View Full Version : Pendulum or Piston ?: re BD Jewett article

01-27-2004, 06:06 PM
I was thumbing through my new BD that I got in the mail yesterday and I stopped to look at the graphics with Bob Jewett's article. The drawings got me to thinking (at this point CC goes "OMG!!" /ccboard/images/graemlins/shocked.gif )

I've noticed while practicing lately that sometimes my stroke changes from one type to another. Sometimes the cue tip will dip up and down...I call that stroke my "loose" stroke, while other times the tip comes straight back and goes straight forward...which I've dubbed my "tight" stroke.

I tended to think that the loose stroke was more relaxed, lended itself to a longer bridge, longer stroke, looser grip and a more upright shooting position.

The tight stroke seemed to be more conservative, shorter bridge, more concise stroke length, with a tighter grip (but not TIGHT).

Sometimes the tight stroke seemed to me to be more accurate and I attributed that primarily to the more controlled actions inherient with the short bridge and stroke.

Other times the longer loose stroke seemed more accurate and on those occasions it occurred to me that my grip was much more loose. All the muscles involved in makeing the stroke were more relaxed (this is how I began to call it the loose stroke) and I figured that any accuracy problems that I'd encountered with the tight stroke were because I'd gradually been tightening the muscles involved in shooting and got to forcing the shot.

Jewett's article talks about the pendulum and piston techniques and this appears to be exactly what I've been noticing in my stroke. He suggests that there is less to go wrong with the pendulum stroke (my loose stroke) because fewer parts of the body have to move. This makes sense to me.

Tonight, for a few minutes just before sitting down at the puter to write this, I hit a few shots using my loose stroke/pendulum stroke but instead of making in long and flowing, like many of the flashy young players...Scott Frost and Alex among others come to mind, I started shooting it with a short bridge and consequently short stroke. I think maybe this could be an important discovery, for me, that will incorporate the best of the pendulum and piston...loose/tight...strokes.

Which do you use? Which do you believe is best...piston or pendulum?

Thanks for your input.

01-27-2004, 06:18 PM
I think mine is more like a piston, I just cant get more than one to fire at a time /ccboard/images/graemlins/crazy.gif

01-27-2004, 06:34 PM
You git more than one firein at a time and you'll be in deep doo doo.

Ralph S.
01-27-2004, 08:29 PM
I prefer the pendulum stroke and have always been taught that it is the best way to go.

01-27-2004, 09:33 PM
If there was ever a post that I ought to reply to, it is this one. I am anxious to read the article to which you refer. I have been pondering nearly the exact same thing with my own stroke. I recently purchased a table for the house and am just getting back into the game in a serious manner after a 4+ year layoff. I was an APA 6 (eight ball) when I quit n 1999. Anyway, regarding my frequent, lengthy practice sessions, I have been amazed at the variation apparent with my level of play. When I practice 9-ball, I tend to play better overall as compared to 14.1, where my stroke is generally slower and tighter for most shots. I soon realized that my stroke was different, depending upon which game I was practicing. In general, I had a "loose" stroke when practicing 9-ball, when I needed to get position on a particular ball after each shot. I run about 1 out of every 12-15 racks this way, give myself ball in hand if I miss and run out after a miss about 1 in about every 4-6 racks after that. I feel my game slowly coming back, but when I practice 14.1, my tight stroke is causing me real problems. I tend to miscue more often and seem to make basic stroke-related mental errors much more frequently. I recently began choking up on my cue with my "tight" shots, ensuring that in my stroke I never allowed my hand to pass under my elbow on my backstroke, and my "tight" game has seen a sudden, very dramatic improvement. I certainly haven't got to the bottom of it yet, but feel that not using a pendulum stroke for tight, cue ball control shots has elimnated several possible sources of error in my stroke. Any input related to this from players and teachers that know more than myself would be greatly appreciated. Thanks all. This forum is of great benefit to myself and my game and is very interesting and entertainng all around! Kudos to all you Pooh-Bahs and Carpal Tunnels! /ccboard/images/graemlins/wink.gif

01-27-2004, 10:48 PM
IMO the only important aspect of the stoke is the CONSTANT delivery.

I use the piston, and when I see the pump or pendulum stoke I always see the same thing.. A constant delivery.

