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Bassn7
04-23-2006, 03:53 PM
There seems to be two methods of thought here: to pause or not to pause. I'm under the belief that the practice strokes exist to prepare your body for the stroke that you are about to use. By pausing, this would erase that preparation. I order to reproduce an exact stroke each time, what's the physical and mental purpose of the pause before shooting? If you pause before shooting, why practice stroke at all. What's the training thought here?

Scott Lee
04-23-2006, 08:28 PM
Bassn7...To my knowledge, there are not "two schools of thought". Nearly ALL good players pause before they deliver the cue on the final stroke. There are several purposes for this. First, simplified, all shots boil down to the final stroke...the one where you make contact with the CB. If you can prepare yourself, mentally and physically, to deliver one perfect swing through the CB, you have the best chance for success...pocketing the OB and getting position with CB. In order to do this consistently, a well-defined pre-shot routine is necessary, so that you set up exactly the same each time, regardless of whether the shot is easy or hard, near or far, pressure or no pressure. The pause before delivery, is to allow your brain to catch up with your eyes and arms (which are ready to go as soon as you put your bridge hand on the table), as well as confirm, emotionally and psychologically, that you ARE ready to shoot. The pause also allows you to confirm the 4 shooting decisions that are made standing up, before you bend down to the table. Finally, the pause allows you to make that 'gut check'...are you relaxed enough to freely swing the cue through the CB. If not, you go back into your warm-up cycle and pause again. Good players, on a tough shot, may do this several times, before pulling the trigger. IMO, the pause is essential to a consisent and repeatable stroke.
Whether you pause at the end of the backswing too, ala Alison Fisher or Buddy Hall, is up to you.

Scott Lee

PoolSharkAllen
04-23-2006, 10:42 PM
Scott: Up until last week, I also used to take some warm-up strokes, and then pause before shooting. However, the instructor that I was working with last week wanted me to change my stroke rhythm by slowing down my warm-up strokes and then shooting at the ball without that final pause. In particular, we were working on improving my long power draw shots. In a similar manner, I'm also trying to change my rhythm on other types of shots too...and I'm finding that this change in rhythm is taking some getting used to.

Are there certain shots where you don't want to pause before shooting, or is this just one particular instructor's shooting preference?

Bassn7
04-24-2006, 01:46 AM
Just so I understand the use of the "pause method" . . . the warm up strokes have nothing to do with preparing the arm motion(length and speed of forward motion)for the stroke that is about to be used. But instead, the practice strokes are used for proper positioning on the cue ball. Correct?

randyg
04-24-2006, 04:52 AM
Listen to Scott.

First off they are not "practice strokes", they are warm up strokes. You are confirming your cueball contact position. Therefore after all warmup strokes are complete we must SET (stop) our cue on the cueball. This is where our eyes make their transition from cueball to target.

Then we take our cue back and PAUSE to change directions and muscles.

Then we take our cue to it's Natural FINISH position(follow through) and we hold it there for a brief second of evaluation.

The back stroke and the forward stroke are not related. Two different motions with two different muscle groups and two different jobs.

Please find a SPF Instructor and do yourself a favor.....SPF-randyg

randyg
04-24-2006, 04:54 AM
POOLSHARKALLEN: I thing your instructor gave you some bad information....SPF-randyg

PoolSharkAllen
04-24-2006, 06:25 AM
Randy: This instructor is fairly well-known, as he is publishes articles in national pool magazines and other publications. I'd like to give the instructor the benefit of the doubt, and see if I can get clarification on what he intended.

My instructor and I were also working on other pre-stroke mechanics, in addition to taking continuous warm-up strokes without that final pause.

This instructor also told me that my warm-up strokes should be longer, moving back and forth from just before contacting the cue ball up to the index finger of my closed bridge. I was closely watching a videotape that I have of Allison Fisher and Karen Corr playing each other. Except for the final stroke, their warm-up strokes were much shorter. Does the length of the warm-up stroke make any difference at all in the outcome?

