How can you fix the sidearm stroke?

King Jehu

Registered
I've got an APA team of brand new players. They're coming along okay with listening to instruction but I've never figured out how to cure the sidearm stroke. Does anyone have any suggestions? I've got two players who do it. One is rather extreme.
 

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skiergd011013

Well-known member
I've got an APA team of brand new players. They're coming along okay with listening to instruction but I've never figured out how to cure the sidearm stroke. Does anyone have any suggestions? I've got two players who do it. One is rather extreme.
first, the player has to want to get better. Watch barry starks videos on youtube. He goes over fundamentals like stance, grip, stroke etc. You can also have your team mate get down on a shot, and then ask him if you can move his elbow into proper position so he knows how it feels to be properly holding the cue. Line up his arm and then have him take practice strokes. Fyi im not an instructor. Just sharing my thoughts.
 
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measureman

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Be careful with that,I shoot side arm because I play right handed and am left eye dominant so to get my left eye over the cue I shoot side arm.
Click on the pic to make it bigger so you can see it better.
 

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BilliardsAbout

BondFanEvents.com
Silver Member
Like many things that hold players back, if you cure the disease the symptom (sidearm) can disappear.

Tell the players to clasp the cue lightly and let it and the arm hang with gravity, rather then tensing and muscling the stroke, which destroys cue ball action and power--it seems strange to them without trying it a few times, but an light clasp and smooth action makes the shots work better and the cue ball roll further.

They will tend to remove the chicken wing without addressing that directly.
 

King Jehu

Registered
Like many things that hold players back, if you cure the disease the symptom (sidearm) can disappear.

Tell the players to clasp the cue lightly and let it and the arm hang with gravity, rather then tensing and muscling the stroke, which destroys cue ball action and power--it seems strange to them without trying it a few times, but an light clasp and smooth action makes the shots work better and the cue ball roll further.

They will tend to remove the chicken wing without addressing that directly.
Well said, Matt. Just showing him the picture was confusing. Instead of tensing up at a sidearm, he would tense up in the correct position for a couple shots and then return. I need to get him feeling the dangle. Thanks.
 

FranCrimi

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
It's not what we would consider as a side arm stroke. A side arm stroke is one with the wrist and arm cocked out from the body --- the opposite of the op's photo. The side arm stroke is usually the result of a child learning to play who isn't tall enough to have his arm hanging straight down, so he compensates by cocking it sideways. Keith McCready is a good example of a player who started young and developed a side arm stroke.

What the op picture depicts is what we have come to know as a chicken wing. This is the result of the player crowding the line of the shot with his torso so that in order to stroke with his pool cue on the line of the shot, he has to position it under his torso. This causes his arm to angle out.

The two main reasons that a player does this is because 1) He has a cross dominant eye and needs to pull the cue under that opposite eye. or 2) He's making the typical beginner's mistake --- straddling the shot line while observing it in a standing position and then not making the adjustment when getting down into his stance to place the majority of his torso left of the shot line to allow for his cue to be on the line and then leaning slightly right to bring his head over his cue.

Whatever the reason, it must be corrected, as you can see in the photo that the player's ability to swing his arm is restricted. Even with a cross dominant eye, there are stances available to the player that allow the shooting arm to hang straight down from the elbow.

This is a very hard fix for a player because it immediately takes him out of his comfort zone, and he will feel lost. His entire stance is wrong and needs to be reconstructed --- from head to feet. Once corrected, he will feel like his arm is hanging out in outer-space and it will feel awful. It can't be done on league night. It requires a series of lessons with a qualified instructor, and a lot of practice to learn a new habit and erase the old one.
 
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pagaspoling

New member
With that stance there's not a lot of other ways the player will put both his head and hand on the shot line, you can try it yourself. We have three anchor points and we would like to build a tripod, this player has all anchors on the same line. You can bump him on the hip to get him to feel how unbalanced he is, then probably he will put his left foot more to the left while keeping the right foot somewhere close to the shot line. Then he can rotate his ribcage to the right and get his whole arm rotated counter clockwise to make the arm hang straight down.

If you tell him that he should be able to take a small bump from both sides (and give him one when he stands like this) he will probably sort out that stance pretty fast.
 

