Final Stroke Analysis

TannerPruess

PBIA Instructor
Silver Member
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Let’s zoom in on your routine – specifically your final stroke. What exactly should be happening during the final stroke? Where should my eye be focused? What things should I implement to better improve consistency?

Everyone has a final stroke as they pause at the cue ball then transition to the backswing then the foreswing. Recording yourself from a side angle can show any flaws that are keeping you from a consistent and higher level of play.

#1 – Back Forearm and cue should form a 90 degree angle as the cue tip is addressing the cue ball. Having the tip strike the cue ball at the bottom of the arc will give the purest and most efficient contact.

#2 – Eye are focused and gazing at the contact point on the object ball. Find the target as you are standing up to address the shot then step into your stance. Return your eyes back to this same target upon the final stroke.

#3 – Cue tip position needs to be near the cue ball as the final stroke begins to be the most accurate. I would recommend having your tip within one chalk cue distance from the cue ball. We want to prevent players from having to ‘reach’ or ‘run out of room’ for their stroke as the cue tip strikes the cue ball.

#4 – Now we have transitioned to the end of the backswing. You might be thinking I am going to mention a ‘pause’ here, but I am not. I want most amateur pool players to have a smooth transition between the backswing and foreswing, but definitely not a ‘forced’ pause. This point is actually reserved to discuss knuckle position on the backhand. A loose, but controlled grip is necessary and this is highlighted back by the knuckles pointing downward at the transition.

#5 – Eyes are still focused and gazing at the contact point of the object ball.

#6 – As you pull your tip back from the cue ball to the end of your backswing we need to pay attention to a few things. You will need to have a slow and controlled backswing. We don’t want any abrupt or herky-jerky movements that may cause your body/aim to become out of alignment.

#7 – Now we are in the finished position and your knuckles should now be pointed up. This proves a controlled, but loose grip. Grip hand may also be at a resting place on your body.

#8 – Eyes are still focused and gazing at the contact point of the object ball. It is important to stay down and not have your head pop up to see the balls rolling on the table. Over time you might develop a poor habit of then having your head raise up during your final stroke.

#9 – We need to send the cue tip through the cue ball, not to the cue ball. Leave your tip extended and stay down so you can evaluate your forward stroke. Many amateurs have a tendency to jerk the cue tip back especially on draw shots – let’s avoid this as it kills consistency and can cause stroke deceleration.

Pool players at any skill level can benefit from reviewing their stroke from a side angle. Watch for these #9 points and consider making some tweaks to improve your consistency. If you have questions or need further guidance, please reach out.

This may not be everyone's opinion, but it has worked well for the many amateur players I have helped.
 

dquarasr

Registered
#2, 5, and 8, Eyes: I shoot best when I look at the center of the ghost ball (I use ghost ball for aiming) and follow through to that. I don't look at the contact point on the object ball. Looking at the OB tends to have me hit more toward the OB and results in thicker hits than intended.

YMMV
 

sparkle84

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
#2, 5, and 8, Eyes: I shoot best when I look at the center of the ghost ball (I use ghost ball for aiming) and follow through to that. I don't look at the contact point on the object ball. Looking at the OB tends to have me hit more toward the OB and results in thicker hits than intended.

YMMV
While the poster mentions contact point a few times the post is about stroke not aiming.

As to your observations about aiming I think at some point you'll have to abandon the ghost ball. Ask any 10 good players at random if they use GB. I'm not talking about APA 6 or7's but over 600 Fargo.
You've been playing long enough that you need to largely forget about aiming and view the shot as a whole process.
Of course walk the table, look at the ball going into the pocket and yes look at the contact point.
Whatever system you choose to use (if any) you want to see that point and visualize the line of the OB to the pocket.

Ask yourself this, why do the best players in the world do that? They could make most shots without that yet they do it anyway.
They're visualizing. They also go to where they want the CB to land and visualize the angle they'll have on the next ball to see if it's ok to the next ball, etc, etc.
They're also visualizing the tangent line off the ball and considering whether and how they'll have to manipulate it.
There's more but those are the main points. That's how you feed your brain and think about the shot as a whole. You're feeding your brain with the information it needs to foster progress.

It's almost like putting the cart before the horse. When the mindset becomes the shot as a whole, each individual component is allowed the ability to be free to work in concert with the others and as such improvement accelerates.

Without that, conflict suppresses improvement.

I'm making it out to be simple and it's far from it but it might be something to think about.
 

dquarasr

Registered
While the poster mentions contact point a few times the post is about stroke not aiming.

As to your observations about aiming I think at some point you'll have to abandon the ghost ball. Ask any 10 good players at random if they use GB. I'm not talking about APA 6 or7's but over 600 Fargo.
You've been playing long enough that you need to largely forget about aiming and view the shot as a whole process.
Of course walk the table, look at the ball going into the pocket and yes look at the contact point.
Whatever system you choose to use (if any) you want to see that point and visualize the line of the OB to the pocket.

Ask yourself this, why do the best players in the world do that? They could make most shots without that yet they do it anyway.
They're visualizing. They also go to where they want the CB to land and visualize the angle they'll have on the next ball to see if it's ok to the next ball, etc, etc.
They're also visualizing the tangent line off the ball and considering whether and how they'll have to manipulate it.
There's more but those are the main points. That's how you feed your brain and think about the shot as a whole. You're feeding your brain with the information it needs to foster progress.

It's almost like putting the cart before the horse. When the mindset becomes the shot as a whole, each individual component is allowed the ability to be free to work in concert with the others and as such improvement accelerates.

Without that, conflict suppresses improvement.

I'm making it out to be simple and it's far from it but it might be something to think about.
Tru dat, all of it. Most times I am not specifically aware of the ghost ball, just that I am aiming at a spot, which is not the contact point. I am directing the center of the CB where my subconscious has determined it needs to be delivered. It may or not be an explicit image of a ghost ball. I also try to visualize the path of the CB.

The main point of my post was that it is important to deliver (and look at) the CB where it needs to go, which is not the contact point on the OB (unless it’s a dead straight shot.)
 
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