Slap save technique tips?

I’ve been working on my slap save technique, and need some tips.

I think maybe I’m flipping the 2 flippers to closely together. Sometimes, I’ll tip the ball from one flipper to the underside of the other, and down the drain.

I looked at some YouTube tutorials and they always (?) show the slap save using a quick flip of both flippers. Sometimes, I see players just doing a single flip during a slap save, just leaving the other flipper down.

Do you typically flip just one flipper during a slap save, or do you use the other to assist? If you use the second, is it just a reflexive delay between the 2 flips, or do you wait and actually see whether the second is necessary?


One flipper slap saves are almost always going to put you in better shape than two flipper. I had to break myself out of the “one-two” slaps and saw a big difference in the type of control it results in.

Like you said, flipping both puts you at risk of “saving” it to the underside of the opposite flipper, or at best, the second flipper throwing the “saved” ball out of control, and back at risk of draining.

Practicing one-handed is a good way to help break this habit. When you’re making the slap save attempt, try flipping just a hair later than you normally would and thinking about trying to aim it at the opposite inlane. When you’re back in two-handed play, be ready with the opposite flipper to control the ball if you hit the bottom of the sling post, but don’t just immediately flip it out of habit.


If you watch Louisville Funhouse Finals game, specifically KME, you will see him do this over and over again. This is when it finally clicked for me.


The 2-flipper slap save should really only be used when you don’t think you can get enough of the first flipper on the ball to get it up above the other flipper. It does send the ball back dangerously into no-man’s land. The most important slap in the slap save is the first slap, where you push the flipper into the ball. The 2nd one depends entirely on how much you go that flipper under the ball. I think the 2nd slap for me is more for timing than anything else because a millimeter of difference on the first one might determine if you need to use the 2nd flipper at all.

I do 2 back to back in this clip. In the first one you can see that it hits both flippers. In the 2nd one I also hit both flippers with the exact same timing but it’s absolutely not necessary. Just playing on auto-pilot here because I was deep in some rant.


One handed slaps really happening a lot in this video. Here’s a rare example from that game where it didn’t work because the flipper stayed up too long:

One big benefit of two-handed saves is the tendency for the second hit to help settle the tilt bob. I’ve gotten away with pretty violent maneuvers on otherwise tilty machines with a good double-hit. The second slap puts the machine back where it used to be before the bob starts to swing too much, and it settles. That’s the theory at least :slight_smile: but I’ve gotten away with pretty violent saves on games that tilted on other players’ nudges and small slides. Such a rush to see the ball screaming SDTM, slamming a double-slapsave and redirecting the ball and all the energy just as quickly back up the playfield… the sweetest moments are when the save actually makes a shot you needed!

I do agree the one-handers are more appropriate in many situations… just depends on how much flipper-on-ball you think you can get with the first hit. Games with droopy flippers (GB, WWE) are especially friendly for one-handers…


My game improved when I stopped doing slap saves entirely. Eventually I let them creep back in once in a while, but it’s probably about 5-10% as often as I was doing at the peak.

The people who do a two flipper slap save frequently are over-doing it - most of the time it isn’t necessary. Just flip the first flipper and release it immediately. Like KME in that video, it’ll often just land on the other flipper.

I’ve seen @Adam do this move a lot: hold up the flipper that the ball is closer to as it is falling, then nudge the machine sideways at the last moment to tip the ball over to the other flipper.

I don’t even tell newer players about the two flipper slap save - I think they’re better off not knowing about it. Yeah, it seems rewarding when you do it, but one flipper would have been enough most of the time. When you see someone who is constantly sending the ball from the second flipper into the bottom of the first flipper - you know it’s being overdone.

This is the way I prefer to do it. To me it’s more controllable because it is easier for me to decide just how much or how little of a nudge I need to get that tip into the ball. I still do the 2 flip and 1 flip slap saves, but the holding one up and nudge just works better for me.

Here is another 2 flip slap tip. On older games like SS and EM, slow way down on the slap timing and it works great. If you try the same slap timing as you would on AC/DC on a Genie for instance, it ain’t gonna work.


Totally agree. I think the 2 flipper save has become a desperation move for me now.

I’d argue the nature of having to slap save in the first place is a desperation move. Two-flippering it has, thus far, almost always worked for me, though I can’t determine how much of the credit the second flipper deserves.

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First off Russell, a slap save involves two flippers. A one-handed save isn’t a slap save. Secondly, all that’s required is an adjustment to your visualization.
Visualize shooting the ball to the other flipper on the fly. From there you can decide whether or not to involve the 2nd flipper. Obviously that decision has to occur very quickly, but with repetition you’ll get it down.

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I only use two flippers if I’m pretty sure it will drain straight to da middle…and once in a while I can get it back into play.

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Yep, slapsaves are desperation move on balls that would otherwise get by untouched. The skill is knowing when a slapsave is your only option. Wide flipper gap games tend to need them more than narrow gap games… there are likely some narrow gap games on which slapsaves are never needed.

If you have to use the 2+ flipper slap save, one of the best ways to get the timing down is learning a bit of rudimentary drumming! One of the families in the 40 drum rudiments is the Flam, which kind of mimics the idea behind a slap save in reverse (flams are light to heavy vs. heavy to light in 2+ flipper saves). Once you have the rhythm down, try it on a pinball machine. If you hit the bottom of the flipper, slow your timing down. If you feel that you’re late and just bouncing the ball off the tip of the other flipper, speed up the tempo a bit.

Here’s a link of the curious:


Best 2 slap saves I have ever done on camera!


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Not as mysterious as the Tommy blinder save, here are two of my personal best on camera from my memory:

From INDISC on Rock and Louisville’s Firepower…in instant replay! (granted while watching back there were definitely some unnecessary 2+ flipper saves on my part no doubt)

Damn you KME for hiding the magic behind your cool cap!

Still an interesting video for this thread – watching it in slomo, there are three situations:

First one is a right-left double flip, where the ball misses the right flipper completely, so it’s actually just a one-handed save on the left.
Second one is a holding up the right flipper, like @ryanwanger described, but the ball misses the flipper, so it’s also just a one-handed save on the left.
Just a few seconds after that is an actual slap that puts some movement on the machine – right flipper slap, left flipper stays still.

In regards to the original question, it looks like there actually wasn’t more than one flipper involved in any of those saves (although I get how using the other flipper might help, just in case the ball makes contact).

Here’s another single flipper slap without cap obfuscation from that game: Left flipper held up at first, but then the ball doesn’t quite reach, so it goes down for a slap.