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GRIP - thumb pressure - 02-07-2015, 01:35 PM

I have a question to you guys, how many of you apply pressure with the thumb when holding the cue and how much apply none? (or just little pressure). I'm now more confused than ever and don't know what the thumb should be doing. Regards.
  
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02-07-2015, 02:04 PM

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Originally Posted by pleforowicz View Post
I have a question to you guys, how many of you apply pressure with the thumb when holding the cue and how much apply none? (or just little pressure). I'm now more confused than ever and don't know what the thumb should be doing. Regards.
My thumb contacts the cue from the side only, between the 1st. knuckle from the tip & the knuckle on the hand side.

My index finger is on the other side & contacts the cue below the hands knuckle.

It's though there is a rod running through the cue to those two points.

As my arm or wrist moves the cue can 'pivot' or rock on the 'rod' between the two connection points.

Fran Crimi, a Master Instructor here, connects to the cue in only the last 3 fingers with the thumb basically completely off the cue.

My last 3 fingers are out of the picture until after the cue ball is gone.

There is no ONE WAY & one size does not fit all.

Good Luck finding YOUR BEST way.

Rick
  
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02-07-2015, 02:59 PM

Mainly you want your grip to not interfere with your stroke.

I cradle the cue loosely in the curled index and middle finger (the ring and little finger are relaxed, just along for the ride), and I also loosely "pivot" the cue between the thumb and index finger as Rick describes, but mostly for the feel of that pivoting motion - the thumb pressure just enough to hold the cue in the cradle.

Most importantly, I don't want to change the grip during the shot stroke. If I'm shooting a harder shot and want to grip a little tighter, I'll leave the cradle loose and pinch the pivot points a little harder, being sure to do that on the practice strokes too so there won't be any change on the shot stroke.

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02-07-2015, 06:38 PM

Find a flat surface that is the same height as your hand is when hanging naturally at your side. Place the cue on the surface and step into it so that the fingers of your hanging hand just surround the cue butt. Gently lift the cue butt an inch. I believe you will find that the cue hangs naturally in the crook of the last joint of your middle finger. This will be the most relaxed hand position.

The thumb will only need to apply enough pressure to keep the cue from rolling inward and out of your hand. The forefinger will be balanced lightly just forward of where the thumb is, and the last two fingers will be able to swing away freely as the cue pivots primarily on the joint of the middle finger. I can see no need in my play to ever grip the cue tighter than this.
  
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02-07-2015, 07:09 PM

To hell with all that bro! You are way over thinking shit!! Hold it whatever way is most comfortable to you. Just make sure it's straight
  
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02-07-2015, 08:07 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by pleforowicz View Post
I have a question to you guys, how many of you apply pressure with the thumb when holding the cue and how much apply none? (or just little pressure). I'm now more confused than ever and don't know what the thumb should be doing. Regards.
I too have been pondering the thumb for a while, and recently I have been using a grip where my thumb is not touching the cue at all, or very little. To achieve the highest consistency, your hand (or any part of it) should not be interfering with your stroke. This is why it is generally taught to have a light grip and to just cradle the cue stick on your fingers. This is true for all shots, even the break.

The stroke primarily comes from the arm (the bicep), so you will probably get more out of working on that part of your mechanics.
  
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02-07-2015, 08:49 PM

Like I said in my earlier post one size does not fit all or words to that effect.

Some World Champions, like CJ Wiley 'hold' the cue rather firmly & deliver it rather than swing it.

There is more that one way to skin a cat & no one way is more right than another.

The grip needs to suit the stroke & vise versa.

There are more ways than a 'pendulum' stroke to deliver the cue & hence more than one way to connect to the cue.

We each have a unique set of finger prints & our connection to the cue can be just as unique to suit our own individual stroke.

One will never achieve more than mediocrity if one subscribes to doing what is 'common'.

Each individual needs & should find their own way.

Best to All,
Rick
  
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02-07-2015, 09:42 PM

For me personally I do not use the thumb on the grip hand. I pinch the thumb and index finger together so the cue is resting between the middle and ring finger. You can also try holding a piece of chalk between your thumb and index fingers. Makes for light pressure on the grip and it's easier to allow the cue do the work.

Give it a try sometime you may find your strokes more consistent as the thumb is not applying side pressure and controlling the stroke.

Watch Mika Immonen, or Rodney Morris if you want to see an example of the light pressure grip.
  
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02-08-2015, 03:22 AM

Thanks to all of you for your replies. I will keep on experimenting how to keep my cue online without any twisting , bearing in mind your suggestions. Best regards.
  
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02-08-2015, 06:47 AM

Loose or tight what matters with the grip is that the pressure remains consistent throughout the stroke/shot. If you loosen or tighten as that tip goes through the cue ball it's going to alter your aim ever so slightly causing a miss. Many shots I use a loose grip...but there are some where I grip the cue tighter. What I don't do is 'change' the pressure while stroking...that way you hit where you aim. I hope that makes sense. That chalk idea is a good one. I've heard that the great BUGS RUCKER always had a piece of chalk in his grip hand.


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02-08-2015, 07:14 AM

The whole issue of grip pressure is to prevent the wrist from curling. When you unconsciously tighten your grip, your wrist will tend to curl and that throws the cue out of alignment on a pendulum swing.

