Stroke Analysis - Doug Quara

dquarasr

Registered
I am opening myself to criticism and ridicule. Hopefully the former will be constructive, and the latter restrained. :)

I recorded myself from three angles:
- Behind
- Front
- Side

I shot four speeds:
- Pocket speed
- Slow
- Medium
- Hard

I typically have more trouble on medium and even worse, hard shots where pace is higher.

I welcome comments and brutal honesty, feedback and tips.

My own observations:
1. I am a little inconsistent in positioning myself behind the shot while standing. I don't line my vision center up with the shot line the same way every time Close, but no cee-gar. Even so, when I am down on the shot I seem to be pretty close. I am sure that's hurting me but maybe not too badly? I'll work on this nonetheless.
2. I move my back hand around a little bit while fine-tuning the shot line. Result of #1?
3. On shots with pace, the slight chicken wing manifests. I wish I knew how to exorcise it completely and finally.
4. Side view, my back hand could be about 1 or 2 inches farther back. My arm is perpendicular to the floor, but probably should be perpendicular to the cue.

Cross posted to Lil' Chris Coaching Den on FB group.

Thanks for your help.

 

sparkle84

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I am opening myself to criticism and ridicule. Hopefully the former will be constructive, and the latter restrained. :)

I recorded myself from three angles:
- Behind
- Front
- Side

I shot four speeds:
- Pocket speed
- Slow
- Medium
- Hard

I typically have more trouble on medium and even worse, hard shots where pace is higher.

I welcome comments and brutal honesty, feedback and tips.

My own observations:
1. I am a little inconsistent in positioning myself behind the shot while standing. I don't line my vision center up with the shot line the same way every time Close, but no cee-gar. Even so, when I am down on the shot I seem to be pretty close. I am sure that's hurting me but maybe not too badly? I'll work on this nonetheless.
2. I move my back hand around a little bit while fine-tuning the shot line. Result of #1?
3. On shots with pace, the slight chicken wing manifests. I wish I knew how to exorcise it completely and finally.
4. Side view, my back hand could be about 1 or 2 inches farther back. My arm is perpendicular to the floor, but probably should be perpendicular to the cue.

Cross posted to Lil' Chris Coaching Den on FB group.

Thanks for your help.

Watched on my phone so a little difficult to see all that well but....
#4 I think the angle is fine, way better than it used to be. I really think your overall accuracy would benefit by using a shorter bridge length. That's easily accomplished by using the rubber band method.
#3 Your clearance is not good. I know you're familiar with Mark Wilson's video so may want to watch it again.
As far as speed goes you may want to rethink your definition. Your medium would be my very hard. Taking 15-20 percent off every shot (on average) would result in measurable improvement very quickly.
If you do that and find yourself coming up short on position often, that would tend to indicate your stroke needs some attention +/or your position routes need rethinking.
 

dquarasr

Registered
Thanks, Sparkle84. These are things I probably should already know. Yes, my bridge length tends to lengthen if I don't really pay attention to it.

And as for clearance, I definitely should have noticed that on my own. I don't know why I didn't pick that up from the video myself. Ugh.

I think my definition of hard shot is because I have poor tip placement when I am going for long-distance draw. So, I try hitting harder. Again, I should know better but sometimes it's better, more effective, for a neutral party to point it out.
 

dquarasr

Registered
I adjusted for clearance. I also shortened my bridge.

Think this is enough clearance? It felt pretty good. (This t-shirt fits a little loosely). It sure is a lot more clearance than in my first video.

 

sparkle84

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I adjusted for clearance. I also shortened my bridge.

Think this is enough clearance? It felt pretty good. (This t-shirt fits a little loosely). It sure is a lot more clearance than in my first video.

Yes, much better clearance. As far as bridge length goes there wasn't any viewpoint where it was visible. Judging by the position of your right hand however, if you shortened your bridge it wasn't by very much.
Everyone is different but my opinion is that players at your level should try to maintain a bridge length of around 10 inches. It'll help with stability and precision. I'd experiment a little with putting a rubber band 1-2 inches forward of the back edge of the wrap and keep your right hand in front of that. Try it and see what happens.
Couple other things popped out as I watched the 2 videos again.
1st off was that you're exhibiting a lot of head and body movement when down on the shot.
Another thing that still needs some work is less tension. You've come a long, long way in regards to that. When you first started posting and put some pictures up I could almost feel the tension in your body just by looking at the pictures.
You're like night and day now compared to back then but still work to be done.
Relax, let the stick do the work with minimal involvement of your muscles.
 

