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Back Hand English (BHE) - Resource Thread - 09-07-2015, 12:34 AM

I've had several requests for more details regarding BHE so I thought I'd begin this thread to provide a useful resource. I'll add to this and edit over time, so you might want to come back from time to time.

For more technical information on BHE and some other thoughts an opinions, check out Dr.Dave's BHE resource page: http://billiards.colostate.edu/threads/English.html#BHE

This thread is more about my personal methods with a focus on helping others get started on learning how they can incorporate BHE type knowledge and methods into their game.

Introduction:
BHE is a squirt and swerve compensation method, that allows the user to align their bridges the same way they would if intending to play a naturally rolling pot.

Part of applying BHE successfully is understanding Spin and Contact Induced Throw (SIT and CIT), which effects the travel direction of the object ball (OB) for a given point of contact as a result of friction with the cue ball (CB).

BHE, which can also be referred to as Aim & Pivot, determines an appropriate bridge length for various types of shots, from which the cue tip is pivoted, by moving the back grip hand only, to where one intends to strike the CB, after aligning their aim through CCB.

Pivot Points
Each cue, with a corresponding CB, has what can be called a Pure Pivot Point. Change the weight of the CB and that Pure Pivot Point would be farther / longer from the tip with a heavier CB, and closer / shorter if lighter. The pure pivot point of a cue is essentially a measure of its squirt, which is a measure of its tip end mass.

On 90% of back hand english shots I play, I pivot from, or set my bridge length at, or within 1 inch behind, my cue's Pure Pivot Point.

When the distance between CB and OB increase, or the Speed of Shot decreases, or a combination of those two factors occur, a CB swerves when english is applied. So when using aim and pivot, in order to connect the CB to the same point on the OB, we need to increase the pivoting length to account for the swerve. This we can call the Effective or Squerve Pivot Point, as coined by Patrick Johnson. This is always longer than the Pure Pivot Point when we are compensating for swerve.

While this swerve aspect concerns people, about the practicality of BHE, keep in mind that whatever method we use to adapt our aiming for swerve, our error rate will increase for longer shots, slower shots and with varying table conditions, which effect the rate swerve takes on the cloth.

In my opinion, with practice in estimating required bridge length adjustments for swerve, I believe one's accuracy on these shots can be higher than using traditional methods.

That said, some BHE users may prefer to use traditional methods on shots where swerve is significant.

The main power of BHE, in my opinion, is for shots where swerve is not highly significant, where we can forget about having to adjust our aim for squirt (CB deflection). Shots with significant english, that had previously troubled us, become as easy as making the same shot with straight follow.

That said, there are a few shot types where throw becomes an issue. This is not just a feature of BHE, these same shots are problematic for any aiming method, requiring significant feel and/or experience to adjust to.

A brief summary of these problem shots include:
1. Slowish sliding (not spinning) CB shots.
2. Slow shots generally.
3. Shots with more than gearing outside english.
4. Fairly straight shots, say 7/8th to full ball with inside or outside english.

If these shots need to be played, you need to adjust the initial aim to compensate, and this requires some knowledge of, or experience with the throw on these shots. Some may choose to apply this aim adjustment by imagining the initial line of aim away from center pocket (my preferred method), or they can change the bridge length such that it directs the CB to the appropriate contact point on the OB.

As an example of say a 3/4 ball draw shot with heavy outside english, shooting from about 2 feet away, with OB 2 feet from the pocket, I can aim to undercut the pot by 3 inches or I can increase my bridge length by 2 inches. If the distance between CB and OB is less, that bridge length needs to increase and vise versa as the distance increases. This is why I don't like to use the second method, though it's useful to know on some shots that come up often, where we can memorize the adjustment.

It can be handy to practice this second method, which requires what we could call a SquerveThrow Pivot Point for the times when we can't bridge at the length we want to, so we are familiar with how doing so affects the CB direction.

Why Players Often Struggle When They Attempt to Use BHE

This may be the most useful section for those who already have a pretty good grasp of the topic!

