Bridge arm

bbb

AzB Gold Member
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i know the bridge hand should be solid on the table
but what is recommended for the arm
straight??
bent??
forearm resting on the table bed???
forearm off the table bed??
why??
pros/cons
thanks for your responces
 

sfleinen

14.1 & One Pocket Addict
Gold Member
Silver Member
i know the bridge hand should be solid on the table
but what is recommended for the arm
straight??
bent??
forearm resting on the table bed???
forearm off the table bed??
why??
pros/cons
thanks for your responces

bbb:

Not an instructor here, but again, did sleep at a Holiday Inn Express last night. :p

I say it depends on your style, and your stance. If you use a Lance Perkins style (standard pool stance), where your body or legs are turned 45 degrees away from the shot line, it's fairly easy to adopt either a bent or straight arm. It's also easier to extend the arm straight out in front of you, lock it (or not), and align the cue shaft "parallel" to that arm (i.e. not angled into the cue shaft like a triangle, but parallel to the shaft).

However, if you face the shot line, and point your body and leg joints *into* the shot line (a la snooker stance), then you have no choice but to "reach over" from the opposite side of your body to put your bridge hand on the table in front of you. That is to say, your bridge arm is angled out in front of you to "meet" the cue shaft, to form a triangle where the three sides are your bridge arm, the cue shaft, and your face/shoulders. This is standard with the snooker stance, and that triangle is part of the "pre-flight ignition checks." When you do the snooker stance, the consistency of that triangle becomes part of your PSR.

That same consistency can be done with the Lance Perkins standard pool stance, but you have to work at it, and create your own style. Because the pool stance is more or less "loosey goosey" (i.e. where you place parts of your body in relation to the shot line), you have to work at creating your own particular style with its own "pre-flight ignition checks." The SPF family of instructors can help you do that, and I highly recommend them.

I think it's not so important as to "what" you do with the bridge arm, but rather that you do the same thing *every time* -- consistently, and with those "pre-flight ignition checks" that can alert you if you're doing something out of the ordinary.

Hope that was somewhat helpful?
-Sean
 

BilliardsAbout

BondFanEvents.com
Silver Member
That is a super helpful post, Sean.

The temptation for players is to go laser straight each time for consistency with rigidity but it's easy to get a sore shoulder on the bridge arm or worse. Also, for a tall player like me, if I can bridge laser straight I'm likely too far from the cue ball with my head and neck... don't do anything in pool that hurts your body, and I include in that stretching the neck and chin, getting too low, bending too much from the waist without letting the legs take some of the slack, etc.

What is the Holiday Inn Express reference, Sean? I'm intrigued.
 

sfleinen

14.1 & One Pocket Addict
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Silver Member
That is a super helpful post, Sean.

The temptation for players is to go laser straight each time for consistency with rigidity but it's easy to get a sore shoulder on the bridge arm or worse. Also, for a tall player like me, if I can bridge laser straight I'm likely too far from the cue ball with my head and neck... don't do anything in pool that hurts your body, and I include in that stretching the neck and chin, getting too low, bending too much from the waist without letting the legs take some of the slack, etc.

What is the Holiday Inn Express reference, Sean? I'm intrigued.

Matt:

First, thanks for the helpful acknowledgement. Second, some replies / counter-thoughts:

  1. The decision to adopt a "bridge arm parallel to the cue shaft" is entirely dependent on one's "wing span" and grip on the cue. A smaller person would obviously have an easier time doing this, rather than a tall person with a wide wing span, for obvious reasons. But it's a matter of preference, sighting, comfortability, and most of all -- consistency once the approach is decided upon, time after time.

  2. I disagree with the notion that you shouldn't do anything in pool that hurts -- to a point, anyway. Part of any repetitive motion sport (such as the cue sports) is the concept of stretching your muscles to be sure you prime them for action. Saying that you should adopt a stance for a repetitive motion exercise based on the "cold" status of your muscles, is like saying the same thing to a baseball pitcher, that he should adopt a pitching style based on the "cold" status of his muscles (which probably means that he shouldn't wind up as far back as he should, and only throw the baseball within "non-hurting ranges of his cold muscles"). That's nonsense. A "good comfortable stance" doesn't mean with cold muscles. The snooker stance -- and even the Lance Perkins stance with chin on the cue, for that matter -- may require the player to do some stretching to prime the muscles for this. I know the very first time I practiced the snooker stance, it HURT -- I could feel the pull on the muscles at the back of my right leg (the planted leg in a right-hander's snooker stance). But that pull was merely the same as when you try to stand straight, bend over at the waist, and try to touch your head to your knees. It's merely a temporary stretching of the muscle. And the muscles adapt to this.

