View Full Version : Dropping the elbow, revisited.

Cueless Joey
04-23-2002, 11:40 PM
Doesn't it make sense to drop your elbow since if you couldn't drop it on the right line, you WERE out of line anyway?
OK, Ken/Rackmup gets first dib.:0)

phil in sofla
04-24-2002, 12:35 PM
No, it doesn't. The objections to dropping the elbow are not that you will be dropping it offline, but that even dropping it in line with the shot might sort of see-saw the stroke, bringing the tip up or down as you're going through the cue ball, making your hit higher or lower than you want, and maybe keeping the stroke from being level.

What makes the elbow drop make sense is instead an argument that the move only happens after the cue tip has made contact with the cue ball, and you are already through the ball, toward the end of the pendulum swing's furthest extent, before the elbow begins to drop as a kind of natural end of the swing.

However, with all the 'jump uppers' and other odd strokes that you see out there, no doubt the elbow drop could come too soon, cause all the problems those who oppose it say, and in combination with other stroke flaws, make for one big mess of stroke mechanics problems.


~~occasionally drops his elbow, mainly on slow rollers that I'd otherwise have a very small arc of swing on.

04-24-2002, 01:29 PM
It's actually harder to keep your arm straight when you drop your elbow. As soon as you release your shoulder and upper arm from a locked position, you can unintentionally pull your arm towards your body or out away from your body.

It's definitely doable but you need loads of trust and lots of practice to keep your arm straight. Once you train yourself how to do it, you still need to figure out when it makes sense to do it and when it doesn't. I can only think of a couple of shots where an elbow drop helps.

I prefer doing the minimum arm movement if I don't need more than that for a shot.


04-26-2002, 09:52 PM
Joey the argument against dropping the elbow has little to do with moving the arm off-line (although it is harder to move your arm off-line if your elbow dpesn't drop). Rather it is one of consistency, and simplicity. Ideally, if you always dropped your elbow AFTER the cueball is gone, then dropping the elbow is a non-issue. But does this really happen?

For many of the novices that I see or teach, the elbow drop is never than consistant. Sometimes it occurs BEFORE the ball is struck. This means that the tip is never struck in a consistent location. This often shows up with draw shots with novices. Sometimes they hit the ball too low -"boink!" (when the elbow doesn't drop) so they aim higher, then they drop their elbow before hitting the ball (worrying about hitting too low again)and get a stop shot instead. So next time they aim lower and.... you get the picture.

Not dropping the elbow is just simpler. It is one less joint to coordinate and time correctly. Remember you would have to time the position "and" speed of the joint in order to get a consistent result. With enough practice and time it can be done (many pros do drop their elbows after all), but we don't all have the luxury of abundant time, so simpler is better imo.


04-27-2002, 12:36 AM
Hello Tony, I know some top players drop the elbow before going through the cue ball. My question is, what do YOU feel they are gaining by delivering the cue thru the cue ball that way.-------Gilbert Grape

04-28-2002, 02:12 PM
"Hello Tony, I know some top players drop the elbow before going through the cue ball. My question is, what do YOU feel they are gaining by delivering the cue thru the cue ball that way"

Actually Gilbert, while some top players might drop their elbow before going through the cueball, I think that you will find that most do it AFTER hitting the cueball. If you look at the position of the elbow at contact, dropping the elbow can have very little effect on the shot speed (the elbow is moving in a vertical direction, not fore and aft) and if timed incorrectly, a dropped elbow could actually slow down the arm slightly.

What are they gaining from it? Probably nothing. I suspect that they are merely repeating the stroke that they learned at an early stage in their careers.

One possibility:

If your forearm is substantially forward of 90 degrees at address, then the natural motion of the cuestick will be downwards just before striking the cueball, if the elbow doesn't move. To prevent this, some players have adjusted to dropping their elbows just before contact in order to keep the cue level.

A better, or simpler solution imo, is to move the forearm so that it is at 90 degrees at contact. That way the cue will be level at impact even if the elbow is fixed. This is a simpler motion to keep consistent and timed.


04-28-2002, 04:27 PM
Thanks for your thoughts Tony. One player who I consider as good as it gets in pool fundamentals, most definitely has an elbow drop before going thru the cue ball. I've watched and admired this player for years but only noticed this after watching very closely on Accu-Stats video. I almost get the feeling it takes the tension out of his stroke and gives him a better feel for ball speed. Just a guess on my part. His name: Nick Varner-------thanks again, Gilbert Grape