DIFFERENT personalities as well. There really is no perfect way to comment but that’s what makes it work. Some may say Levi’s style is a bit to crazy. Some may like the laid back not comment on EVERY single shot, maybe just a few main ideas and strats. If their are two commentators then they must have a good synergy, which can also be opposites as well(think Professional Wrestling where each commentator roots for different people, the good and bad)