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View Full Version : How long until my Predator shaft is a distant memory?


arsenius
05-15-2007, 02:33 PM
Have any of you had any experience switching from a Predator shaft? I've played with a Predator for about 2 years. I decided that I couldn't play with it anymore. It just felt like nothing. There was no feedback, just move the cue. It also really bothered me that I couldn't just pick up any cue any more and get used to it. I played ok with other shafts, but had little confidence on any shot using English, since I wasn't used to adjusting.

I had played around with a few nice custom cues recently, a Southwest, a Richard Harris, and a BCM. They all felt so great! All of them. So I picked up a Dan Dishaw cue recently because I heard good things about his cues. I like it pretty well, but of course I still can't use English like I am accustomed to. The thing that really gets me is that some shots don't require any adjustment compared to the Predator, but others do. I still haven't figured out what the difference is. Some combinations of speed and english are ok, while others are completely, utterly, and horribly wrong!

Have any of you made the switch from a Predator shaft? Anyone have any good drills to get used to using english with a normal shaft? Any thoughts on how long it may take for me to become confident and consistent again?

I feel like this is the right decision for my game, but I sure would like to feel normal sooner than later!

Da Poet
05-15-2007, 02:50 PM
2 years? 1st generation? Z shaft or 314?

spliced
05-15-2007, 03:00 PM
I switched from a predator after using first a Z2 and then a 3142. Found a scruggs that hit phenomenal, did some extra practicing and drills to get used to it (deflection may be slightly more, but the confidence I have with this cue outweighs it.) I am done with predator.

jcrack_corn
05-15-2007, 03:45 PM
i dont think you are good enough to notice a difference.

quit hindering yourself and worry about pocketing the ball instead of what shaft you are using.

ccn7
05-15-2007, 04:04 PM
I have both a 314 and Z-shaft 1st edition. My shafts give me alot of feel,feedback, english, spin, or whatever you want to call it. Fact is the Z-shaft has to be babied, i let her rip with the Z, and its out of control. I use the Z mainly for 9 ball on 9 foot tables and the 314 works good for me on bar boxes playing 8 ball. I dont have a great cue such as the SW, Richard Harris,BCM or Shruggs,and have not been lucky enough to have ever tried one. so really have nothing to compare my Predator against except other production cues. I'm not very good but can see a difference in my Predator and my Viking, Meucci my sons McDermott and his Lucasi. Wife has a Fury. They all hit great but the Pred. has a little something extra. Probably just mind set;)

digitalcrack
05-15-2007, 04:07 PM
Some use the low deflection shaft to their advantage. Others prefer the hit of other cues. It's all preference really. I've never heard of someone calling the predator shaft hit a dead hit though.

TWOFORPOOL
05-15-2007, 04:24 PM
I have played with the 314 and I am now playing with the 314-2. Neither shaft felt dead to me. As a matter of fact I like the feel of a Predator shaft since the vibration isn't out of control.

Regular shafts have more deflection than Predator shafts. You need to adjust to the regular shafts just as if it were a different table or different cloth.

Bottom line is if you can't adjust to more deflection then go back to a Predator shaft. Try a 314-2 since it is more efficient than a 314 with even less deflection than a 314.

SPINDOKTOR
05-15-2007, 05:11 PM
Pred Shafts hit pretty well actualy. Like any shaft, its only going to be as good as the person using it. If you dont hit the cue ball with precision, it doesnt matter what shaft you use it isnt going to preform to its potential. I cant believe Im going to say this but it may be nessasary to look at the cue ball on your final stroke to insure your hitting the cue ball acurately, whitch was a early phase in my game, I stress on looking at the object ball, but after taking into consideration what Im reading this may be a nessasary step to evolve your game.

IMHO if you pick up a pred cue you will play better, you can hit the cue ball off center and still pocket balls, this is a real problem for lots of players, Obviously a shaft isnt going to correct a fudamental flaw but it does give you a wider magin for error. BUT if your really off, the pred shaft is very acurate, and you will miss shots you normaly make with a standard shaft...lol so reverting Back to looking at the cue ball on delivery may prove very useful for pred and standard maple shaft owner's alike. If you do this and your game improves you werent striking the cue ball acurately before. whitch I think may be very important...



SPINDOKTOR

Just trying to help those in need. If you have a problem I have an answer. ;) hehe

pwd72s
05-15-2007, 05:26 PM
Try an X shaft...the pool industry could use the revenue. :D :rolleyes:

vicdotcom
05-15-2007, 05:29 PM
.

