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tedkaufman
05-26-2011, 01:16 PM
In starting, I want to give credit to "luckwouldhaveit" for introducing a thoughtful challenge to what I have always considered fundamental to good pool--plane alignment.

Now, to define what I'm referring to as the plane, I'm talking about the vertical alignment of the right foot, right wrist, forearm, elbow, upper arm and shoulder joint. Two promiment examples of perfect plane alignment from my generation are Jim Rempe and Mike Sigel. Both were as accurate as any players I've ever witnessed. So, they were, to me, the icons of perfection, stance-wise.

But then this impish-looking fellow from the Philippines showed up. He didn't do anything "right". His stroke wavered up and down in absolute defiance of the straight and level rule. His elbow was way off plane. His bridge was too long. Yet somehow Efren Reyes shot unbelievably straight and could make the cueball do things that heretofore seemed impossible. Pretty soon people started calling Efren, The Magician. And rightly so, I might say.

At first, when I'd watch him, I'd try to discredit something about his technique. But those of us who've watched Efren with amazement over the years can't help but acknowledge, this is probably the most talented cue master of a generation--maybe ever.

Then, how does he do it with screwed up mechanics? It's bothered me for years. Mosconi, too--same thing. Greenleaf. McCready. And the talented German, Oliver Ortmann, who, after his injury, is more sidearmed than even Keith! Yet, all of these guys are, or were, tremendous shotmakers.

So, when Luckwouldhaveit brought up this issue of elbow alignment, I was intrigued. I know Fran was, too, because we've had lengthy discussions of mechanics and stance, and she is a very intelligent lady and truly a student of the game.

I think it's unfortunate the way the challenge was presented, because, from the perspective of the resident teachers of this forum, it probably did seem confrontational. In any case, it did become confrontational, whatever the intent.

Anyway, I hope to reopen this issue so we can all share and learn. I don't know the answer. But I do know my elbow is slightly inside when I stroke truest. I wish it were not so, because I want to look like Rempe or Sigel. However, when I put my elbow directly over the cue, I have a tendency to snatch the cue inside my plane. When my elbow is inside, I do not. Grrrrrr!

pooltchr
05-26-2011, 02:43 PM
Give me a call...I'm not that far away, and would be glad to work with you on it..

Steve

Tramp Steamer
05-26-2011, 07:05 PM
Plane alignment is very important, especially when landing. A pilot must make precise turns throughout the entire pattern in order to insure that when his last turn is completed, he has placed himself in the correct position for a final approach that is on center with the active runway.
Should an error be made in either the upwind or downwind leg of his circuit around the field, that has not been corrected by the time he makes his turn on final, a go around may be ordered. Furthermore, if said pilot has not...what? They were talking about the position of the poolplayer's arm in the stroke?
My bad. :)

pooltchr
05-26-2011, 07:33 PM
Plane alignment is very important, especially when landing. A pilot must make precise turns throughout the entire pattern in order to insure that when his last turn is completed, he has placed himself in the correct position for a final approach that is on center with the active runway.
Should an error be made in either the upwind or downwind leg of his circuit around the field, that has not been corrected by the time he makes his turn on final, a go around may be ordered. Furthermore, if said pilot has not...what? They were talking about the position of the poolplayer's arm in the stroke?
My bad. :)

Actually, they have quite a lot in common when you think about it. No matter what happens, when the plane gets down to the end of the runway, it better be moving on a straight line, and it better be the same line as the runway! When the cue gets to the cue ball, the cue needs to be moving forward in a straight line...and it needs to be the same line required to deliver the cue ball to the proper target.
Steve

Tramp Steamer
05-26-2011, 07:44 PM
Actually, they have quite a lot in common when you think about it. No matter what happens, when the plane gets down to the end of the runway, it better be moving on a straight line, and it better be the same line as the runway! When the cue gets to the cue ball, the cue needs to be moving forward in a straight line...and it needs to be the same line required to deliver the cue ball to the proper target.
Steve

Good point, Steve. It's too bad we can't use an ILS (Instrument Landing System) to help keep the stroke on that straight path you're talking about. :)

manwon
05-26-2011, 08:13 PM
In starting, I want to give credit to "luckwouldhaveit" for introducing a thoughtful challenge to what I have always considered fundamental to good pool--plane alignment.

