Pivoting at the Elbow

cue4me

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Before or after contact? After contact is functionally no elbow drop.

pj
chgo
Been so long since I have seen the video that I can't remember. Also, who is to say that the elbow drop hasn't started prior to contact with the cue ball. Like you certainly know and have probably pointed out over the years even the slightest amount of drop will cause the tip to rise and change the contact point as opposed to the intended point. Also, if you allow that elbow to drop it's hard to believe that you will have complete control of exactly when it occurs on each and every shot.
And for confirmation, I also agree that the elbow drop after contact will have no effect on the outcome of the shot.
 

Bob Jewett

AZB Osmium Member
Staff member
Gold Member
Silver Member
Been so long since I have seen the video that I can't remember. Also, who is to say that the elbow drop hasn't started prior to contact with the cue ball. Like you certainly know and have probably pointed out over the years even the slightest amount of drop will cause the tip to rise and change the contact point as opposed to the intended point. Also, if you allow that elbow to drop it's hard to believe that you will have complete control of exactly when it occurs on each and every shot.
And for confirmation, I also agree that the elbow drop after contact will have no effect on the outcome of the shot.
Most of the top pool players I've watched have two different strokes as far as their elbow is concerned. On lag speed shots -- two lengths of the table -- the elbow doesn't move at all. It is a pure pendulum stroke. For faster speeds -- four or five lengths of the table -- the elbow drops roughly the thickness of the upper arm.

I believe the elbow has to drop on those high speed shots or the closing of the arm at the end of the shot is painful.

Players as diverse as Nick Varner and Allison Fisher have this dual-mode stroke.

Lately some players are using a much larger elbow drop. Of course they control when it drops or they won't hit the cue ball at the height they expect. The fact that they get very good draw shows that they still control placement of the tip on the cue ball very, very consistently. Whether the drop starts before tip/ball impact for those players has never been well documented so far as I know. At the same time the address point on the cue ball should be recorded. There are some players who address the base of the ball and they clearly must drop their elbow prior to impact.
 

Patrick Johnson

Fish of the Day
Silver Member
I believe the elbow has to drop on those high speed shots or the closing of the arm at the end of the shot is painful.
Even on lower speed shots, unless held in place the elbow is naturally pulled down a little at the end of the stroke (after contact) as the momentum of the rotating forearm is stopped by the upper arm.

pj
chgo
 
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FranCrimi

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Even on lower speed shots, unless held in place the elbow is naturally pulled down a little at the end of the stroke (after contact) as the momentum of the rotating forearm is stopped by the upper arm.

pj
chgo
True. I think we've all had this discussion before where we all agree that it's not really a completely fixed elbow 100% of the time, but we pretty much accept that name to distinguish it from the full elbow drop stroke.
 

WobblyStroke

Well-known member
Been so long since I have seen the video that I can't remember. Also, who is to say that the elbow drop hasn't started prior to contact with the cue ball. Like you certainly know and have probably pointed out over the years even the slightest amount of drop will cause the tip to rise and change the contact point as opposed to the intended point. Also, if you allow that elbow to drop it's hard to believe that you will have complete control of exactly when it occurs on each and every shot.
And for confirmation, I also agree that the elbow drop after contact will have no effect on the outcome of the shot.
I'd be willing to bet a lot that Scott's elbow drop was after contact. I've never seen his lessons first-hand, but from what others have shared about their experiences with Scott, he was big on anchors in the setup and especially the elbow anchor. If this is done right (and there is no reason to think it wouldn't be by such a highly respected instructor), then the setup takes care of the timing. Simply, contact occurs at a point before any natural elbow drop would occur. This is a very different stroke than one utilizing the elbow drop for force production which would then bring timing into play. Instead, this 'late' elbow drop occurs naturally as the arm absorbs some of the force of the stroke as there are really only two options for pendulum strokes on more forceful shots.... 1. keep the elbow fixed and eat all that force in the elbow joint potentially causing pain or even tennis elbow as Bob pointed out. or 2. allow for that force to be absorbed by multiple joints by letting the upper arm get pulled down by the cue's momentum. Up until contact, both play exactly the same.

In other words, this 'late' elbow drop differs from what instructors would consider an elbow drop stroke in that the former merely hits the brakes and absorbs force after contact while the latter hits the gas and helps make the stroke go.

I think too many beginners take the 'stable elbow' too literally and really try to cement it in place from start to finish. Then the ligaments in their elbow get sore after sessions and they wonder why.
 
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Zerksies

Well-known member
The more moving parts in your mechanics means another thing to fix if you have an issue with your stroke.

Margaret Fefilova Styer has one of the most painful elbow drops, it's alomst like she does it on purpose. If i was her instructor this is the first thing i would address. She's not winning any major tournaments lets start with the obvious.
 

FranCrimi

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
The more moving parts in your mechanics means another thing to fix if you have an issue with your stroke.

Margaret Fefilova Styer has one of the most painful elbow drops, it's alomst like she does it on purpose. If i was her instructor this is the first thing i would address. She's not winning any major tournaments lets start with the obvious.
You would think that would be true about the more moving parts, and several years ago, many instructors did think that way, but that's not necessarily true. For example: A series of moving parts, moving in a coordinated way in the same direction vs. less moving parts with resistance or restraint involved. Both can have their issues.

You have to look at each player individually and see what works for that person.
 

Zerksies

Well-known member
You would think that would be true about the more moving parts, and several years ago, many instructors did think that way, but that's not necessarily true. For example: A series of moving parts, moving in a coordinated way in the same direction vs. less moving parts with resistance or restraint involved. Both can have their issues.

