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DrCue'sProtege
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The Problem With Fundamentals & Mechanics - 07-19-2020, 01:32 PM

Here's the problem as I see it.

1) Elbow. Some instructors will tell you that you need to keep that elbow up and pinned, little movement. Use a pendulum stroke. Other instructors and great players will tell you Nope, thats Snooker. And that a little elbow drop is fine.

2) OB or CB Last. Some instructors and players will tell you that you have to look at the OB last before you fire. Others tell you that CB last is okay if that is best for you. Others say if you align good, aim good, and stroke good you can be looking at the blonde in the 5th row and you will have success on the shot.

3) Speed. Some instructors teach speed control one way and other instructors and players teach it another way. Some use table lengths to gauge speed. Others use diamonds. Other top instructors and players say you HAVE to actually hit a shot in order to have good speed control.

4) Time & Effort. Some say to get better you need to practice 6-8 hours a day and its just plain work. Some say you cant concentrate that long and you need to limit sessions to about 15-20 minutes at a time.

5) Eyes. Some say the Dominant Eye is very important. Other top level players and instructors say Nope, the eyes work together.

6) Repetition. Some instructors and players say if you miss a shot you should shoot it 1,000 times or get to the point where you know you wont miss it again. Other instructors and players will tell you not to dwell on that shot, focus on your mechanics the next time you have it.

I am quite certain there are alot of other areas of the game where instructors have different opinions, where players have different opinions. So, bottom line is this.........

WHO DO YOU BELIEVE????????

r/DCP


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One person - 07-19-2020, 01:41 PM

Pick out one person you respect. A good instructor that is or has been a good player. Then listen to them in all things. Do not lightly deviate from what he or she tells you.

It is usually folly to try to grab a little from one place, a little from another. You end up just grasping at straws and have nothing in the end.

Hu
  
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07-19-2020, 01:42 PM

There's more than one way to do things? Who'da thunkit?

pj <- how will we ever cope?
chgo

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07-19-2020, 02:10 PM

This is certainly an instance of where the saying "different strokes for different folks" is quite applicable. To answer the question, seek out an instructor that has a broad knowledge base but is not married to one philosophy or technique. Someone who understands what you bring to the table in the way of talent and is capable of tweaking that for the better.

Two quick stories/thoughts:

(1) Take talent over technique. I took tennis lessons in High School. I just was not talented or very good at tennis. As a Freshman in College, I took a general Tennis class, the sort of thing you take for graduation credit. There was a guy in the class that was just a natural athlete. I knew the how and why about quite a few shots, and his technique was not good. But his game was. Coach took him aside and began doing a sales job to get him on the tennis team.

(2) Be realistic about goals. I had personal trainers over most of my life, though at the moment it looks as if I've never exercised a day in my life. The best one I ever had impressed on me in the beginning what I could realistically expect for my efforts, given my genetics. He related a story about asking a young lady he was going to train what her goal was. She replied, "To look like Cindy Crawford." He said he just had to smile and tell her that would never happen. He replied, "You have an apple-shaped physique. You'll never look like Cindy Crawford. But, I can help you to look the best you possibly can."
  
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07-19-2020, 02:28 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by DrCue'sProtege View Post
Here's the problem as I see it.

1) Elbow. Some instructors will tell you that you need to keep that elbow up and pinned, little movement. Use a pendulum stroke. Other instructors and great players will tell you Nope, thats Snooker. And that a little elbow drop is fine.

2) OB or CB Last. Some instructors and players will tell you that you have to look at the OB last before you fire. Others tell you that CB last is okay if that is best for you. Others say if you align good, aim good, and stroke good you can be looking at the blonde in the 5th row and you will have success on the shot.

3) Speed. Some instructors teach speed control one way and other instructors and players teach it another way. Some use table lengths to gauge speed. Others use diamonds. Other top instructors and players say you HAVE to actually hit a shot in order to have good speed control.

4) Time & Effort. Some say to get better you need to practice 6-8 hours a day and its just plain work. Some say you cant concentrate that long and you need to limit sessions to about 15-20 minutes at a time.

5) Eyes. Some say the Dominant Eye is very important. Other top level players and instructors say Nope, the eyes work together.

6) Repetition. Some instructors and players say if you miss a shot you should shoot it 1,000 times or get to the point where you know you wont miss it again. Other instructors and players will tell you not to dwell on that shot, focus on your mechanics the next time you have it.

I am quite certain there are alot of other areas of the game where instructors have different opinions, where players have different opinions. So, bottom line is this.........

WHO DO YOU BELIEVE????????

r/DCP
I'll take a shot at it

1) Ask the question is your stroke is repeatable? Can you hit the center of the cue ball at different speeds and still hit the center? If yes don't sweat the elbow. Beginning players should be taught to a pendulum swing because it's easier and just as effective as the piston (maybe even more accurate). Less moving parts.

If you have already developed a repeatable stroking motion via the HAMB (hit a million balls) method then don't fix what isn't broken. I tried to break my habit of dropping my elbow after working with a famous stroke instructor and talking with another famous instructor. The problem that I had was that it changed the way my cue ball reacted just a bit. Trying to break a 35 year habit was also tough.