I had played around with a few nice custom cues recently, a Southwest, a Richard Harris, and a BCM. They all felt so great! All of them. So I picked up a Dan Dishaw cue recently because I heard good things about his cues. I like it pretty well, but of course I still can't use English like I am accustomed to. The thing that really gets me is that some shots don't require any adjustment compared to the Predator, but others do. I still haven't figured out what the difference is. Some combinations of speed and english are ok, while others are completely, utterly, and horribly wrong!




Its good that your noticing the differerent feels in the hit of the shafts I think. For me that is one of the enjoyments I get from shooting pool. That "live" feeling that you get from a good cue. Honestly I dont know many people who shoot with a Southwest, bluegrass, blackboar, scruggs etc who rather use a predator shaft on those cues. If great cuemakers really thought that predator shafts had a better hit and performance, they would use it in their cues.
But as far as english goes, you can probably get it back to the point where your predator shaft got you but it will take more practice and focus on some mechanics.

Thats my view on things
Vic

SCCues
05-15-2007, 06:34 PM
I've bought and sold a number of cues trying to find one that felt right to me. It seemed like each cue I tried deflected differently and I wasn't comfortable on some shots trying to guess how much to allow for deflection. A friend of mine convinced me to try a Predator 314 shaft and I didn't like it at first, but when I started using a different aiming system I discovered the difference between the Predator and the regular shafts i'd been using. I've gotten so used to playing with a Predator that now when I pick up a cue with a regular shaft I have trouble on some shots. I think it would take me a while to get used to using regular shafts again, but I don't have any complaints with the Predator shafts i've been using. I've read on this board people saying that they liked them and others said they hated them so I guess it all boils down to what works for you.

MasterClass
05-16-2007, 02:46 AM
I did switch from a predator to a southwest which are like 2 opposite ends in terms of deflection.

I created a little exercise that I though helped me adjust in just a few days.

Its simple

Just place 2 balls facing the middle pocket. Make sure you can bridge comfortably. Try potting it with follow left English or right English does not matter you will switch later. Play hard enough so that you will pot both your object ball and cue ball. Do this with all 15balls.

Then try with draw left or right English. Again potting both cue and object ball.

Then try stop ball same with left then right English.

You will find that in the beginning you will have no problem potting the object ball but not both balls. But slowly you will get closer and you will adapt to the compensation. Once you are potting both balls consistently you will realized that you would have found the compensation for the defection of your shaft.

It works for me. But if any readers find this ridiculous please do ignore. Just trying to share some experience.

Best regards
Chris

Double-Dave
05-16-2007, 02:54 AM
I'd say the biggest problem is:
While you're playing a shot with english you're thinking to yourself, right remember this is not my predator this is a new cue I have to compensate the extra deflection.

Obviously you miss because you're thinking about the difference between the two cues instead of visualizing the ball going into the pocket and just stroke it. It's all in the head.

gr. Dave

Matt_24
05-16-2007, 04:12 AM
I've used a Predator for the last 4-5 years. Love them. I use a 314-2 right now.

I hit with a brand new Black Boar cue/shaft (thanks 8 Ball Rat) - and instantly loved the way it felt, and not a lot of deflection with that shaft either. Also loved a Bender the first time I hit with one (another one of Rat's cues). I'd really like to try out a Southwest at some point.

NateSchoepf
05-16-2007, 04:34 AM
I would have to agree with the before mentioned about not hitting the cue ball where you think you are, I see many players who are playing kick shots, they complain about the rail but the fact is they put english on the cue ball they did not intend to, if you dont hit the cue ball where you are aiming your cue tip then a Predator shaft is best for you, less deflection straighter shot. Check your aim. Also if your a beginner player or a lower skilled player and you want to move up in your skill level but don't have the time to practice the Predator shaft is great. I use one and switched to one about 6 months after starting pool, in apa I went from a 4 in 9 ball and 8 ball to a 6 in 8 ball and a 7 in 9 ball within a year, you get more english without the deflection and when you are pocketing balls your confidence goes up. I have convinced other players to switch to a predator shaft and the first thing you notice is they make there long straight in shot a lot more.

Tokyo-dave
05-16-2007, 05:02 AM
If you're considering 'milking' yourself off the Predator, which is what I assume based on your post, it will take a little bit of time, but eventually, you'll be rewarded for your efforts. Not because Predator is a bad shaft, but because in some ways, it makes things so easy, that without exposure to standard shafts, you never really get a grasp of deflection and how to adjust to it. Once you get a good feel for deflection, learn to play with it, and also learn the ability to adjust to deflection from cue to cue, and in some cases, day to day, and table to table, in my opinion, you will have become a better player. And, after learning to play comfortably with a standard shaft, switching back to a Predator is always an option, and you might find that with the newly developed appreciation for deflection, you might truly appreciate the Predator shaft in a way you've never thought of.
I've always compared the Predator along with other low deflection shafts to cars with automatic transmissions, and I've posted my thoughts on this before. If you learn to drive with an automatic transmission, then you'll be limited to being able to only drive automatics. However, if you can drive a standard transmission, then you can drive pretty much anything. And most of all, truly appreciate just how easy automatics really are.
dave

xianmacx
05-16-2007, 05:16 AM
I gave up the predator shaft about 6 months ago and its been great for my game. I also started using it about 1 year after I picked up pool. Sure it made english easier, no deflection....BUT it masked all those stroke problems. So then i just kinda peaked out about 3 years ago because my horrible stroke.

