Lasers and Training for a Perfect Stroke - Duplicate

Dan White

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I posted this video in the main forum but didn't get a single reply about the subject matter. I guess everybody in the main forum already has a perfect stroke! :wink: I'm reposting here with the idea that people wanting to improve their play might come here more looking for help:

Here is the original post:

I found an neat way to give feed back on when your stroke is truly lined up at center ball (not as hard as everybody says, IMO) and when your stroke is on line throughout the stroke.

I know, some people say you don't need a perfectly straight stroke as long as it is perfect at contact. I call this the "Lee Trevino" method. Everything is horribly wrong except the end result. For us mere mortals, and what I see in the majority of top pro's, striving for perfect mechanics is a good thing.

See what you think. I'm going to post this on a couple of facebook sites, too.

https://youtu.be/GO8tmTCNuNk
 

Bob Jewett

AZB Osmium Member
Gold Member
Silver Member
I think the method can work but creating the setup is beyond the effort a typical pool student is willing to do. I see the laser alignment as useful for an instructor who can use the same setup for multiple students, maybe in a dedicated practice/training room in a pool hall.

How many hours did you have to spend with the laser before you noticed an improvement? Maybe it's too early to say, but did you see back-sliding that required additional training time? (Of course how well the training "sticks" will depend on the individual.)

I think this discussion probably belongs in the instructor forum rather than in the aiming forum since it applies to a part of fundamentals that has no direct connection to aiming.
 

Dan White

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I think the method can work but creating the setup is beyond the effort a typical pool student is willing to do. I see the laser alignment as useful for an instructor who can use the same setup for multiple students, maybe in a dedicated practice/training room in a pool hall.

How many hours did you have to spend with the laser before you noticed an improvement? Maybe it's too early to say, but did you see back-sliding that required additional training time? (Of course how well the training "sticks" will depend on the individual.)

I think this discussion probably belongs in the instructor forum rather than in the aiming forum since it applies to a part of fundamentals that has no direct connection to aiming.

It would definitely be useful for an instructor, but also for anybody with a home table. It really doesn't take much effort to get it set up. Once you have the hole reinforcers in place, it is easy to set up the laser. If I want to check my alignment I'd say it takes less than 2 minutes to put it on the table and make the alignment. It would also be fun to have it at a demo table at the expo, etc. where people could try it out.

I purposely didn't get into the details of what my stroke was doing because, well, who cares! lol. I can say that my stroke was pretty good before the laser. I had more than one way to swing the cue and I wasn't sure if one was better than another. The laser gave me the feed back I was missing. I found that with one particular draw back my cue started aligned too much toward my body. Another was spot on. Note, the only reason I had more than one way to stroke the cue is because more than one worked but I wasn't sure if one specific one was "right." I found the "right" starting position, the "right" final position of the back hand at the back of the cue, and the "right" direction for the tip to take on follow through.

As far as backtracking, I did have some of that, and I don't know, maybe still do. Within 5 minutes of using the laser I had answered questions I was wondering for years. For one, "Is the cue tracking straight or am I introducing offsetting errors that result in a good outcome"? I thought I was doing some things wrong because I had inconsistent results. After using the laser, I am more confident that I am doing it right and shotmaking AND position play are more precise. No doubt about it.

I might use the laser for 15 minutes or 30 minutes and then hit some balls. I might use it again the next day or might not for several days. Then I would go back to it and find that I was off a little again. That went on for a few weeks I'd say and now I'm pretty secure in what I'm doing. When I run balls I know I'm doing it right because of the look at alignment, the "tug" of the solid cue ball against the tip, and the behavior of the cue ball. These are things we can all observe, but getting the laser feedback confirms that the mechanics are good.

Sometimes it is hard to check your alignment on the laser because when you get down on the shot the bright green line is staring right at you so it is hard not to set up on that line. I try to ignore it or even close my eyes after planting my hand and then look at the alignment. I suppose if I had a voice activated laser that turned on after I got down on the shot that would be ideal.

I should say, for reference, that my shot making and position play were pretty good before, so we are talking about subtle differences. What is not subtle, though, is the increased consistency in hitting perfect strokes.

I asked Mike if he could move this thread to the instructor's forum.
 

One Pocket John

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I posted this video in the main forum but didn't get a single reply about the subject matter. I guess everybody in the main forum already has a perfect stroke! :wink: I'm reposting here with the idea that people wanting to improve their play might come here more looking for help:

Here is the original post:

I found an neat way to give feed back on when your stroke is truly lined up at center ball (not as hard as everybody says, IMO) and when your stroke is on line throughout the stroke.