FranCrimi

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
With that stance there's not a lot of other ways the player will put both his head and hand on the shot line, you can try it yourself. We have three anchor points and we would like to build a tripod, this player has all anchors on the same line. You can bump him on the hip to get him to feel how unbalanced he is, then probably he will put his left foot more to the left while keeping the right foot somewhere close to the shot line. Then he can rotate his ribcage to the right and get his whole arm rotated counter clockwise to make the arm hang straight down.

If you tell him that he should be able to take a small bump from both sides (and give him one when he stands like this) he will probably sort out that stance pretty fast.
What if he's right-eye dominant? Do you still want him to rotate his rib cage to the right?
 

pagaspoling

New member
What if he's right-eye dominant? Do you still want him to rotate his rib cage to the right?
I don't see how eye-dominance will affect on that. Theres not many centimeters between our eyes so left or right wont do much difference in regards to setup. If your visual center happens to be outside of your eyes, like for example Albin Ouschan, maybe theres some change but as I said not much. The rotation is there to put his right shoulder higher so he don't have to use so much external rotation and shoulder extension to get his arm pointing more straight down.
 

FranCrimi

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I don't see how eye-dominance will affect on that. Theres not many centimeters between our eyes so left or right wont do much difference in regards to setup. If your visual center happens to be outside of your eyes, like for example Albin Ouschan, maybe theres some change but as I said not much. The rotation is there to put his right shoulder higher so he don't have to use so much external rotation and shoulder extension to get his arm pointing more straight down.
I really don't know what that sentence I highlighted means. As for the rest, please don't say you're a teacher. I'd hate to think what you may be doing to players.
 
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Pin

AzB Gold Member
Gold Member
I've got an APA team of brand new players. They're coming along okay with listening to instruction but I've never figured out how to cure the sidearm stroke. Does anyone have any suggestions? I've got two players who do it. One is rather extreme.
Out of interest, is this something you've done a lot of (coaching league team players)? I'd be interested in your approach and the kinds of results you get.
 

pagaspoling

New member
As for the rest, please don't say you're a teacher. I'd hate to think what you may be doing to players.
What in my post are you alluding to when you say this? Does basic knowledge about anatomy make me a bad teacher? Using terms like straddle, place and lean isn't very accurate, at least in my opinion.
 

FranCrimi

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
What in my post are you alluding to when you say this? Does basic knowledge about anatomy make me a bad teacher? Using terms like straddle, place and lean isn't very accurate, at least in my opinion.
I don't care if you studied anatomy in the most prestigious medical school in the world. Just don't teach pool because you don't know enough and you can hurt players.
 

WobblyStroke

Well-known member
What in my post are you alluding to when you say this? Does basic knowledge about anatomy make me a bad teacher? Using terms like straddle, place and lean isn't very accurate, at least in my opinion.
Think she's referring to the non-bolded part, bud. Just a few centimeters can make a massive difference and not getting that bit to gel with the rest of the setup just right can lead to a slew of other problems. John Morra is a great example of a guy that contorted himself to get his vision center over the cue just right. Unfortunately, since he didn't compromise locking down any other part of his stance, he developed neck strain and had the awful choice of switch hands or switch careers. Most amateurs will run away from discomfort and def not strain themselves to make sure everything is just right and what results is them getting their eyes in the right spot at the expense of pulling something else out of alignment. One misaligned piece leads to a compensation, which leads to another, making for a mess of a setup just because of what seems like a negligible difference of moving the vantage point a few centimeters. So ye, it can make quite a huge difference indeed and would not be neglected by any experienced instructor.
I don't care if you studied anatomy in the most prestigious medical school in the world. Just don't teach pool because you don't know enough and you can hurt players.
A little harsh, Fran. LOL. Pegas is actually an excellent player with a Fargo in the 700s so he def knows pool. Apparently will need some sanding of rough edges in the instruction department but that will come. No need to use the grittiest sandpaper you could find to sand off those edges lol.
 
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FranCrimi

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Think she's referring to the non-bolded part, bud. Just a few centimeters can make a massive difference and not getting that bit just right can lead to a slew of other problems. John Morra is a great example of a guy that contorted himself to get his vision center over the cue just right. Unfortunately, since he didn't compromise locking down any other part of his stance, he developed neck strain and had the awful choice of switch hands or switch careers. Most amateurs will run away from discomfort and def not strain themselves to make sure everything is just right and what results is them getting their eyes in the right spot at the expense of pulling something else out of alignment.

