The Greatest Myth in Billiards' History - The Bad Stroke!

jburkm002

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Neil suggested to place the cue ball and object ball in a straight line. Hitting the object ball to the rail, having it come back to hit the hit ball. If someone can do that they have perfect alignment, aim and stroke. However I just want to know if they can hit the cue ball in a straight line. So place the cue ball anywhere and aim anywhere and see if you can hit the target. Most probably can at a very high rate. Now apply english and see if you can hit the target. Now add a ball using center english and see if you can hit the target. Now add a ball and apply english and see if you can hit the target.
I don't think it's a bad stroke but maybe improper use of your stroke. Aiming in pool is hard enough playing nothing but center english. Now everyone wants to add swerve, squirt and anything else into the mix but still want to blame their stroke. So you have a 6ft cut shot and need to play sidespin for position. You have calculated for your ivory ferrule,swerve, squirt, cloth speed, humidity and temperature so you need to aim two inches off contact point. Just miss and apparently it was your stroke. Again I say take all balls off the table except the cue ball. Aim for a target and see if you can hit it 100 times using whatever english you want. Now add a ball and see what happens.
 

hang-the-9

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
It's probably because that's not what he's saying (the bolded part).

Colin can handle the rest.

Don't know, sounded like that is what he was saying here "IMHO, stroke is the bogey man excuse for bad alignment on 90+% of occasions."

Unless that means that someone that thinks they messed up because of their stroke actually messed up because they were not lined up on the shot right to begin with, now that is true.
 

Williebetmore

Member, .25% Club
Silver Member
CC, To me its semantics....I cant imagine that proper alignment (precise and reproducible) is not an integral part of every good stroke (whether using sidespin or not). Can't argue with you.

Sent from my SCH-I605 using Tapatalk
 

bdorman

Dead money
Silver Member
Is this the stroke that occurs pre-shot, post-shot or prelix-shot (or whatever the prefix was)?

Bottom line is that if you're not stroking straight through the point you intended on the CB, the CB will go in a direction you didn't intend. Sometimes by a little, sometimes by a lot. Just develop a straight stroke and you can take that out of the equation.
 

CJ Wiley

ESPN WORLD OPEN CHAMPION
Gold Member
Silver Member
This stroke is like a gun with no sights and a crooked barrel.

CC, To me its semantics....I cant imagine that proper alignment (precise and reproducible) is not an integral part of every good stroke (whether using sidespin or not). Can't argue with you.

Sent from my SCH-I605 using Tapatalk

Of course it's an integral part of a good stroke. Without the consistent foundation of feet placement and upper body angles the stroke is like a gun with no sights and a crooked barrel.
 

ceebee

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Of course it's an integral part of a good stroke. Without the consistent foundation of feet placement and upper body angles the stroke is like a gun with no sights and a crooked barrel.

It's likening to bench shooting. If you put the rifle into the stock, then aim the stock & rifle incorrectly, the bullet will not hit the target.
 

fan-tum

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
. I know my misses are stroke related, because I try to hit the cb dead center, yet after stroking, the cb always has right spin. Explain that, o wise one.
 
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Neil

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
CC, To me its semantics....I cant imagine that proper alignment (precise and reproducible) is not an integral part of every good stroke (whether using sidespin or not). Can't argue with you.

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Have to disagree with you here Willie. Alignment and stroke are two different phases of a complete shot. (finish being the third part) You can have perfect alignment and terrible stroke and miss. Likewise, you can have terrible alignment, but a perfect stroke and still miss. If one doesn't separate the two, how can one find out which is the problem?

edit: I know you have the stroke listed as having 12 components. I just feel it would be more correct to say that the shot has 12 components. You even have "practice strokes" listed as one of the twelve. I just feel that the stroke is the actual movement of the cue, while the entire process is the "shot".
 
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Neil

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
You are so full of crap!. I know my misses are stroke related, because I try to hit the cb dead center, yet after stroking, the cb always has right spin. Explain that, o wise one.

Well, hitting off to the right does not guarantee that it was a stroke issue. If you aren't aligned properly to the shot line, you will then tend to steer the cue. To find out just why you do miss hit it, you have to break it down and look at each part. It could be your stroke, it could be your alignment is not straight to start with, it also could be that you do not have the proper vision center and aren't actually seeing things actually straight.
 

sfleinen

14.1 & One Pocket Addict
Gold Member
Silver Member
Neil suggested to place the cue ball and object ball in a straight line. Hitting the object ball to the rail, having it come back to hit the hit ball. If someone can do that they have perfect alignment, aim and stroke. However I just want to know if they can hit the cue ball in a straight line. So place the cue ball anywhere and aim anywhere and see if you can hit the target. Most probably can at a very high rate. Now apply english and see if you can hit the target. Now add a ball using center english and see if you can hit the target.
[...]