Now, to define what I'm referring to as the plane, I'm talking about the vertical alignment of the right foot, right wrist, forearm, elbow, upper arm and shoulder joint. Two promiment examples of perfect plane alignment from my generation are Jim Rempe and Mike Sigel. Both were as accurate as any players I've ever witnessed. So, they were, to me, the icons of perfection, stance-wise.

But then this impish-looking fellow from the Phillipines showed up. He didn't do anything "right". His stroke wavered up and down in absolute defiance of the straight and level rule. His elbow was way off plane. His bridge was too long. Yet somehow Efren Reyes shot unbelievably straight and could make the cueball do things that heretofore seemed impossible. Pretty soon pepple started calling Efren, The Magician. And rightly so, I might say.

At first, when I'd watch him, I'd try to discredit something about his technique. But those of us who've watched Efren with amazement over the years can't help but acknowledge, this is probably the most talented cue master of a generation--maybe ever.

Then, how does he do it with screwed up mechanics? It's bothered me for years. Mosconi, too--same thing. Greenleaf. McCready. And the talented German, Oliver Ortmann, who, after his injury, is more sidearmed than even Keith! Yet, all of these guys are, or were, tremendous shotmakers.

So, when Luckwouldhaveit brought up this issue of elbow alignment, I was intrigued. I know Fran was, too, because we've had lengthy discussions of mechanics and stance, and she is a very intelligent lady and truly a student of the game.

I think it's unfortunate the way the challenge was presented, because, from the perspective of the resident teacher of this forum, it probably did seem confrontational. In any case, it did become confrontational, whatever the intent.

Anyway, I hope to reopen this issue so we can all share and learn. I don't know the answer. But I do know my elbow is slightly inside when I stroke truest. I wish it were not so, because I want to look like Rempe or Sigel. However, when I put my elbow directly over the cue, I have a tendency to snatch the cue inside my plane. When my elbow is inside, I do not. Grrrrrr!



I think sometimes differences in fundamentals are not a bad thing that will harm some ones progression. I think that far to many instructors over look natural talent and try to keep their students far too regimented. By this I am saying that many have the opinion that their is only one right way to perform, and this includes the way they teach fundamentals. While having a standard method to stand, approach the line of aim, and the way an individual strokes a shot is a good thing and very helpful for many. However, we are all not the same and the way we achieve alignment and contact from point A to point B to the pocket also doesn't have to fit any standard approach.

The comments you made above about Efren should be all the proof you need to understand that going outside the standard norm is not a terrible thing. Now while it may not work for everyone and standard procedures may be best for many, being different doesn't mean failure in fact trying to change something that works well or by trying to conform to certain methods or fundamentals for some could be disastrous.

I think of things this way, if it isn't broke don't fix, do you think Efren or many others who march to their own beat would have gotten where they are today if they tried to conform to normal standards, in my opinion they never would have. For this reason I would hope that instructors also keep an open mind and understand that there are many avenues of approach to an solution and that talent come in many shapes, forms and strokes!!!:cool:


JIMO

pooltchr
05-27-2011, 06:02 AM
I think of things this way, if it isn't broke don't fix,
JIMO

Absolutely!
Now, let's think about how most instructors work. I get a phone call or an e-mail from someone who wants help with their pool game. Usually, the reason they give when I ask is they don't feel they are consistent. That answer tells me one thing....something is broke! We need to figure out what it is, and come up with a plan to fix it.

Efren hasn't called me, so I can assume his game is not broken, so there is no need to fix anything.

The students I work with understand that they aren't doing something right. They are looking for someone to identify the problem, and help them fix it.

IOW...if it ain't broke, they probably aren't coming to us anyway.

