What did playing 24h teach you about your game?

One of the things I found interesting about playing in the final battle was how I lost certain skills at different rates. I am trying to figure out if it teaches my something about my game, or something generic about the types of skills.

At the end of the tournament, the following seemed true.

  • reaction time got worse on unexpected things (obviously)
  • flipper skills got worse (catches, passes, etc)
  • accuracy got a lot worse.

Surprisingly, my on the fly play still seemed strong. Even on the last bank of the night, I had a really good game on jackbot, where on the fly multiball play just felt right.

Does this mean that I am just better/more practiced at on the fly play, so I was better at playing that way when tired? Or is on the fly just easier then control when tired.

Does this mean I need to force myself to practice my control more until it becomes as intuitive, or should I give up and just rely more on my on-the-fly when under pressure.

Or maybe my memory from my sleep deprived mind is completely unreliable.

Anyone else have similar (or better different) experience?


Other than the lag in physical skills, I had a huge mental breakdown during the event.

The first half-ish I felt very relaxed. Even when having two bad first balls during a game, I was able to stay relaxed and not worry about what just happened as I stepped up to ball three. I was able to have fun even when I made a mistake.

The second half-ish I was tired and beat myself up over every mistake. The final 4 or so rounds I was nervous walking up to a machine - already nervous I would make a mistake.

The chart of my decline is here.


I mostly kept it together. Later on, drains seemed to be resulting from dumb stuff. I had a couple very bad rounds that coincided with my hours where I felt the worst. In the moment, I felt like was doing awful until the last minute, but in reality I just had one major beef in the second to last round. My perception of this was exaggerated, but it really felt like round by round, I was ping ponging back and forth between players that were certainly better than me and players that were more peer-ish (on that day anyway).


There was a couple times where on the fly playing just seemed like the natural thing to do, and at the time I attributed that to my state of mind.

I did better than I did last year. Coming back to a venue after one year made me realize that I’ve definitely improved even though I still feel like I go through my hot/cold periods. A lot easier for me now to put a strategy together on an unfamiliar game and “do the thing” this year.

Kudos to the Sanctum guys for making it even better. My apologies to anyone I was weird to because I turned into a zombie monster. I noticed on the drive back that nobody in the car had any kind of filter left!


It’s gotta be the latter. Or at least the latter is true and more important, regardless of how true the former is.

If sleep deprivation cause you to be less likely to execute live catches, drop catches, and other non-basic skills, it make sense to switch to a style where you rely on them less. Especially because failure to execute most of these skills actually increases your risk of losing a ball (failed live catch into the outlane, failed drop catch into the drain, etc.).

And if you’re going to switch to playing on the fly under certain circumstances, it absolutely makes sense to practice playing this way so you’re more comfortable when you need to do it.

Regardless, being able to monitor when a specific skill is going away because of a lack of sleep is another skill in and of itself that gets worse from a lack of sleep.

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My reaction time definitely got worse, but was particularly bad in the 11pm to 7am time period when I’m usually sleeping. Part of that seemed to come from the loss of any ability to anticipate ball movement. When I couldn’t anticipate future ball movement, I couldn’t nudge properly to prepare for control, so playing on the fly tended to have better results. What Steve said also makes sense for why this might have worked better:[quote=“stevevt, post:4, topic:3302”]
If sleep deprivation cause you to be less likely to execute live catches, drop catches, and other non-basic skills, it make sense to switch to a style where you rely on them less.

I had an awesome time, despite a midnight slump that I never recovered from. Thanks to Jim and Mark for organizing such a great tournament and keeping everything moving smoothly! Thanks also to everyone at the event for keeping the vibes positive and friendly throughout the night.

Apparently the 2-5 AM play is my superpower, because I bounced up from around 90th to around 55th in that time. I flew too close to sun, though, because better players combined with more ill effects from sleep deprivation resulted in a couple of bad rounds that plummeted me back down to a 90th place finish. Ouch!

I definitely learned a lot about the mental game. I just got so in my head about needing to “try harder” and “play better”. I was reading The Inner Game of Tennis recently, and the 24 Hour convinced me to go back to it, finish the book, and practice some of those techniques, because much more of my bad play was chalked up to attitude than to reflexes or flipper skills- I just did dumb shit, poorly and consistently, because I was trying too hard. You have to adjust your play to where your skills are at in this tournament, as others have previously noted, and “trying harder” results in you trying to execute a more controlled and more skilled game than you are actually capable of playing.

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I seem to focus better when I’m awake for 20+ hours, so I might just start staying up the night before tournaments.


Also, basic skills like “don’t walk away until you see bonus start counting” really matter at 4 in the morning. Definitely had some near-misses with walking away from ball saves or from missed plunges on Congo late in the evening.

I saw that I think.

Same here. I actually got better the more tired I became. Maybe that’s because the better players came down to my level of play with their impaired skills? Maybe I just got lucky. Who knows?

This was my second 24 hour battle so I did learn a few tricks this time around. It is amazing how your body reacts to ambient noise and sensory overload. I found that between rounds to just go outside and get fresh air and be out of the noise was crucial for me along with sitting whenever possible. The rounds between 3 am and 5 am my reflexes and reaction time were at its worse. I was surprised how fatigued my eyes were during that time and how glare really affected how I was seeing the ball along with the delay in reaction time. I noticed a significant improvement with the last 2 rounds after the volunteers brought in the egg casserole ( thanks to the two lady’s who put that together, what a treat !) Even though I thought I was hydrating and eating throughout my blood sugar and hydration really played a big role in performance along with fatigue. This all ties into the hours where the decline was noticed.