Dropping your elbow

ENGLISH!

Banned
Silver Member
FYI, most people (in the instructional pool world, anyway) call this a piston stroke.

Snooker players typically guide and keep the cue on the chest during the stroke to help create the piston action.

Regards,
Dave

Thanks Dave,

I certainly see & understand why it would be called a piston stroke if the focus is on how the cue moves vs what is going on with the arm. To me, that is what is important & how the different strokes should be called.

The comment I was responding to was made about the elbow, So... I explained it with the focus on what the elbow does. It sort of acts like a scissors.

To your knowledge, is there something different that is actually a scissor stroke?

I would appreciate learning the difference in how to explain the two different methods.

RJ
NO, La.
 
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Sloppy Pockets

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
For most good strokes, the speed is maximum and acceleration is actually close to zero at CB impact. There are actually speed-control benefits to doing this, and it actually comes naturally. As mentioned on my stroke acceleration resource page, what most people really mean by "accelerate into the ball" or "finish the stroke" is: "don't decelerate into the ball" (i.e., don't slow the cue before CB contact). Decelerating into the ball can result in very poor speed control.

I'd love to find out what I'm doing because I believe I'm still accelerating the cue a bit at the very end of the stroke by employing my wrist and fingers at the finish. This is the stroke that feels natural to me, and not the stroke that you describe. Also, rather than decreasing accuracy by "adding more moving parts", my stroke actually straightens out and travels along the desired line better when I add a bit of controlled wrist at the end.

I don't think speed control is the big issue with a decelerating stroke. Much more important is the fact that the same muscles that would act to decelerate the cue can also throw it off line. It's much easier to run in a straight line than it is to slow down in a straight line.
 

dr_dave

Instructional Author
Gold Member
Silver Member
Thanks Dave,

I certainly see & understand why it would be called a piston stroke if the focus is on how the cue moves vs what is going on with the arm. To me, that is what is important & how the different strokes should be called.

The comment I was responding to was made about the elbow, So... I explained it with the focus on what the elbow does. It sort of acts like a scissors.

To your knowledge, is there something different that is actually a scissor stroke?
I've never heard the term "scissor" used to describe a pool stroke before. Although, like "piston," "scissor" implies straight-line motion of the cue (like that provided by a "scissor" lift or jack). If you are thinking of the motion of the forearm relative to the upper arm as scissor motion, then the term would apply to all stroke types.

Regards,
Dave
 

Bob Jewett

AZB Osmium Member
Gold Member
Silver Member
.... I don't think speed control is the big issue with a decelerating stroke. ...
If the cue stick is decelerating when it hits the cue ball, its speed is constantly decreasing (by definition). That means that the exact timing of when the tip hits the ball is going to determine how fast the cue ball will go.

On the other hand (and as illustrated in Dr. Dave's material mentioned above), if you make contact at near zero acceleration (at peak speed), the speed of the cue stick is constant over a considerable distance and the exact instant of contact is not important for the speed of the ball.
 

ENGLISH!

Banned
Silver Member
I've never heard the term "scissor" used to describe a pool stroke before. Although, like "piston," "scissor" implies straight-line motion of the cue (like that provided by a "scissor" lift or jack). If you are thinking of the motion of the forearm relative to the upper arm as scissor motion, then the term would apply to all stroke types.

Regards,
Dave

Thanks Dave,

I could be wrong, but I think the scissor reference relates to how if you stand a pair of scissors up & then open them the 'pivot point' lowers as the 'handle ends' separate on a straight line & as they come together the 'pivot point' rises. Hinge? Who knows where some of the names come from or how things may have been explained by Old Guys back in the day? I don't know. But I'd bet many of them had little formal education but Common Sense was a valued commodity back in the day.

Thanks Again,
Rick
 
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Bob Jewett

AZB Osmium Member
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Silver Member
In the second and third articles in this PDF http://www.sfbilliards.com/articles/2004.pdf are some thoughts and observations on what the elbow does during the stroke.

In my experience, players often have two distinct strokes. On soft shots their upper arms are motionless and the stroke is restricted to the forearm. The shoulder is frozen in place and moves not at all. On power shots, the elbow drops at the end of the stroke. In my view, this drop is essential on power shots to keep the arm happy and not hurt. I've tried a still elbow on such shots and it hurts. The drop is typically the thickness of the upper arm, so a few inches.

This observation applies to players as diverse as Allison Fisher and Nick Varner. Well, they're not that diverse since they are both Hall-of-Famers.