Steve

brophog
05-27-2011, 06:11 AM
No matter what happens, when the plane gets down to the end of the runway, it better be moving on a straight line, and it better be the same line as the runway!

And the plane needs to be roughly parallel with respect to the runway to land, which is where the analogy deviates greatly with pool, and specifically, with this thread.

hunger strike
05-27-2011, 06:14 AM
"....but if it ain't fixed, you can't break it"

duckie
05-27-2011, 08:10 AM
My approach to my pool playing has taken on a holistic type of view. I consider everything that goes into making a shot.

So, I considered everything that goes into getting into a positon to stroke in such a manner to make the shot. I drew this drawing showing most of the joints that I use to put the cue in such a position I could stroke freely to make the shot. This is what I call the "standard" type of shooting position.

All those points, ie. joints, can not be in the same place for all shooting positons. If I was to draw out a jack up over a ball shot with the ball in middle of the table, those points would be no where be in the locations as for a "standard" type of shot like the one I drew.

Little has been discussed about the all the muscles used in shot making. The are positions that allow the muscle groups to work easier than others. Not everyone has the same flexiblity also. Being in the "standard" type of stance, IE, chest close to cue, may cause them to be more tense than necessary.

And so on.

The point is there are alot of factors that go into making shots. The biggest one being the person doing the shot making. Right now, everyone go look in a mirror. That is the only person you need to look like when shooting.

I believe concepts and goals are more imortant to learn then how to when first learning pool. By having concepts to try and goals to reach, the how to will come to each in their own way. The how to I refer to is not a how to based on someone else's idea of how to, but a how to based on the persons own experinces at the table. The others person how to is to be considered more of as guidance than law.

The biggest concept is to be able to pocket balls no matter the shooting position one must use to perform the stroke. The shooting position affects the stance which affects the stroke.

The best thing anyone can do is video themselves shooting different types of shots and then review them and see if what you are actually doing is what you think you are doing. Because of this, I could never evaluate a person shooting without first seeing them shoot. All I could do would be to offer generalized things to try.

I do not understand why so many worry about not having a shooting style like xxx uses. I persons style needs to be based on their own experinces at the table and not based solely on that xxx does it.

tedkaufman
05-27-2011, 08:16 AM
The reason I made this post was not to solicit help with my stroke.

What I found intriguing was the "Luckwouldhaveit" premise that perhaps the "correct" alignment is not what we have all assumed it was--a vertical straght line through the related joints.

In observing many great players, I've noted how often their alignment is not vertically in line, particularly the stoking elbow. And I've noted with my own stroke, that I deliver the cue straightest and most consistently with my elbow inside the line. The more I think about it, the more examples come to mind that illustrate a consistent pattern of players with "misaligned" elbows.

Perhaps, therefore, what we've always believed is not so ...?

Underclocked
05-27-2011, 09:44 AM
I'll ask again in this thread, do you guys actually think about all these things as you play the game? :grin:

Black-Balled
05-27-2011, 09:54 AM
...I have a tendency to snatch the cue inside my plane. ... Grrrrrr!
Actually, they have quite a lot in common when you think about it. No matter what happens, when the plane gets down to the end of the runway, it better be moving on a straight line, and it better be the same line as the runway! When the cue gets to the cue ball, the cue needs to be moving forward in a straight line...and it needs to be the same line required to deliver the cue ball to the proper target.
Steve

No cues on a plane, no matter how fast you think your hands are.

Roger Long
05-27-2011, 10:00 AM
The reason I made this post was not to solicit help with my stroke.

What I found intriguing was the "Luckwouldhaveit" premise that perhaps the "correct" alignment is not what we have all assumed it was--a vertical straght line through the related joints.

In observing many great players, I've noted how often their alignment is not vertically in line, particularly the stoking elbow. And I've noted with my own stroke, that I deliver the cue straightest and most consistently with my elbow inside the line. The more I think about it, the more examples come to mind that illustrate a consistent pattern of players with "misaligned" elbows.

