practice ball

pastelynch  asked:

Hi!! if you are still doing prompts: Neil overworking himself and blowing out his arms again? and Andrew comforting him? i'm jumping on the angst train. Also i love your writing! it's so nice to read :)

(thank you darlin, sorry it took a while!)

Neil’s vision judders a little bit, like exhaustion is picking him up and shaking him. He can feel the sharp sting of sweat in his eyes and the open wound of his lungs, and the net looks farther away every time he blinks.

“Again,” Kevin calls. “But without your form crumpling in on itself.”

Neil grits his teeth. “I don’t see the point,” he says for the dozenth time. Kevin’s getting him to run drills with his left hand, and missing easy targets is starting to run cold and tedious. It’s a lesson in humility, maybe. Some sort of sociopathic vindication on Kevin’s part.

“You’re only half an athlete,” Kevin replies firmly. “Half your potential is squandered every time you hit the top of whatever box you’ve put yourself in and just accept it.”

Neil twirls his racquet and tosses it from one hand to another. He doesn’t like the weight of it in his wrong hand. His left bicep is screaming at being used so much, and his stronger arm is twitching jealously. He feels like he’s trying to talk without his tongue for no reason.

“If I’m using the wrong arm I’m just making myself a smaller box,” Neil argues. “It’s not necessary. Just because you have a handicap doesn’t mean you should impose it on everyone else.”

Kevin stiffens in the goal, and Neil can see his fingers spasming from halfway across the court.

“Fine. Limit yourself. You’ve never used even a fraction of your potential.”

“Then teach me,” Neil challenges. “Stop trying to prove something about your own versatility and help me hone my strengths. Or do you want to lose, next month?”

Kevin drops his racquet and it makes a wrenching clatter. “I’m going to win. If you’re not going to put in the effort then you can teach yourself.” He collects his fallen equipment on his way out of the court, the tendons in his neck straining the whole time. Neil looks back out towards the outer court where Andrew is watching, sprawled backwards on his hands with his head cocked.

Kevin meets up with him and jabs one hand back towards Neil, speaking in intense sentences punctuated by backwards looks. Andrew accepts whatever he’s saying by refusing to react, his face a perfect balance. Neil tries to watch the shape of their mouths but he can only see Andrew properly, and he’s not talking.

After thirty seconds of one-sided bitching Kevin makes a production of stalking off, and Andrew quietly follows behind. Something annoyed throbs in Neil’s stomach. He foolishly expected Andrew to come and confront him instead, maybe even end up taking his side.

He tightens his grip on his racquet and seethes in frustration, testing his left grip then right, left then right, until the difference feels too huge to be real, an uncrossable gulf.

He remembers detachedly when his now preferred racquet felt impossibly heavy. He remembers when he would rather have seen Andrew gone from the team than in his bed.

He looks back at the bucket of balls and the empty court, and everything tightens up: the muscles in his left arm, the walls of the court, that uncrossable gulf. Ichirou’s warning — the barbed wire around his heart —tightens too.

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How to get good at Pinball

Yes, you can get better at pinball. In fact, if you get in the zone, it’s not unusual to spend more than an hour on your original quarter.

Realize that you can aim the ball.

Some beginners don’t realize pinball is even a game of skill at all, so therefore the first step to getting good at pinball is to realize that you can aim the ball successfully. Remember that the further the ball is along the flipper length, the closer the ball is to the tip, the further in the opposite direction from the flipper it will go. So, if you have a ball on the left flipper, the closer toward the tip the ball is, the further right it will go. The closer the ball is toward the pivot, the more left the ball will go, and so on.

In general, it’s way easier to make a shot to the left or right of the play field, and harder to shoot straight down the middle. If you want the ball to go to the right, shoot from the left flipper, and if you want a ball to go to the left, shoot from the right flipper.

Be mindful of flipper use.

In general, you’ll find you need to touch the flippers only when you absolutely need to. Don’t ever touch a flipper if you don’t have a reason. Never just “mash” the buttons like you’re playing a fighting game – only hit them when necessary, because every raised flipper increases risk of a drain.

This may sound obvious, but if the ball comes down the left side, hit the left flipper, and if it comes down the right side, hit the right flipper. Never hit both flippers at the same time! That’s practically a guarantee of a missed shot, and makes a drain more likely.

If you want to prevent a drain down the center, you can stop it by tapping the flipper a ball is closer to softly, and then hit the other flipper with gusto in rapid succession; this slap-save, with a little practice, can prevent most drains.


Practice “catching” a ball.

If you have a ball caught, you can more precisely aim it, and you don’t need perfect timing. The easiest way to catch is if a ball is travelling slowly toward a flipper in the inlane; just flip it down, and the ball is caught, and you can aim and shoot more precisely.

If a game has a “habitrail” path or orbit around it, that’s always a good shot to make if you want to try for a catch, because it tends to slow the ball down, making a good catch more likely.

You may drain balls practicing a catch, but this is the single most important skill to pinball, and needs to be mastered. Don’t be discouraged, and don’t give up!

Practice passing the ball between flippers.

Once your skill level improves, you’ll note that if a ball goes too fast in the inlane to a flipper, it’s not possible to catch, so with good timing, you can pass it to the other flipper, where it can be caught.

When the ball comes in the inline, just hold the flipper up, then when the momentum bleeds off, you can catch the ball in the other flipper. This requires hitting both flippers in quick succession. This requires a little practice to do right, but if you do, it means you can catch even fast-travelling balls.