I know, some people say you don't need a perfectly straight stroke as long as it is perfect at contact. I call this the "Lee Trevino" method. Everything is horribly wrong except the end result. For us mere mortals, and what I see in the majority of top pro's, striving for perfect mechanics is a good thing.

See what you think. I'm going to post this on a couple of facebook sites, too.

https://youtu.be/GO8tmTCNuNk

Thanks for the video Dan Great idea for feed back.

What would be cool is if somehow a person could do an overhead video during working out with the level. You could review the video for even more feed back.

That laser level (Huepar) is expensive. But, I'm sure there are less expensive models to be found on Amazon.

I'll bet Mark Wilson will be all over this idea.

Thanks again. :)

John
 

Dan White

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Thanks for the video Dan Great idea for feed back.

What would be cool is if somehow a person could do an overhead video during working out with the level. You could review the video for even more feed back.

That laser level (Huepar) is expensive. But, I'm sure there are less expensive models to be found on Amazon.

I'll bet Mark Wilson will be all over this idea.

Thanks again. :)

John

I think I picked mine up for around $150. I got the cheap Chinese one and held my breath that it doesn't break. It's not something I'm going to be using day in day out so I figured it would be fine. Others go over $350 for the same thing. It has a 1/16" tolerance over 33 feet.

Re your idea, you could raise the level up high near the ceiling. It has a magnet on it. The laser beam would fall down on the table but also on top of the player, so that might be interesting to see. Of course, having something like the upper arm "on the line of the shot" is a little subjective. The cue does not hang down directly below the upper arm necessarily so it might not follow that the centerline of the upper arm needs to be right on the shot line. Experimentation would show, though.

I've also used the laser from behind the shot so that it is shining on the bumper of the cue. It is interesting (if not useful) to see the laser shine on the inside of your grip hand as you open up the grip near the end of the backswing.
 

FranCrimi

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Comparing that drill with and without the laser, what additional feedback might you get with the laser that you wouldn't normally get if you did the drill without it?
 

Dan White

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Comparing that drill with and without the laser, what additional feedback might you get with the laser that you wouldn't normally get if you did the drill without it?

Hi Fran. To me, doing the drill without the laser (as I did for a long time) is a matter of trial and error where you don't really know if your chosen "fix" is the right one. Example: For simplicity let's just say I'm hitting the cue ball straight up to the head rail and back to the tip. I hit the cue ball and find the ball consistently coming back a half ball right of center. So what's the problem? Tip off center? Stroking to the right at contact? Hitting left of center and squirting the ball to the right? Moving the bridge hand at contact? etc etc. I don't really know what the cause is but let's say I guess that I am aiming to the right a tad. So I adjust for this and the ball comes back perfectly. I find that the results are inconsistent over time. With the laser I'd find out immediately that I was actually lined up a smidge to the right of center and the root cause of the problem was an off center alignment. My "guess" solution was wrong. I was creating two compensating errors that resulted in some level of success.

I'm certain that if I used this laser 20 years ago I'd be a better player today. I think it would have saved countless hours of practice. Here's another example: For most of my pool playing life I was lining the cue up a little cockeyed and I was correcting for this at the end of my back stroke with a little pull in toward my body before going forward. Such a procedure would have been found out and corrected right away with the visual feedback provided by the laser.

I found an interesting thing that happens. I first noticed this when I ran a yellow string across the table and over the cue ball (simple precursor to the laser). I found that without the laser you can place the tip at the cue ball and be off center without knowing it. It looks right. Then, with the laser on, when you cue up again at the exact laser center, it still looks right even though the tip is no longer where you had it before the laser was on. In other words, it isn't possible to line up the tip on the laser line and think, "Hey, this doesn't look like center ball." I think the only way to illustrate an off center tip position is to place the tip at the ball first and then have someone else uncover the laser light so it falls down on the shaft, which will be off center.

I learned to hit straight the hard way, without any feedback telling me I was doing it right. Yes, if the ball comes back as expected then that is feedback, but not necessarily good feedback, in my experience.

Not sure if I addressed what you were getting at.
 

FranCrimi

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Hi Fran. To me, doing the drill without the laser (as I did for a long time) is a matter of trial and error where you don't really know if your chosen "fix" is the right one. Example: For simplicity let's just say I'm hitting the cue ball straight up to the head rail and back to the tip. I hit the cue ball and find the ball consistently coming back a half ball right of center. So what's the problem? Tip off center? Stroking to the right at contact? Hitting left of center and squirting the ball to the right? Moving the bridge hand at contact? etc etc. I don't really know what the cause is but let's say I guess that I am aiming to the right a tad. So I adjust for this and the ball comes back perfectly. I find that the results are inconsistent over time. With the laser I'd find out immediately that I was actually lined up a smidge to the right of center and the root cause of the problem was an off center alignment. My "guess" solution was wrong. I was creating two compensating errors that resulted in some level of success.

