Questions about stroke...

Buster8001

Did you say shrubberies?
Silver Member
First, a little about me.
So, I'm not a complete slouch on the table. I bounce between an 8 & 7 APA 9ball, and I'm a 7 APA 8ball. I'd say a C+ player; I'm a threat to run out, have had several in-match.

Now to my question: how does one develop the type of stroke wherein it never appears as though one is forcing the cue ball?

There are several good players in my area, and up to Fredrick MD, who appear to never strike the cue ball "hard". The cue ball just, kinda, floats to where they intended no matter the amount of follow/draw and/or side english applied. When I need some stroke on my cue ball, you can hear that I really strike the ball. It's evident. Now, that typed, there are some good players (even levels above me) in my area that strike the cue ball as I do, and it's evident.

The former type of stroke mentioned is just, for lack of better word, sexy to me. So, how does one develop/evolve into that; or, is it not possible?

How's your stroke?
 

Cron

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
When you say "appears", do you mean how it visually looks? As long as you control the ball, however you offset is however you offset.

If you just want to look cool like an APA teammate I once had, grab a 25oz stick and play "smooth and slow".

EDIT: I'm not sure if this will help, but if you spend a week doing nothing but masse without going into the table you'll really learn the resistance of the ball, just the ball. It's very underestimated how well you learn this, regardless if you continue to use it, you'll become more familiar with the properties of the ball. Not sure if that helps.
 
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Andrew Manning

Aspiring know-it-all
Silver Member
First, a little about me.
So, I'm not a complete slouch on the table. I bounce between an 8 & 7 APA 9ball, and I'm a 7 APA 8ball. I'd say a C+ player; I'm a threat to run out, have had several in-match.

Now to my question: how does one develop the type of stroke wherein it never appears as though one is forcing the cue ball?

There are several good players in my area, and up to Fredrick MD, who appear to never strike the cue ball "hard". The cue ball just, kinda, floats to where they intended no matter the amount of follow/draw and/or side english applied. When I need some stroke on my cue ball, you can hear that I really strike the ball. It's evident. Now, that typed, there are some good players (even levels above me) in my area that strike the cue ball as I do, and it's evident.

The former type of stroke mentioned is just, for lack of better word, sexy to me. So, how does one develop/evolve into that; or, is it not possible?

How's your stroke?

There are several factors.

One is playing more natural angles and playing more natural CB paths. When you're not fighting where the CB naturally wants to go every shot, you rarely have to use much power.

Another is when you do need to spin your ball, whether it's side, draw, or follow, excellent players consistently hit further out toward the miscue limit than weaker players. This means they can get the same amount of "action" with less force.

Another has to do with the appearance of force. A player with a lot of tension in his grip, arm muscles, back muscles, neck, even jaw, can look like he's hitting the ball harder than he really is. Meanwhile a player who keeps every muscles loose and relaxed except the ones productively moving the cue may get his cue moving at a faster speed while looking like he's barely putting any effort into it. Certain muscles need to contract to stroke the cue. Tension in any of the other muscles in your body tends to slow you down, even when you look and feel like you're hitting harder.

Another factor is smoothness and stroke length. A longer stroke can accelerate more slowly while still reaching the same speed as a shorter one. The slower acceleration may make it look like a softer, more effortless hit. And regardless of length, a smoothly accelerating stroke looks gentler than a jerky one, given the same cue speed at contact.

So, improve your CB control to get better angles, improve your pattern play to use more natural paths, improve your tip placement to be able to use the outer limits of the CB when you want lots of action, improve your stroke technique to avoid unnecessary muscle tension, and accelerate the cue more smoothly, and your stroke will definitely get sexier.
 

Duane Remick

AzB Gold Member
Gold Member
Silver Member
First, a little about me.
So, I'm not a complete slouch on the table. I bounce between an 8 & 7 APA 9ball, and I'm a 7 APA 8ball. I'd say a C+ player; I'm a threat to run out, have had several in-match.

Now to my question: how does one develop the type of stroke wherein it never appears as though one is forcing the cue ball?