It has taken me 6 months with a standard shaft to get back to my previous level....but now I just feel like i'm scratching the surface of my potential. I have been forced to work on my fundamentals and stroke and they are now coming together. Like a previous poster stated....A predator will make your game jump almost instantly, but if you dont have a solid foundation to build on, it will only hold you back in the long run.

Ian

PKM
05-16-2007, 05:35 AM
People act like if you give a beginner a Predator, they're going to be making all kinds of shots and never really learn how to play. I don't really understand this argument, they're not that forgiving. You're still going to have to learn to deliver a proper stroke.

I don't see how learning to adjust to a higher-deflection shaft is going to make you a better player either, it's just a different adjustment. If your goal is to be able to adjust to any shaft, then you should use a low, medium and high-deflection shaft and rotate them.

xianmacx
05-16-2007, 07:55 AM
People act like if you give a beginner a Predator, they're going to be making all kinds of shots and never really learn how to play. I don't really understand this argument, they're not that forgiving. You're still going to have to learn to deliver a proper stroke.

I don't see how learning to adjust to a higher-deflection shaft is going to make you a better player either, it's just a different adjustment. If your goal is to be able to adjust to any shaft, then you should use a low, medium and high-deflection shaft and rotate them.


I totally disagree. here is my example. Set up a long straight in shot. A predator shaft will allow you to hit much further from the center axis of the cueball and still pocket the ball. With a "high deflection" shaft you have only a fraction of room for error or the cueball will squirt off far enough to miss the shot. a predator makes the "center" of the cueball about as big as a nickel. Therefor a mediocre player with a inaccurate stroke is going to pocket more balls than with a coventional shaft.

Ian

PoolBum
05-16-2007, 10:00 AM
Set up a long straight in shot. A predator shaft will allow you to hit much further from the center axis of the cueball and still pocket the ball.

Ian

How can you still pocket the OB on a long straight in shot if you hit the CB off center? Predator shafts decrease deflection, they don't eliminate it. If I stroke the CB off center on a long straight in shot the CB will deflect from the line of aim, not hit the OB straight on, and the OB will not go in the pocket.

If the OB is close enough to the pocket, and the pocket big enough, then I can see where hitting off center slightly might still result in pocketing the OB, but not on a long straight in shot.

xianmacx
05-16-2007, 11:26 AM
How can you still pocket the OB on a long straight in shot if you hit the CB off center? Predator shafts decrease deflection, they don't eliminate it. If I stroke the CB off center on a long straight in shot the CB will deflect from the line of aim, not hit the OB straight on, and the OB will not go in the pocket.

If the OB is close enough to the pocket, and the pocket big enough, then I can see where hitting off center slightly might still result in pocketing the OB, but not on a long straight in shot.


I agree about pocket size and distance. I was trying to exagerate my point for clarity. I drew up a quick paint brush image to help describe...please excuse the barbaric picture. Assume that the blue circles represent a 13 mm cue tip exactly centerball. The red area represents the error zone to still pocket a good amount of medium difficulty balls. The squirt displayed when hit within the red area is not enough to send the cueball far enough offline to miss the medium level shots. My whole arguement/opinion is.....the area for error is larger for the predator as it deflects less. This intern allows a player with a sloppier stroke to pocket alot more medium level shots. Again this is all my findings and opinion after the use of a predator shaft for about 5 years.

Ian


http://i20.photobucket.com/albums/b215/xianmacx/deflection.jpg

PoolSponge
05-16-2007, 11:40 AM
If you want to speed up your time from shifting from Predator to conventional shafts play snooker. The lighter cue ball forces you to move your cue tip as close around centre as possible. Play snooker for a few days and get used to tightening up how much english you use, then go back to pool and use whatever cue you like. This way you build up your game from centre cue ball out and therefore learn how your cue plays one step at a time.

I play Predator and love it. I have also tried a good friends beautiful Scruggs. I like that too. I could get used to it over time. The key is that the shaft in a Predator, IMHO, adds power to the stroke. I find with conventional shafts I need to stroke a bit firmer or longer to produce the same results. I agree that the better the shaft (custom cues) the less you will notice the severity. It is, in my experience, that difference which draws out the flaws in a players stroke. If you truly want to see where your stroke goes wrong hit it harder. The flaw will become more noticeable as force is applied to the stroke so yes, a Predator will help a player as that they can ease off the power and focus on staying smooth and slow.