Give a man a fish and he'll eat for a day, teach a man how to fish and he'll eat for the rest of his life. Therefore the advice of a relaxed grip is an easy way for most people to absorb the benefits of a lesson, without needing to understand the issue.


My ego is writing checks that my stroke can't cash.
  
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02-08-2015, 08:00 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by ctyhntr View Post
The whole issue of grip pressure is to prevent the wrist from curling. When you unconsciously tighten your grip, your wrist will tend to curl and that throws the cue out of alignment on a pendulum swing.
Simply changing your grip ("grabbing" the cue) during the shot stroke, even without curling ("tucking") the wrist, can easily move the tip offline enough to miss shots. In fact, I suspect this is a more common (although less visible) problem.

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02-08-2015, 08:59 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick Johnson View Post
Simply changing your grip ("grabbing" the cue) during the shot stroke, even without curling ("tucking") the wrist, can easily move the tip offline enough to miss shots. In fact, I suspect this is a more common (although less visible) problem.

pj
chgo
I agree Patrick.

All one needs to do is to take their normal grip with the cue resting on the rail & then just tighten their grip & see that the cue moves.

Now if one can find a 'grip' (or a relative position to the cue) that minimizes that effect, then that is a step in the right direction.

To me, it is rather difficult to expect to maintain the exact same force of connection when there is no load on the cue & when the 'load' of the ball is put on the cue, unless one is throwing the cue through but then that is not the same connection force as before the cue was released.

Everyone's body components are not aligned exactly in the same proportions & the on the same angles.

Hence, one size (or method) does not fit all. Some have fast twitch muscles & some have slower twitch muscles too.

Best 2 You & All,
Rick
  
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The thumb benefits the pool stroke in the same way it assists the fisherman's cast
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Thumbs up The thumb benefits the pool stroke in the same way it assists the fisherman's cast - 02-08-2015, 09:54 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by pleforowicz View Post
I have a question to you guys, how many of you apply pressure with the thumb when holding the cue and how much apply none? (or just little pressure). I'm now more confused than ever and don't know what the thumb should be doing. Regards.
The thumb benefits the pool stroke in the same way it assists the fisherman when casting or the carpenter when using a hammer.

The "light" grip pressure scenario will not teach the correct stroking mechanics.....it does, however, allow the player to play the game without learning the correct mechanics. I grew up on a lumber yard and hammered a lot of nails, this was a huge advantage as my pool game started to develop.

The hammer motion is one that delivers the maximum force to the tip (for lack of a better word) of the hammer. If you uncocked your wrist where it contacts the nail and then locked your wrist and pounded the nail in that position (with no wrist) that's one way of doing it and many players play this way.

I use a system where I pre cock my wrist/fingers and create a "groove" where my wrists/fingers must move UP AND DOWN, with no SIDE TO SIDE motion at all. It's the "Side to Side" movement that throws your cue off line and causes you to miss hit the cue ball.

When you HINGE your wrist/fingers the cue MUST go down that "groove" and CAN NOT miss hit the cue ball to the Left OR the Right!!! This put you in a positon where you MUST hit the cue ball straight. This is how champion players hit the ball so straight, we simply CAN'T do it wrong.

I'm not saying all champions do it like I do it, but they do it in their own way. We MUST create a groove/slot/hinge (whatever you want to call it) so that the cue contacts the cue ball on a straight line EVERY TIME!

If you cock your wrist/fingers up slightly and then pounded the nail you would have some "wrist/finger flick" to add to the acceleration when you hit the nail.

If you cock your wrist/fingers more you will have more "wrist flick" and you could continue this until you cocked the hammer completely up and then you would have the maximum "wrist/finger flick" when you hit the nail.

I "pre cock" my wrist/fingers more than many other players, therefore I have more energy produced from my wrist/fingers at the moment of contact. Even with this happening it is so slight that you can't see me doing it. This is the issue with trying to learn the subtle secrets that the pros are doing, you can't see it being done. I'm tryin to give you a way to FEEL what it's like by using the hammer. This is a small powerful motion that you can only see on the break for the most part.


Watch the top professionals before they get down to shoot and you see them stroking their cue in the air. They are establishing their wrist/finger motion for the stroke they are about to shoot. We aren't stroking the cue to make sure it slides between our fingers smoothly, even though that is preferable, we're PREPARING our hand for the shot at hand.

In other words you can use a light pressured grip, however, not until you learn how the fingers, wrists, forearm, elbow and shoulder work together. Too light a grip pressure robs the player from this essential experience......and they fail to evolve to the next level. 'The Game is the Teacher'


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02-08-2015, 01:24 PM

CJ, the way you continually "pound" this point home you'd think you had invested the fortune you made selling TOI and bought stock in Stanley tools.

BTW regarding your fishing analogy, I don't use my thumb in a fly cast at all. I use almost the same open "vee" grip I use for shooting pool. In the old school way of casting the thumb was used behind the rod handle, but today's elite casters prefer a more open grip. Smoother acceleration leading to greater distance. It's a timing thing, not a brute force thing.

The old guys used to practice in the spring with a champagne bottle held by the neck to build up the wrists, but they still ended up getting tendonitis by the end of the season. The "hammer stroke" seems likely to cause the same problem for many shooters, ergonomically speaking.

Last edited by Sloppy Pockets; 02-08-2015 at 01:38 PM.
  
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