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

ENGLISH!

Banned
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.

Hi Colin,

I'm not quite sure I agree about the inside english having negligible effect. (speed dependent, I guess)

But that put aside, I agree with you, that IMO, too many are too focused on trying to 'find' & then maintain what they picture as a 'perfect' stroke.

IMO, they become too mechanical.

In doing that, I think, IMO, they lose their biomechanical 'feel'.

Again, this is a good thread. When you 'speak', I see Earl shooting with a long bridge & needing that extra length cue.

Best 2 You & All,
Rick
 

Colin Colenso

<-- My Kids
Silver Member
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.
I'd call it learning.
 

Colin Colenso

<-- My Kids
Silver Member
Hi Colin,

I'm not quite sure I agree about the inside english having negligible effect. (speed dependent, I guess)

But that put aside, I agree with you, that IMO, too many are too focused on trying to 'find' & then maintain what they picture as a 'perfect' stroke.

IMO, they become too mechanical.

In doing that, I think, IMO, they lose their biomechanical 'feel'.

Again, this is a good thread. When you 'speak', I see Earl shooting with a long bridge & needing that extra length cue.

Best 2 You & All,
Rick
Cheers Rick,
I know it won't interest everyone.

Regarding IE, yes, it's speed dependent and also spin dependent, in that more IE can reduce throw as does a natural roll component or a draw component. Usually IE shots are played with natural roll, but not in all cases. The sliding type IE shots with a little IE spin can thicken a shot significantly.

I understand you often use it in a way that the cue offset cancels out the increased thickening throw.

Colin
 

ENGLISH!

Banned
Silver Member
I'd call it learning.

Hi Colin,

When I was the pitching coach for a middle school. There was a young 'man' (13) that wound up being drafted by the Houston Franchise & left College early.

When I was coaching him he threw high inside & low outside more often than he ever hit the mitt.

I noticed that he was staring down the mitt. I told him to turn his head & look at 3rd. base during his windup. He asked, 'If I do that, how will I know where to throw the ball.' I answered him back, 'You know where to throw it now, but you're not hitting your target more than 1/2 the time, so just give it a try & trust me you'll find where to throw it.' He did & threw a perfect strike that was caught with no movement of the mitt with a big loud POP. His jaw dropped & he then looked at me with a gleam in his eye & big smile game over his face.

Sometimes things can just seem counter intuitive.:wink:

Best 2 You & All,
Rick
 
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Neil

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Here's what Neil was talking about........very hard to do. Start watching at 5:50ish.....finally does after a few attempts.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V2QO6J84GOc

Yes, that's it, but I do it from half table with the ob.

Now, a disclaimer on trying that....you can drive yourself nuts trying to duplicate it even though there is nothing wrong with your aim or your stroke. Both the cb and the ob HAVE to be perpendicular to the end rail. If they are even off a little bit, a perfect hit will not return them straight back, but on an angle.

I used a T-Square off the end rail to find the correct spots to mark for the ob and cb.
 

Colin Colenso

<-- My Kids
Silver Member
Hi Colin,

When I was the pitching coach for a middle school. There was a young 'man' (13) that wound up being drafted by the Houston Franchise & left College early.

When I was coaching him he threw high inside & low outside more often than he ever hit the mitt.

I noticed that he was staring down the mitt. I told him to turn his head & look at 3rd. base during his windup. He asked, 'If I do that, how will I know where to throw the ball.' I answered him back, 'You know where to throw it now, but you're not hitting your target more than 1/2 the time, so just give it a try & trust me you'll find where to throw it.' He did & threw a perfect strike that was caught with no movement of the mitt with a big loud POP. His jaw dropped & he then looked at me with a gleam in his eye & big smile game over his face.

Sometimes things can just seem counter intuitive.:wink:

Best 2 You & All,
Rick
Good point.

It's intuitive that if we stroke crooked, then the CB will follow the stroke direction, but it is not always the case, it may go in the opposite direction and it may go straight.

An experiment to display this: Align to CCB with a 4 inch bridge, swipe to hit 1 tip to the right. Check the CB path compared to the initial alignment. The CB goes to the right of the initial aim.

Do the same with a 20 inch bridge. The CB will go to the left of the initial alignment.

Somewhere in the middle is the sweet spot, where bad stroking cancels itself out, in terms of CB direction of hit.
 

jburkm002

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I have a questionable stroke. I have questionable aim. I agree my alignment feels natural but is not properly applied on every shot. No idea where my pivot point is. I use the same pivot point on a maple shaft as I do on an LD shaft. I got so frustrated with trying new things. Game suffers before it get better. No time for practice. League is not the best time to try out new things. Play in weekend tourneys with friends. That"s the only time I don"t care about winning. Try anything then but its trying and not making it a strength. Guess it's true what they say. Shit or get off the pot. You don't get better by wanting to but only by doing that which will make you better.
 