In the end I know a lot of strong players who love the deflection factor of conventional shafts and other who can only trust a Predator. The choice is yours. Mine is made.

arsenius
05-16-2007, 11:42 AM
Thanks to those who posted advice, especially MasterClass. That was exactly the kind of help I was looking for.

For me, the Predator shaft eliminates deflection to a point where I don't think about it. I agree with xianmacx, you can really hit far from center and pocket a ball, especially if you know what speed to use. With my Predator there were very few shots where I felt I needed to aim differently from how I would with center ball. I was actually more aware of the masse effect. Normally when I missed because of english, I missed because the cue ball spun back too far to the other side.

I'm not terribly concerned about not striking the cue ball where I think I am. My fundamentals are pretty good (I'm lucky enough to know a few pro players who help me with them. I get checkups). My main concern is just shots where I need english. I know how much to adjust for some shots, but at certain speeds and angles I find my cue ball doing surprising things. Often I over or under compensate. I've been concentrating on using center ball for now, but you can't do that on every shot of every game.

xianmacx
05-16-2007, 11:56 AM
Thanks to those who posted advice, especially MasterClass. That was exactly the kind of help I was looking for.

For me, the Predator shaft eliminates deflection to a point where I don't think about it. I agree with xianmacx, you can really hit far from center and pocket a ball, especially if you know what speed to use. With my Predator there were very few shots where I felt I needed to aim differently from how I would with center ball. I was actually more aware of the masse effect. Normally when I missed because of english, I missed because the cue ball spun back too far to the other side.I'm not terribly concerned about not striking the cue ball where I think I am. My fundamentals are pretty good (I'm lucky enough to know a few pro players who help me with them. I get checkups). My main concern is just shots where I need english. I know how much to adjust for some shots, but at certain speeds and angles I find my cue ball doing surprising things. Often I over or under compensate. I've been concentrating on using center ball for now, but you can't do that on every shot of every game.


Exactly my experience. If I was missing balls, it was due to the masse effect, the opposite of deflection.

CreeDo
05-16-2007, 10:12 PM
Xian's pic scared me at first glance. It looks like homer simpson's eyeballs after heavy drugs. Or maybe some crude-looking boobs. Sorry to interrupt, carry on.

charlieb
05-16-2007, 11:45 PM
I am 2 mpnths into the process and it is a pain in the ass. My new cue has a shaft that is stiffer than the Predator. The feed back on my new shaft is great but squirt is my main problem. Short to medium shots are coming along but long shots that require english and power are a real adventure--usually with bad endings. Speed seems to be crucial. My mechanics are not perfect,but when my preshot routine is deliberate and I don't rush, they are above average and improving. I have gone back to doing Bert Kinisters drills from his 60 Minute 9 Ball work outs. If I have not mastered the new shaft by end of July, when I have my cataracts removed, I will probably go back to a Predator. I agree with a previous poster that a Predator feels the same on a Southwest or a broom handle. THUD.

BigCat
05-17-2007, 02:18 AM
I played for 3 years with a Schon w/ a Predator Z-shaft (1st gen). I recently purchased a Chris Nitti and debated on whether to stick with a Predator shaft or use the shafts Chris made. Ultimately I chose the original shafts and I'm glad I did.

Much like you, I struggled initially with shots that required high amounts of english (although I am of the school that roughly 40-50% of all shots require no english). One of the first things I did though was modify Chris's shafts to fit what I was accustomed to: ~16 inch cylindrical pro taper, took the diameter down to roughly 12.1/12.2 mm. This was vital for my adjustment. Also, taking down the shafts made them more "whippy", which, if you've been playing with a Predator for a few years, will feel more comfortable to you.

As far as on the table, no amount of drills will replace playing in pressure situations (gambling or tournaments). But, one suggestion I do have for you is to practice games that require a high level of shotmaking. My personal favorite is straight pool. Snooker would work as well. One Pocket will not work well. Practicing straight pool will present you with many situations of shots requiring english that you couldn't otherwise even dream of doing through drills or just practicing single shots. If you are confronted with a shot that gives you difficulty because of squirt/deflection, then you know what to do. Otherwise, keep making balls, because IMO, that is the best way to get used to your new shaft.

Good luck.

arsenius
05-17-2007, 03:57 AM
I've thought about having my new shafts turned down a bit, but I wouldn't want them that thin. I like the added control of the 13mm shaft. I don't know how far I would need to turn them down to feel a benefit.