What is "center english"?
 

ENGLISH!

Banned
Silver Member
Hi Colin,

I just got back from some Family Mardi Gras Festivities & I must say that this was an interesting read.

Good Thread Colin!

The Human Mind is amazing in ALL of it's different states.:wink:

Best 2 You & All,
Rick
 

SmoothStroke

Swim for the win.
Silver Member
There are many reasons a shot is missed, the stroke is just one of them.
I don't see as many players blaming the stroke as they do other things like.

I jumped up
I hit it just as I saw it
I dogged it
Moved my bridge hand
Had a crappy bridge
Took my eye off it
Miscued
Sharked
I'm singing
Need a tip
The waitress
Didn't commit
Talked myself out of that shot
Etc.
Or they could have very well executed a poor delivery.
Add whatever excuse you like

If an experienced player blames the stroke I think it has a lot to do with indecision. They could have played follow 2 rails or punched 1 rail across. They were undecided when they went down, not fully committed, they took the shot and were caught up in between, blaming it on a stroke error. They made a stroke error of the brain.

If an inexperienced player misses and blames the stroke well they just haven't learned all the excuses.

It's always good to miss a shot or miscue, then look at your tip. Then look around at everyone as if you justified your error, make sure you grab the chalk and chalk it up before you sit down.
 

victorl

Where'd my stroke go?
Silver Member
So far most of the discussion has been about missed shots, but if we start talking about missed position, I think stroke plays a much larger role.
 

Colin Colenso

<-- My Kids
Silver Member
These days, a large number of players, including many top players, use LD shafts. And many of those players probably use bridge lengths on many shots that are shorter than their shaft's natural pivot length. Will you be able to provide advice that will help those players as well -- through the use of front-hand english and combinations of FHE and BHE?
On firm shots, if you're comfortable with a 14-15 inch bridge length, purely BHE can still be used. If a shorter bridge is preferred or required, then it's back to near parallel aiming, which essentially is a combination of BHE and FHE.
 

Colin Colenso

<-- My Kids
Silver Member
You need to define your terms. Where does "stroke" end, and "alignment" begin?

My definition of a "good stroke" is the ability to deliver the cue in the direction you want, at the speed you want, and at the contact point on the cue ball that you want. Under this definition, having a good stroke is very important.


The simple test/proof of this is that long straight shots, which are trivial from the point of view of aiming. These are not easy shots. People miss them, even great players.

Another thing that is trivial from the point of view of aiming (or "alignment") is hitting a long straight shot and then drawing the ball say a table length or more. There's nothing to judge, no angles, the only question is whether you can consistently deliver a straight powerful stroke that impacts the cue ball well below center, but not so far that you miscue.
My point is that if the bridge is in the right position, then I can make the shot with various strokes that aren't what one considers good stroking. I've been hoping respondents would provide some insights into the nature and degree to which some strokes actually effect the line the CB takes and even how some strokes affect the throw direction of the OB.

The reason is that such effects are assumed and rarely if ever explained, let alone quantified.
 

Colin Colenso

<-- My Kids
Silver Member
CC, To me its semantics....I cant imagine that proper alignment (precise and reproducible) is not an integral part of every good stroke (whether using sidespin or not). Can't argue with you.

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Hi Wilie,
I've seen so many guys look back at their arm and/or retrace their stroke after a miss, when I know they aligned wrong that I'm convinced stroking is like a god to them and the cause for all wrongs.

For every 1000 conversations on stroking, there is barely ever a mention of what these supposed stroke errors actually do, in terms of the effect on hitting to where one is aiming.

Cheers,
Colin
 

Colin Colenso

<-- My Kids
Silver Member
There are many reasons a shot is missed, the stroke is just one of them.
I don't see as many players blaming the stroke as they do other things like.

I jumped up
I hit it just as I saw it
I dogged it
Moved my bridge hand
Had a crappy bridge
Took my eye off it
Miscued
Sharked
I'm singing
Need a tip
The waitress
Didn't commit
Talked myself out of that shot
Etc.
Or they could have very well executed a poor delivery.
Add whatever excuse you like

If an experienced player blames the stroke I think it has a lot to do with indecision. They could have played follow 2 rails or punched 1 rail across. They were undecided when they went down, not fully committed, they took the shot and were caught up in between, blaming it on a stroke error. They made a stroke error of the brain.