Perhaps, therefore, what we've always believed is not so ...?

Maybe "correct" doesn't have to fit any specific mold?

Roger

tedkaufman
05-27-2011, 10:31 AM
Maybe "correct" doesn't have to fit any specific mold?

Roger

Exactly!!!!

pooltchr
05-27-2011, 11:39 AM
I'll ask again in this thread, do you guys actually think about all these things as you play the game? :grin:

Absolutely not! Now, if you asked if I think about them when I'm practicing, that's a whole different story.

Steve

softshot
05-27-2011, 12:19 PM
there is no 1 right way to shoot pool

however there are a TON of wrong ways

FranCrimi
05-27-2011, 12:23 PM
Hi Ted. Thanks for your kind words. I'm by no means close to a conclusion yet, but I've studied Mika a bit last week. I'd like to watch him more but here's what I observed so far: I noticed that sometimes it looks as if his elbow is slightly tilted in towards his body, but then other times it looks perfectly straight over the line of the shot. Like I said, I have a long way to go before I'm comfortable drawing conclusions but I'm thinking that possibly they are due to slight changes in his stance. When his elbow does tilt inward, though, it is very slight.

I also studied a video of Shane Van Boening --- which was shot from behind--- of him practicing break shots, which I found to be very informative. He was standing very sideways to his cue (facing his cue), which is what a lot of players do when breaking, but he positioned his chest over the line of the shot. The sideways stance twisted his hips out towards his cue, putting his elbow left of his chest. Based on that body position, his arm would have to have an outward tilt in order to clear his chest -- with the elbow tilted in. I'm not sure if I would call that 'natural' rather than 'mandatory' based on how his feet and body were positioned.

Still have more to study....

PhilosopherKing
05-27-2011, 02:20 PM
In your opinion, do unorthodox mechanics, no matter the talent level, require more time at the table than classic mechanics?

If you were to take Mike Sigel ( classic mechanics) and Efren Reyes (unorthodox mechanics) in their respective primes, not allow them to hit a ball for five years, and then have them play a match, what would it look like?

Rickw
05-27-2011, 03:00 PM
I remember reading something an older pool player said once about another player who happened to be a great player. He said that the thumb on his grip hand should point straight down to the floor This other guy told him, "Hey, he's a great player and doesn't need to change a thing." Whereupon, this older player said, "Just think how much better he'd be if he pointed that thumb straight down."

Tramp Steamer
05-27-2011, 03:01 PM
I'll ask again in this thread, do you guys actually think about all these things as you play the game? :grin:

I do.
Why, just the other day, during a rousing game of team One Pocket, I began thinking about the post mortem analysis of a lethal injection recipient and whether after many years of incarceration, said recipient, had suffered any long term effects related to cardiac degeneration or myopathy.
My team lost. :)

ThePoliteSniper
05-27-2011, 03:15 PM
Before saying player x has classic textbook mechanics or unorthodox mechanics, I like do watch a couple of matches from x and pay close attention to x's cue on every shot. Is x actually moving the cue on a straight line? If not, then how do I know which parts of x's mechanics are useful and which parts are harmful?

Mikjary
05-27-2011, 03:44 PM
...I also studied a video of Shane Van Boening --- which was shot from behind--- of him practicing break shots, which I found to be very informative. He was standing very sideways to his cue (facing his cue), which is what a lot of players do when breaking, but he positioned his chest over the line of the shot. The sideways stance twisted his hips out towards his cue, putting his elbow left of his chest. Based on that body position, his arm would have to have an outward tilt in order to clear his chest -- with the elbow tilted in. I'm not sure if I would call that natural or mandatory based on how his feet and body were positioned.

Still have more to study....

Joe Tucker does an excellent job of explaining this and much more about breaking styles in his new video, Racking Secrets II. He shows what is happening with the elbow and why. It's a must have video if you want to understand how to generate a good, controlled power stroke.