You have to look at each player individually and see what works for that person.
If the end result is a consistent straight stroke I say roll with it. I've spent the last year making sure my hit is being delivered consistently.
 

DeadStick

i like turtles
Gold Member
Silver Member
The more moving parts in your mechanics means another thing to fix if you have an issue with your stroke.

Margaret Fefilova Styer has one of the most painful elbow drops, it's alomst like she does it on purpose. If i was her instructor this is the first thing i would address. She's not winning any major tournaments lets start with the obvious.
Fefilova is #15 in the world with a 729 FR. You would change up her stroke? 🤣

Jasmin Ouschan (#9, 746 FR) has about as much elbow drop as you'll ever see - she discusses it in the video below, and says she would never force it on a student, but that it works for her. She lowers her elbow a bit on her extended backstroke, then it comes back to starting position before it drops about an inch just prior to contact (likely due to her forearm being forward of perpendicular to the cue at address/contact - if she didn't drop it a bit the tip would dive too low), then drops it way down on her extended follow-through.


Also, a side note on Earl Strickland - I've been watching all of his match commentary videos from 3 years ago on the Billiards Network YT channel, and in those vids he frequently comments about how he can't tell when some guys (e.g. SVB, many Filipinos) are going to topspin the ball because they address the ball low, but then come through impact high (impossible without elbow drop, or a loose-to-tight grip), and how he likes to bridge high and address high on topspin shots. But then I watched him play Shaw in this great match from last year at Turning Stone (Earl was in vintage stroke that day, running the first 5 racks at age 61, wow!), and he was addressing most shots center low then applying top and side on his forward stroke just like the players he was complaining about. Here's a clip that shows it well and fooled the commentators:

 

Zerksies

Well-known member
Fefilova is #15 in the world with a 729 FR. You would change up her stroke? 🤣

Jasmin Ouschan (#9, 746 FR) has about as much elbow drop as you'll ever see - she discusses it in the video below, and says she would never force it on a student, but that it works for her. She lowers her elbow a bit on her extended backstroke, then it comes back to starting position before it drops about an inch just prior to contact (likely due to her forearm being forward of perpendicular to the cue at address/contact - if she didn't drop it a bit the tip would dive too low), then drops it way down on her extended follow-through.


Also, a side note on Earl Strickland - I've been watching all of his match commentary videos from 3 years ago on the Billiards Network YT channel, and in those vids he frequently comments about how he can't tell when some guys (e.g. SVB, many Filipinos) are going to topspin the ball because they address the ball low, but then come through impact high (impossible without elbow drop, or a loose-to-tight grip), and how he likes to bridge high and address high on topspin shots. But then I watched him play Shaw in this great match from last year at Turning Stone (Earl was in vintage stroke that day, running the first 5 racks at age 61, wow!), and he was addressing most shots center low then applying top and side on his forward stroke just like the players he was complaining about. Here's a clip that shows it well and fooled the commentators:

They are both quality players, but they are not #1. They walk into any pool hall and and they are beating 99% of the players in the room. I favor Jasmin right now of the two to win any tournament, but i am not favoring either of them to win a major tournament. I'd fix the elbow drop and see how far they go. I just see another piece in the puzzle that can go wrong.
 
I don't understand why adress and impact has to be on the same place in the vertical plane, on the horizontal plane it's another thing. Since it's very uncommon with a pure piston stroke most players can adress where ever they feel is right as long as they hit the spot they want on the CB. Most pool pros adress below where they are actually hitting. It would be interesting with a real kinetic study on the pool stroke to see where the forces actually are directed during the stroke.

By training a certain movement you can acquire motor synergies where many moving parts can be just as precise as using a single movement, they can even compensate for each other if something is off during the movement. Studies on baseball pitchers show that professionals have bigger variabilities in movement but less in outcome than college pitchers.
 

WobblyStroke

Well-known member
They are both quality players, but they are not #1. They walk into any pool hall and and they are beating 99% of the players in the room. I favor Jasmin right now of the two to win any tournament, but i am not favoring either of them to win a major tournament. I'd fix the elbow drop and see how far they go. I just see another piece in the puzzle that can go wrong.
Most likely you'd fix them into being much weaker players. There is no shortage of young golf pros who had their technique changed to fit a 'more mechanically sound' swing model and had their careers ruined. We don't need that trend making its way to the pool world.

Really, the only pro I noticed who had a fair sized refinement to his natural technique and eliminated a lot of his 'extra' movement yet was able to maintain his high level is Wu Xia Xing. And I think I'd still take youmg natural Wu over the refined pro technique Wu.

Mika went the other way and got much better with his more loopy technique compared to his snooker background. If u told him you'd 'fix' him by getting rid of his elbow movement he'd laugh at u, show u he can play that way just fine, and explain his way is best for him and produces his best pool... like Jasmin explains her elbow drop is best for her in her vid.
 
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BilliardsAbout

BondFanEvents.com
Silver Member
They are both quality players, but they are not #1. They walk into any pool hall and and they are beating 99% of the players in the room. I favor Jasmin right now of the two to win any tournament, but i am not favoring either of them to win a major tournament. I'd fix the elbow drop and see how far they go. I just see another piece in the puzzle that can go wrong.
99% only in the typical room? Did you mean 99% of fellow pros?

Like I said to a fellow teacher when he pointed to the "flaws" in Jasmin's stroke, "When she's done running this three-pack, let go over, I'll introduce you and YOU tell her how bad her fundamentals are."
 
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