How long a backstroke?
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How long a backstroke? - 06-21-2020, 01:05 PM

I've noticed my accuracy improves when I shorten my backstroke.

I realize it is difficult to speak in generalities and what might work for someone might not work for me, but is there a recommended length for the backstroke?
  
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Post 06-21-2020, 01:49 PM

Depends on your bridge length, grip hand position and how hard/soft you intend to hit the shot. Typically a long backstroke would indicate a firm hit. The front stroke should be as long as the backstroke, IMO. A shorter stoke can be more accurate, but so can a longer stroke, if the mechanics do not break down. SPF


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06-22-2020, 05:35 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by dquarasr View Post
I've noticed my accuracy improves when I shorten my backstroke.

I realize it is difficult to speak in generalities and what might work for someone might not work for me, but is there a recommended length for the backstroke?
How long is your typical bridge length (between the cue ball and the loop/area of the hand that bridges the cue stick)?

For example, when I see a player with a bridge that is super-long who is struggling, and then struggling a little less with very short backstrokes and poked forward strokes, I'd rather see them use a shorter bridge length but a longer, fuller backstroke than a quick pull back followed by a forward lunge.

Yes, some pros use a super-long bridge and short backstroke but their technique is best learned down the road after you learn the classic method of stroking with a shorter bridge first.


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06-22-2020, 07:14 AM

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Originally Posted by BilliardsAbout View Post
How long is your typical bridge length (between the cue ball and the loop/area of the hand that bridges the cue stick)?
Most shots around 6".
  
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06-22-2020, 10:28 AM

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Originally Posted by dquarasr View Post
Most shots around 6".
That's much shorter than the bridge length of the average player.


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06-22-2020, 02:49 PM

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Originally Posted by Bob Jewett View Post
That's much shorter than the bridge length of the average player.
Ugh. OK, I was eyeballing and estimating it from my down-on-the-shot stance. I just measured it from where the cue rests on my fingers to the edge of the CB, using a tape measure. About 10 inches.

(That's what she said.)
  
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06-22-2020, 02:58 PM

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Originally Posted by dquarasr View Post
Ugh. OK, I was eyeballing and estimating it from my down-on-the-shot stance. I just measured it from where the cue rests on my fingers to the edge of the CB, using a tape measure. About 10 inches.

(That's what she said.)
In the interest of being a little more scientific, I also measured my previous "longer" backstroke. I noticed that my bridge was longer, and my backstroke was around 9".

Now my bridge length is around 10" and my backstroke around 7" (for most shots). It feels much more comfortable with a shorter backstroke, and I just did something I hadn't done in months and months of racks: I just broke and ran out (8-ball). Of course, again, I can walk away from the table and come back in an hour and miss two-foot shots, but small incremental changes seem to be improving my game a little at a time.
  
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06-22-2020, 04:20 PM

Big C...same swing front and back is not a tenet of SPF (it certainly could be that way, but is more likely not to be the same). We teach using a full backswing (regardless of bridge length) for most SOP shots (95% of what you shoot in a game), and then a smooth transition from the pause at the back, to the forward accelerated stroke, using the correct speed, with a natural finish. This kind of swing allows an easy transition to great speed control. Therefore, someone could easily have a 10" backswing, and finish only a couple of inches past the CB. All of this being based on a pendulum stroke.

To the OP...Doug, I have not forgotten about you, and will contact you soon. The average American player's bridge averages from 10-15", measured from where the cue crosses your bridge hand, and the front edge of the CB. We will discuss this when I call you!

Scott Lee
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The front stroke should be as long as the backstroke, IMO. SPF


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06-23-2020, 07:57 AM

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Originally Posted by Bob Jewett View Post
That's much shorter than the bridge length of the average player.
Yes, that is true. However, IMHO, many average players have way too long a bridge, and a lousy backstroke that goes a third of the way back before lunging forward.

The long bridge comes from emulating the pros who use their cues with very long bridges like surgeons' scalpels.

If most amateurs went to 6" or 7" bridges with full, smooth backstrokes the entire length of the bridge, pool would benefit, IMHO.


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06-24-2020, 11:26 AM

Since I posed my question, I have been using a shorter backstroke and my accuracy has increased quite dramatically. I am much more confident at the table, even on very long shots or long shots with the CB frozen on the rail. As a by-product, I am shooting with much slower CB speed and that has had a positive impact on my position play as well. Win-win.

And very importantly, for me, I have been able to replicate the improvement day-to-day, session-to-session. Previous "corrections" I thought were really helping me (stance, aiming, vision center) were not repeatable because it had more to do with my stroke than anything else. I'd seem to have figured something out, play better one session, only to have it disappear the next session at the table. At least this "fix" seems to have stuck, every session since.

And something Scott Lee told me privately also resonated: we aim well fairly naturally, so I started trusting my aim and that, too, has helped tremendously. Previously while down on the shot I had been obsessing on whether my aim was on-target because so many shots were missed (turns out because of mechanics). Trusting my aim improved my potting because 1) it wasn't my aim that was the problem and 2) my stroke was much more relaxed; aim was one less thing to think about.