In the case of snooker players, keeping the chin on the shaft forces a piston stroke, mostly. That will naturally lead to some elbow drop on power shots from the simple mechanics involved.
 

Pidge

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I think the severe taper on a snooker cue almost forces you to lower the elbow in a piston manner when cueing. watching Ronnie play and his cue moves up and down quite a lot when feathering. Almost has a scoop type motion. Watching other players that have a more severe piston type feather motion and the cue travels almost perfectly level. A lot has to do with when and how they release the grip. Because Ronnie grips with the middle and back fingers it doesn't release in the traditional way which is why his cue looks to scoop.
 

dardusm

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I'm totally clueless on this statement. Can someone please help me out here???

He is talking about eye patterns. The thought is that most players look at the object ball last on the final stroke. There are some that look at the cue ball last after getting lined up during the hit stroke. Once you are lined up, you should be able to close your eyes and still make the shot. The biggest issue that I have is the possible missed feedback. If you put a good stroke on the shot and still miss it then it's an aiming issue. Your "shot picture" might be incorrect and changing it will require visual feedback.
 

slach

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
If you're interested if you're 'accelerating' through the cue ball, the software for the QMD training device (www.cue-md.com) shows you the relative velocity of your cue during your stroke, see the notes for the velocity chart on the bottom of the screen shot.

Steve



For those interested, here's a video demonstration (with super-slow-mo and measurements) that shows how velocity and acceleration change during typical strokes:

HSV B.40 - Stroke speed and acceleration analysis, with Bob Jewett

There often seems to be confusion with the terms velocity and acceleration. The video illustrates and demonstrates them fairly well.

For most good strokes, the speed is maximum and acceleration is actually close to zero at CB impact. There are actually speed-control benefits to doing this, and it actually comes naturally. As mentioned on my stroke acceleration resource page, what most people really mean by "accelerate into the ball" or "finish the stroke" is: "don't decelerate into the ball" (i.e., don't slow the cue before CB contact). Decelerating into the ball can result in very poor speed control.

Regards,
Dave
 

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Patrick Johnson

Fish of the Day
Silver Member
I think the severe taper on a snooker cue almost forces you to lower the elbow in a piston manner when cueing.
I use a 10mm tip with a conical taper (like a snooker shaft) and don't have any problem hitting the CB where I want to with a pendulum stroke.

If you address the CB where you want to hit it then your stroke will presumably return the tip to that position, unless you have stroke issues.

pj
chgo
 

ENGLISH!

Banned
Silver Member
I think the severe taper on a snooker cue almost forces you to lower the elbow in a piston manner when cueing. watching Ronnie play and his cue moves up and down quite a lot when feathering. Almost has a scoop type motion. Watching other players that have a more severe piston type feather motion and the cue travels almost perfectly level. A lot has to do with when and how they release the grip. Because Ronnie grips with the middle and back fingers it doesn't release in the traditional way which is why his cue looks to scoop.

I hope others will allow a discussion.

What you said regarding how Ronnie 'connects' to the cue is part of what I was referring to regarding a 'pendulum' stroke. More precisely it's the reverse of what is required to keep the cue on as near a level plane as possible.

To keep the butt from raising as the arm swings back which makes the hand rise, if the elbow does not drop, requires that the 'rod' from the elbow to where the cue is supported in the hand to lengthen as the hand goes back.

One way that that can happen is for it to be shorter in the straight down position. How can one make that 'rod' shorter? One can start with the wrist bent & then go straight as the hand goes back & bend again as the hand comes forward & then go straight for the 'through the ball' portion.

To me, that would be a very unnatural biomechanical maneuver given the direction that the hand is traveling.

I've not seen anyone do that. So, how then does one attempt to keep the cue on a near level plane?

In the thread of more than 18 months ago, it was brought up that the cue changes it's support position along the hand. That being that it would rest on the index finger on the back of the back swing as that would be the lowest point of the hand & it would then transition to resting on the 'pinky' finger in the finish position & be resting somewhere in between during contact.

To me, that is also a very undesirable method for an athlete as the cue is moving within my hand & out of control other than how it is affected by the swing of the arm. One would have to open the fingers other then the index finder for the back swing, rather normal 'feathering', but then on the finish side have to release the index & front fingers so the cue could sit on the 'pinky' finger. I ay release because an athlete would not want the cue to just be sitting there.

That last part seems very unnatural to me unless one is going to 'throw' the cue, which I have & do still do on occasions.

To me, the point of this rather long 'explanation' is that how one connects to the cue will & should be what dictates what stroke is used.

That said, there is very little discussion of the association between the 'grip', connection to the cue, & stroke that should be used for that grip.