dquarasr

Registered
Yes, much better clearance. As far as bridge length goes there wasn't any viewpoint where it was visible. Judging by the position of your right hand however, if you shortened your bridge it wasn't by very much.
Everyone is different but my opinion is that players at your level should try to maintain a bridge length of around 10 inches. It'll help with stability and precision. I'd experiment a little with putting a rubber band 1-2 inches forward of the back edge of the wrap and keep your right hand in front of that. Try it and see what happens.
Couple other things popped out as I watched the 2 videos again.
1st off was that you're exhibiting a lot of head and body movement when down on the shot.
Another thing that still needs some work is less tension. You've come a long, long way in regards to that. When you first started posting and put some pictures up I could almost feel the tension in your body just by looking at the pictures.
You're like night and day now compared to back then but still work to be done.
Relax, let the stick do the work with minimal involvement of your muscles.
Thanks for the feedback. My bridge length in these videos was 8-10 inches.

I do tend to move my head because I find it hard to keep my head positioned back far enough to view the object ball, particularly on long shots. I broke my neck in 2010 and ever since it's a little uncomfortable to move my head back on my shoulders, so when going between CB and OB, I do move my head so it's not in the strained position the whole time I'm down. I'll try staying more still.

Yes, I have been trying to have less tension and be more free-flowing with my stroke. Thanks for noticing. And I agree, it still needs lots more work. I suppose it's a trust issue. When I remind myself with a mantra in my head when I get down "trust the process", I tend to shoot a lot better.

Always a work in progress, for sure. Thanks for the feedback, most appreciated, especially as it relates to my long-term progress. I appreciate that you notice and mentioned it.
 

BilliardsAbout

BondFanEvents.com
Silver Member
Hi D,

Your head goes up and down significantly during sighting and you are up, standing erect or nearly so, often before the object ball has reached the pocket.

I suggest specially made eyeglasses with extra-large frames and lenses for sighting.

--Matt
 

WobblyStroke

Well-known member
Before I get into what pops out to me I will say this... Dr. Dave just posted a vid outlining a procedure for analyzing strokes. That format is far superior to what you used. Also, the white top with white wall background and long sleeves that cover up any minor action in the wrist wasn't a great choice for the first vid so I only really watched the black t-shirt vid as I could just see more.

The thing that pops the most is exactly what Matt mentioned above... your head movement as you are sighting. People can tell what your eye pattern is from 3 tables away and no view of your actual eyes as there is a big difference in head position as you go between looking at CB and OB. This messes with your perception quite a bit. You must find a way to just move the eyes, whether that requires special pool glasses, contact lenses, or just a head position that allows for both with your current lenses.

As for your stroke, the head on view with the bright window in the background reveals the arc in your stroke which starts with your takeaway. It may not even be an arc in your stroke really but merely a poor takeaway followed by compensations to get the cue back on line. Fix the takeaway and this should eliminate the compensations that arise as a result of the misaligned position you put yourself in.

Not surprisingly, as your stroke gets longer for higher speed shots, the cue's departure from the shot line gets bigger making you much less consistent with the longer strokes as you need to time out the return to what you aimed up and can easily under or over do it. Even on some makes, after taking the cue off its line on the takeaway, you come back through the ball ok enough to pot the easy ball but the CB has left spin on it due to a slight overshoot of returning to the shot line.

On the hard shot you miss (black T vid), you don't quite make it back to the shot line despite a big move in the arm to try and save you... It is easy for one with an untrained eye to simply say, "oh you chicken winged and your elbow came out and that's why you missed". Not so. The flaring out of the elbow and slight chkn winging is not the flaw that caused the miss... it was the subconscious adjustment trying to compensate for your actual flaw of bringing the cue back too far inside (causing the tip of the cue to aim out to the right and thin on the ball). Without flaring the elbow and chicken winging, you'd have absolutely no chance of making the ball from the position you put yourself in in the backswing. At least that big arm move gave you some hope that you would time it out just right and make the ball.
If you watch the shot, that ugly looking arm move actually makes the cue tip go left and is there trying to save you from the dead position you put yourself in during the backswing. It doesn't get back to the line in time to fully save you this time and you still miss thin...just not as thin as you would have missed if your arm didn't spazz like that.

