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View Full Version : Squeezing the cue during a hard stroke


midnightpulp
01-13-2008, 09:22 PM
This is something I've never considered in my game.

Of course, I know on most shots, it's an absolute must to keep your grip hand totally relaxed, from impact to follow through.

However, when executing a medium to hard stroke, I tighten my grip hand. I feel I have better control of the cue, but on the other hand, I've been very inconsistent as of late with long straight in shots that require a harder stroke. I thought it was an alignment problem, but now I'm believing the grip hand is the culprit. Still, when I totally relax, my wrist feels too loose. But I can't argue with results. Keeping by grip hand totally relaxed, I shot five quick 5 diamond length draw shots and made all of them.

Any thoughts?

the420trooper
01-13-2008, 10:02 PM
It looks like the instructors are right on this one. The loose grip, especially on power shots, is the only road to consistency. When I'm dogging it, I notice that I'm gripping the cue too hard, and it makes my tip veer off.....goddamnit.

DoomCue
01-13-2008, 10:16 PM
Gripping tighter usually has the unintended effect of locking the wrist. A good, loose, smooth wrist motion is necessary to keep the cue as level as possible at contact. Whether the shot is to be hit hard or soft, the grip pressure should stay the same - just tight enough maintain a grip on the cue throughout the stroke. The lets the wrist do its job with the least amount of effort.

-djb

av84fun
01-13-2008, 11:02 PM
What they all said above. It is a subconscious reflex to grab tighter on hard shots...(sometimes called "snatching") same with golf with the same bad results.

You'll just have to dedicate some practice sessions to doing nothing but shoot hard shots with a loose grip until you get used to it.

Funny story...but true. A friend of mine is a British WPBA player. Apparently, I was grabbing on some hard shots and she says..."Do you know what a snatch is?"

HONEST!

(-:

midnightpulp
01-13-2008, 11:47 PM
What they all said above. It is a subconscious reflex to grab tighter on hard shots...(sometimes called "snatching") same with golf with the same bad results.

You'll just have to dedicate some practice sessions to doing nothing but shoot hard shots with a loose grip until you get used to it.

Funny story...but true. A friend of mine is a British WPBA player. Apparently, I was grabbing on some hard shots and she says..."Do you know what a snatch is?"

HONEST!

(-:

Lol. I think I read you relating that story in another thread.

Yeah, it's hard to get used to at first. The cue feels "loose" and uncontrolled, but in reality is just the opposite, but we still subconsciously compensate for that perception.

Been doing this my whole pool life, but never really addressed it, because I thought it was natural, and when I was younger, I always had trouble with longer medium/hard stroke long shots.

Thanks for the help, guys.

scottycoyote
01-14-2008, 07:54 AM
im forever tinkering with my game, and one thing i found that works for me when im shooting harder than usual, i grip the cue a little tighter, but i leave off my ring and pinky finger and im just using thumb and middle to hold the cue. I feel like i have more control, but at the same time its kind of loose and im able to get more speed and whip on the stroke.

stikapos
01-14-2008, 10:38 AM
Great thread. I do the same thing. Nick Varner said that the only difference in strokes should be the length of the backstoke. Same speed of stroke. Grab, grab, grab!!!! Someone tackle someone.....

tim

av84fun
01-14-2008, 11:13 AM
im forever tinkering with my game, and one thing i found that works for me when im shooting harder than usual, i grip the cue a little tighter, but i leave off my ring and pinky finger and im just using thumb and middle to hold the cue. I feel like i have more control, but at the same time its kind of loose and im able to get more speed and whip on the stroke.

That's probably what Busta and Efren do too. Some firmness is ok as long as:

A. It doesn't prevent the ring and pinky from being released from the cue on the backstroke which is a virtually universal technique of the top pros and;

B. The firmness is CONSTANT and you don't GRAB onto the butt which sets up a muscular chain reaction, the implications of which are all bad.

Regards,
Jim

Andrew Manning
01-14-2008, 11:31 AM
This is something I've never considered in my game.

Of course, I know on most shots, it's an absolute must to keep your grip hand totally relaxed, from impact to follow through.

However, when executing a medium to hard stroke, I tighten my grip hand. I feel I have better control of the cue, but on the other hand, I've been very inconsistent as of late with long straight in shots that require a harder stroke. I thought it was an alignment problem, but now I'm believing the grip hand is the culprit. Still, when I totally relax, my wrist feels too loose. But I can't argue with results. Keeping by grip hand totally relaxed, I shot five quick 5 diamond length draw shots and made all of them.

Any thoughts?

So to paraphrase:

I know that I'm supposed to shoot like this.

Instead I shoot like that.

I tried shooting like this, and I shot better.