There are several good players in my area, and up to Fredrick MD, who appear to never strike the cue ball "hard". The cue ball just, kinda, floats to where they intended no matter the amount of follow/draw and/or side english applied. When I need some stroke on my cue ball, you can hear that I really strike the ball. It's evident. Now, that typed, there are some good players (even levels above me) in my area that strike the cue ball as I do, and it's evident.

The former type of stroke mentioned is just, for lack of better word, sexy to me. So, how does one develop/evolve into that; or, is it not possible?

How's your stroke?

PRACTICE :thumbup:

I think I know what you're asking,
But maybe- some experimenting with either a lighter or heavier cue,
or possibly a cue more forward balanced"

I watch a lot of the Pro Snooker Players-
They also seem to get a tremendous amount of action on the cue ball with little power-
more technique
 

Buster8001

Did you say shrubberies?
Silver Member
There are several factors.

One is playing more natural angles and playing more natural CB paths. When you're not fighting where the CB naturally wants to go every shot, you rarely have to use much power.

Another is when you do need to spin your ball, whether it's side, draw, or follow, excellent players consistently hit further out toward the miscue limit than weaker players. This means they can get the same amount of "action" with less force.

Another has to do with the appearance of force. A player with a lot of tension in his grip, arm muscles, back muscles, neck, even jaw, can look like he's hitting the ball harder than he really is. Meanwhile a player who keeps every muscles loose and relaxed except the ones productively moving the cue may get his cue moving at a faster speed while looking like he's barely putting any effort into it. Certain muscles need to contract to stroke the cue. Tension in any of the other muscles in your body tends to slow you down, even when you look and feel like you're hitting harder.

Another factor is smoothness and stroke length. A longer stroke can accelerate more slowly while still reaching the same speed as a shorter one. The slower acceleration may make it look like a softer, more effortless hit. And regardless of length, a smoothly accelerating stroke looks gentler than a jerky one, given the same cue speed at contact.

So, improve your CB control to get better angles, improve your pattern play to use more natural paths, improve your tip placement to be able to use the outer limits of the CB when you want lots of action, improve your stroke technique to avoid unnecessary muscle tension, and accelerate the cue more smoothly, and your stroke will definitely get sexier.

Great read; thank you. I do tend to struggle with tension.
 

lfigueroa

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
First, a little about me.
So, I'm not a complete slouch on the table. I bounce between an 8 & 7 APA 9ball, and I'm a 7 APA 8ball. I'd say a C+ player; I'm a threat to run out, have had several in-match.

Now to my question: how does one develop the type of stroke wherein it never appears as though one is forcing the cue ball?

There are several good players in my area, and up to Fredrick MD, who appear to never strike the cue ball "hard". The cue ball just, kinda, floats to where they intended no matter the amount of follow/draw and/or side english applied. When I need some stroke on my cue ball, you can hear that I really strike the ball. It's evident. Now, that typed, there are some good players (even levels above me) in my area that strike the cue ball as I do, and it's evident.

The former type of stroke mentioned is just, for lack of better word, sexy to me. So, how does one develop/evolve into that; or, is it not possible?

How's your stroke?


I think a significant part of this is having really good mechanics.

Most pool players do not have flawless strokes. They go into the CB from one side or the other but have learned to accommodate whatever motions they've got. The guys who you describe probably just have fewer moving parts and as a consequence are executing with greater precision. I know when I'm playing well I'm hitting the pocket very cleanly and the shots even sound different.

Lou Figueroa
 

Buzzard II

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Buster, when I read your post I kept thinking that you've been up in Frederick, MD. at Champions and watching a guy known as "Shorty". Craig is his name, and he has a beautiful and effortless stroke. Is that the guy?
 

kollegedave

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
First, a little about me.
So, I'm not a complete slouch on the table. I bounce between an 8 & 7 APA 9ball, and I'm a 7 APA 8ball. I'd say a C+ player; I'm a threat to run out, have had several in-match.

Now to my question: how does one develop the type of stroke wherein it never appears as though one is forcing the cue ball?

