Become the Next Pinball Wizard


pinball strategy

Tips to Become the Next Pinball Wizard

If you have a deep love for pinball and want to become the next pinball master, there are a few tips for proficiency you can consider. Pinball is beloved by many and is frequently present as recreation in public facilities, as well as a focus at various competitions and tournaments. What started with simple pinball machines has truly developed into a diverse and complex sport participated in and watched worldwide. In this article, we’ll discuss some helpful tips to become the next pinball wizard that involve top pinball moves to learn, so you can take your love of pinball to the next level with skills that rival the best.

Playing Pinball

What started out with simple pinball machines with coin activation has quickly grown into a beloved and competitive sport for fans and dedicated players alike. In the early 1930s, this activity began as mechanical in operation, with penny slots for payment, moving marble playing pieces, and spring plunger ball propellers. While the original concept of post and bumper contact points remains, playing pinball has grown to include timers that limit games, violations triggered by tilt sensors, and penalties for cheating in competitions and tournaments.

As the sport of pinball continues to evolve, pinball players continue to grow in their unique skills and approaches to solo plays for recreation, and techniques geared toward tournament success. Those who want to improve their pinball skills are often either motivated by a desire for increased enjoyment of and a deeper connection to the sport, or they want to perform better at competitions and establish themselves more as experts or masters of pinball. Whatever your specific motivations are for wanting to improve your pinball skills, some specific pinball strategies can help you achieve your goal. Building these types of skills can also aid you in life.

Pinball Strategies

pinball tips

Just as with any other sports or recreational activity, there are various possible approaches to doing well or becoming proficient at pinball. There are also specific skills you want to focus on to play better. There are levels of pinball proficiency, each with its own specific skills to consider developing for optimal performance. These levels include novice, intermediate, advanced, and finally, wizard. If you take careful steps to improve the skills involved in these proficiency levels, you can easily find yourself in a role as the next great pinball wizard.

Novice Skills

A novice pinball player possesses all of the foundational abilities needed to play the game as designed. Novice moves include double flipper hits, single flipper hits, and aiming.

Double Flipper Hits

One of the biggest issues for novices is losing the ball. Hitting with both flippers keeps you from losing the ball. After learning this hit, break away from it to learn more advanced skills. 

Single Flipper Hits

The flippers are a key focus during pinball games, and single flipper hits allow for other more advanced moves. This type of hit move involves focusing on individual flipper movements for coordination and timing. If you perform double flipper hits, you risk the ball falling between them. 


For new pinball players, aiming can pose a challenge. Learn to wait for the ball to reach a certain location on a flipper before sending it toward a target. Flipping it from the tip can send it across, and flipping it when it’s farther from the tip can send it upward.

Intermediate Skills

pinball skills

An intermediate pinball player has the skills for increased ball control and manipulation. Intermediate moves include up pushes, hold traps, and slap saves.

Up Pushes

The purpose of this move is to decrease the effects of slingshots. Up pushes are legal to use if you don’t do them harder than necessary. Push up on the machine as the ball connects with the slingshot, dampening side-to-side ball movements.

Hold Traps

Trapping is a foundational set-up skill, and hold traps are a basic trap type. Cradle the ball on a raised flipper to prevent movement, allowing yourself to pause and more easily attempt a shot.

Slap Saves

To save your pinball if it nears the center drain or moves at a slight angle, master the slap save. Move the flipper your ball will hit first, then move the other flipper. The first flipper will set up the ball, and the second will allow you to shoot more fully.

Advanced Skills

Advanced players possess more refined moves for control. These moves include bounce passes, redirection, and angle repeats.

Bounce Passes

This move in pinball involves deciding which flipper you desire to hit the ball. This choice allows you to bounce the ball off the unchosen flipper onto the chosen one when the ball rolls downward.


A relatively difficult move to master, redirection involves hitting the pinball immediately without using a control method and simultaneously aiming at a specific target.

Angle Repeats

A more specific type of redirection involves repeating the angle of your flipper hit more quickly to add speed to the ball.

Wizard Skills

Mastering moves of the previous skill levels can help you learn the highest level moves and become a pinball wizard to impress your family. Wizard-level moves include drop stops, inlane friction, and falling hold passes.

Drop Stops

If your pinball heads toward a flipper’s center, drop the flipper right when the ball reaches it to stop it precisely on the flipper. Then, you can try to trap the ball or let it roll and then shoot.

Inlane Friction

Another wizard-level skill involves nudging the ball right or left when it heads down the inlane. This nudging slows the ball, increasing control.

Falling Hold Passes

Should the ball move quickly through the inlane, hold a flipper up and drop it when the ball is halfway across it. The pinball will move across the gap to the other flipper.

Become the Next Pinball Wizard at Wintrust

To improve your pinball skills, consider these tips and tricks. For a quality space to develop your abilities, visit Wintrust Sports Complex.

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