Well, I gotta say, I'm not entirely surprised by your results. Keeping the muscles in your arm that aren't directly needed for the stroke as relaxed as possible means those muscles don't interfere with the muscles that are directly needed for the stroke. That means you get less stroke inhibition (meaning more power) and less stroke misdirection (meaning more accuracy) by keeping those other muscles relaxed and thus out of the way. Saying "keep a relaxed grip" translates to "don't hold your stroke back or pull it off line." Phrased that way, it's pretty much a no-brainer.

-Andrew

BazookaJoe
01-14-2008, 11:41 AM
Ummmmm.............don't squeeze.
Not even on the break.

Boro Nut
01-14-2008, 01:04 PM
Right from day one I was always told to strike the ball. I never understood what it meant until I eventually started to strike the ball. The difference in consistency, feel, and cue ball control is enormous.

No player on earth can actually control the cue ball. It's a misnomer. Anybody who says they can is kidding themselves. You can only programme it. You can only do that consistently when you strike it, like a hammer breaking toffee or a clapper hitting a bell. You won't be able to do that with a Vulcan death grip on the cue. I could always screw back. But until I learned to strike the ball I couldn't screw back exactly three foot seven and nine sixteenths when I needed to screw back exactly three foot seven and nine sixteenths. Grip is everything.

Boro Nut

NervousNovice
01-14-2008, 03:37 PM
That's probably what Busta and Efren do too. Some firmness is ok as long as:

A. It doesn't prevent the ring and pinky from being released from the cue on the backstroke which is a virtually universal technique of the top pros and;

B. The firmness is CONSTANT and you don't GRAB onto the butt which sets up a muscular chain reaction, the implications of which are all bad.

Regards,
Jim

Could you please elaborate on that part? I am too dumb and don't understand what you meant, but I wanna know what it means.

TATE
01-14-2008, 03:50 PM
This is something I've never considered in my game.

Of course, I know on most shots, it's an absolute must to keep your grip hand totally relaxed, from impact to follow through.

However, when executing a medium to hard stroke, I tighten my grip hand. I feel I have better control of the cue, but on the other hand, I've been very inconsistent as of late with long straight in shots that require a harder stroke. I thought it was an alignment problem, but now I'm believing the grip hand is the culprit. Still, when I totally relax, my wrist feels too loose. But I can't argue with results. Keeping by grip hand totally relaxed, I shot five quick 5 diamond length draw shots and made all of them.

Any thoughts?

Tension in the arm and grip throws off the entire stroke and even can pull your head and body with it.

The transition from back stroke to forward stroke should be smooth and tension free. Jerking the cue from the top of the backstroke causes tension in the arm and hand. Relax the arm, let the cue come forward, then smoothly apply the power. It may take a longer stroke, but that's better than jerking the cue.

I like watching Shane and Ronnie Alcano for this . Their arms looks like they're on ball bearings and they apply power perfectly smoothly.

Chris

av84fun
01-14-2008, 04:06 PM
Could you please elaborate on that part? I am too dumb and don't understand what you meant, but I wanna know what it means.

Sure. First go to page 6 of the Derby City Photos thread posted by 1 Pocket. In the first thumbnail in the upper left corner you will see a RADICAL example.

But in essence, first think of a grip on a baseball bat where all 4 fingers and the thumb are wrapped around the handle. That is what NOT to do.

If you attempt to do that with a pool cue, you would be prevented from taking a FULL back stroke...with the ferrule coming all the way back to your bridge.

To accomplish the FULL back stroke...without an artificial arm movement, you have to release the ring and pinky fingers from their grip on the butt. Some players release the ring finger as well.

Doing so allows for a slight cocking of the wrist which will return to "square" at the point of CB impact...which creates considerable power to the stroke...along the lines mentioned by Boro Nut.

In viewing videos of the pros, you have to wait for a camera angle from the back or the right side (of a right handed shooter) because if viewed from the front, you really can't see the fingers release.

1 Pocket understandably does not permit copying of his excellent photos but possibly he will post that one picture to this thread as a visual example but again that player used a RADICAL wrist cock for the particular shot he was shooting...but it graphically depicts what I am talking about.

Regards,
Jim

gesan
01-14-2008, 05:50 PM
What they all said above. It is a subconscious reflex to grab tighter on hard shots...(sometimes called "snatching") same with golf with the same bad results.

You'll just have to dedicate some practice sessions to doing nothing but shoot hard shots with a loose grip until you get used to it.

Funny story...but true. A friend of mine is a British WPBA player. Apparently, I was grabbing on some hard shots and she says..."Do you know what a snatch is?"

HONEST!

(-:
I was told that "snatch " is very good - but perhaps they meant the movie

midnightpulp
01-14-2008, 09:59 PM
Sure. First go to page 6 of the Derby City Photos thread posted by 1 Pocket. In the first thumbnail in the upper left corner you will see a RADICAL example.

But in essence, first think of a grip on a baseball bat where all 4 fingers and the thumb are wrapped around the handle. That is what NOT to do.

If you attempt to do that with a pool cue, you would be prevented from taking a FULL back stroke...with the ferrule coming all the way back to your bridge.