A little harsh, Fran. LOL. Pegas is actually a really good player with a Fargo in the 700s so he def knows pool. Apparently will need some sanding of rough edges in the instruction department but that will come. No need to use the grittiest sandpaper you could find lol.
You have to remember that people are reading these posts, looking for help from instructors with their games. This is the Ask The Instructor Forum. Teachers have a responsibility to research information so that they don't hurt other players. What's his name? Is it pagaspoling? Is he stepping up and standing behind his name with his posts? Does that phrase of his that I highlighted make any sense to you at all?
 

WobblyStroke

Well-known member
You have to remember that people are reading these posts, looking for help from instructors with their games. This is the Ask The Instructor Forum. Teachers have a responsibility to research information so that they don't hurt other players. What's his name? Is it pagaspoling? Is he stepping up and standing behind his name with his posts? Does that phrase of his that I highlighted make any sense to you at all?
With my background in biomechanics, motor learning and motor control, yes lol. But I get it, even if our concepts of strokes are rooted in detailed models with precise anatomical language, that is just not how you speak to laymen. We certainly don't want students to have to use google translate to understand what we are trying to say.

BTW, his statement is just referring to a rotation that would have the thumb pointed away from the body in a dead hang, and a lifting of the arm straight out behind you. When you let the forearm hang from that position the palm will face forward. Turning the hand back from there to make for the common pronated grip. This manouver does put the arm in a stable position that will not really allow for a sidearm or chicken wing and have the hand hang straight down. So his anotomical bit wasn't wrong imo. It was just not the phrasing to use in a forum like this one. The non-bolded part imo was incorrect tho and I thought that was the issue you were having with it too when you said, 'As for the rest...".

Nobody starts out a master level instructor as I'm sure you can attest to first hand. This can go down as a learning experience on his teaching journey. As a player though, he is as solid as they come so there is much promise for him moving forward. I'd encourage him to keep at it and keep improving, def not quit.

EDIT: nevermind. I just reread it and misremembered the line. What I described above is the rotation and elevation he is trying to get the guy to limit or use less of and the way he aims to achieve that is to rotate the trunk as a different way to achieve a similar position.
Either way, this is not just poorly worded for the forum we are in, it is getting ahead of ourselves a bit by recommending such a specific fix for a problem we didn't actually see so can't know why it is there. In a vacuum though, his suggestion COULD work if he guessed right as to the source of the problem.
 
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pagaspoling

New member
I don't care if you studied anatomy in the most prestigious medical school in the world. Just don't teach pool because you don't know enough and you can hurt players.
You have to remember that people are reading these posts, looking for help from instructors with their games. This is the Ask The Instructor Forum. Teachers have a responsibility to research information so that they don't hurt other players. What's his name? Is it pagaspoling? Is he stepping up and standing behind his name with his posts? Does that phrase of his that I highlighted make any sense to you at all?

I would like to know what you are referring to when you say this. If you feel like there is anything wrong with what I wrote you should point it out so the readers can see it and I can explain what i meant. When you claim I can hurt players thats a very bold statement and I would like to know why you think that.

The rotation is there to put his right shoulder higher so he don't have to use so much external rotation and shoulder extension to get his arm pointing more straight down.

There is two ways this player can get his arm in a more textbook position. One is rotating hos whole ribcage, since the shoulder attaches to the ribcage at the scapula his arm would follow get more upright. If his ribcage stays in the position he would have to move his arm to get there by itself. In that case he would have to externaly rotate and extend the shoulder to get there. Now when I watch the photo again I see that he would have to adduct the shoulder as well. For me the solution on the left picture is the better one as it allows the arm to swing on a more comfortable plane because you don't have to use so much shoulder motion to get into the adress position.
 

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FranCrimi

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
With my background in biomechanics, motor learning and motor control, yes lol. But I get it, even if our concepts of strokes are rooted in detailed models with precise anatomical language, that is just not how you speak to laymen. We certainly don't want students to have to use google translate to understand what we are trying to say.

