Stroke Part of Aiming?
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Stroke Part of Aiming? - 06-26-2019, 08:37 AM

In the "Ask The Instructor" forum there's a conversation about whether "practice strokes" are part of stance/alignment or part of aiming - or both.

My opinion is that it's part of both, maybe to different degrees depending on the player.

Whadya think?

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06-26-2019, 08:55 AM

I don't consider it part of either. For myself, alignment is done on my feet first, and after I get into stance it is confirmed by looking at my still cue tip, and shot picture.

My practice strokes are just part of my routine, which impacts my timing before I pull the trigger.The practice strokes will provide feedback on tip placement, and can be used as a way to practice stroke speed required for the shot.

As you know there are players that don't take any practice strokes at all. It would be interesting to hear their thoughts on this in regards to their game.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick Johnson View Post
In the "Ask The Instructor" forum there's a conversation about whether "practice strokes" are part of stance/alignment or part of aiming - or both.

My opinion is that it's part of both, maybe to different degrees depending on the player.

Whadya think?

pj
chgo


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06-26-2019, 09:21 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony_in_MD View Post
I don't consider it part of either. For myself, alignment is done on my feet first, and after I get into stance it is confirmed by looking at my still cue tip, and shot picture.

My practice strokes are just part of my routine, which impacts my timing before I pull the trigger.The practice strokes will provide feedback on tip placement, and can be used as a way to practice stroke speed required for the shot.

As you know there are players that don't take any practice strokes at all. It would be interesting to hear their thoughts on this in regards to their game.
Good post. I think a few practice strokes can serve two purposes:

1....visualization and feel of the shot, same as taking a couple of practice swings before hitting a golf ball.

2....to loosen up and just let it happen. In golf this called the "waggle".


I've seen a few pool players take anywhere from 25 to 50 practice strokes before finally shooting the shot, and then they'll miss it! I often wonder what's going on in their head during this time -- Doubt? Positive affirmations? Fear? Overanalyzing? Second-guessing? Slow play strategy? I sure know what's going on in my head while waiting on one of these players -- I'm quietly thinking "Shoot the ball already!" Lol.


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06-27-2019, 02:29 AM

Paralysis by analysis.



Quote:
Originally Posted by BC21 View Post
Good post. I think a few practice strokes can serve two purposes:

1....visualization and feel of the shot, same as taking a couple of practice swings before hitting a golf ball.

2....to loosen up and just let it happen. In golf this called the "waggle".


I've seen a few pool players take anywhere from 25 to 50 practice strokes before finally shooting the shot, and then they'll miss it! I often wonder what's going on in their head during this time -- Doubt? Positive affirmations? Fear? Overanalyzing? Second-guessing? Slow play strategy? I sure know what's going on in my head while waiting on one of these players -- I'm quietly thinking "Shoot the ball already!" Lol.


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06-27-2019, 04:54 AM

What works for one, may not for another. I have no idea what others use their practice strokes for in shot making........they just might be trying annoy their opponent by taking so long on practice strokes.

Why canít the cue just be about moving the CB with nothing to do about stance or aiming?
  
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06-27-2019, 05:31 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick Johnson View Post
In the "Ask The Instructor" forum there's a conversation about whether "practice strokes" are part of stance/alignment or part of aiming - or both.

My opinion is that it's part of both, maybe to different degrees depending on the player.

Whadya think?

pj
chgo
I think the best use of practice strokes is like a golf waggle, loosen and smooth motion for the final stroke. A still cue can be reviewed to check the aim point on the cue ball, and aiming at the ob with practice strokes can cause unintended steering on the final stroke.


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06-27-2019, 05:31 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick Johnson View Post
In the "Ask The Instructor" forum there's a conversation about whether "practice strokes" are part of stance/alignment or part of aiming - or both.

My opinion is that it's part of both, maybe to different degrees depending on the player.

Whadya think?

pj
chgo

Yes, at least for moi.