I'm certain that if I used this laser 20 years ago I'd be a better player today. I think it would have saved countless hours of practice. Here's another example: For most of my pool playing life I was lining the cue up a little cockeyed and I was correcting for this at the end of my back stroke with a little pull in toward my body before going forward. Such a procedure would have been found out and corrected right away with the visual feedback provided by the laser.

I found an interesting thing that happens. I first noticed this when I ran a yellow string across the table and over the cue ball (simple precursor to the laser). I found that without the laser you can place the tip at the cue ball and be off center without knowing it. It looks right. Then, with the laser on, when you cue up again at the exact laser center, it still looks right even though the tip is no longer where you had it before the laser was on. In other words, it isn't possible to line up the tip on the laser line and think, "Hey, this doesn't look like center ball." I think the only way to illustrate an off center tip position is to place the tip at the ball first and then have someone else uncover the laser light so it falls down on the shaft, which will be off center.

I learned to hit straight the hard way, without any feedback telling me I was doing it right. Yes, if the ball comes back as expected then that is feedback, but not necessarily good feedback, in my experience.

Not sure if I addressed what you were getting at.

Yes, absolutely. You've answered my question. I'm just curious how this would work so I have another question. Are you then looking at the laser while you're shooting to get the feedback or are you doing it some other way?
 

Dan White

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Yes, absolutely. You've answered my question. I'm just curious how this would work so I have another question. Are you then looking at the laser while you're shooting to get the feedback or are you doing it some other way?

I've been using the laser in a kind of "all of the above" way. One thing I did to check my set up was to look at nothing but the laser on the shaft and make sure it stayed at the center throughout the stroke. If the cue ball and ob bounced into each other coming off the opposite rail then that told me the set up was true. I can make the balls bounce back when looking only at the laser on the shaft.

I did find that sometimes that isn't enough. It can look good on the shaft but you can veer offline. I would also draw the cue back while looking at the ob and then freeze in position and quickly look down at my grip hand to see if the laser is on top of the wrap. So, when the laser is on I can use it to check my initial set up, the stroke back and forward, as well as the finish position.

I think the answer to your question is that you can see the laser on the shaft and cb/ob while shooting because it is a pretty bright line. Maybe you can't see it if you focus on the ob during the shot, so I don't have 100% confirmation of what I am doing, but still have a lot of information. With the laser on I can groove a stroke that is true and then I can try to repeat it while hitting the ball. I can watch only the shaft or tip or grip hand or whatever I want during the shot.

I tried to video the shaft only during a stroke but I didn't get good enough results. The laser doesn't show up well on camera under the bright lights and the speed is a little fast to catch the shot. It would be nice to have video of the laser line on the shaft to match up with the result on the table. It's something I haven't had time to play around with.
 

FranCrimi

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I've been using the laser in a kind of "all of the above" way. One thing I did to check my set up was to look at nothing but the laser on the shaft and make sure it stayed at the center throughout the stroke. If the cue ball and ob bounced into each other coming off the opposite rail then that told me the set up was true. I can make the balls bounce back when looking only at the laser on the shaft.

I did find that sometimes that isn't enough. It can look good on the shaft but you can veer offline. I would also draw the cue back while looking at the ob and then freeze in position and quickly look down at my grip hand to see if the laser is on top of the wrap. So, when the laser is on I can use it to check my initial set up, the stroke back and forward, as well as the finish position.

I think the answer to your question is that you can see the laser on the shaft and cb/ob while shooting because it is a pretty bright line. Maybe you can't see it if you focus on the ob during the shot, so I don't have 100% confirmation of what I am doing, but still have a lot of information. With the laser on I can groove a stroke that is true and then I can try to repeat it while hitting the ball. I can watch only the shaft or tip or grip hand or whatever I want during the shot.

I tried to video the shaft only during a stroke but I didn't get good enough results. The laser doesn't show up well on camera under the bright lights and the speed is a little fast to catch the shot. It would be nice to have video of the laser line on the shaft to match up with the result on the table. It's something I haven't had time to play around with.


Thanks for the details. Yeah, I'm thinking it may be kind of hard to do by yourself. I like the idea of it and I think since it doesn't show up well on camera, maybe the best alternative would be to have someone watch you and the laser so you can concentrate on executing the shot.
 

Dan White

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Thanks for the details. Yeah, I'm thinking it may be kind of hard to do by yourself. I like the idea of it and I think since it doesn't show up well on camera, maybe the best alternative would be to have someone watch you and the laser so you can concentrate on executing the shot.

