Air stroking
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Air stroking - 12-10-2017, 03:45 PM

How important is it? If you were instructing a student would you make it a point to get them to incorporate more air stroking into their psr? If so, why? Whatís the significance?

The reason I ask is because of a tournament I recently played in. I got beat by a pro player and, after the match, I thought Iíd pick his brain a bit. I told him how I admire how he and other pros have the ability to control the flow of a match, hoping to glean some insight into his thought process during a match...he told me I need to air stroke more.

Not an incredibly insightful response, IMO. I donít pay much attention to air stroking. Sometimes I do a lot of it, sometimes hardly any. Itís not something I think about though. I focus a lot more on alignment and moving into the shot on the correct line with my vision center in the right place than anything else.

Am I missing something?
  
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12-10-2017, 04:16 PM

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Originally Posted by peppersauce View Post
How important is it? If you were instructing a student would you make it a point to get them to incorporate more air stroking into their psr? If so, why? What’s the significance?

The reason I ask is because of a tournament I recently played in. I got beat by a pro player and, after the match, I thought I’d pick his brain a bit. I told him how I admire how he and other pros have the ability to control the flow of a match, hoping to glean some insight into his thought process during a match...he told me I need to air stroke more.

Not an incredibly insightful response, IMO. I don’t pay much attention to air stroking. Sometimes I do a lot of it, sometimes hardly any. It’s not something I think about though. I focus a lot more on alignment and moving into the shot on the correct line with my vision center in the right place than anything else.

Am I missing something?
Not an Instructor. Period.

That air stroking is not for show.
The elbow hinges in one direction only. The grip (and trigger finger) is being adjusted to allow for the elbow to close naturally in a straight line on the shot line.

So, when you see them doing the air strokes they are adjusting these things to deliver a straight stroke. Also they may even be feeling the shot (the weight of the cue stick and speed of the shot) from the standing position.

I do.

John.


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I don't play One Pocket as much as I use to, but when I do, I play at Cue & Cushion - Overland, MO.

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12-10-2017, 04:50 PM

We teach that "air pumps" could be a very good switch to enter into your next routine.

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12-10-2017, 06:30 PM

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Originally Posted by One Pocket John View Post
Not an Instructor. Period.

That air stroking is not for show.
The elbow hinges in one direction only. The grip (and trigger finger) is being adjusted to allow for the elbow to close naturally in a straight line on the shot line.

So, when you see them doing the air strokes they are adjusting these things to deliver a straight stroke. [snip]

John.
And that makes sense to me. When I air stroke, Iím just feeling the cueóthe balance, my grip, the way my arm is moving...thatís it. I have no other reason to do it. If it feels like my arm is moving correctly during the shot, I tend to air stroke less. Even then, I still roll the cue in my grip hand and stuff. Like I said though itís not something I think about.

At any rate, thatís not the reason this player gave me. Iíll share why he said I should do it later. I just want to see what the folks in here have to say about it first.
  
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12-10-2017, 07:14 PM

The reasons I air stroked were to loosen my arm and just stroke from the elbow; become one with the cue and what I was doing; as a trigger to shift all focus to the task at hand; take a few seconds to just see the entire layout and quickly solve the puzzle of the run out or safe play.

This is all done without conscious thought.
  
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12-10-2017, 07:16 PM

It's merely an "aiming" movement...much like players who set their bridge hand on the table and immediately start moving their cue, back and forth, before they are even lined up (note that most pros do not do this). Sometimes this results in the player realizing they are not accurately lined up...once they stop moving their cue. LOL As randyg said, it's more of a trigger or switch to move the player into their shooting routine. Whatever the pro player said is pretty irrelevent, if it referred to anything technical in delivering a better stroke. It doesn't. However, like One Pocket John said, it can become a way of "feeling" the cue in your hands, before you go down on the shot.

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12-11-2017, 07:36 AM

Somebody actually agreed with me?

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12-11-2017, 08:29 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by peppersauce View Post
How important is it? If you were instructing a student would you make it a point to get them to incorporate more air stroking into their psr? If so, why? Whatís the significance?

The reason I ask is because of a tournament I recently played in. I got beat by a pro player and, after the match, I thought Iíd pick his brain a bit. I told him how I admire how he and other pros have the ability to control the flow of a match, hoping to glean some insight into his thought process during a match...he told me I need to air stroke more.