Once down in shooting position I'm double checking where I'm hitting the CB and if I'm not 100% happy with it, just by relaxing or tightening by bridge hand, or a small movement of my shoulders, I can change my hit and/or alignment.

When you plop down on a shot it is very easy to be off a fraction of an inch thisaway or thataway and your practice strokes are a last opportunity to make a micro-adjustment.

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Cool Aiming to win. - 06-27-2019, 06:41 AM

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Originally Posted by Tony_in_MD View Post

As you know there are players that don't take any practice strokes at all. It would be interesting to hear their thoughts on this in regards to their game.
And that would be me. This is long but maybe you will find it interesting.

I don't use an aiming system per say and I don't do a bunch of practice strokes except when I'm having a problem locking my brain in on the shot and then I'm actually delaying the shot and not so much practicing. I'm telling my heart to slow down to allow the computer in my head to catch up and check if the chalk light is on. Then looking for a lock or getting up.

I've been working on point shooting quite a bit for some time now and in an accelerated manner. It's showing these days too..

So, I stand back from the table and look at the object ball. where is it? Maybe look at the angle it needs. where is the cue ball?. step into the "shot line" in the perfect spot a few feet back from the table. Right foot/toes up (idk) and I'm ready. Step in and go down on the shot, and fire, if I start missing I switch to practice strokes.. 1 stroke and fire, fail = 2 strokes next time and fire. fail again.. walk away from the table and reset eyes and brain.

I don't adjust my stance, or my hand or my bridge but sometimes my cue hand. but if that's going on I need to get up and take a break. Everything I'm going to do is either automatic or pre planned like my choice of bridge. I do like to pick my bridge and have my hand already in that mode 3 feet back from the table.

Tip placement is controlled by my brain and I am concerned about not having a reference but I'm not playing for money either. I basically tell my myself what I need to accomplish the shot and shoot. I don't measure a tip amount. I think it, and since I believe, I can do all sorts of things.

For aiming. you've seen the shot where the guy puts a handkerchief over the ball and pockets it in the side a couple times. well I was doing this yesterday and nearly broke a sweat I was doing it so fast. But into the corner with an angle on it.

The easy shot is with an object ball one diamond out either side of the corner pocket. pretty easy shot. I can also put it in other locations. put the cue ball down the other side of the middle pockets and look at the shot. cover the object ball with the handkerchief and assume the position 3 feet back. I'm having an over 90% success rate. My point is though I know where the ball is on the table in my head and all that's left is executing the shot you could say from memory.

Then if that wasn't weird enough I've been practicing holding both balls and rolling one down the table, setting down the cue ball and pocketing a moving ball in the corner. Again with an over 90% success rate and fast enough to break a sweat. there, everything is on auto pilot and my brain is consumed with the object ball speed and direction, then the hit, then the timing of the returning cue ball and new object ball. repeat.

I have met my first goal of running a table of 16 randomly spread out balls point shooting in under 2:30. I've done it twice now and don't really try much anymore but that was fun. I have also accomplished a couple related skill based trick shots I liked now. I use the full length rolling object ball as a test now. I can tell what my "playing state" is and the level of game I'll be able to accomplish. maybe. That can change.

Now if I'm playing the girl. it's about fun and I take a lot of practice strokes and work on girlfriend shots like cue ball in the side pocket without her knowing. We both win and folks, that's the game I like to play.

Quote:
'"practice strokes" are part of stance/alignment or part of aiming - or both.'
When I practice my stroke I often use several practice strokes for checking various things including stance, hand position on cue and table, lazy elbow support issues, how close to the table the cue is getting for the shot, head and back position, finger position, and if that wasn't bad enough I put on the digicue blue and crank it up to irritating. There is no object ball in this case. The object is to simply hit the pocket line using various forms of English and get the ball off the table so I can take the next practice shot starting 3 feet back from the table. 16 practice balls keeps things moving along at a quick pace.

