Working on stamina during longer pinball runs

As an okay player, I always need to get some on-site-practise to be able to play better and therefore longer games. When I’m in the zone after a while, all works out well - except that I can’t hold this skill level for too long. I am interested in your experiences when it comes to longer playing sessions (something like cycling through an endgame or super jackpot two, three or more times). How do you keep up your skill in terms of playstyle, posture, etc.? Curious to hear your answers!

Just relax. by which I mean, playing all day is fun and exhausting, so don’t let yourself get too worked up or too casual. Play for your personal best and avoid unnecessary comparisons to other players.


Hydration helps me.

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Playing alone is very different than competing. I’m old, but I can only go an hour or so before fatigue (or boredom) starts setting in when playing alone. I don’t mind this because more than an hour a day of pinball gets to be a pretty big waste of time. An hour 5-6 times a week is perfect for me. It’s enough to keep my skills as sharp as they can be.

Reaching a wiz mode or getting a GC score is often the end for a couple of reasons. It usually takes a while to get there and mentally getting the GC score/ reaching the wiz mode is a sign that you’ve beaten the machine into submission. My work is done here.


Having played for 30hrs solid in setting the current GWR, I can offer some advice, as I found that my skill level didn’t drop off anywhere near as much as I expected it would.

I was playing without a care, in so much as it didn’t make any difference what the score was, so I wasn’t getting worked up over missed shots, and then becoming more anxious and missing more and more shots. I have been able to transfer this over to my tournament play now (ish) and don’t get anywhere near as stressed out over a bad ball or bad bounce. This has helped my results considerably.

Keeping well fed and watered are also key, to both remaining physically sound as well as mentally alert.

You don’t need to man handle the machine anywhere near as much as you think you do. It puts more stress on your wrists, elbows, shoulders, hips, knees - pretty much every joint in you.

As for concentration over a single long game - the focus as you are nearing a certain point, whether that be wizard mode, replay or GC, is normally increased (as long as your nerves don’t take over and you start bricking shots). The main drop off comes after you achieve the goal you were focussed on, you relax, get complacent, or don’t try as hard to save a ball as you’ve already reached ‘the goal’ you were going for.
The trick is to set a new goal, not so far away that it seems like unachievable, but something that maybe take 4-5 shots. Once you’ve done that go for the next target.

Take every opportunity when the ball is not in motion to change your stance, stretch your fingers etc. whether it’s end of ball, or a DMD animation when the ball is in a scoop or saucer, even when the ball is in the pops and is safe (Transformers or Star Trek spring to mind). The last thing you want is to get cramp because you’ve been stuck in the same position.


That’s great advice, thanks!

Get a good night’s sleep before and during the event.

Sit between games whenever possible.

Re keeping fed and hydrated, don’t go carb-heavy or soda-heavy. Keep protein and yes, fats in the mix [nuts are good], do just-plain-water for hydration and have some fruit juice of your choice if possible for a flavored drink rather than soda all day.

Use gloves to cushion your palms from bumping the machines.

Stretch or do light exercise a bit; Tim’s pushups aren’t as silly as they seem!


During PCS I played a fairly long playing hobbit 3 times in 3 rounds (9-16 tie-breaker). The second 2 times I choose it because it was long playing and I felt I had more willingness to stick with it than my opponents.

However, I did get a bit of a scare. During the second game, during into the fire, my forearm started hurting. I switched flipping finger for the remainder of the game, but I did some damage and felt it for a few days. It seems better now. I wish I knew what I did wrong during that multiball so I could avoid a scare like that again. Yes, I am a slappy player (they call me Slappy Joe Jr. at the local league).

It is certainly possible to cause real damage (repetitive strain injuries). I remember Eden talking about how he suffered for a long time after his TAF run.

Play 420+ tournaments in 3 years and you will find out what works for your body and what don’t. Stay hydrated and snack on something every now and then.


I see what you did there


I played in Pinburgh last year and can give you my takeaways.

1: Good shoes.
Standing on concrete for hours on end will kill your feet. As a 300+ pounder, it was a nightmare for my feet, which had an adverse effect on my game near the end of the day. Good shoes with extra insoles are great. If you can find time to sit, I advise that you do.

2: Plenty of Rest:
Get a good sleep the night before. If it’s a long tournament with a break, don’t be afraid to take a nap.

3: Stay Hydrated and Eat Right.
While I’m not too good on the eating right part outside of tournaments, during them I typically stick to water or unsweetened iced tea and limit my foor intake to mostly proteins and fats (as BMU said).

4: Take a good Multivitamin
I take multivitamins every day, and if I forget to re-up my order, I definitely feel it during any tournament or even at my dayjob.

If you are specifically talking about how to keep your cool during a single run on a game that has been going a long time, I can only tell you what I do. I just try to keep my emotions in check. I mean, if I’ve been hammering away at a game and been able to make all the shots I need to get to the wizard mode, the hard part is already over. You managed to keep your cool to get to the wizard mode, just keep that same mentality while you are in it.

Just imagine that you are explaining the game to someone as you play it, I find that always forces me to slow down and make better shots.

I can’t say I do this all the time, but I try to. For example: At the DE States this past weekend I managed to Tour the Mansion on ball one because I just kept cool. After ball one though, I let the excitement and tension get the better of me and couldn’t repeat it.

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