1. They may be playing the problem shots listed above without making the proper aim adjustments.
2. It's a common tendency for the bridge to shift during the pivot. This takes some practice and perhaps getting a few bridge hand cramps until one learns to keep a relaxed still bridge throughout the pivot and stroke.
3. After years of subconscious adjustments or not having developed accurate pre-alignment, their pre-pivot alignment (bridge V positioning) can be inaccurate.
4. Focusing on getting the bridge V to the required pivot distance can distract one's focus on finding the correct aim line.
5. Players often begin using the wrong pivot length. They might find success with outside english, a common favorite shot of many, and make that shot pretty well using a bridge length actually near their longer SquerveThrow pivot point, detailed above. When they then try using the method on inside english cuts, they will overcut the shots.
6. If a player has had a tendency to aim thick and swipe a little to thin their cuts, they may struggle with implementing good pre-pivot bridge positioning.
7. Some players have tended to avoid use of side, other than gearing, as often as they could and when they have used it, it has tended to be on simpler shots and applied at slowish speeds. BHE shines on firmer shots, often creating 2 and 3 rail routes for position. It may take some time to become familiar with these routes and start using them more in matches. Using BHE just for cinching soft shots and checking the CB up, won't give the user much satisfaction. Get creative with it, and you'll begin to discover its potential.
8. Awkward post-pivot Stroking: It can take a while to get used to shifting the body and sometimes the stance to enable a comfortable stroke after pivoting. When the back hand comes toward the body, one can feel cramped, and the stroke can also feel wide and loose when the hand moves away from the body. All I can say is it takes a while to get used to it. I don't even think about it anymore, my body just seamlessly moves into a position that is the same as for my non-pivoted strokes.

A tip is spend at least 30 minutes prior to practicing BHE, potting a bunch of shots using only medium to firm follow shots, concentrating on cueing as straight as possible. As one progresses, they can incorporate some medium to firm draw shots and some very firm stun shots, all of which have approximately the same throw characteristics, and hence the same aim line. This will get the eye in for pre-alignment, which will aid in implementing BHE without some of the aiming related problems mentioned above.

If during any stage of practicing BHE, the shots start going a bit wonky, it can help to go back to the straight shooting drill and let the brain re-calibrate. In the early days of using BHE, the brain tends to get overloaded with the strange thoughts and perceptions and overall weirdness of shooting away from the OB contact point so much.

Another tip is to practice not looking at the OB during the stroke. This will reduce tendencies to steer the shot, and hence provide better feedback on whether your are pre-aligning well or using the appropriate pivot length.

How to Find Your Cue's Pure Pivot Point

A rough guide to predict your cue's pivot point, for US 2 & 1/4" Cue Ball, try this:

Tip Diameter
13mm = 8 inches
12.5mm = 10 inches
12mm = 12 inches
11.5mm = 14 inches

For Snooker Balls 2 & 1/16th inch:
10mm = 11 inches
9mm = 13 inches

For UK Pool 1&7/8th inch CB
10mm = 7 inches
9mm = 8.5 inches
8mm = 10 inches

Different materials and construction method may vary these an inch or so either way, but it provides a good starting point to begin the following test to more accurately determine your cue's pure pivot point.

The best and quickest test I've thought of, is as follows.....

Place OB about 1 foot from a corner pocket. Place the CB in a straight line with the pot about 5 feet away.

Align to dead center and pivot for about 1 full tip (approx 70% max offset), and hit the shot very hard so the CB stops and spins on impact, or comes close to that. If you hit it perfect, the throw on impact will actually push the CB a little in the direction of the spin. Alternate the side you pivot to, to reduce any effects of poor aiming tendencies, and repeat and adjust the bridge length until you're getting pretty regular results for left and right. If hitting left english is sending the CB to the right of your aim, you need to shorten the bridge, and vice versa.

Be sure to hit the shot hard enough to reduce any degree of swerve to a minimum. If you can't hit it hard enough due to a weak stroke or a very sticky table which will take swerve earlier, try the test with 3 foot of CB-OB separation. Ideally try this on a very slick table, so you don't have to bash it so hard, but the results on any table will be pretty accurate.

I mark my cue's pure pivot point with a sharpie / texta. It pretty much wears off every few weeks. You might prefer to find a feature on your shaft near to the pivot point and reference that. After a while, you can pretty much feel when your bridge length is close enough, without having to focus on it. When you've got some tougher shots, e.g. when CB to OB separation is over 3 feet, it's a good idea to be more precise with bridge placement, and a good idea to hit those shots pretty firm if shape allows, to reduce adjustments for swerve.

..... thread out of space... go to next post.

Last edited by Colin Colenso; 09-10-2015 at 09:24 AM.
  