Chris Cass
01-28-2004, 01:20 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote sandgnat:</font><hr> Kudos to all you Pooh-Bahs and Carpal Tunnels! /ccboard/images/graemlins/wink.gif <hr /></blockquote>

Gotta love anyone from GA.


C.C.~~respect is a great feeling.

01-28-2004, 02:31 AM
Alex Pagulayan does not have a "loose/flowing" stroke. His stroke is very short, but with a longer bridge, kind of like a meld between a snooker player and a 9-ball player, which is what he is.

01-28-2004, 11:25 AM
Take a harder look at pro level players with different strokes. Regardless of what their practice strokes look like, they pretty much all drive dead straight through the cue ball on their final stroke. Even guys with a choo-choo stroke, like Reyes.

For us mere mortals, it is difficult to use one stroke for practice, and another for the final drive. So, I find it easier to always use the same stroke (which is more piston than pendulum).

There's two stroke killers that plague me. One is follow-through, or lack thereof. The other is a "choppy" backstroke. The backstroke should be like breathing...slow and easy, with no need of muscle tightening to stop it at the apex.

my 2 cents

01-28-2004, 12:34 PM

I don't have the article as I no longer subscribe. Most players are better off playing with a pendulum stroke, for the reasons I'm sure Jewett describes.

It is difficult at best to have a piston stroke (straight back and through) because of grip, wrist flexibility, stroke length, and most likely some upper arm movement. I'd venture to say most everyone has a pendulum motion, or a modified version. That is taking it for the true meaning of both motions. I'm sure Jewett goes into both to a fair degree so there is no sense to repeat information. Besides he probably writes better than I. LOL I will say about as close as you get to piston motion, is a slip-stroke which I use most of my life. These days I play with a modified pendulum. I don't really like to think about it but it's what ever type of stroke you choose that offers the most consistant delivery.


01-28-2004, 10:53 PM
The most consistant stroke for "most" people is the one where you do not drop your elbow. Once you start dropping your elbow you are faced with the question of how far do you drop it on each shot and how can you determine how far you have dropped it after each shot.

01-29-2004, 08:08 AM
Is the Cue U Grad using a piston or pendulum stroke? (See above).

01-29-2004, 08:20 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote sandgnat:</font><hr> Is the Cue U Grad using a piston or pendulum stroke? (See above). <hr /></blockquote>

looks like a pendulum but since he is playing bumper pool that may be improper form

01-29-2004, 08:25 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote charlieb:</font><hr> The most consistant stroke for "most" people is the one where you do not drop your elbow. Once you start dropping your elbow you are faced with the question of how far do you drop it on each shot and how can you determine how far you have dropped it after each shot. <hr /></blockquote>

I was taught to not drop my elbow. At one point, I was so obsessed with this that my stroke was mechanical and I was not doing the most important thing, which Scott referred to as 'throwing the cue'. Once I relaxed and just started shooting, I noticed I do drop it a little now on some shots.One to two inches or less on most shots but, it depends on the shot, how much power/speed you need,which if I am letting my cue go, getting my muscles out of the way of the shot, results in a longer follow. I say that because to me power is generated by the speed of the swing and the action of the cue with relaxed muscles. My opinion.

I think that on harder/firmer shots, I do drop it more. It is not that I am putting muscle into it. It is a matter of letting the cue do its thing without trying to enforce 'brakes' on the shot.Coming through with speed opposed to muscle, letting the cue go does tend to pull my elbow down more if the shot is long and firm or if there is a longer reach involved. For me, it has become a matter of, after lining up, doing the preshot, of trusting the stroke and letting the cue do its job without trying to control it. Scott used to say that if you are doing the stroke right, it is like 'throwing the cue'. I think that is what i finally learned how to do. Stroke, smooth, and straight, light grip and let it go with no muscling at all with a freeze at the finish to ensure not popping up (randy and scott).

It seems that on short shots or soft ones, the cue is straight through the cb. On firmer ones, especially long firm ones,the momentum of the cue pulls my elbow down more and typically points the tip down.

I am not sure about this piston thing, not having the article but think that for me, it is best to just shoot, stay loose, freeze after the shot, etc.
The less I think about it the better.


01-29-2004, 08:48 AM
Not meaning to beat this to death, well maybe, but I think its a pistulum stroke on account of the fact that he has a forearm that can expand and contract in length. Wish mine did that! All of my stroke problems would be solved.