Ive never been to an instructor... can you tell me why they teach not to drop the elbow.
Scroll down to my comments on it.
edit: Here's my comments on it-
What is one of the main keys to playing good? Repeatability. So, what do you think the first thing an instructor is going to teach someone? Yes, repeatability. Now, the instructor can stick around for a few years and watch his student shoot thousands of balls until his mind finally gets trained to do it the same way, no matter what way that is, OR, the inst. can teach a simple way to be repeatable and accurate in the stroke. And, do it in a few hours. Which should he do?? (If you really don't know the answer to that, stop reading now, you are too stupid to play pool, or to do much else.)
The pendulum stroke is easily taught, and is extremely repeatable and reliable. When set up properly, you hit the cb with a level stroke at impact, and right where you want to hit it. You are not hitting the cb while on an upswing as some have stated. If you are, you aren't doing it right, go see an instructor.
It has been mentioned numerous times that you seldom see the top pros not dropping their elbow. This is true. You also seldom see them drop BEFORE contact, although some do. It seems to be the consensus on here that that means that you should drop your elbow. Let's think about that for a minute..... when did the pendulum swing really come into play? Not very long ago. When did the top players start playing? A long time ago. This wasn't even an issue when they were learning! So, how did they learn? By shooting thousands and thousands of shots. You can learn the same way too. (not a very time efficient method, though)
They, the top pros, have learned repeatability the hard way, over time. Doing that, they each have little and some have large idiosyncrasies to their stroke that works FOR THEM. To try and repeat their strokes, can easily be a HUGE waste of time. If we should only copy them, why don't more people try and play like McCready or Bustamante, arguably two of the best players?
Many of the top players also jump up in the air when they break. Does anyone really think that is a good thing to do? It has been proven over and over that it is not, and adds NOTHING to the break. (except a lot of problems if you don't have your timing just perfect.) Remember what your mothers taught you? Just because Timmy is jumping off a bridge doesn't mean you have to do it too! There's a lot of wisdom in that if you bother to think about it.
It has been stated that you can't get proper follow through with a pendulum stoke. Again, if you can't follow through for 1/1000 of a sec, (all the time the tip is on the cb) you better quit now. The ONLY reason for any follow through is to not stop the stroke. You want the tip going smoothly until contact. All the pendulum stroke does is alter where your follow through goes AFTER contact. It does not minimize it in the least.
If you drop your elbow BEFORE contact, you are much more prone to not hitting the cb where you intend to. Hence, the up and down swings in play that many players suffer from. If one muscle is a little tight, it changes where you hit the ball. Dropping your elbow before contact introduces the shoulder muscles into play. Just something else that can go wrong. Why not eliminate as much as possible that can go wrong??
What many of the top players have learned over trial and error is that if you extend your cue along the shot line on the follow through, it really helps you keep the stroke straight on the way to the cb. The mind finds it easier to make everything work properly with a longer line to work with than just the few inches to the cb.
NO ONE is saying that method doesn't work, or is bad. If it works for you, great! However, there is an easier way to achieve the same results, yep, the pendulum stroke. The top players are not going to change what took them many years to ingrain into their subconscious to achieve the same results. That would be rather foolhardy. But, when you are learning, or even if you have been playing a long time and DON'T have a repeatable stroke, the pendulum stroke is an easy way to get one. The fewer moving parts you have, the less can go wrong.
It has been wrongly stated that you can't get enough power with a pendulum stroke. And that you can't get anything put a dog-break with it. Baloney. I have make 8 out of 9 balls on the break with a pendulum stroke. When Scott and I played, right after the first break of mine, he started laughing and said "And people say you can't get a good break with a pendulum stroke!" First off, the break is not so much about power, as it is about accuracy and a good rack. Just ask Donnie Mills, or Corey Duel. And, you can get all the power you need for ANY shot that comes up during a game.
Many times, when you have an experienced player, and he/she tries to shift over to a pendulum stroke, they have problems. ANY time you try and learn something you are used to doing a new way, you have to give it time to erase the old way of doing it, and ingrain into your subconscious the new way. How long that takes, varies with the individual. Even after you have the new way ingrained, sometimes the old way still creeps in. It took me the better part of a year to finally let my subconscious go and trust it enough to stroke correctly when I switched over to a pendulum stroke. And, the old way still creeps in now and then and messes me up.
Once you get to the point of NOT thinking about your stroke, but letting your subconscious stroke it, the pendulum stroke is a VERY effective tool! Many players reach a plateau, and can't seem to get any better. I feel there are two main reasons for this- they do not have a repeatable stroke, and/or they really don't pay attention to just what is happening when they shoot a shot. The don't know just where they hit the cb, where the cb hit the ob, and where the cb went after contact with the ob, and what speed was used. Not KNOWING those things, you can't possibly duplicate and expand on them.
Another thing you will see a number of top pros do, is to do their warmup strokes with the tip on the cloth well before the cb. They have the natural talent, and years of experience to bring the tip up precisely to where they want it on the final stroke. If you don't have their natural talent, or years of experience, good luck with that. So, is that also something we should all do just because they do it? Are there better ways to accomplish the same end result? Busty looks like he is using an old water pump when he strokes. Should we copy that move too? Why not? The pros do it. Mainly, because we aren't them.
We don't have the natural talent, or the time to invest as they have done. We have to use whatever methods we can to shorten the time it takes, and to make things as easy as possible. The pendulum stroke really helps the fundamentals and repeatability. Aiming methods can really help in their area. Kicking systems in theirs, etc.
But for some to get on here, and make statements that they have about the pendulum stroke, only shows how little they do know about it, and about the general concepts of pool, what works and why it works.
Nobody is saying that dropping your elbow is bad, or that you can't play good that way. If it works reliably for you, keep doing it your way. But, if you find that you are not reliable, try the pendulum stroke. It is a much easier way to get repeatability. And, that is what this game is all about. There's not much point in learning how to get the cb to do what you want it to do if you can't hit it where you want to. Thinking you hit the cb in one spot, and actually hitting it in another only puts into your subconscious something that is wrong. Then, when you DO hit the cb where you want to, you get a different reaction out of it, and get all confused and lose confidence in yourself.