So, since this journey on trying to significantly improve my shot accuracy started a few months ago, I have come full circle, returning to a much more natural stance, confident aim, and a smoother, shorter stroke (including a natural control of my wayward elbow).
  
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06-24-2020, 04:28 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by dquarasr View Post
Since I posed my question, I have been using a shorter backstroke and my accuracy has increased quite dramatically. I am much more confident at the table, even on very long shots or long shots with the CB frozen on the rail. As a by-product, I am shooting with much slower CB speed and that has had a positive impact on my position play as well. Win-win.

And very importantly, for me, I have been able to replicate the improvement day-to-day, session-to-session. Previous "corrections" I thought were really helping me (stance, aiming, vision center) were not repeatable because it had more to do with my stroke than anything else. I'd seem to have figured something out, play better one session, only to have it disappear the next session at the table. At least this "fix" seems to have stuck, every session since.

And something Scott Lee told me privately also resonated: we aim well fairly naturally, so I started trusting my aim and that, too, has helped tremendously. Previously while down on the shot I had been obsessing on whether my aim was on-target because so many shots were missed (turns out because of mechanics). Trusting my aim improved my potting because 1) it wasn't my aim that was the problem and 2) my stroke was much more relaxed; aim was one less thing to think about.

So, since this journey on trying to significantly improve my shot accuracy started a few months ago, I have come full circle, returning to a much more natural stance, confident aim, and a smoother, shorter stroke (including a natural control of my wayward elbow).
A shorter backstroke will give you more accuracy but you have to be careful of not falling into the trap of poking shots. Then your timing will go off and it will start to have an adverse effect. The ability to figure out what's needed for each shot is the key. Every shot shouldn't necessarily be executed the same way.
  
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06-25-2020, 02:36 AM

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Originally Posted by FranCrimi View Post
A shorter backstroke will give you more accuracy but you have to be careful of not falling into the trap of poking shots. Then your timing will go off and it will start to have an adverse effect. The ability to figure out what's needed for each shot is the key. Every shot shouldn't necessarily be executed the same way.
Agreed. It's one thing I noticed. I don't believe I have shortened my stroke too far; I believe I brought it to where it should have been; it was too long before. I've been trying to be aware of using a smooth, slow backstroke, a small pause, and smooth shot forward. And also that the length of the backstroke can vary depending on the shot.

Thanks for the feedback.
  
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06-26-2020, 06:24 AM

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Originally Posted by BilliardsAbout View Post
Yes, that is true. However, IMHO, many average players have way too long a bridge, and a lousy backstroke that goes a third of the way back before lunging forward.

The long bridge comes from emulating the pros who use their cues with very long bridges like surgeons' scalpels.
If most amateurs went to 6" or 7" bridges with full, smooth backstrokes the entire length of the bridge, pool would benefit, IMHO.
No. This is wrong and I can't let it go. Bridge length is more often than not a function of a player's ability to see the shot line. Players who stand low usually have longer bridge lengths than players who stand taller because it brings them back a little more from the shot. It has nothing to do with copying pros. It happens naturally.

The statement above about a long backstroke is also wrong. Just because a player may need a long bridge length to see the shot better, it doesn't mean they have to have a full backstroke as well. If you teach those things to players, you're leading them down the wrong path.
  
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06-29-2020, 08:45 AM

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No. This is wrong and I can't let it go. Bridge length is more often than not a function of a player's ability to see the shot line. Players who stand low usually have longer bridge lengths than players who stand taller because it brings them back a little more from the shot. It has nothing to do with copying pros. It happens naturally.

The statement above about a long backstroke is also wrong. Just because a player may need a long bridge length to see the shot better, it doesn't mean they have to have a full backstroke as well. If you teach those things to players, you're leading them down the wrong path.
I said people with 6" or 7" inch bridges can benefit by stroking smoothly back all the way, not people with long bridges.

I'll add, and I know you'll agree, some people have overlong bridges. I see people with two foot bridges and that is heading for trouble.

"Just because a player may need a long bridge length to see the shot better, it doesn't mean they have to have a full backstroke as well."

True, but the goal is also to avoid backstrokes that vary in length and lead to poked forward strokes. Players with overlong bridges tend to come back a few inches on one shot, ten inches on another shot, half an inch on another, leading to problems with timing.


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06-29-2020, 06:21 PM

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I said people with 6" or 7" inch bridges can benefit by stroking smoothly back all the way, not people with long bridges.

I'll add, and I know you'll agree, some people have overlong bridges. I see people with two foot bridges and that is heading for trouble.

"Just because a player may need a long bridge length to see the shot better, it doesn't mean they have to have a full backstroke as well."

True, but the goal is also to avoid backstrokes that vary in length and lead to poked forward strokes. Players with overlong bridges tend to come back a few inches on one shot, ten inches on another shot, half an inch on another, leading to problems with timing.
Why? Why should people with 6 or 7 inch bridge lengths bring the cue all the way back? What's your reasoning on that?

Why do backstrokes that vary in length lead to poked strokes? I don't understand.

Overlong bridges? Timing?
  
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