There are several good players in my area, and up to Fredrick MD, who appear to never strike the cue ball "hard". The cue ball just, kinda, floats to where they intended no matter the amount of follow/draw and/or side english applied. When I need some stroke on my cue ball, you can hear that I really strike the ball. It's evident. Now, that typed, there are some good players (even levels above me) in my area that strike the cue ball as I do, and it's evident.

The former type of stroke mentioned is just, for lack of better word, sexy to me. So, how does one develop/evolve into that; or, is it not possible?

How's your stroke?

To me, players that get a lot of action on the cue ball with little effort are simply more accurate than others. They are able to hit at the edge of the cue ball with confidence. In my view, this accuracy is, as lfigueroa suggested, related to a solid PSR that puts them in a position where they can rely on a repeatable stroke delivery. Additionally, they have put the time in so they can tell where the "heart" of the pocket is, and since they hit everything in the "heart" their speed is perfect, as it is not negatively effected by a slightly full or thin hit that still pockets the ball.

A player who displays these qualities will very often have a slow (or at least controlled) back swing, and the thumb on their grip hand will be pointed directly at the ground--also an observation of lfigueroa that I have found very valuable. Sometimes the grip-hand thumb will be bent backwards a little at the first knuckle--many guys play well like this, but I say the text book should have a picture of the thumb pointed down.

Personally, I have always resisted the slow/ controlled backswing, and I now believe my game has suffered for it.

Just my 0.02

kollegedave
 

Patrick Johnson

Fish of the Day
Silver Member
The guys who you describe probably just have fewer moving parts and as a consequence are executing with greater precision.
Yes, and "greater precision" isn't just about making shots; it's also (maybe more so) about exactly where you strike the CB. Work on your tip/ball precision and in a short while you'll notice shots seem to take less power.

pj
chgo
 

Buster8001

Did you say shrubberies?
Silver Member
Buster, when I read your post I kept thinking that you've been up in Frederick, MD. at Champions and watching a guy known as "Shorty". Craig is his name, and he has a beautiful and effortless stroke. Is that the guy?

LOL, I've seen a few of them at Champions. Craig, Ryan, RJ, there's a few.
 

Scott Lee

AzB Gold Member
Gold Member
Silver Member
The easy answer is...learn to play using a relaxed grip, the weight of the cue and superb timing...the cue moves the CB effortlessly! I've been after you for 15 years to teach you that. In all that time, you have many times mentioned wanting to learn...but we've never connected. Perhaps when this virus thing is over...perhaps not. But I'll guarantee you one thing...I can teach you that stroke you're talking about. But you'll have to practice it a LOT to make it natural!

Scott Lee
2019 PBIA Instructor of the Year
Director, SPF National Pool School Tour

First, a little about me.
So, I'm not a complete slouch on the table. I bounce between an 8 & 7 APA 9ball, and I'm a 7 APA 8ball. I'd say a C+ player; I'm a threat to run out, have had several in-match.

Now to my question: how does one develop the type of stroke wherein it never appears as though one is forcing the cue ball?

There are several good players in my area, and up to Fredrick MD, who appear to never strike the cue ball "hard". The cue ball just, kinda, floats to where they intended no matter the amount of follow/draw and/or side english applied. When I need some stroke on my cue ball, you can hear that I really strike the ball. It's evident. Now, that typed, there are some good players (even levels above me) in my area that strike the cue ball as I do, and it's evident.

The former type of stroke mentioned is just, for lack of better word, sexy to me. So, how does one develop/evolve into that; or, is it not possible?

How's your stroke?
 

Scott Lee

AzB Gold Member
Gold Member
Silver Member
Jim...You know that Craig is a great SPF instructor don't you?...and he does have a beautiful stroke! :thumbup:

Scott Lee
2019 PBIA Instructor of the Year
Director, SPF National Pool School Tour

Buster, when I read your post I kept thinking that you've been up in Frederick, MD. at Champions and watching a guy known as "Shorty". Craig is his name, and he has a beautiful and effortless stroke. Is that the guy?
 

megatron69

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
There are several factors.