To accomplish the FULL back stroke...without an artificial arm movement, you have to release the ring and pinky fingers from their grip on the butt. Some players release the ring finger as well.

Doing so allows for a slight cocking of the wrist which will return to "square" at the point of CB impact...which creates considerable power to the stroke...along the lines mentioned by Boro Nut.

In viewing videos of the pros, you have to wait for a camera angle from the back or the right side (of a right handed shooter) because if viewed from the front, you really can't see the fingers release.

1 Pocket understandably does not permit copying of his excellent photos but possibly he will post that one picture to this thread as a visual example but again that player used a RADICAL wrist cock for the particular shot he was shooting...but it graphically depicts what I am talking about.

Regards,
Jim

Thanks, Jim.

Bustamante is a good example of keeping the grip hand totally loose.

Anyhow, got JT's 3rd Eye in the mail today and worked with it on the 5 diamond length draw shot. I was hitting the cue ball dead center, but I discovered my sighting of the object ball was off. As Joe says in the instructional DVD, "You have to learn to go against you eyes."

Making the sighting adjustment, it looked like a 3/4 ball hit, but was indeed straight. It's funny, I can sight cut shots dead at long distances, but struggle with straight in. On a cut shot, I see the various fractional ball overlaps very clearly, but can't get the straight in shot lined up, cue ball to object ball. It never looks straight.

Have any of you used the 3rd Eye?

I highly recommend it.

Boro Nut
01-15-2008, 12:43 PM
Anyhow, got JT's 3rd Eye in the mail today and worked with it on the 5 diamond length draw shot. I was hitting the cue ball dead center, but I discovered my sighting of the object ball was off. As Joe says in the instructional DVD, "You have to learn to go against you eyes."No you don't. You need to train your cue to follow your eye and hone your perception that it is doing just that. That way wherever you look you can be confident the cue (and cueball) will go there. You're already most of the way there.

Simply stand in front of your living room mirror and focus on the reflection of one of your eyes. Without averting your gaze in the slightest bring your cue up instinctively, aiming to the dead centre your eye (don't look at the cue yet - but be aware of it's alignment). Now close your other eye and check the alignment of your cue to see how far off you are. Practice really does make perfect. Do it regularly to keep yourself straight.

Boro Nut

av84fun
01-15-2008, 12:54 PM
No you don't. You need to train your cue to follow your eye and hone your perception that it is doing just that. That way wherever you look you can be confident the cue (and cueball) will go there. You're already most of the way there.

Simply stand in front of your living room mirror and focus on the reflection of one of your eyes. Without averting your gaze in the slightest bring your cue up instinctively, aiming to the dead centre your eye (don't look at the cue yet - but be aware of it's alignment). Now close your other eye and check the alignment of your cue to see how far off you are. Practice really does make perfect. Do it regularly to keep yourself straight.

Boro Nut

Sure you do. It is well known that visual perceptions vary due to dominant eye, astigmatism and other issues.

And with respect, you can't "train your cue" to do anything.

No player on earth can actually control the cue ball. It's a misnomer. Anybody who says they can is kidding themselves. You can only programme it.

I understand where you are coming from but that was an over-statement IMHO. Of course, top players rarely "control" the CB to within a millimeter of the intended resting place but that is a failure to control it EXACTLY...not a failure to control it AT ALL.

In fact, it is rarely necessary to control the CB to any one precise spot...but rather to a zone in which one resting place is as nearly as good as any other within the zone.

It is a characteristic of champions that they DO control to CB to within the shape zone with extreme regularity.

Regards,
Jim

Boro Nut
01-15-2008, 01:41 PM
Sure you do. It is well known that visual perceptions vary due to dominant eye, astigmatism and other issues.

And with respect, you can't "train your cue" to do anything.It is the whole point - correcting your faulty perception. Training the cue to follow your eye was one of the mantra's of English Billiards. The proof of the pudding is in the eating as they say. It works. You relearn that what you perceived to be right is wrong, and what at first seemed 'wrong' is actually exactly right. You cannot tell you are pointing the cue exactly where you perceive to be pointing it without a mirror. With practice what is right starts to feel right. That's the key. Try it. You may be surprised by how far out you are.

Many good players fail this challenge, believe me, you only have to challenge them to aim at your own eye to prove it. And it doesn't take that long to correct it either. You may never get there without the mirror though.

Boro Nut

Boro Nut
01-15-2008, 01:48 PM
I understand where you are coming from but that was an over-statement IMHO. Of course, top players rarely "control" the CB to within a millimeter of the intended resting place but that is a failure to control it EXACTLY...not a failure to control it AT ALL.The point I was making was you cannot actually control the cue ball other than by cheating. It's purely a semantic point. You can only programme the cue ball to do your bidding in the tiny fraction of a second of impact. After that it's entirely on its own. The cue ball will go where physics dictates it must, without any control possible on your part.

Boro Nut