IMHO, From what I've read here over my time here, I think very many are attempting to use what to them would be a full pendulum swing but are using a grip, connection to the cue, in a manner that is not really conducive to that type of stroke.

If one is connected to the cue in a manner that is not conducive to the type of stroke that they may 'consciously' be attempting then one is fighting nature, so to speak.

Does one connect to the cue from the bottom & just letting it sit there or does one connect to the cue from the top where it is sort of 'pinched' between the thumb & forefinger or does one connect by sort of wrapping the last 2 or 3 finger around the cue?

One's stroke should match how they are connected to the cue so as to make things more easy & truly more simple.

I guess that is enough or too much of a rant.

Sorry.

Best 2 All,
Rick

PS I guess another point is that to predispose what type stroke one is going to use makes it a 'work' to do all that will be required to use that contrived & predisposed stroke. Some one said in another thread that what Bagger Vance said in the movie about one finding their own individual swing that is just yours struck a chord with him & made him realize that he was trying to fit into what was basically not him.
 
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Pidge

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I use a 10mm tip with a conical taper (like a snooker shaft) and don't have any problem hitting the CB where I want to with a pendulum stroke.

If you address the CB where you want to hit it then your stroke will presumably return the tip to that position, unless you have stroke issues.

pj
chgo
Do you have a swoop motion of the tip when feathering? You must. I do and every other player with a fixed elbow does. I was not saying you couldn't hit where you aligned. Don't try reading between the lines in my posts. I post what I mean and I mean what I post.
 

Patrick Johnson

Fish of the Day
Silver Member
Do you have a swoop motion of the tip when feathering? You must. I do and every other player with a fixed elbow does. I was not saying you couldn't hit where you aligned. Don't try reading between the lines in my posts. I post what I mean and I mean what I post.
So by this:

"I think the severe taper on a snooker cue almost forces you to lower the elbow in a piston manner when cueing"

...you didn't mean it's harder to hit where you align with a severe taper and a pendulum stroke? What did you mean?

pj
chgo
 

Pidge

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
So by this:

"I think the severe taper on a snooker cue almost forces you to lower the elbow in a piston manner when cueing"

...you didn't mean it's harder to hit where you align with a severe taper and a pendulum stroke? What did you mean?

pj
chgo
That with the taper of a snooker cue fixed elbow the tip makes a swooping motion, more so that say with a 11.75mm Z shaft. It was said in relation to the snooker referrals. That snooker players generally lower the elbow on the back swing because they're taught to bring the cue back as level as they can and the only way to do so without having a very short pull back is to lower the elbow...or do some crazy things with the hand and wrist, which I've only ever seen one snooker player do.

Again, please try not to read between the lines when I post. I don't add a secret put down or encryption in my posts. They are what they are.
 

Pidge

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Doesn't Del Hill, Ronnie O's coach when he won his 1st World Title, advocate following the slight, natural arc in the back swing?

I kinda like this way as it's a easier to get the forward stroke going with a little (although very slight) help from gravity - just letting the weight of the cue get it going......vs having to start with a push (a bit more like steering).
Del, Nic, Terry and many other world recognised instructors advocate letting the cue do the work, as as much of the work as it can. The recommend starting the forward stroke slow (maybe with just the cues weight?) and gradually increase the cues speed the closer you get to the white. Starting with a fast push motion can cause all kinds of troubles, none more than tensing of the biceps, muscles in the forearm and hand also. I much prefer the slow start, and can get ample amounts of spin this way with more control it seems.

All mentioned instructors also say that because the butt is thicker than the tip that the butt will inevitably raise on the back swing causing a slightly off level pull back. I don't know how much truth is in this however. Instructors across the UK will all say don't try cue like Ronnie...try keep the cue as level as possible.
 

Patrick Johnson

Fish of the Day
Silver Member
Again, please try not to read between the lines when I post. I don't add a secret put down or encryption in my posts. They are what they are.
Sorry if my comment about tapers and strokes seemed antagonistic to you - but you'd have to be reading between the lines to think so.

pj
chgo
 

Pidge

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Sorry if my comment about tapers and strokes seemed antagonistic to you - but you'd have to be reading between the lines to think so.

pj
chgo
No you making assumptions that I'm trying to say you cant hit the white accurately antagonises me. I used to have nothing but respect for you, Patrick. But since you've come back you just come across as a bitter old man that has to pass the time by starting and getting involved in confrontations on here. Sad to say it but the sooner you take a vacation the better this forum will be. Probably won't be waiting too long I'd imagine.
 
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