One is playing more natural angles and playing more natural CB paths. When you're not fighting where the CB naturally wants to go every shot, you rarely have to use much power.

Another is when you do need to spin your ball, whether it's side, draw, or follow, excellent players consistently hit further out toward the miscue limit than weaker players. This means they can get the same amount of "action" with less force.

Another has to do with the appearance of force. A player with a lot of tension in his grip, arm muscles, back muscles, neck, even jaw, can look like he's hitting the ball harder than he really is. Meanwhile a player who keeps every muscles loose and relaxed except the ones productively moving the cue may get his cue moving at a faster speed while looking like he's barely putting any effort into it. Certain muscles need to contract to stroke the cue. Tension in any of the other muscles in your body tends to slow you down, even when you look and feel like you're hitting harder.

Another factor is smoothness and stroke length. A longer stroke can accelerate more slowly while still reaching the same speed as a shorter one. The slower acceleration may make it look like a softer, more effortless hit. And regardless of length, a smoothly accelerating stroke looks gentler than a jerky one, given the same cue speed at contact.

So, improve your CB control to get better angles, improve your pattern play to use more natural paths, improve your tip placement to be able to use the outer limits of the CB when you want lots of action, improve your stroke technique to avoid unnecessary muscle tension, and accelerate the cue more smoothly, and your stroke will definitely get sexier.

^^^^
This. I've been working with one of my league partners about these concepts for a while now. not right now, of course, but before this whole lock-down thing happened. Especially the muscle tension thing. Guy normally holds the cue like he fell of a cliff and grabbed a branch or something. I keep telling him "relax . . . breath . . ." I repeat that so many times it makes me sound like a birthing coach.

But when he does it right, he can hit the cue ball more precisely, get the spin he needs/wants and produce a very good shot.

Bottom line, if you want to get the cue to do exactly what you want it to do, you have to hit the thing precisely both in speed as well as POI. To do that you have to learn to relax.

In that regard, you might try whistling, if you can whistle at all. It's pretty much impossible to whistle a tune if you're tense. Used to make student pilots do it all the time doing maneuvers; worked pretty well.
 
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Buzzard II

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Scott, yeah I know I've run into him three times now working with Randy. I want to shoot like that so bad. Really smooth.
 

3kushn

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
You're received some really good advise here from Andrew, Lou, Scott, others.
Relax, Light grip, Smooth Acceleration and more.

If you have a table, take those bits of advice and practice, only your stroke.
First of all, forget about pocketing balls. You're working on stroke only.
One way to force the issue is after getting down over the CB Do Not perform any practice strokes. Everything in your PSR is the same but NO practice strokes. This drill all about accurately delivering the tip to the CB. Nothing else.

Pull back painfully slow, pause till its also uncomfortable, then deliver with smooth acceleration.

Jerry Briesath says the stroke is like throwing a baseball. Keep that in mind.

For me exaggerating the back swing speed and the pause helps me find, in the end, what's natural for me. It helps ingrain these 2 aspects. In play my backswing is slightly faster but not a jerk back, and the pause isn't painfully long but is still present. I Hope.

The value of a qualified instructor is they can help you on a path of getting your PSR grooved (if you work at it) When your feet are right, consistent eye pattern, and good rhythm/stroke mechanics, builds confidence.

In part, confidence comes when being down on a shot and everything looks perfect. Your tip is crystal clear on the CB and your aim is vividly on target. This feeling allows you to deliver without equivocation. Lack of confidence leads to inconsistent delivery IMO. Most of us struggle with this. Some more than others.
 

Scratch85

AzB Gold Member
Gold Member
Silver Member
I know this seems like a simplistic view and solution to a player, of your rating, finding their effortless/soft stroke but the 1,000 balls drill really works. The drill can be done in a few days, a couple of weeks or even a month or longer. But, if you do it, for at least 1,000 balls, I believe you will find your “hit” and “stroke” that you are looking for.

The drill becomes a bit addictive. I’ve found it hard to pocket balls after staying on the drill for long periods. When I remember to forget my stroke and pocket balls, I’m usually surprised with my stroke and pocketing skills.