The third thing that pops out is how unstable/unsettled you are in your stance. Gotta build a more solid base.

So ye, you have a few things to work on...
1. Sort out your eye pattern so that only your eyes move rather than your head...which also pulls other parts of your stance out of line
2. Solidify your stance and really lock in some anchors to your stroke so you aren't floating around so much. This will also make it much easier to stay still on your shots and stay down a touch longer as you do get up kinda early.
3. ****sort out your backswing and make sure you are not pulling the cue off its line when taking it back, setting yourself up for either a straight stroke that will always miss right or an ugly looking compensatory stroke that will cue across the ball and sometimes be well timed enough to actually save you. Don't treat the symptom, treat the cause...the takeaway (which could be related to a poor stance to begin with as there may be more problems than just a lack of stability...hard to tell really on the vid).
 

dquarasr

Registered
So ye, you have a few things to work on...
1. Sort out your eye pattern so that only your eyes move rather than your head...which also pulls other parts of your stance out of line
2. Solidify your stance and really lock in some anchors to your stroke so you aren't floating around so much. This will also make it much easier to stay still on your shots and stay down a touch longer as you do get up kinda early.
3. ****sort out your backswing and make sure you are not pulling the cue off its line when taking it back, setting yourself up for either a straight stroke that will always miss right or an ugly looking compensatory stroke that will cue across the ball and sometimes be well timed enough to actually save you. Don't treat the symptom, treat the cause...the takeaway (which could be related to a poor stance to begin with as there may be more problems than just a lack of stability...hard to tell really on the vid).
Good stuff. I'll work on all these things. Based on the feedback from Sparkle, I've already been at the table this morning working on keeping my head still.
Hi D,

Your head goes up and down significantly during sighting and you are up, standing erect or nearly so, often before the object ball has reached the pocket.

I suggest specially made eyeglasses with extra-large frames and lenses for sighting.

--Matt
Ditto, Matt.

I think my left foot needs to be slightly farther left so I have a better, stronger triangle between my feet and my bridge hand. Maybe that will stabilize my stance so I don't move as much. I'll see if that helps without messing up my alignment. I really thought correcting my clearance by rotating my hips (and setting up my right foot a couple of inches left of where I had been lately) would mess up my alignment, but, miraculously, rather than make it harder to align, it actually made it easier, and I was still able to see the shot line. Imagine that.

I'll also work on the backstroke.

Geez, recording oneself is, excuse the term, eye-opening. I thought I was doing better than this, but at least now I have a path to correct root causes.

Thanks all, yet again.
 

sparkle84

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Good stuff. I'll work on all these things. Based on the feedback from Sparkle, I've already been at the table this morning working on keeping my head still.

Ditto, Matt.

I think my left foot needs to be slightly farther left so I have a better, stronger triangle between my feet and my bridge hand. Maybe that will stabilize my stance so I don't move as much. I'll see if that helps without messing up my alignment. I really thought correcting my clearance by rotating my hips (and setting up my right foot a couple of inches left of where I had been lately) would mess up my alignment, but, miraculously, rather than make it harder to align, it actually made it easier, and I was still able to see the shot line. Imagine that.

I'll also work on the backstroke.

Geez, recording oneself is, excuse the term, eye-opening. I thought I was doing better than this, but at least now I have a path to correct root causes.

Thanks all, yet again.
Don't knock yourself out sweating the small stuff.
Practicing at home is ok but I think you may be getting to the point where getting out to the poolroom and getting beat up by better players may reap the most benefit. Moreso than solitary practice.
I guess you're doing that in the straight pool league. I'd suggest approaching the best player in that league about helping you with your game.
You know you can spend the next few years trying to straighten out every little mechanical issue you might have or you can spend that time learning how to play the game. I guess it's up to you which would be more satisfying.
 