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09-07-2015, 04:10 AM

Estimating the Squerve Pivot Point for Various Shots

If P represents the length of one's Pure Pivot Point, and S represents the Squerve Pivot Point Length,
the we can create a formula like:
S = P + GX
Where GX is a length of pivot change which reduces the cue angle for a given pivot, which cancels out the change in CB direction due to swerve. G is a Grip Factor and X is a number arrived at based on a combination of shot speed and distance from CB to OB.

Roughly, X = Length in feet / Speed of Shot (1 is very slow, 6 is very hard), such that, for a 6 foot shot at low speed of 1, X = 6 inches, to add to your bridge length beyond the PPP.
G is 1 for a very slick table and 2 for a very grippy table.

On a 3 foot shot at medium speed on a slick table, X will be 3/3.5 x 1 = approx 1 inch. On a very grippy table 2 inches would be needed.

Here is a visual representation for how the Squerve Pivot Point varies for a cue with a 9.5 inch PPP, from fast to slow shots from 1 to 8 feet between CB and OB.


Now, before people start to panic, let me tell you that I never perform these calculations. They are more of a guide to understand the variables and how they work together. One could however, do testing and tweak this formula to make it highly accurate.

I pretty much know by experience now how much to length my bridge to compensate for swerve on various shots, much the same way as experienced players learn to estimate how much to alter their aim to adjust for swerve.

The strength to using bridge length as a means of swerve adjustment is that there doesn't appear to be significant difference between hitting 1/4 tip of 1.5 tips offset. Comparatively, if using the traditional method and not bridging near to this squerve pivot point, then variation in tip offset will change the CB direction a little, introducing an unneeded variable to worry about.

As I've stated earlier, for maybe 90% of shots I play using BHE, I can bridge within an inch or two of my Pure Pivot Point and on most shots, if I'm being a bit lazy with bridge placement, there is enough margin of error to still make the pot. We tend not to choose long slow shots with side anyway, but they do come up and with a few experiments, you'll get to know how long to set your pivot to get pretty close.

And example is the snooker break and the long safeties in that game, which are generally shot at a similar speed over 9 or 10 feet. After a couple of attempts, I can establish that I need to pivot at about 5 inches behind my pure pivot point to achieve my squerve pivot point. This will vary a bit with grip conditions. I'll add an inch or so when hitting a bit softer and shorten it an inch or two if playing it harder.

On a super slow shot over a large distance, a shot one may never choose to play, doubling of the Pure Point Distance will be about as long as you'd ever need to go.

Personally I think a 12 inch pure pivot point is a good choice. It's enough of a bridge length to satisfy a power shot and short enough such that the Squerve Pivot Point will rarely exceed 16 inches. On a super low squirt cue, say a predator z2, which from what I know has a pivot point around 16 inches, this can be awkwardly long for accurate power stroking, not to mention that it will send the Squerve Pivot Point beyond 20 inches, especially on grippy tables, which makes BHE on those shots impractical.

FWIW, my preferred playing cue is about 12mm with a pivot point close to 12 inches. I used to use a 13mm tip diameter cue with about a 9 inch Pure Pivot Point and I felt it hindered a smooth stroke when power was required. A shorter pivot point also has less margin for error in bridge placement.

Throw and Throw Adjustments

Here are a list of the major things to be aware of when adjusting aim or bridge length for throw.
1. A sliding CB (stun type shot) has significant thickening throw, especially at slow speeds. Avoid using it on cuts finer than 10 degrees unless applying gearing outside, lots of inside with at least medium speed or hitting it hard.
2. Avoid heavy outside english, especially on softer shots. Try to stay near to the gearing amount, which varies from about 1/8 tip to 1/2 tip from near straight to fine cuts. As the pot gets thinner, you can get away with a little more OE tip offset without diving into the highly variable zone from 1/2 to 1 tip. One shot that is a bit more controllable is hitting very hard with near maximum OE. At high speeds, the thinning throw begins to diminish significantly with wider tip offset. If you must hit heavy outside at lower and medium speeds, practice the aim adjustments, they can be quite large, up to 5 inches per yard of travel on softer shots with about 80% tip offset.
3. On fuller angles 7/8 and thicker, doubling the corner or drawing back with inside english, expect about 2-3 inches thickening throw per yard. This decreases as speed increases, so often, harder is better.
4. The throw for inside english, when used with more than 50% offset on all non-near full angles needs no aim adjustment. Also, when rolling pots in medium speed, getting unintentional inside will not significantly effect the pot angle, but a touch of outside can, so be careful not to swoop to the outside when playing rolling pots.
5. Hard draw and follow will thin the shot a little, if one gets used to aligning their aim as if using medium-firm follow.