    To take the nonsense analogy to the extreme, should martial artists avoid doing high kicks because "it hurts" without stretching exercises beforehand -- and therefore should only do kicks within the "cold" range of the muscles? (I.e. without doing leg splits on the floor -- stretching exercises to stretch the hamstrings and other muscles to increase the range of the muscles.) "Sure," if they want to lose the ability to be able to do high kicks, thereby putting an automatic achilles heel on their abilities. Should dancers avoid doing dance moves that "hurt" because those moves require some stretching exercise beforehand to prime those muscles? Again, you can see this is nonsense.

    Chinning the cue -- initially -- may require a bit of warm-up exercises to prime the body's muscles to be able to do it. After you've done it for a very short while, the "priming" (stretching) is no longer necessary. Likewise with that "pull" in the hamstring and back thigh/calf muscles in the planted leg of the snooker stance. I can do both of these things -- walk up to a pool table completely cold -- and get into a snooker stance without any "priming" or stretching, and without any discomfort whatsoever. I didn't use to -- especially at the outset when first learning the snooker stance -- but it's completely comfortable to me now, thanks to the human body's natural ability to adapt.

    The "needing a chiropractor afterwards" that you quote is nonsense. *Any* repetitive-motion sport (and any sport, for that matter) always advise doing a bit of stretching beforehand. A good recent example is CJ Wiley -- you'll see him in match videos using his cue to help stretch his shoulder muscles, by grabbing the cue at opposite ends over the top of his head, and then bending his straightened arms backward behind his back as far as
    they'll go, and holding them there for a moment. The cue sports are no different from any sport in this regard.

    P.S.: Just to address the "aha -- gotcha" types, I'm not saying that people should "hurt themselves" when playing pool. There's quite a difference between feeling a gentle tug on a muscle that hasn't been primed, and putting so much force on a muscle or tendon that you experience a tear or experience excessive pain. And the same thing with forcing body joints beyond their expected ranges. I'm not saying *any* of that. What I am saying, is not to limit your pool stance just merely based on the cold status of muscles with no warm-up, and saying you can't bend down and sight behind the cue ball because it's not 100% comfortable the second you get down to chin the cue. Try some stretching exercises beforehand, and then try the stance or positioning again.

  3. I'm surprised you're asking about the Holiday Inn Express reference. That's a play on the famous TV commercials by the same name:

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=l8Ah8WTL2i8
    http://youtube.com/watch?v=Ff9soPDP7Pc
    http://youtube.com/watch?v=8dOHEw8izno
    ...you get the idea.
-Sean
 
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BilliardsAbout

BondFanEvents.com
Silver Member
Sean:

Thanks so much for expanding on your thoughts.

To take the nonsense analogy to the extreme, should martial artists avoid doing high kicks because "it hurts" without stretching exercises beforehand -- and therefore should only do kicks within the "cold" range of the muscles?

Good point about dance and martial arts. I stretch when I play but regardless, one may feel tired and sore a bit after long hours of play--but chronic pain on the bridge side greater than the stroking side is symptomatic of bad fundamentals. Do you disagree?

Now, I've been "on it" about stance since showing people with lower back pain how to stand at the table properly--including people who were ready to give up the game they loved before I helped them. So I don't find it's "nonsense" to help save someone thousands of dollars in lost wages and medical bills and lost wages. Do you agree?

The "needing a chiropractor afterwards" that you quote is nonsense.

It's not a quotation but an original. I don't think I've written that chinning leads to a chiropractor, by the way, but I did write that right-handed players who go left eye over the cue are going to need one. Also, not everyone "needs" a chiropractor for each athletic stretch, of course. It was hyperbole for "sore muscles".

You can sense my passion on these points. At the University of Cambridge, there was a period of hundreds of years when the Earth was taught as flat by the faculty. I don't care if 10,000 pros stick their chins over their cues--they do it because that's what they were told to do--but I'm surprised since I thought you agree with me, Richard Kranicki and Dr. Alciatore that we want our vision center atop the cue, which might be, but probably isn't, above our chin center. Do you think the chin on the stick provides magic for everyone? I'm open to your theories, but I'm asking.

Thanks much for your comments--you've got a great passion as well for our beautiful sport!
 

sfleinen

14.1 & One Pocket Addict
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Silver Member
Sean:

Thanks so much for expanding on your thoughts.