WobblyStroke

Well-known member
Don't knock yourself out sweating the small stuff.
Practicing at home is ok but I think you may be getting to the point where getting out to the poolroom and getting beat up by better players may reap the most benefit. Moreso than solitary practice.
I guess you're doing that in the straight pool league. I'd suggest approaching the best player in that league about helping you with your game.
You know you can spend the next few years trying to straighten out every little mechanical issue you might have or you can spend that time learning how to play the game. I guess it's up to you which would be more satisfying.
While I agree with the approach, a crooked stroke, especially one caused by an off-line backswing is hardly something that is 'small stuff'. This isn't the minutia of strokes we are talking about here but a very basic component of predictable mechanics and cue delivery.
 

dquarasr

Registered
While I agree with the approach, a crooked stroke, especially one caused by an off-line backswing is hardly something that is 'small stuff'. This isn't the minutia of strokes we are talking about here but a very basic component of predictable mechanics and cue delivery.
Don't knock yourself out sweating the small stuff.
Practicing at home is ok but I think you may be getting to the point where getting out to the poolroom and getting beat up by better players may reap the most benefit. Moreso than solitary practice.
I guess you're doing that in the straight pool league. I'd suggest approaching the best player in that league about helping you with your game.
You know you can spend the next few years trying to straighten out every little mechanical issue you might have or you can spend that time learning how to play the game. I guess it's up to you which would be more satisfying.
One of the reasons I joined the straight pool league is for the better competition. I've already reached out to a good guy, 633 Fargo, for help. We haven't scheduled yet, but I hope to soon.

I also rejoined both 8- and 9-ball APA teams. I think a good mix of casual competition (APA), more serious competition (14.1), and at-home practice will continue to be a good approach. I tend to be very analytical, so having strong fundamentals is very important to me hence my recording myself and seeking feedback.

Thanks to everyone.
 

measureman

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
While I agree with the approach, a crooked stroke, especially one caused by an off-line backswing is hardly something that is 'small stuff'. This isn't the minutia of strokes we are talking about here but a very basic component of predictable mechanics and cue delivery.
I knew a player that on the back stroke his hand would swing away from his body a good 3 inches but on the forward stroke it would come through dead straight.
And he could play real good I would estimate his Fargo at mid 600.
I played him even up and he was tough to beat.
 

WobblyStroke

Well-known member
I knew a player that on the back stroke his hand would swing away from his body a good 3 inches but on the forward stroke it would come through dead straight.
And he could play real good I would estimate his Fargo at mid 600.
I played him even up and he was tough to beat.
Oh yeah, when using arms in a highly predictable manner, str8 is an afterthought as long as it behaves the exact same way every time. This is esp true for a higher up stance. Hoppe played this way. So did Mosconi. Both came away from their bodies and fell back in and went str8 thru. Luckily we have some vids on youtube where this is clear as day. A far cry from today's 'fundamentals' but illuminating regarding those fundamentals if you know what's going on and why the arms behave this way.

In a lower setup, Bustamante plays on this type of arc, visible to the naked eye. But you always hear announcers say things like, "you wouldn't want to teach anyone that". Now, while I don't fully agree with that bc knowing how his arm works can give a deeper insight into how conventional mechanics work (and not nearly as different looking as Hoppe's or Mosconi's techniques), If someone is going to learn ONE way, it should def be as simple and str8 as possible. Leave these nonstandard strokes to the sports nerds that just can't resist movement puzzles.

On the women's side and really in today's game, the most obvious example of a stroke that comes away and falls back in is Chou Chieh Yu, who played in the Premier League Pool this year. Especially on stroke shots where she's really 'loading the spring' her hand goes away at the top of the backswing and falls back in.

All that said, with the way he is set up and the way he produces force in the swing, this is certainly not how OP is using his arms. It would be best if he left everything he is trying to do just as it is and just get himself aligned in his stance in such a way that he can pull the cue back str8 on the intended line. This would be the preferred approach for just about 99.9% of people imo.
 
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dquarasr

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All that said, with the way he is set up and the way he produces force in the swing, this is certainly not how OP is using his arms. It would be best if he left everything he is trying to do just as it is and just get himself aligned in his stance in such a way that he can pull the cue back str8 on the intended line. This would be the preferred approach for just about 99.9% of people imo.
I reviewed the reasons cue tip was going left (arm going out away from my body.) I think it is because I opened my stance while I was trying to gain clearance. I went back to my normal left foot position, but to gain clearance I rotate my hips, and I think I've eliminated the problem. As always, I know it's too soon to declare victory (solutions tend to be short-lived or otherwise elusive), but I might be on the right path.

Hope so.
 

WobblyStroke

Well-known member
I reviewed the reasons cue tip was going left (arm going out away from my body.) I think it is because I opened my stance while I was trying to gain clearance. I went back to my normal left foot position, but to gain clearance I rotate my hips, and I think I've eliminated the problem. As always, I know it's too soon to declare victory (solutions tend to be short-lived or otherwise elusive), but I might be on the right path.