Unless I've forgotten some thing, these general rules should get you going with knowing when you may need to adjust for throw and when it's not necessary.

To know the amount of throw variation on the various shots, you'll need to practice them to be able to make an educated guess, but I do have visual charts which make easier to see the magnitude of angle adjustments for all variations of spin, 5 speed levels from slow to hard shots and cut angles of full, 7/8ths, 3/4, 1/2, 1/4 and 1/8. It's worth studying these charts, whether you're using them for BHE adjustment of traditional aiming adjustment. They indicate amount of throw in color bands going from thinning throw to thickening throw.

I will post these charts later, as they are not on this computer. Here's one that I've posted here before:

This is for the 7/8th cut angle, cutting right to left, so the right side represents throw with outside english and the left side with inside. Top left image is slow (imagine the CB travels 1 table length). Bottom left image is very firm, getting near to break speed. The color bands represent differences of 1 inch per yard of throw. The white zone is where we ought to be choosing our shots from, because getting these spins means there is less than 1/2 inch of throw variation per yard compared to a medium firm rolling pot.

And here is a single chart with some explanations added...


Quote:
"The first essential step in the direction of learning any subject is to find principles of numerical reckoning and practicable methods for measuring some quality connected with it. I often say that when you can measure what you are speaking about, and express it in numbers, you know something about it; but when you cannot measure it, when you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meagre and unsatisfactory kind." - Lord Kelvin

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09-07-2015, 07:27 AM

Goodey Colin,

The following is an except from your OP. I'm having trouble wrapping my brain around that. Is it written with an Australian Accent.

When would we not have to adjust our aim for squirt, even if swerve was not of much consideration?

I've not yet had coffee yet as it's brewing so that could be my problem.

"The main power of BHE, in my opinion, is for shots where swerve is not highly significant, where we can forget about having to adjust our aim for squirt (CB deflection). Shots with significant english, that had previously troubled us, become as easy as making the same shot with straight follow."

Thanks in advance for help.

PS I'm not sure this is the proper sub forum for this as it is not really about aiming. Perhaps the Instructor Forum would be more appropriate,
  
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09-07-2015, 08:05 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by ENGLISH! View Post
When would we not have to adjust our aim for squirt, even if swerve was not of much consideration?
When BHE adjusts it automatically. That's what BHE is for.

Quote:
...it is not really about aiming.
Squirt/swerve are factors in aiming.

pj
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09-07-2015, 08:50 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by ENGLISH! View Post
Goodey Colin,

The following is an except from your OP. I'm having trouble wrapping my brain around that. Is it written with an Australian Accent.

When would we not have to adjust our aim for squirt, even if swerve was not of much consideration?

I've not yet had coffee yet as it's brewing so that could be my problem.

"The main power of BHE, in my opinion, is for shots where swerve is not highly significant, where we can forget about having to adjust our aim for squirt (CB deflection). Shots with significant english, that had previously troubled us, become as easy as making the same shot with straight follow."

Thanks in advance for help.

PS I'm not sure this is the proper sub forum for this as it is not really about aiming. Perhaps the Instructor Forum would be more appropriate,
I've structured that sentence a bit awkwardly, basically it's saying the BHE's biggest strength is allowing us to play with more tip offset, more easily, especially on shots where swerve is not a big issue.

Colin


Quote:
"The first essential step in the direction of learning any subject is to find principles of numerical reckoning and practicable methods for measuring some quality connected with it. I often say that when you can measure what you are speaking about, and express it in numbers, you know something about it; but when you cannot measure it, when you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meagre and unsatisfactory kind." - Lord Kelvin
  
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09-07-2015, 09:19 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick Johnson View Post
When BHE adjusts it automatically. That's what BHE is for.


Squirt/swerve are factors in aiming.

pj
chgo
No crap?

BHE is a method of compensating for 'squirt/swerve'.

NO... Squirt/Swerve are NOT factors in aiming when one is hitting on the center axis of the cue ball.

I have no inclination to play your games.

You have a nice Labor Day.
  
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09-07-2015, 09:22 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Colin Colenso View Post
I've structured that sentence a bit awkwardly, basically it's saying the BHE's biggest strength is allowing us to play with more tip offset, more easily, especially on shots where swerve is not a big issue.

Colin
Thanks Colin,

By 'where swerve is not a big issue' do you mean when the distance between the balls is rather short & there is not enough TIME for swerve to start?

Cheers.
  