If an inexperienced player misses and blames the stroke well they just haven't learned all the excuses.

It's always good to miss a shot or miscue, then look at your tip. Then look around at everyone as if you justified your error, make sure you grab the chalk and chalk it up before you sit down.
Nice points. I bolded some which seem more relevant to the discussion.

In terms of actually hitting to the aim point, jumping up and taking one's eyes off the ball are classic bad stroking methods, but how do they effect the line of shot. For me, hardly at all, in terms of making the shot. In terms of positional play, they may have consequences.
 

Colin Colenso

<-- My Kids
Silver Member
A thought experiment to help some try to get my point:

If I hit unintended right side english, lets say it is inside. Squirt deflects the CB to the left, the cue direction pushes the CB to the right and the spin on the CB leads to spin induced throw on the OB... more or less than one expected? That depends on the speed of shot, amount of offset and the cut angle. In many cases with IE, the throw is about the same actually.

And what about the effect of swipe? How far can we swipe a CB off our aim line at firm v slow speeds?

If my bridge is longer than my pivot point and I swipe left and hit the CB a little left of center, does the CB go to the right or left of where I aimed?

Interestingly, if one bridges a little longer than one's pivot point, many of these effects cancel each other out.
 

Colin Colenso

<-- My Kids
Silver Member
As not many responses have provided specific points regarding aspects of the stroke and how they effect aiming, I'll provide some of the DO NOTS, which certainly are stroke errors that send the OB off the aim line.

On near straight in shots, applying unintended side english throws the OB offline. On slow shots the throw effect increases, as does swerve on the CB, further messing up the shot. On firm shots, throw is less, swerve is far less (unless the CB is hit high) and depending on one's bridge position relative to the cue's pivot point, deflection could counteract or add to the error. Bridging a little longer than one's pivot point can reduce and even cancel out the effects of such stroking errors.

On cut shots, applying unintended outside english can throw the OB significantly off the intended path. Conversely, unintended inside english often has negligible effect on the OB path. So being careful to hit center or slightly inside can be a way to avoid the stroking errors that result from unintended outside english.

Swiping: When we see cue actions that swipe, it is often assumed this changes the direction of the CB significantly. I suggest people aim at a mark 7 feet away and swipe some shots, hitting near to CCB at slow and firm speeds and see what swiping actually does. Experiment with bridge lengths too and see how that effects any change in direction of the CB due to swiping.

These effects are complex and interrelated, hence they're typically thought of as a forbidden zone and the mysterious cause of many wrongs. Hence they make great excuses for missed shots. If we understood them better, and used our smarts to reduce their influence, we could relive ourselves of a great deal of pressure regarding perfect stroking and focus upon the main causes of missing shots... i.e. Bad aiming via incorrect bridge V placement.
 
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Neil

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
As not many responses have provided specific points regarding aspects of the stroke and how they effect aiming, I'm provide some of the DO NOTS, which certainly are stroke errors that send the OB off the aim line.

On near straight in shots, applying unintended side english throws the OB offline. On slow shots the throw effect increases, as does swerve on the CB, further messing up the shot. On firm shots, throw is less, swerve is far less (unless the CB is hit high) and depending on one's bridge position relative to the cue's pivot point, deflection could counteract or add to the error. Bridging a little longer than one's pivot point can reduce and even cancel out the effects of such stroking errors.

On cut shots, applying unintended outside english can throw the OB significantly off the intended path. Conversely, unintended inside english often has negligible effect on the OB path. So being careful to hit center or slightly inside can be a way to avoid the stroking errors that result from unintended outside english.

Swiping: When we see cue actions that swipe, it is often assumed this changes the direction of the CB significantly. I suggest people aim at a mark 7 feet away and swipe some shots, hitting near to CCB as slow and firm speeds and see what swiping actually does. Experiment with bridge lengths too and see how that effects any change in direction of the CB due to swiping.

These effects are complex and interrelated, hence they're typically thought of as a forbidden zone and the mysterious cause of many wrongs. Hence they make great excuses for missed shots. If we understood them better, and used our smarts to reduce their influence, we could relive ourselves of a great deal of pressure regarding perfect stroking and focus upon the main causes of missing shots... i.e. Bad aiming via incorrect bridge V placement.

I would classify that as adding another element to counter a bad element. Much easier to just learn to hit where you want to, then you don't need to add band-aids. Each person can decide for themselves which way is smarter.
 
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