Sent from my iPhone using AzBilliards Forums
 

ShootingArts

Smorg is giving St Peter the 7!
Gold Member
Silver Member
My back porch table

I bought a bar table to throw on the back porch right before the quarantine. Partially as physical therapy, I try to hit balls every day. Sometimes fifteen minutes sometimes an hour or more. That table changes every day, and all during the day. This evening when I got out there it was in the fifties, a little airish. When I am focused on longer shots the stroke is pretty long and smooth, I would think nice. However it was so cold that the handle on my wrapless cue felt slick. Usually have to use my wrapped stick to work on a slip stroke but with bone dry hands and stick it seemed worth a try.

As always with the slip stroke, effortless power and spin worked great. The real slip stroke moves the hand back during the final backstroke making the tip punch through the cue ball while your arm is in the same position as your warm up strokes, no effort to extend your stroke through the cue ball needed.

Opinion here, the slipstroke is the prettiest stroke in the cue sports, bar none. It doesn't take much more effort to learn than any other stroke, and it may be better than any for other for some shots. I don't know of any other stroke that is as comfortable to shoot a long shot when the cue ball is frozen on the rail!

As a bonus, the ugliest shot in pool! With no witnesses I occasionally shoot behind my back. I was pretty good at that seventy-five pounds ago. Now the only thing uglier I can think of is a fat lady pole dancing! Interestingly, my stroke with behind the back shots looks a lot like Festus throwing a horseshoe. Proving that only a tiny section of your stroke really matters with the tip hooking into the cue ball from the side I still make most of the comparatively easy shots even shooting them with a stroke that looks unabashedly horrible!

There you have'm, probably the prettiest sexiest stroke in pool, and the ugliest!

Hu
 

Buster8001

Did you say shrubberies?
Silver Member
I bought a bar table to throw on the back porch right before the quarantine. Partially as physical therapy, I try to hit balls every day. Sometimes fifteen minutes sometimes an hour or more. That table changes every day, and all during the day. This evening when I got out there it was in the fifties, a little airish. When I am focused on longer shots the stroke is pretty long and smooth, I would think nice. However it was so cold that the handle on my wrapless cue felt slick. Usually have to use my wrapped stick to work on a slip stroke but with bone dry hands and stick it seemed worth a try.

As always with the slip stroke, effortless power and spin worked great. The real slip stroke moves the hand back during the final backstroke making the tip punch through the cue ball while your arm is in the same position as your warm up strokes, no effort to extend your stroke through the cue ball needed.

Opinion here, the slipstroke is the prettiest stroke in the cue sports, bar none. It doesn't take much more effort to learn than any other stroke, and it may be better than any for other for some shots. I don't know of any other stroke that is as comfortable to shoot a long shot when the cue ball is frozen on the rail!

As a bonus, the ugliest shot in pool! With no witnesses I occasionally shoot behind my back. I was pretty good at that seventy-five pounds ago. Now the only thing uglier I can think of is a fat lady pole dancing! Interestingly, my stroke with behind the back shots looks a lot like Festus throwing a horseshoe. Proving that only a tiny section of your stroke really matters with the tip hooking into the cue ball from the side I still make most of the comparatively easy shots even shooting them with a stroke that looks unabashedly horrible!

There you have'm, probably the prettiest sexiest stroke in pool, and the ugliest!

Hu

I know what you mean about the slip-stroke, Hu. I poked you for about a year on that subject. lol. My grandfather had a slip-stroke and though is pocketing wasn't on par, his cue ball action was quite amazing to a young me. I really didn't notice his stroke until after he'd passed and mom found home videos of us shooting. We were watching them, and I leaned forward and literally said, "I'll be damned!" My mom had no idea what I was excited about. I gave the slip-stroke a go for about three months. Sent me into the biggest slump of my life. I dropped from an 8 to a 6 in APA 9ball. Figured if I was going to give it a try, then I'd be all in. Turns out my desire to win out-witted my desire for the stroke.

I'm going to give Scott a call and chat with him before I start changing, again.
 
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