If a ball is travelling incredibly fast, and looks like it will hit the flipper in the bottom half close to the hinge, don’t even hit it. The ball should bounce off, and you can catch it in the other flipper. The flippers are designed at the angle they are so this is possible.

 

It’s okay to nudge the machine.

Here’s something newbies don’t often know: not only is it okay to nudge and tilt the playfield, the game actually assumes you will and incorporates that into play. Don’t do it too roughly or the ball will void, but yes, you can nudge the table, usually twice each ball. To quote Dr. Strangelove, “it is not only possible, it is essential.”

It does take some time to nudge, so in general, if a ball is in the lower third of the play area, it’s too late to save it by nudging.

The most basic way to use a nudge is that if a ball is travelling fast to the left and right and heading to the outlanes where it will drain, you can just push the machine straight forward slightly, which slows the ball down and makes it less likely to head straight to the gutter outlanes. If you time it right, it should hit and bounce off the barrier between inlane and outlane. (You only want a ball to travel up and down a play area; travelling left and right is bad because the ball is out of control.)


It’s okay to ask for help.

We all know it’s true: some fan communities tend to be nicer than others, and some fan communities tend to be meaner than others. 

In my experience, pinball people love it when someone expresses an interest and asks for pointers and help…particularly since it doesn’t happen often. Some gamer-groups can be pretty mean to newbies. I’ve never seen that in pinball fans.

New Beginnings

Originally posted by sheexhalesvanillalace

Summary: Dance Practice for the Yule Ball and Y/n and George are paired up to practice. Just flufffff! Also need to tag @notgreengrass for being the editor over my posts, and helping me with the ending. I have no idea what I would do without you, tysm for making my writing that much better!

Word Count: 1578

Pairings: George Weasley x Reader


The Yule Ball, as McGonagall described it, was a tradition that only happened during the Triwizard Tournament in which boys and girls — third year and up — attend a formal dance. The partying was what George was fine with, but the aspect he was had trouble with was the dance class.
Sure, on the outside he joked around about the ordeal with his twin brother, but on the inside, George was terrified. It wasn’t because McGonagall was forcing everyone to learn how to do the Waltz correctly, no. It was because of the person he longed to dance with.

Y/n stood just across the room with all the other girls. It was a sunny day, and so her y/h/c hair looked glossy from the diamond-like reflections of the large window. Her smile was captivating, radiant even, as she laughed at the sight of McGonagall and Ron dancing together. Her hips were swaying ever so slightly to the soft music bouncing off the stone walls of the room.

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So I have this headcanon that the Gryffindor Quidditch team always throws stuff at one another.

It started out as a way Charlie meant to improve Wood’s reflexes, on and off the pitch, which Oliver then continued on with when he became captain. His Keeper potential was first spotted, after all, when McGonagall slipped on some slime Peeves had left behind, dropping the tower of books she was carrying in her arms, which were saved by an eleven-year-old Oliver Wood, who slid the length of the slippery corridor on his stomach Superman-style just to catch the books before they landed in the slime. From then on, even snowball fights are serious business.

Naturally, Fred and George would be tricking the others by pretending to throw a practice ball one way but then throwing in another. They notice Wood never misses these saves. Then one day, at breakfast, Fred throws a salt shaker at Wood and he catches it without glancing up from his plate. Pretty soon, it becomes a challenge to see “What won’t Wood catch?” and it eventually extends to the whole team in all directions. It becomes a sort of in-joke. They regularly throw ink bottles, books, food, Percy’s prefect badge, dungbombs, potions, pets, Ron, at each other just to keep their reflexes up. It is no surprise when Katie goes as far as throwing things at Peeves in Order of the Phoenix now, is it?

It goes beyond the pitch, but more than that, it goes beyond Hogwarts. When Oliver visits Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes the first time, it’s no accident that no less than twenty-seven pygmy puffs just happen to be zooming his way from odd directions. 

At some point, it turns a tad sinister, mostly as payback for all the early morning practices. When Wood misses out on Angelina’s birthday because of a match, he is woken by room service at 2 am, just to find himself face to face with a Muggle tennis ball machine. He finds himself delievered random balls by waiters, owls, confused Muggle postmen. A while later, he peels an orange and finds not delicious fruit but another wretched tennis ball inside, with newspaper cutout letters spelling “Constant Vigilance” on it. He becomes paranoid, it’s like a slap bet he never signed up for. He can’t get an ice cream that doesn’t turn into a tennis ball in a cone by the time he walks out of Florean’s. He tries to flee but to no avail. Years and years later, when Percy is Head of Transportation, George asks him for permission to turn a tennis ball into a Portkey. “How many people will be transported?” he asks. “None”, George replies simply. Before long, Oliver is found by a random ball materializing in thin air fifty feet above him while he is in the middle of nowhere on holiday. Just when he thought they had grown out of it, there it is, zooming at him once again, like that salt shaker Fred had thrown him when they were kids.

No More Waiting

Summary: reader and Steve haven’t been intimate in a while but finally get the chance to do just that.

A/N: Just realized this name would have been perfect for a story where the characters have sex with each other for the first time after waiting for a long time. Dammit. Anyway, second time posting smut on this blog, here have some Steve smut. It’s kinda nerve wracking posting this after the last smut I wrote since it was such a big hit. Hope you like this imagine!

Pairing: Steve Rogers x reader

Words: 3,910

Warning: SMUT, fingering, hand job, cursing, this time: protected intercourse!!! i mean, you do wear a helmet when going to war, right?


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