Good point about dance and martial arts. I stretch when I play but regardless, one may feel tired and sore a bit after long hours of play--but chronic pain on the bridge side greater than the stroking side is symptomatic of bad fundamentals. Do you disagree?

There's not enough information there to say whether I disagree or not. I would say "maybe" or "maybe not." Reason: you didn't describe the person's fundamentals. What is it they're doing that is indicative of bad fundamentals?

And, is it bad fundamentals, or is it repetitive stress injury, because the person is using fundamentals that clearly overstep the person's abilities, but the person did not stretch first?

Bad fundamentals is one thing; repetitive stress injury is quite another.

There's not enough information here to say whether I agree or disagree.

Now, I've been "on it" about stance since showing people with lower back pain how to stand at the table properly--including people who were ready to give up the game they loved before I helped them. So I don't find it's "nonsense" to help save someone thousands of dollars in lost wages and medical bills and lost wages. Do you agree?

Again, not enough info here to say whether I agree or disagree. Do you know for sure that the person is experiencing the pain because of what you think are bad fundamentals? Or is the person experiencing a type of repetitive stress injury that is being aggravated? (Even completely 100% proper form in any sport can aggravate an existing condition.)

We are not doctors here, and in the "blue moon" occasions where I'm asked for instruction by a player, if he/she is complaining of pain, I'll of course analyze what he/she is doing, but I'll also quickly offer that I'm not a doctor and quickly refer them to one.

It's one thing to know proper fundamentals; it's quite another to recommend bad things to "work around" an existing pain or medical condition.

It's not a quotation but an original. I don't think I've written that chinning leads to a chiropractor, by the way, but I did write that right-handed players who go left eye over the cue are going to need one. Also, not everyone "needs" a chiropractor for each athletic stretch, of course. It was hyperbole for "sore muscles".

Sore muscles (presumably the "lactic acid build-up" type, and not the stress injury type?) are your body's way of telling you that you need rest for those muscles to recover. Forcing those muscles to perform, and adopting fundamentals to work around those sore muscles is not the way to adopt good fundamentals. This roughly analogous to increasing the volume on your car stereo because you hear abnormal engine noises. Best thing to do is to stop and rest.

I have hard days too -- especially when, with a partner, I'm lifting 275lb uninterruptible power supplies (UPSs, loaded with lead-acid car batteries) into computer equipment racks all day. I don't go to the poolhall at the end of the day and try to adopt wonky pool fundamentals because I want to "avoid" the use of the sore muscles. I just realize I need to rest, and take a nice Epsom salts bath to medicate those muscles.

You can sense my passion on these points. At the University of Cambridge, there was a period of hundreds of years when the Earth was taught as flat by the faculty. I don't care if 10,000 pros stick their chins over their cues--they do it because that's what they were told to do--but I'm surprised since I thought you agree with me, Richard Kranicki and Dr. Alciatore that we want our vision center atop the cue, which might be, but probably isn't, above our chin center. Do you think the chin on the stick provides magic for everyone? I'm open to your theories, but I'm asking.

When did I *ever* say that you don't want your vision center atop the cue? And what makes you think that when I say "chinning" the cue, I mean A.) the literal center of your chin "has to be" centered on the cue, or B.) that your face isn't slightly turned to favor a dominant eye? Hint: I didn't. In fact, many folks -- like Earl Strickland (right eye), or Ralph Souquet (left eye) -- favor a dominant eye, yet it's considered they are "chinning" the cue, even though their chins are not literally "on" the cue. (Especially Earl and Niels Feijen, who are right-handers and have a dominant right eye -- their chin is actually below the cue, with the cue against their right cheek. In Ralf's case, his chin is over onto the other side of the cue -- literally overlapping the cue shaft, and the shaft is somewhere under the left side of the chin.)

When I say "sight behind" the cue ball, I mean where you can use aiming techniques like fractional aiming or back-of-ball, where it's easier to see ball-to-ball "eclipsing" relationships. Try to aim a 1/3rd-ball hit from "way up there" (e.g. Minnesota Fats style), and try to do the same thing down low -- you *should* find out that it's easier to see the 1/3rd eclipsing relationship the latter way.

Thanks much for your comments--you've got a great passion as well for our beautiful sport!

Thank you as well. Like I said, if you're ever at a pool industry event in the northeast, chances are I might be there as well. Look me up!

