It works for me when I don't think about it mostly. During these times I seem to accept that I was sensing it, when its successful. Like in that ball example. I walk at the edge of forest, then turn my head to left and walk a bit in left direction and stand, then even more left, few steps. After that I turn around and ball is there is bushes behind me.
When I think about it and analyze that "it could most likely be there". I just consider it as lucky guess.
I don't think I can feel peoples physical pain on distance. I mean when someone hits his finger with hammer -I do twitch and act like someone spooked me, startled me. Mostly I feel something in back of my neck when this happening, some kind of tension and also in my chest. Inside my chest I also feel a bit, like I winds blown out everything out of there and its empty for a moment. But if you talk about do I feel same pain in finger -I am not sure. It usually comes to me later when I think about finger being hit by hammer. I think its more about that I imagine the pain other person has, not actually feel it. I think its more like with HSP, not empath. Yet again in that case I feel some kind "special attention" at my finger then. Like its some separate special body part.
About sensing pain in other people. I often was told that I sense it correctly with my hands. As I wrote you before -they are very hot...Even now I look at flat side of my hand and its more red, not normal skin color. When I shake hands of other people -their hands are almost always colder. I met only few people in my life who had same temperature of hands like mine. And I really enjoy touching cold hands or objects. My friends and my mother was telling me that I sense exactly where they got pains on shoulders or back. I do it by hovering my hands close to body and try to find spots that are different from others. Sometimes they are colder, sometimes hotter, sometimes I just feel that I must put my hand here. I really cant say if this is actually true or not. But its like this.