BTW, his statement is just referring to a rotation that would have the thumb pointed away from the body in a dead hang, and a lifting of the arm straight out behind you. When you let the forearm hang from that position the palm will face forward. Turning the hand back from there to make for the common pronated grip. This manouver does put the arm in a stable position that will not really allow for a sidearm or chicken wing and have the hand hang straight down. So his anotomical bit wasn't wrong imo. It was just not the phrasing to use in a forum like this one. The non-bolded part imo was incorrect tho and I thought that was the issue you were having with it too when you said, 'As for the rest...".

Nobody starts out a master level instructor as I'm sure you can attest to first hand. This can go down as a learning experience on his teaching journey. As a player though, he is as solid as they come so there is much promise for him moving forward. I'd encourage him to keep at it and keep improving, def not quit.

EDIT: nevermind. I just reread it and misremembered the line. What I described above is the rotation and elevation he is trying to get the guy to limit or use less of and the way he aims to achieve that is to rotate the trunk as a different way to achieve a similar position.
Either way, this is not just poorly worded for the forum we are in, it is getting ahead of ourselves a bit by recommending such a specific fix for a problem we didn't actually see so can't know why it is there. In a vacuum though, his suggestion COULD work if he guessed right as to the source of the problem.
Well, when it comes to that sentence I highlighted, I could read it a hundred times and still not know what the heck he's talking about. As for the other stuff, yes, there are problems with what he said. I'm all for somebody giving it a try to help other players and being a little humble about their lack of knowledge. But if you're going to act like an expert, then you'd better be able to take the heat.
 

WobblyStroke

Well-known member
I've got an APA team of brand new players. They're coming along okay with listening to instruction but I've never figured out how to cure the sidearm stroke. Does anyone have any suggestions? I've got two players who do it. One is rather extreme.
Dunno how I missed the pic.
At first glance, without seeing it in action or at a better angle, I'd say his feet are the problem. By standing with both feet on the shot line, he is crowding the cue forcing it under his chest resulting in him having to reach under with his hand to keep the cue on the shot line. Departing from overly anatomical terms for a bit....hand bone connected to the arm bone....so the elbow flares out to accommodate his reaching under his body with the hand.

Solution: Standard footwork for getting into a stance. After getting on the aim line with his back foot and cue, he needs to step into the shot parallel to that line as he gets down into his stance. This will give him much better alignment over the cue with no need to reach under his chest resulting in the flared elbow as he won't be crowding the shotline.

Here's Neils' stance fundamentals breakdown. He gets to the key footwork and step in stuff around 2min mark. And if you don't like Niels for whatever reason, just about any stance/psr breakdown by a knowledgeable instructor will provide the same advice with maybe a detail difference here or there. One thing you can be sure of is that NOBODY will teach to have 2 feet on the line of aim like your teammate seems to have in the photo.
 
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WobblyStroke

Well-known member
I would like to know what you are referring to when you say this. If you feel like there is anything wrong with what I wrote you should point it out so the readers can see it and I can explain what i meant. When you claim I can hurt players thats a very bold statement and I would like to know why you think that.

The rotation is there to put his right shoulder higher so he don't have to use so much external rotation and shoulder extension to get his arm pointing more straight down.

There is two ways this player can get his arm in a more textbook position. One is rotating hos whole ribcage, since the shoulder attaches to the ribcage at the scapula his arm would follow get more upright. If his ribcage stays in the position he would have to move his arm to get there by itself. In that case he would have to externaly rotate and extend the shoulder to get there. Now when I watch the photo again I see that he would have to adduct the shoulder as well. For me the solution on the left picture is the better one as it allows the arm to swing on a more comfortable plane because you don't have to use so much shoulder motion to get into the adress position.
Since Fran's sandpaper grit is set to kill, maybe I'll field this one...
I believe the solution lies in the footwork as I posted above. The problem with your solution is that while it does 'fix' the problem of arm position, it doesn't address the cause of the mechanical flaw. This is how we fall down the compensation rabbit hole and keep stacking fix for a fix for a fix bc we are fixing the symptoms instead of the root of the problem. Simply stepping into the shot correctly should fix the crowding and alignment issues causing the problem we see in the arm. Notice that your idea to twist the trunk to the right accomplishes the same thing in terms of upper body position relative to where his legs are placed. I just tried your fix and it works...but now what am I gonna do for my strained neck? Pile on more compensations?

The elegant solution is to just change where the feet are and get down naturally from there.
 
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