I think the muscle memory gained from watching the laser on the shaft for practice strokes should translate into the actual shot, as well. You could also look at the cue ball last, at least for awhile, to see where the laser is during the stroke.
 

BC21

Poolology
Gold Member
Silver Member
I think the muscle memory gained from watching the laser on the shaft for practice strokes should translate into the actual shot, as well. You could also look at the cue ball last, at least for awhile, to see where the laser is during the stroke.

I agree...watching the line is good way to help with building muscle memory and sensory awareness.

I think a similar laser idea could be used to help tennis players develop good muscle memory for holding the racquet at the perfect angle for backhand or forehand shots. It's a great way to self monitor and build consistency on your own. The alternative is having someone (coach or instructor) stand there and explain and monitor you while you slowly do as instructed. I would prefer the do-it-yourself approach with the immediate visual feedback of the laser line.
 

Dan White

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I agree...watching the line is good way to help with building muscle memory and sensory awareness.

I think a similar laser idea could be used to help tennis players develop good muscle memory for holding the racquet at the perfect angle for backhand or forehand shots. It's a great way to self monitor and build consistency on your own. The alternative is having someone (coach or instructor) stand there and explain and monitor you while you slowly do as instructed. I would prefer the do-it-yourself approach with the immediate visual feedback of the laser line.

One drawback with the human factor is the "WTF are you talking about?" phenomenon. My father used to watch my alignment and tell me when it was straight. I said, "WTF are you talking about?" followed by "I think your eyes are crooked"! And, this was a few years after Richard Rhorer (BCA instructor) told me the same thing. I just didn't understand enough about visual perception at the time. A laser would have been a huge help.
 

BC21

Poolology
Gold Member
Silver Member
One drawback with the human factor is the "WTF are you talking about?" phenomenon. My father used to watch my alignment and tell me when it was straight. I said, "WTF are you talking about?" followed by "I think your eyes are crooked"! And, this was a few years after Richard Rhorer (BCA instructor) told me the same thing. I just didn't understand enough about visual perception at the time. A laser would have been a huge help.


Exactly. The thing is, it's nice to have visuals to help with associating exactly how our body is positioned and how it feels to be in the correct position. It helps with the development and fine tuning of our proprioception.
 

FranCrimi

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I think the muscle memory gained from watching the laser on the shaft for practice strokes should translate into the actual shot, as well. You could also look at the cue ball last, at least for awhile, to see where the laser is during the stroke.

Well, you've actually done it and I'm only imagining it so I'll yield to you on this. But whatever you do with the laser, at some point you're going to have to translate that into shooting actual shots. That's not as easy as it seems.
 

Dan White

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Well, you've actually done it and I'm only imagining it so I'll yield to you on this. But whatever you do with the laser, at some point you're going to have to translate that into shooting actual shots. That's not as easy as it seems.

I'm doing both together. I was using the laser for awhile and then turning it off and continuing the drill. Then I'd play some and the next day I'd do the drill again without the laser. If I was having trouble I'd turn the laser back on and see if I was off. More often than not my center ball alignment and starting cue alignment were spot on. That's the nice thing about being able to rule out some of the variables. I found subsequently that keeping my elbow still during draw back and just as I started forward was of paramount importance. Like night and day.

Last time I played I hadn't picked up the cue in 2 days. I hit three in a row having the two balls collide without any warm up. I can't do that every time but before I started using the laser I had no hope of doing that. It is much more difficult than hitting the cue ball down and back over the spot.

I'll continue to report findings as I find them. :)
 

bbb

AzB Gold Member
Gold Member
Silver Member
I admire your creativity Dan
Great idea and glad it’s working for you
 

BC21

Poolology
Gold Member
Silver Member
I admire your creativity Dan
Great idea and glad it’s working for you

I agree, Larry. Using creative ("out of the box") or unorthodox methods or thinking can often lead to some great discoveries or learning experiences.
 

FranCrimi

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I'm doing both together. I was using the laser for awhile and then turning it off and continuing the drill. Then I'd play some and the next day I'd do the drill again without the laser. If I was having trouble I'd turn the laser back on and see if I was off. More often than not my center ball alignment and starting cue alignment were spot on. That's the nice thing about being able to rule out some of the variables. I found subsequently that keeping my elbow still during draw back and just as I started forward was of paramount importance. Like night and day.

Last time I played I hadn't picked up the cue in 2 days. I hit three in a row having the two balls collide without any warm up. I can't do that every time but before I started using the laser I had no hope of doing that. It is much more difficult than hitting the cue ball down and back over the spot.

I'll continue to report findings as I find them. :)


Sounds good, Dan. Definitely keep us posted on your progress.
 
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