Traditional views in athletics need to be tested, IMO, to move any sport forward. We seem to be stuck in the past in pool and worry too much about diagrammable answers and not deviating from what was good enough for past champions to use.

I played at an open level about twenty years ago and stopped playing. Since I've been back, I've seen a ton of tremendous shooters. Where did they come from? They are feeding off the info the top players and instructors are putting out. We need to keep this trend going and look at all facets of the game.

I've def noticed a great majority of top players have their cue straight below their elbow or their elbow in towards their body. I lock my elbow slightly in for power shots to avoid the chicken wing. I can change my stance and alignment, grip, bridge length, etc., but this is the only thing that I've found to work.

Challenging the business as usual attitude from the advanced players isn't a bad thing. It's called progress and certainly there isn't anyone on the planet who knows it all. Well, maybe a couple of posters on this forum have all the answers. :)

Best,
Mike

FranCrimi
05-27-2011, 03:46 PM
In your opinion, do unorthodox mechanics, no matter the talent level, require more time at the table than classic mechanics?

If you were to take Mike Sigel ( classic mechanics) and Efren Reyes (unorthodox mechanics) in their respective primes, not allow them to hit a ball for five years, and then have them play a match, what would it look like?

For me, I wouldn't consider the Filipino way of playing unorthodox, but rather non-western, like boxing style vs. karate --- two different yet both effective styles.

It's my understanding that the Filipino way of playing is molded after martial arts. If that is so, then there is a philosophy behind it which makes it a natural style of play in it's own right.

I think both Sigel and Reyes would be equally rusty after not hitting a ball for 5 years.

To me, unorthodox mechanics are mechanics that fight the body's anatomy. I gave this example in another thread: Turn your head hard over your left shoulder and then stay there. Lots of people shoot pool that way. That is an example of fighting your body's anatomy. You can play that way but it's hard and strenuous work.

tedkaufman
05-27-2011, 03:51 PM
Hi Ted. Thanks for your kind words. I'm by no means close to a conclusion yet, but I've studied Mika a bit last week. I'd like to watch him more but here's what I observed so far: I noticed that sometimes it looks as if his elbow is slightly tilted in towards his body, but then other times it looks perfectly straight over the line of the shot. Like I said, I have a long way to go before I'm comfortable drawing conclusions but I'm thinking that possibly they are due to slight changes in his stance. When his elbow does tilt inward, though, it is very slight.

I also studied a video of Shane Van Boening --- which was shot from behind--- of him practicing break shots, which I found to be very informative. He was standing very sideways to his cue (facing his cue), which is what a lot of players do when breaking, but he positioned his chest over the line of the shot. The sideways stance twisted his hips out towards his cue, putting his elbow left of his chest. Based on that body position, his arm would have to have an outward tilt in order to clear his chest -- with the elbow tilted in. I'm not sure if I would call that 'natural' rather than 'mandatory' based on how his feet and body were positioned.

Still have more to study....

Hi Fran! Long time :).

I see the same thing you said regarding Mika--slightly inside. Evolino, too. A great player, local to me now, Larry Nevel, is also slightly inside, similar to Mika. Tony Watson, another great local, angles his elbow outside. And Stevie Moore, like Watson, hovered over the cue with his elbow angled out; though now, after working with Stan Shuffett, Stevie faces the cue, uses a hook grip (like Earl or Miz) and has his elbow over the cue.

Mike Sigel, when he broke or hit a shot especially hard, would turn his elbow deeply inside on the follow through.

Grip, whether the wrist sits over the cue, or is hooked or flat-wristed, is another factor that has to influence elbow position.

AzShooter
05-27-2011, 03:52 PM
I do.
Why, just the other day, during a rousing game of team One Pocket, I began thinking about the post mortem analysis of a lethal injection recipient and whether after many years of incarceration, said recipient, had suffered any long term effects related to cardiac degeneration or myopathy.
My team lost. :)

The answer to that is yes, but it was not the cause of death:D

TX Poolnut
05-27-2011, 04:07 PM
And whatever you do, don't overthink it. lol