By the way, I noticed that both Allison and Karen also pause before taking that final stroke.

Allen

Cornerman
04-24-2006, 06:54 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Bassn7:</font><hr> Just so I understand the use of the "pause method" . . . the warm up strokes have nothing to do with preparing the arm motion(length and speed of forward motion)for the stroke that is about to be used. But instead, the practice strokes are used for proper positioning on the cue ball. Correct?



<hr /></blockquote>Incorrect. The warm up strokes are absolutely to prepare the arm motion for the actual delivery. Your initial premise was incorrect. A pause does not erase that preparation.

As an analogy, think of a martial artist breaking boards. There is a lot of warm up strokes. Then he pauses at the board, exhales with a "yell," rears back, pauses (there's always some sort of pause), then let's loose. The warm ups absolutely help him to gauge how hard and the line he's going to deliver.

Fred

Bassn7
04-24-2006, 07:51 AM
First, I'm truely enjoying this information. Thank you to all that are contrubuting. I am finding it hard to believe that the body doesn't lose the stroke speed preparation with the pause. The martial artist probably uses the same forceful stroke each time, the pool player probably is preparing one of 100 different specific strokes. Speed, arm use, wrist use, follow through are all variations to be determined, calculated and adjusted. (A much more complicated formula. I think of it like this:
Martial artist breaking a board or a bowler throwing the first ball, A+B+C+D=X
Pool Player shooting a shot, A+B+C+D+E+F+G=(Z*2+x-Y{J+l-b}+s+r*T
Pausing would seem to put you back at "A" instead of delivering the answer. But your right, it does seem to work. I've got to dwell on this more.

Stretch
04-24-2006, 07:55 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Bassn7:</font><hr> There seems to be two methods of thought here: to pause or not to pause. I'm under the belief that the practice strokes exist to prepare your body for the stroke that you are about to use. By pausing, this would erase that preparation. I order to reproduce an exact stroke each time, what's the physical and mental purpose of the pause before shooting? If you pause before shooting, why practice stroke at all. What's the training thought here? <hr /></blockquote>

Hi Bassin7, what you need to do is drop your instructor like a hot potatoe because he gave you bad information, and fall in line with the spf family of instructors ( they are all here) and sign up for lessons at pool school. It's the only way you will be saved and come to know the ultimate truth. /ccboard/images/graemlins/wink.gif

Rather than pitching you a whole new stroke. I'll just respond to your question.

The training thought behind the pause is to allow your eyes and body to RE-focus on the target. You see the transition from backstroke to forward stroke is where the shot can easily go wrong. That change of direction can distract you with last minuit thoughts, hesitation, etc. So the pause allows you to refocus and concentrate at the precise instant this rededication is required.

Often, a player will benefit by this "refocus" by simply slowing down the back swing. Draw the cue back slow and lazy like till your back to a distance appropriate to the shot. Work on a smooth transition from backswing to forward swing knowing that at the instant of transition that your eyes will be intensly focused on the target. Reolize that your stroke is a very personal thing. It reflects your own individual timeing and rythm. The idea of the warm up stroke is to prepare yourself for the type of shot required, but more specificaly to reherse a smooth and appropriate back swing. St.

Scott Lee
04-24-2006, 08:10 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Stretch:</font><hr>

Hi Bassin7, what you need to do is drop your instructor like a hot potatoe because he gave you bad information, and fall in line with the spf family of instructors ( they are all here) and sign up for lessons at pool school. It's the only way you will be saved and come to know the ultimate truth. /ccboard/images/graemlins/wink.gif<hr /></blockquote>

Stretch...There's no need for your sarcasm. What you said is essentially true, and basically parallels the same thing we "spf" instructors commented on. The truth is that there are many ways to teach yourself to play better pool.
For the majority of the MILLIONS of poolplayers out there, who really want to improve, I would rather teach something that anyone can learn, and EVERYONE can master, with the appropriate disciplined practice...rather than something that only a very few pros can do. A well-defined set of parameters for the setup and delivery of the cuestick, is a benefit to anyone wishing to improve their pool game...at any ability level.