When I practice my aiming I use a snooker cue with a 9.5mm Kamui super soft tip and I pay more attention to bridge height, shot picture, speed, and accuracy. Here I like to do 1 or 2 practice stokes so I can better see the shot and smooth out my stroke speed. It's a cool view. On most days I use a 11.75 Kamui super soft.

In the end all this stuff all gets applied automatically and I use a 12.85 Kamui medium tip and just have a blast dropping balls. When I chill out I do one or two strokes just to make sure I'm working right.

What can I say but it's fun and zero drama except for the sharks. HTH

*I don't do leagues or suggest this for league players.


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06-27-2019, 06:42 AM

Both.

You're micro adjusting aim, obviously, and the practise strokes will also tell you if you are misalligned. If you pull back and feel or see the cue going sideways in one direction or the other, then you have a chance to get up and start over.
  
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06-27-2019, 06:43 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by lfigueroa View Post
Yes, at least for moi.

Once down in shooting position I'm double checking where I'm hitting the CB and if I'm not 100% happy with it, just by relaxing or tightening by bridge hand, or a small movement of my shoulders, I can change my hit and/or alignment.

When you plop down on a shot it is very easy to be off a fraction of an inch thisaway or thataway and your practice strokes are a last opportunity to make a micro-adjustment.

Lou Figueroa
I agree. I tend to keep my "framework" -- my snooker stance, i.e. body, shoulders, legs, etc. -- locked, but use variability in my bridge hand, like squeezing or releasing in one direction, etc. Aim while you're standing, get down on the shot line, and make very small adjustments with the bridge hand.

I find that when/if I start a match and I'm cold, a little focus on the fundamentals -- the mental checklist -- is always where I get back on track. It's very rarely aiming, and when it is, it's because I was applying spin for some reason and spun the ball away from the shot line and thus away from the pocket.

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06-27-2019, 07:05 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony_in_MD View Post
I don't consider it part of either. For myself, alignment is done on my feet first, and after I get into stance it is confirmed by looking at my still cue tip, and shot picture.

My practice strokes are just part of my routine, which impacts my timing before I pull the trigger.The practice strokes will provide feedback on tip placement, and can be used as a way to practice stroke speed required for the shot.

As you know there are players that don't take any practice strokes at all. It would be interesting to hear their thoughts on this in regards to their game.
I played for years without practise strokes. There are a couple of good reasons why:
I had a sort of death grip that was very effective in keeping the cue straight, but not condusive to practise stroking. Not having practise strokes also saved me from jerking my back swing and forward swing. I had a nice, long forward pause, then a slow backswing and fire. Very easy when you only have to focus on the one swing.

The other reason was for nerves. The death grip really helped with the nerves, because my grip was allready tight. There was no way I was going to accidentally twist my hand or anything. Any error would be coming from my arm or body, not my hand. Also, without the movement of my arm I got a nice long, uninterrupted look at the object ball, which helped calm me down. I still struggle with keeping my forward and rear pause as long when I practise stroke. Also, since my grip is now much looser, I can feel the nerves more. I will say that under extreme pressure, you know, in a finals of a major tournament for someone inexperienced or very nervous, I think the no-practise stroke is better. Less chance of second guessing yourself, and like I said, you focus all your energy on the one swing that matters. That being said, I think the style with practise strokes and a looser grip has a higher potential for performance, so that's why I switched.

Edit to add: I learned the "no-pratice stroke style" from possibly the best pure shotmaker in my country. He said he thought I was thinking too much about my technique, and that all the work was done at the forward pause. If things looked good there, there was nothing more to think about. Just pull back and fire.

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06-27-2019, 07:12 AM

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Originally Posted by Balls View Post
.........

Now if I'm playing the girl. it's about fun and I take a lot of practice strokes and work on girlfriend shots like cue ball in the side pocket without her knowing. We both win and folks, that's the game I like to play.

.......
Literally laughing out loud! "We both win".


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06-27-2019, 07:38 AM

It's been said that the only stroke that matters is the last one.