Not an incredibly insightful response, IMO. I donít pay much attention to air stroking. Sometimes I do a lot of it, sometimes hardly any. Itís not something I think about though. I focus a lot more on alignment and moving into the shot on the correct line with my vision center in the right place than anything else.

Am I missing something?
Why does a runner jog in place just as he's about to set himself in the starting line? Is he trying to get a feel for running? Nope. It helps keep the body loose, keeps the blood circulating, which means oxygen sufficiently traveling throughout the body and to the brain, and relieves tension.


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12-11-2017, 08:43 AM

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Why does a runner jog in place just as he's about to set himself in the starting line? Is he trying to get a feel for running? Nope. It helps keep the body loose, keeps the blood circulating, which means oxygen sufficiently traveling throughout the body and to the brain, and relieves tension.
Very good Fran!

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12-11-2017, 07:05 PM

So, essentially, you all would teach it to stay loose, relaxed, use it as some form of mental trigger to move from looking/decision making/chalking into the shooting portion of a psr, get a feel for the grip and balance of the cue before shooting, etc...or something along those lines. Am I close?

All of that makes sense to me. The player recommended I take a minimum of 3-5 air strokes on every shot to improve speed control. That really doesn’t make sense to me. I view speed control as something that’s developed in training. If a person is lacking in that area, air stroking isn’t a magic fix.

I certainly wasn’t going to debate it with this player though. He is obviously much better than I am and if he believes it helps him in that respect...it probably does. The first thing that came to mind for me was the laundry list of European players who don’t air stroke at all...mostly professional snooker players, but I’ve also noticed a decent number of European pool players who don’t incorporate air strokes into their psr either.

Do you all feel my thought process is sound? I just really want other knowledgeable points of view on the subject in case I’m dismissing the idea too quickly. Thanks for the responses, btw!
  
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12-11-2017, 08:29 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by peppersauce View Post
So, essentially, you all would teach it to stay loose, relaxed, use it as some form of mental trigger to move from looking/decision making/chalking into the shooting portion of a psr, get a feel for the grip and balance of the cue before shooting, etc...or something along those lines. Am I close?

All of that makes sense to me. The player recommended I take a minimum of 3-5 air strokes on every shot to improve speed control. That really doesn’t make sense to me. I view speed control as something that’s developed in training. If a person is lacking in that area, air stroking isn’t a magic fix.

I certainly wasn’t going to debate it with this player though. He is obviously much better than I am and if he believes it helps him in that respect...it probably does. The first thing that came to mind for me was the laundry list of European players who don’t air stroke at all...mostly professional snooker players, but I’ve also noticed a decent number of European pool players who don’t incorporate air strokes into their psr either.

Do you all feel my thought process is sound? I just really want other knowledgeable points of view on the subject in case I’m dismissing the idea too quickly. Thanks for the responses, btw!
I'd have to actually see you play to determine if I think your thought process is sound, but it sounds like you're on the right track.

I never taught anyone to air stroke. Maybe it's because I never thought about it before. I do teach players not to stand physically stagnant at the table, though. I'm sure you've seen players start to zone out and just stand in one place, staring at the table, wondering what to do next.

A good player is always on the move, stalking the table, inspecting it from different angles. Moving also has the benefit of keeping the body loose and the blood flowing. It's also important to the player's rhythm --- and I don't mean stroking rhythm. I mean the rhythm of moving from shot to shot. To some players, air stroking is part of their rhythm.

Once you start breaking your movement rhythm around the table, you're putting your game in danger. A mistake is inevitable. Someone on Facebook asked the general question, "What's the best advice you ever got in pool? People gave all kinds of typical answers, like, "It's only a game." My answer was: When I was told, "Find your rhythm." It was a game changer for me.


