What Winged Nazgul said - I still think I’m not that great (as evidenced by kinglug and Thermal Ions et al comfortably moving up past me) but I have to admit I’ve got a lot better with time. I started just smacking the ball around, then realised that every time I hit it in a certain way it did X, Y or Z, then started trying to remember the timing that ensured I could always hit it in that certain way. Of course part of the difficulty comes from the fact that the paddles are pretty small and the different spots to get a certain angle of shot can be really, really close together, but if you practice on a table like Sorceror’s Lair, start off by trying to get the multiball more often, say, you really can start getting the hang of it surprisingly quickly. The same techniques you pick up doing that can be applied to other tables - they all work in the same basic way, underneath the fancy ramps and bumpers and what have you. It’s part of what makes it such an amazing game, for me.
Also, the table guides in the actual game are pretty good if you’re wondering precisely what the hell such-and-such a mode or mission or other feature involved. The menus are a tad obtuse, admittedly, but the guides do list I think every single thing you might need to do.