-Sean
 

bbb

AzB Gold Member
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ok you guys can start another thread about how to work around what your body can do
lets try and answer my question
ill be more specific if that helps
do you think that placing your forearm on the table when possible is a good thing???
 

BilliardsAbout

BondFanEvents.com
Silver Member
Ah, I see.

I was referring to players who came to me bent over the way someone instructed them, and in a lot of back and/or neck pain. We were able to adjust their stance without diminshing their pocketing ability. It's "sensical" and not nonsense to help people in pain and not give them a cookie cutter approach to stance. I'm sure you agree. Some of my students are in their 60s and even up to their 80s as I mentioned in another thread. The dance and martial arts are often out, but for sure the hardcore golf and the chinning.

Thanks also for your detailed response on chinning the cue, that's why I asked. Someone playing contact point/back of ball and not looking for fractions/eclipsing can be comfortable and stand with their chin a foot above the cue--neither Minnesota Fats nor Allison Fisher--and still shoot very, very well. I'll go out on a limb here and say that getting way the heck down there--I mean all the way down--yields an advantage only on certain strokes.
 

BilliardsAbout

BondFanEvents.com
Silver Member
ok you guys can start another thread about how to work around what your body can do
lets try and answer my question
ill be more specific if that helps
do you think that placing your forearm on the table when possible is a good thing???

It's not a necessity. A bridge arm in the air can still be relaxed yet provide all the stability needed for the stroke.
 

Mark Avlon

Northwest Pool School
Silver Member
do you think that placing your forearm on the table when possible is a good thing???

It's very helpful to rest your elbow on the table for stability when using a high finger-tip bridge to clear balls.

It's fine to rest your forearm on the table as long as it doesn't interfere with you ability to align to the shot and stroke well.
 

bbb

AzB Gold Member
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It's very helpful to rest your elbow on the table for stability when using a high finger-tip bridge to clear balls.

It's fine to rest your forearm on the table as long as it doesn't interfere with you ability to align to the shot and stroke well.

thanks mark for responding
your knowledgeable in put is always help full
 

Donny Lutz

Ferrule Cat
Silver Member
Being solid is the goal

It's very helpful to rest your elbow on the table for stability when using a high finger-tip bridge to clear balls.

It's fine to rest your forearm on the table as long as it doesn't interfere with you ability to align to the shot and stroke well.

I agree.

When I began playing, it was being taught that a straight arm is the best and should always be used for consistency. It makes sense.

But it also makes sense that for certain shots (shots that require little stroke or force) one may gain an advantage by being closer to the cue ball...by bending the bridge arm.

I like to rest some part of my arm on the rail (or playing surface) for stability when I'm shooting over a ball or when it's difficult to make a bridge when shooting along a rail.

So what I teach is to use the straight arm as your "default" position, and change it only when changing offers some advantage. Too many players randomly use a variety of bridge arm positions for no particular positions, making consistency difficult.

Some posters make this more complicated than necessary. "Wordy" is not synonymous with "wise".

Your goal when approaching a shot ought to be finding a comfortable, solid stance that makes each shot as easy as possible to execute.

Donny L
PBIA/ACS Instructor
 

Scott Lee

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Matt...This is another example of you posting incorrect information. Sore shoulders come from putting too much pressure on the bridge hand...not from having a locked elbow in your stance. Locked elbow in the bridge arm is preferred by many players. Some others prefer bent elbow. Others still play with a bent elbow, with the forearm resting on the cloth. It doesn't make any difference...as long the grip hand is delivering the cue in a straight line through the intended aim point on the CB.

Scott Lee
http://poolknowledge.com

The temptation for players is to go laser straight each time for consistency with rigidity but it's easy to get a sore shoulder on the bridge arm or worse.
 

BilliardsAbout

BondFanEvents.com
Silver Member
Matt...This is another example of you posting incorrect information. Sore shoulders come from putting too much pressure on the bridge hand...not from having a locked elbow in your stance. Locked elbow in the bridge arm is preferred by many players. Some others prefer bent elbow. Others still play with a bent elbow, with the forearm resting on the cloth. It doesn't make any difference...as long the grip hand is delivering the cue in a straight line through the intended aim point on the CB.

Scott Lee
http://poolknowledge.com

Yes, sir, you are correct. One can get a sore shoulder from putting too much pressure on the bridge hand. I'm sure there's a dozen threads here with students asking how light or how hard to go and we know there's extremes on both ends.

However, the most vulnerable position for the shoulder and the rotator cuff muscles and ligaments is at maximum abduction and/or rotation from the body.