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12-11-2017, 09:27 PM

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I'd have to actually see you play to determine if I think your thought process is sound, but it sounds like you're on the right track.
Well, this is from Friday morning before I got ready for work. The camera is zoomed in pretty close on the table but you can still kind of see some of my psr.

https://youtu.be/zlEWVZqQL1E

Quote:
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Once you start breaking your movement rhythm around the table, you're putting your game in danger. A mistake is inevitable. Someone on Facebook asked the general question, "What's the best advice you ever got in pool? People gave all kinds of typical answers, like, "It's only a game." My answer was: When I was told, "Find your rhythm." It was a game changer for me.
This is very interesting...movement rhythm. That’s something I’ve never really considered but I completely believe you are correct. When I’m at the table, be it a tournament, gambling, whatever...nothing irks me more than having to stop and wait for someone that’s in my way on another table. Every time I have to stop and restart I feel like I’m getting up out of my chair for my first shot all over again and I’ve noticed I’m much more prone to make errors after I’ve stopped because someone is in the way.

I know this is kind of off topic but what’s a good way to deal with that? I get distracted easily and the only thing that seems to work for me is just starting my whole sequence over from the start like I just got out of the chair (which can take me a minute on my initial visit to the table); assess the table, decide what to do, stand on the shot line and chalk, align my body and vision center, then I switch to the shooting portion of my psr as I step into the line of the shot. I’ve been known to REALLY slow my pace of play down if I’m being interrupted a lot...simply because that’s the only way I know how to deal with it. If there’s a quicker or more effective way, I’m interested.
  
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12-12-2017, 06:29 AM

Consider--you can also preset your bridge length in the air to set speed on certain shots, or practice (approximate) length of stroke, speed of stroke and follow through.


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12-12-2017, 09:43 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by peppersauce View Post
Well, this is from Friday morning before I got ready for work. The camera is zoomed in pretty close on the table but you can still kind of see some of my psr.

https://youtu.be/zlEWVZqQL1E



This is very interesting...movement rhythm. That’s something I’ve never really considered but I completely believe you are correct. When I’m at the table, be it a tournament, gambling, whatever...nothing irks me more than having to stop and wait for someone that’s in my way on another table. Every time I have to stop and restart I feel like I’m getting up out of my chair for my first shot all over again and I’ve noticed I’m much more prone to make errors after I’ve stopped because someone is in the way.

I know this is kind of off topic but what’s a good way to deal with that? I get distracted easily and the only thing that seems to work for me is just starting my whole sequence over from the start like I just got out of the chair (which can take me a minute on my initial visit to the table); assess the table, decide what to do, stand on the shot line and chalk, align my body and vision center, then I switch to the shooting portion of my psr as I step into the line of the shot. I’ve been known to REALLY slow my pace of play down if I’m being interrupted a lot...simply because that’s the only way I know how to deal with it. If there’s a quicker or more effective way, I’m interested.
Your video shows that you are a decisive player; and I like the fact that you don't waste time mulling over decisions. Your rhythm around the table is moderately fast. Slowing down your pace a little for one or two shots after you've been distracted is fine. Don't slow down a lot and don't do it for more than a couple of shots. It will obliterate your rhythm.

If you're competing and feel leery about picking up the pace again after you lost your rhythm and slowed down a bit, give yourself permission to miss a shot or two in order to find your rhythm. Losing your rhythm for the rest of the match is way worse than sacrificing a couple of shots to get it back.

That trick was taught to me by an old pool hustler who played out of Jimmy Fusco's home room in Philly named Peter Rabbit. Once Peter told me it was okay to miss to find my rhythm again, it felt like a load was lifted from my shoulders. And the funny thing was that once I gave myself permission to miss, although I did miss sometimes, I often didn't miss, I guess because there wasn't the tension that there was before.

Just remember: Playing out of your rhythm is exhausting. It will wear you down both mentally and physically. You'll start to make bad decisions and execute poorly. It's also important to find your rhythm right from the start of the match, and that includes allowing yourself to miss a shot or two early on to find it. If you can shoot a rack or two before your match, use that time to find your rhythm. Everything else will fall into place.


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12-12-2017, 11:38 AM

Here's something interesting about rhythm. A few years ago, Jack Nicklaus was being interviewed during the Masters golf tournament. One of the players seemed to have fallen into a slump on the final day. The announcer asked Nicklaus what causes a player to fall off their game like that.

Nicklaus responded right away. He said, "It happens when a player falls out of his rhythm. He has to get it back before it turns into a disaster."

Although Nicklaus may have been referring to his swing rhythm, I think it's an all-inclusive type of thing, including how the player walks to his shot and performs his psr... etc.


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