I was trying to answer this question so I went back and looked at the top ten players at that time and watched their stroking mechanics on you tube. Out of the 10, there was only 1 that had a pendulum swing and that was John Morra. Everyone else had some elbow collapse. Ronnie O'Sullivan the top snooker player included.

2) I've always taught that you watched the object ball last as part of your eye pattern. The reason is twofold. First, it forces to stay down on the shot. Second, if you have delivered a quality shot and the cue ball contacts the object ball where you intended then it is an aiming error (see 6 on fixing that). It's true that if you are lined up then it doesn't really matter what you watch first or last. There are some times that I watch the cue ball last such as elevating my bridge over an object ball.

3) Speed, you can measure any way that you want. Table lengths, diamonds, etc. just so that it makes sense to you. The one other thing I'll say about speed is that you want your cue tip to accelerate to the cue ball. On soft shots, this can be trick, you can move your bridge hand closer or just make the final stroke shorting to insure acceleration.

4) Depends on your goals and motivation. For most recreational players, focusing for a short time will provide results. But as your skill increases the levels of improvement become much smaller and more work needs to be done to make the next jump. Those 6 to 8 hours a day is for pro's trying to keep up with the others that are practicing that much or more.

5) Dominance does have some merit to where you feel comfortable "seeing" the shot. In pool, the cue ball and object ball are far enough away that the eyes have merged. I think the most important aspect is keeping the head in the same position every time so that you see the shots from the same perspective. If you feel comfortable over your right eye then do it or vice versa.

6) Repetition is important if you are having trouble making a shot and it isn't a stroking issue. I've seen SVB practice the same shot for an hour. The issue with repetition is that if it is a stroking error then practicing a shot over and over is just masking this error.


Time you enjoy wasting, was not wasted. ~John Lennon

That's what a champion does, take their time in key situations ~ Scott Frost

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Last edited by dardusm; 07-19-2020 at 02:31 PM.
  
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07-19-2020, 03:13 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by DrCue'sProtege View Post
Here's the problem as I see it.

1) Elbow. Some instructors will tell you that you need to keep that elbow up and pinned, little movement. Use a pendulum stroke. Other instructors and great players will tell you Nope, thats Snooker. And that a little elbow drop is fine.


r/DCP
https://youtu.be/--g-p-f0YiU Stroke instruction at 2:20

Interesting video of Konstantin Stepanov teaching stroke fundamentals. I don’t speak Russian but it appears he’s teaching a pinned elbow up to contact with the OB, then complete elbow collapse on follow through. I’ve noticed that lot of the Russian players have that severe elbow drop. Konstantin, Fedor Gorst, and Ruslan Chinakhov to name a few. I wonder if it has something to do with the Russian game of pyramid.
  
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07-19-2020, 04:04 PM

Dear OP,

I hope you never have to go on a diet. You'd have so much paralysis by analysis! ha ha.
  
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07-19-2020, 04:11 PM

That reminds me, I was (and still am) into healthy eating and fitness almost as much as pool. I used to listen to a bunch of podcasts, read lots of books, internet articles, etc.

Anyway, I was listening one day to this one podcast years back, where the guest was a coach for professional bodybuilders. He had written a book about shifting the time of day you eat carbs, in order to get more cut for competitions. The relevant thing to this post, is that he stating:

"athletes are like babies. If you tell them "this will give you better performance", they will take it out of your hand and put it right in their mouths. Without thinking twice, or asking what it is. The general public on the other hand, they go nuts trying to analyze which advice is good, and which is bad. And at the end of the day, instead of doing anything for their health/fitness, they end up sitting on the couch all day watching soap operas and eating cookies all day long"
  
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07-19-2020, 04:25 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by DrCue'sProtege View Post
... WHO DO YOU BELIEVE???????? ....
If an instructor cannot explain the reasons for his suggestions and maybe even point out the limits of his own knowledge, you should look elsewhere. Then, if you get conflicting advice from the ones that are left, you can see which advice does make sense to you or does not apply to your game.

(Add to the list of "pinned elbow players" Tony Robles a few years ago and Neil Robertson.)

I've heard instructors who took the approach of, "You do what I say without questioning or you get out. I know how to play and you don't." When I've been a student, I didn't like that approach to teaching/learning.


Bob Jewett
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07-19-2020, 04:56 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by DrCue'sProtege View Post
Here's the problem as I see it.

1) Elbow. Some instructors will tell you that you need to keep that elbow up and pinned, little movement. Use a pendulum stroke. Other instructors and great players will tell you Nope, thats Snooker. And that a little elbow drop is fine.

2) OB or CB Last. Some instructors and players will tell you that you have to look at the OB last before you fire. Others tell you that CB last is okay if that is best for you. Others say if you align good, aim good, and stroke good you can be looking at the blonde in the 5th row and you will have success on the shot.

3) Speed. Some instructors teach speed control one way and other instructors and players teach it another way. Some use table lengths to gauge speed. Others use diamonds. Other top instructors and players say you HAVE to actually hit a shot in order to have good speed control.