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09-07-2015, 09:25 AM

Colin,

I think we should clarify something before we go on with any further discussions.

Is the graph below a result of actual test findings or are they theoretical?

Also if true, would this not basically disprove the 1/2 tip pivot aspect of Stan's CTE?


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09-07-2015, 09:45 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by ENGLISH! View Post
Thanks Colin,

By 'where swerve is not a big issue' do you mean when the distance between the balls is rather short & there is not enough TIME for swerve to start?

Cheers.
As using any method to apply english, we avoid longer slower shots. The graph in the 2nd post shows this relationship pretty clearly. I don't mind some long shots played firm using BHE and some mid range shots, say 4 foot away with medium-firm speed, but falling outside those zones is going to be risky, for anyone, to execute pots accurately.

I didn't get your question earlier about when we do not need any compensation... naturally, center axis shots. Use them when you can I say, except be careful with the throw effects of a sliding CB at low speeds... ouch!

Off to bed very shortly.. have worn out my brain for one day.

Colin


Quote:
"The first essential step in the direction of learning any subject is to find principles of numerical reckoning and practicable methods for measuring some quality connected with it. I often say that when you can measure what you are speaking about, and express it in numbers, you know something about it; but when you cannot measure it, when you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meagre and unsatisfactory kind." - Lord Kelvin
  
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09-07-2015, 09:49 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by ENGLISH! View Post
Colin,

I think we should clarify something before we go on with any further discussions.

Is the graph below a result of actual test findings or are they theoretical?

Also if true, would this not basically disprove the 1/2 tip pivot aspect of Stan's CTE?
It's an approximation based on testing. It will vary with conditions and may not be linear if done precisely, but it's a good enough guide with the margins of error involved, at least as a starting guide.

I don't see how it relates to CTE's 1/2 tip pivot in any way. This is about swerve compensation, CTE is about center axis striking.

Colin


Quote:
"The first essential step in the direction of learning any subject is to find principles of numerical reckoning and practicable methods for measuring some quality connected with it. I often say that when you can measure what you are speaking about, and express it in numbers, you know something about it; but when you cannot measure it, when you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meagre and unsatisfactory kind." - Lord Kelvin

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09-07-2015, 10:18 AM

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Originally Posted by Colin Colenso View Post
It's an approximation based on testing. It will vary with conditions and may not be linear if done precisely, but it's a good enough guide with the margins of error involved, at least as a starting guide.

I don't see how it relates to CTE's 1/2 tip pivot in any way. This is about swerve compensation, CTE is about center axis striking.

Colin
Thanks Colin.

Yeah, Your chart just fostered a 'question' about the standard 1/2 tip pivot of CTE.

But I certainly do NOT want to derail your thread. Sorry for even bringing it up.

Sleep Well.
  
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09-07-2015, 10:37 AM

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Originally Posted by ENGLISH! View Post
Squirt/Swerve are NOT factors in aiming when one is hitting on the center axis of the cue ball.
However, this thread is about BHE, which by definition is about hitting OFF the center axis of the cue ball, where squirt and swerve are factors in aiming. Maybe you're just in the wrong thread.

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I have no inclination to play your games.
"Playing my games" seems to mean misunderstanding everything you read and trying to make personal issues of it. There's a simple solution: stop reading my posts. The ignore function can help you with that - or the mods will when they get tired of your antics again.

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09-07-2015, 11:50 AM

^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^


May GOD Bless you, Patrick & may you have a Nice Labor Day.

Last edited by ENGLISH!; 09-07-2015 at 12:53 PM.
  
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09-07-2015, 01:28 PM

Colin, I don't use backhand English, mostly because I've always used the lowest squirt shafts, which makes BHE more awkward. But I've also wondered if it might encourage "specializing" in the kinds of shots that work most easily with it - maybe using a shorter menu of standard combinations of speed and tip offset for shots of different lengths.

I'm not saying that would necessarily be a drawback - maybe even an advantage, and maybe applying equally to other squirt compensation methods. Just curious if my instinct about it is something you'd noticed.

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09-07-2015, 01:42 PM

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Originally Posted by ENGLISH! View Post
Colin,

I think we should clarify something before we go on with any further discussions.

Is the graph below a result of actual test findings or are they theoretical?

Also if true, would this not basically disprove the 1/2 tip pivot aspect of Stan's CTE?

The pivot technique for cte is different than the way you pivot for BHE. And i really just want to leave it at that. Colin has some good info here and the focus should remain on that.
  
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