I used to practice Burt Kinister's mighty X drill just for that reason.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Straightpool_99 View Post
I played for years without practise strokes. There are a couple of good reasons why:
I had a sort of death grip that was very effective in keeping the cue straight, but not condusive to practise stroking. Not having practise strokes also saved me from jerking my back swing and forward swing. I had a nice, long forward pause, then a slow backswing and fire. Very easy when you only have to focus on the one swing.

The other reason was for nerves. The death grip really helped with the nerves, because my grip was allready tight. There was no way I was going to accidentally twist my hand or anything. Any error would be coming from my arm or body, not my hand. Also, without the movement of my arm I got a nice long, uninterrupted look at the object ball, which helped calm me down. I still struggle with keeping my forward and rear pause as long when I practise stroke. Also, since my grip is now much looser, I can feel the nerves more. I will say that under extreme pressure, you know, in a finals of a major tournament for someone inexperienced or very nervous, I think the no-practise stroke is better. Less chance of second guessing yourself, and like I said, you focus all your energy on the one swing that matters. That being said, I think the style with practise strokes and a looser grip has a higher potential for performance, so that's why I switched.

Edit to add: I learned the "no-pratice stroke style" from possibly the best pure shotmaker in my country. He said he thought I was thinking too much about my technique, and that all the work was done at the forward pause. If things looked good there, there was nothing more to think about. Just pull back and fire.


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Functional Intent - 06-30-2019, 01:43 PM

A few things came to mind after reading the question posed. The first was a quote attributed to Achille-Claude Debussy, "music is the space between the notes". Rhythm and tempo are essential to establishing a performance flow. Another is a weather observation often used as an metaphor, "the calm before the storm". This suggests that the gathering of forces can create a calm space before unleashing the forces. This is like how a spring has to be compressed before it can function.

This last insight triggers a reminder of the concept of functional intent. If you want to create a flowing tempo or a preparatory rhythm, each is a particular intent and functionally different. Once the objective is decided on then how the preliminary actions can lead to that end can be considered.

Bouncing a ball, like a tennis player before a serve or a basketball player before a free throw are examples of loosening up preparatory movement. Movement dissipates stress having a calming effect.

The comments here give each of us glimpses into how certain actions are taken to achieve various ends. There is no right answer, only a variety of choices. Itís also situational like the "winners", the guy and his girlfriend.

The preliminary movements can be whatever you want them to be. Asking how they work in each of our gameís brings out the function they serve there. Awareness allows us to give them positive purpose.

Personally I estimate if the shot, as envisioned, will succeed during this phase. If not, I get up and start over. If I predict success I stop, find my target again and shoot.

Good question.

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06-30-2019, 08:27 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Imac007 View Post
A few things came to mind after reading the question posed. The first was a quote attributed to Achille-Claude Debussy, "music is the space between the notes". Rhythm and tempo are essential to establishing a performance flow. Another is a weather observation often used as an metaphor, "the calm before the storm". This suggests that the gathering of forces can create a calm space before unleashing the forces. This is like how a spring has to be compressed before it can function.

This last insight triggers a reminder of the concept of functional intent. If you want to create a flowing tempo or a preparatory rhythm, each is a particular intent and functionally different. Once the objective is decided on then how the preliminary actions can lead to that end can be considered.

Bouncing a ball, like a tennis player before a serve or a basketball player before a free throw are examples of loosing up preparatory movement. Movement dissipates stress having a calming effect.

The comments here give each of us glimpses into how certain actions are taken to achieve various ends. There is no right answer, only a variety of choices. Itís also situational like the "winners", the guy and his girlfriend.

The preliminary movements can be whatever you want them to be. Asking how they work in each of our gameís brings out the function they serve there. Awareness allows us to give them positive purpose.

Personally I estimate if the shot, as envisioned, will succeed during this phase. If not, I get up and start over. If I predict success I stop, find my target again and shoot.

Good question.
I have read this post at least 3 times. It's that good!


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