Pidge

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
The biggest cause of misses I see is bad alignment. By far. Its generally caused by bad sighting. Things look right to them but their eyes are deceiving them. They are either aligned centre ball to miss, or aligned for a centre ball pot, but the tip isn't aimed at centre ball. All to do with bad sighting.

The second reason is why so many blame their stroke. It looks like they're lined centre ball to them, but they hit with a trace of side and miss. Poor sighting can lead to a bad stroke if done long enough. You learn to compensate and not cue straight to pocket balls. Then when you fix the sighting the sweeping across the ball still remains. Its a vicious circle.
 

jburkm002

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Nice drill. If I do it 20 times in a row with just the object ball is that good. What's wrong if I can only do it 1 out of 20 times if I add an object ball. Is it my stroke or aim or setting up the shot.
 

Colin Colenso

<-- My Kids
Silver Member
The biggest cause of misses I see is bad alignment. By far. Its generally caused by bad sighting. Things look right to them but their eyes are deceiving them. They are either aligned centre ball to miss, or aligned for a centre ball pot, but the tip isn't aimed at centre ball. All to do with bad sighting.

The second reason is why so many blame their stroke. It looks like they're lined centre ball to them, but they hit with a trace of side and miss. Poor sighting can lead to a bad stroke if done long enough. You learn to compensate and not cue straight to pocket balls. Then when you fix the sighting the sweeping across the ball still remains. Its a vicious circle.
Well explained!

Not trying to start a CTE furor, but one of the strengths of that methodology is that it requires trusting one's stroke, which cuts out that vicious circle of back and forth aligning corrections and stroking corrections.
 

Pidge

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Well explained!

Not trying to start a CTE furor, but one of the strengths of that methodology is that it requires trusting one's stroke, which cuts out that vicious circle of back and forth aligning corrections and stroking corrections.
It is also why people struggle with CTE. They system gets you onto the correct line of aim, but all those years of bad sighting means the shot might look right but they cue across the line of the shot.
 

Colin Colenso

<-- My Kids
Silver Member
It is also why people struggle with CTE. They system gets you onto the correct line of aim, but all those years of bad sighting means the shot might look right but they cue across the line of the shot.
The simplest perception must be the straight in, yet, it's a very challenging shot with 4' from OB to pocket and 4' from CB to OB, especially on tight rounded pockets with balls near rails. So even if a system provided perfect visuals, as the straight in does, it's not easy to execute the shot.
 

Neil

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Nice drill. If I do it 20 times in a row with just the object ball is that good. What's wrong if I can only do it 1 out of 20 times if I add an object ball. Is it my stroke or aim or setting up the shot.

If you can do it 20 times in a row with just the cb, you are stroking straight. If you then add an ob, and can only do it once out of 20, your aim is very suspect.
 

Scott Lee

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Trust in your stroke is paramount to high level performance on the table. There are only two ways to miss a shot...poor alignment or poor stroke. For many students correcting stroke errors leads to better alignment (as alignment is perceptual, and people perceive things in different ways). I'm not going to argue with Colin, Pidge or anybody else, but in my experience, stroke errors contribute to missing far more often than alignment errors. People who come to me with perceived errors in aiming, cannot move the cuestick in a straight line...especially on demand, under pressure, in one try! Now I certainly agree that the eyes can play tricks on our perception, but I use a different way to help a student find their "vision center". I agree with what Neil has proposed and presented.

Scott Lee
http://poolknowledge.com
 

ceebee

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
If you can do it 20 times in a row with just the cb, you are stroking straight. If you then add an ob, and can only do it once out of 20, your aim is very suspect.

Try using some video to see & learn where your problems might be. There are instructors on AZB that can analyze your videos & give you a quick assessment. Check your eye patterns & alignment of feet, body & stroke as a unit.

Good Luck
 

Matt

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I have to agree with most of the posts in this thread; they are correct based on whatever qualifying assumptions or scope limitations they have stated. Some are talking about just making the object ball, some are talking about controlling the cue ball, some assume the use of BHE, some don't, etc.

To go back to the question posed in the OP, my opinion is as follows:

1) If all you are concerned with is making the object ball and you are bridging at the effective pivot point and swerve and throw are insignificant, alignment is far more important than stroke accuracy.

2) If all you are concerned with is making the object ball and are attempting a shot where you are compensating for swerve or throw, stroke accuracy is more important than it is in the first case.

3) If you are trying to make a shot while controlling the cue ball, compensating for swerve or throw, bridging somewhere other than the pivot point, shooting down on the cue ball, and pretty much any other situation besides just trying to make a ball using BHE, I would say that the accuracy of the stroke is at least as important as the alignment. That said, you can have a laser-straight stroke and still miss the object ball if you haven't lined up correctly in the first place, including any necessary compensations.
 
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