If you and I choose to stand for an hour with hands in the air but arms bent at the elbows or else reaching for the ceiling with straight locked elbows going for maximum reach, after one hour's time one of those positions is going to create far more shoulder soreness.

My point is that players who try to reduce variables in the stance by rigidly extending the bridge arm for every shot may not be in the optimum stance for them to stroke (they might be, of course, as you pointed out accurately in your post) and also are at risk of shoulder pain.

We are both right in this instance.

Thank you.
 
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Scott Lee

AzB Silver Member
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Matt...First, there aren't even "10,000 pros" (I know you were purposely exaggerating). Second, they put their chins over the cue because that's where they perceive a straight line, rather than being "told" they have to do it that way. Players who don't perceive a straight line, with their chin over the cue, should put their cues where they DO perceive a straight line. Remember this...perception is different for everyone. "Vision centers" can be located anywhere...and I agree that finding yours is a necessary element of learning to play well. I disagree that, for a LOT of players, their lineup to the shot, with the cue under their chin is not their "correct" vision center. Thousands of students have proven that to me. I don't tell my students to center the cue under their chin, but rather OBSERVE where they put the cue when they perceive a straight line. Then I see whether they have the skill to deliver the cue accurately into the straight line that they perceive. Do you use video analysis in your teaching? That shows immediately where someone "sees" their line, in terms of where the cue is placed.

Scott Lee
http://poolknowledge.com

I don't care if 10,000 pros stick their chins over their cues--they do it because that's what they were told to do--but I'm surprised since I thought you agree with me, Richard Kranicki and Dr. Alciatore that we want our vision center atop the cue, which might be, but probably isn't, above our chin center!
 
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BilliardsAbout

BondFanEvents.com
Silver Member
Matt...First, there aren't even "10,000 pros" (I know you were purposely exaggerating). Second, they put their chins over the cue because that's where they perceive a straight line, rather than being "told" they have to do it that way. Players who don't perceive a straight line, with their chin over the cue, should put their cues where they DO perceive a straight line. Remember this...perception is different for everyone. "Vision centers" can be located anywhere...and I agree that finding yours is a necessary element of learning to play well. I disagree that, for a LOT of players, their lineup to the shot, with the cue under their chin is not their "correct" vision center. Thousands of students have proven that to me. I don't tell my students to center the cue under their chin, but rather OBSERVE where they put the cue when they perceive a straight line. Then I see whether they have the skill to deliver the cue accurately into the straight line that they perceive. Do you use video analysis in your teaching? That shows immediately where someone "sees" their line, in terms of where the cue is placed.

Scott Lee
http://poolknowledge.com

That's good stuff there. I use video analysis and you are right that chin over cue is very good for a lot of fine players/vision center. I know that both of us know that for some, not all, players, they were told "split your chin with the cue" and then they play better once they find their ambiocular-based vision center.

I am also not disagreeing that chin above the cue stick on the vertical plane (or very nearly so) can be a good thing and vision center. My point about Sean's comments (and I may be misunderstanding what he is saying so feel free to comment, Sean) is that I'm not going to take a 70-year-old student who has had a more "classic" upright stance for 50 years or more and tell them to lower down until their chin scrapes the cue stick, because 1) good instructors work with what they have without causing the player mental anguish or 2) severe physical discomfort.

Thanks!!
 

Scott Lee

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
We're in complete agreement on this point, except that I don't care how old somebody is. Bottom line is that there is no one right stance for everyone...and everyone has their own "right" stance...they just have to find it.

Scott Lee
http://poolknowledge.com

I'm not going to take a 70-year-old student who has had a more "classic" upright stance for 50 years or more and tell them to lower down until their chin scrapes the cue stick, because 1) good instructors work with what they have without causing the player mental anguish or 2) severe physical discomfort.

Thanks!!
 

BilliardsAbout

BondFanEvents.com
Silver Member
We're in complete agreement on this point, except that I don't care how old somebody is. Bottom line is that there is no one right stance for everyone...and everyone has their own "right" stance...they just have to find it.

Scott Lee
http://poolknowledge.com

You know what? You are absolutely right IMHO, and I have been ducking the fact that when Sean says even an older player may benefit greatly from chinning and thus finding their "best stance...". I apologize.

Again, I'm agreeing with all that we can feel fatigued after a long session or one with lots of powerful strokes or break shots, but we want to be certain people don't run away with terms like "lock it straight" until it hurts. I know no one here does it so my point is moot.
 
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