Hope so.
Ye when things are so intertwined and connected like in a pool setup, change one thing, affect another....that's just the dance we dance till they all gel. Hope this lil victory is a lasting one. As always, plenty more around the corner.
Keep plugging away.
 

sparkle84

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Again, it all depends on whether you wish to be a better pool player or you wish to spend the next 5 years refining your mechanics.
News flash: Let's say you do succeed in developing a perfectly straight stroke.
What does that mean? We've never actually seen a video of you playing but if I had to guess I'd estimate your Fargo to be somewhere in the low to mid 400 range.
So now, after a great deal of time and effort you have a really straight delivery.
This is just a guess but I'd estimate that at that point you'll be in the high 400 range.
If that's acceptable then carry on. If you'd rather be in the mid to high 500 range after a few years then MO is to forget the straight stroke and learn how to play the game. I really don't think you have the time to do both.
There's tons of details I could get into but I just don't have the time or energy.
As I said before you'll have to decide what is best for you.
 

dquarasr

Registered
Again, it all depends on whether you wish to be a better pool player or you wish to spend the next 5 years refining your mechanics.
News flash: Let's say you do succeed in developing a perfectly straight stroke.
What does that mean? We've never actually seen a video of you playing but if I had to guess I'd estimate your Fargo to be somewhere in the low to mid 400 range.
So now, after a great deal of time and effort you have a really straight delivery.
This is just a guess but I'd estimate that at that point you'll be in the high 400 range.
If that's acceptable then carry on. If you'd rather be in the mid to high 500 range after a few years then MO is to forget the straight stroke and learn how to play the game. I really don't think you have the time to do both.
There's tons of details I could get into but I just don't have the time or energy.
As I said before you'll have to decide what is best for you.
Understood. Your assessment of my skill level is accurate. But I need to get to where I stop missing shots I should make, so often. It’s not that I expect to be perfect; no one is. It’s sometimes when I miss, I miss badly and too frequently. So exorcising those fairly major stroke flaws, to me, is a prerequisite to effectively learning how to play the game. I’m not working on my stroke in a vacuum. I’m playing 8, 9, and 14.1 leagues, one each, where I can practice strategy, critique the stupid decisions I often make, learn my limits and when to play defense vs going for the runout. Complemented by practicing stroke and fundamentals at home. Do you think that is a sound approach?

I am not trying to go on tour or become a road player. At 67, I just want to be a good hobbyist.
 

WobblyStroke

Well-known member
Again, it all depends on whether you wish to be a better pool player or you wish to spend the next 5 years refining your mechanics.
News flash: Let's say you do succeed in developing a perfectly straight stroke.
What does that mean? We've never actually seen a video of you playing but if I had to guess I'd estimate your Fargo to be somewhere in the low to mid 400 range.
So now, after a great deal of time and effort you have a really straight delivery.
This is just a guess but I'd estimate that at that point you'll be in the high 400 range.
If that's acceptable then carry on. If you'd rather be in the mid to high 500 range after a few years then MO is to forget the straight stroke and learn how to play the game. I really don't think you have the time to do both.
There's tons of details I could get into but I just don't have the time or energy.
As I said before you'll have to decide what is best for you.
That particular flaw was glaring and no chance to get to high 500s with it still causing big misses on relatively simple shots. He possibly (hopefully) fixed it with the adjustment he made. Now he can focus on working on his game and getting to the high 500s. But, really there is little value in knowing what shots to shoot and how if you have a massive mechanical flaw that will prevent you from executing the shots you see at anywhere near a decent percentage.

And really I'm with you and I think seeking mechanical perfection is fool's gold. But there is a minimum standard you must get to in order to be able to rely on your technique to actually allow you to show you your game. This particular error wasn't only massive, but it has a relatively easy fix. Something like that must be prioritized.

Reminds me of Bob's story of the guy who had terrible fundamentals and couldn't deliver the cue consistently but was getting lessons on off angle banks. Obv, it did him little good to know how to hit them since his technique was so bad he couldn't actually deliver the ball where he wanted. Don't be that guy. Besides, learning comes a lot quicker when you are getting good feedback on your shots because you are actually able to send the CB where you intend to. There's plenty of room to be bad at this game with a great stroke since there is so much knowledge to it. But all the knowledge in the world won't do you any good if you don't have at least a passably reliable stroke.
 
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