4) Time & Effort. Some say to get better you need to practice 6-8 hours a day and its just plain work. Some say you cant concentrate that long and you need to limit sessions to about 15-20 minutes at a time.

5) Eyes. Some say the Dominant Eye is very important. Other top level players and instructors say Nope, the eyes work together.

6) Repetition. Some instructors and players say if you miss a shot you should shoot it 1,000 times or get to the point where you know you wont miss it again. Other instructors and players will tell you not to dwell on that shot, focus on your mechanics the next time you have it.

I am quite certain there are alot of other areas of the game where instructors have different opinions, where players have different opinions. So, bottom line is this.........

WHO DO YOU BELIEVE????????

r/DCP

There are no points awarded in pool for form.

IOWs, it's not like ballroom dancing. The only things that matter are: did the OB go into the pocket and did the CB go where you wanted to for the next shot. (Yes, I know but allow me the poetic license.) So to that end the secret to pool is discovering what works for you. No one is going to hang around long enough to help you find that so it won't be found during a four hour lesson. It's what you have to learn for yourself through self-awareness and introspection and hours on the table.

Shoot a shot you missed a 1,00 times? No. Shoot a shot you missed until you understand why you missed it? Yes.

The problem, as I see it, is that you want someone else to solve a mystery that only you can unlock.

Lou Figueroa
  
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07-19-2020, 06:51 PM

I think it goes to show that everyone does it different. The bottom line is if it works for you doesn’t necessarily mean it will work for everybody. I’ve learned a lot of different things from a lot of different people over the years. However a lot of things I’ve been told went in one ear and out the other. I’m sure some instructors can help some people become better players

However it doesn’t matter what instructor or aiming system you use if you can’t hit where your aiming and control the speed of the white ball odds of you improving much aren’t very good.
  
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07-20-2020, 06:39 AM

They Key Work in the Original Post is "Fundamentals". You can learn to shoot or adjust to anything. Even been a decent player no matter what flaw you have.

I think there are a lot of misconceptions out there. Dominant Eye is stupid. Your mind totally adjusts to that. You just have to learn where center ball is.

I am not one of these people who thinks that everyone is going to do it just like the training manual says. Probably because I use to teach Tennis. The reason why you teach people to look at the ball at a certain time. To pause before their stroke is because they need fundamentals. You absolutely need something to fall back on in stressful situations.

But if you can't fall back on something, you never going to win in those pressure situations. Your stroke has to be solid and consistent. The way you aim needs to be the same at all times. Your pre-shot routine needs to be on point. That's why I believe fundamentals are the road to you being successful in pool.


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07-20-2020, 07:00 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by lfigueroa View Post
There are no points awarded in pool for form.

IOWs, it's not like ballroom dancing. The only things that matter are: did the OB go into the pocket and did the CB go where you wanted to for the next shot. (Yes, I know but allow me the poetic license.) So to that end the secret to pool is discovering what works for you. No one is going to hang around long enough to help you find that so it won't be found during a four hour lesson. It's what you have to learn for yourself through self-awareness and introspection and hours on the table.

Shoot a shot you missed a 1,00 times? No. Shoot a shot you missed until you understand why you missed it? Yes.

The problem, as I see it, is that you want someone else to solve a mystery that only you can unlock.

Lou Figueroa
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07-20-2020, 07:05 AM

I have had many of those same questions as the OP. But, like others have mentioned you need to find your own way, and it takes experimenting and time. Everyone is different.

For instance, shooting with chin right above cue with dominant eye above does not work for me. I keep my chin a few inches above and eyes centered over cue, even though I am cross-eye dominant. It works great. I tried to eliminate elbow drop, but gave up.

Best drill for me to check my fundamentals is a simple one. Put 2 balls on end rail with space between to fit a ball with a little extra. Hit the cue ball in a straight line from opposite end of table between the balls with draw, center, and follow both closed and open bridge. Make sure ball comes back to your tip or close to it. You can work on things like focusing on OB, pausing your back swing, your bridges. It will fix nearly any mechanics issue. It will also teach you to feel where the impact is happening in your back hand.

Good luck and enjoy the journey!
  
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07-20-2020, 07:57 AM

Three best billiard players in the world, O'Sullivan, Judd Trump and Neil Robertson have different stances, alignment, strokes, etc.

I can tell baseball pitchers apart, quarterbacks, hockey centre ...just by watching their very different techniques. Do what feels natural. Your stance, grip, eye position...develop since birth, don’t change them...just refine. It matters that you have a firm foundation...not how you get it.

Billiards, especially American pool, is relatively easy as a physical activity. Sink a ball into a hole twice it’s size from a few feet. Just do itI and do it again. Over 65,000 posts in the aiming Forum are a wasteland akin to the latest dieting Fad. No magic...hit balls.

The difference between ok and good pool playing is table smarts. Wisdom...knowing your opponent, position, risk assessment, strategy, etc. It’s not sinking a ball. After 2 years with no instruction, 16 year olds can sink balls.
  
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