Scott Lee

Rich R.
04-24-2006, 08:18 AM
Bassn7, I'm no instructor, and far from it, but I have taken a couple of lessons and I do try to use the pause in my stroke.
What I have found, from my personal experience is, if I try to transition from the back stroke to the forward stroke, without a pause, I tend to jerk the cue and become a lot less accurate in the delivery of the cue to the ball. Using the pause, my stroke becomes a lot smoother and, IMHO, that is a major key to playing better.

Just thought I would throw some non-technical information into the mix.

Sid_Vicious
04-24-2006, 08:46 AM
I get a lot of criticizm for my pause at the backstroke. Many of these players do pause, but at the forestroke at the final CB address. Makes me wonder about changing...sid

bsmutz
04-24-2006, 10:20 AM
I've found that for me, making the practice strokes the same length as the final stroke gives me better consistency. Also pausing at the end of the back swing of the final stroke improves consistency for me. YMMV

Rich R.
04-24-2006, 10:23 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Sid_Vicious:</font><hr> I get a lot of criticizm for my pause at the backstroke. Many of these players do pause, but at the forestroke at the final CB address. Makes me wonder about changing...sid <hr /></blockquote>
Sid, try pausing at both positions.
And I'm not trying to be a smart a$$. I'm serious.

Sid_Vicious
04-24-2006, 10:46 AM
Thanks, everythings worth a shot(no pun intended) in my current state...sid

supergreenman
04-24-2006, 10:55 AM
one more purpose of the practice stroke is to keep the muscles in your arm from tensing up before you shoot.

Can you say fast and loose?

James

wolfdancer
04-24-2006, 11:17 AM
Scott, the pause, which allows time for the eyes to refocus, was first suggested by Ibn Al-Haitham (965-1039) in his best seller book "Kitab-al-Manazir" (Book of Optics) which describes important optical laws.
(It's monday, my stocks are down, and I'm bored)

wolfdancer
04-24-2006, 11:59 AM
I think you are overcomplicating a simple one lever system...two, if you add some wrist action (radial and ulnar deviation).
Now reading from Newton's "Principia Mathematica Philosophiae Naturalis." unless we apply a force to stop the backstroke, it will continue until other external forces are applied to it. And according to the second law of motion, F=M*A........we don't want to waste force on the forward stroke,if we are still stopping the backstroke.
If the elbow joint were somewhat elastic, and potential energy could be stored on the backstroke...there would be an
advantage to a continuous stroke, maybe....
I'm sure your short term memory though, re your intended stroke length/speed....would not be drastically affected by a short 2 sec pause....at least not until you approach my age.
hope this made sense to you, as it doesn't to me

PoolSharkAllen
04-24-2006, 12:22 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote PoolSharkAllen:</font><hr> ...I'd like to give the instructor the benefit of the doubt, and see if I can get clarification on what he intended.
<hr /></blockquote>

I did a clarification from my instructor about the pause before the final stroke. Since we were working on a few different aspects of stroke and grip mechanics, perhaps I got confused with the information overload. /ccboard/images/graemlins/confused.gif

Anyways, here's a clarification of what he intended for me to do:
"The pause before the final stroke is essential. After the warmups you should take a long pause with your tip near the cue ball while you move your eyes back to the object ball.
Then, if the shot looks good, take your shooting stroke with another short pause in back. You will have to practice both pauses. The second, short pause with the tip at your bridge hand is extra important for you because you tend to take too short a backswing for your final stroke. Consciously taking the tip back to your hand and stopping it there will solve that problem. After enough practice you will be making both necessary pauses without thinking."

Now I gotta go out and practice!
Allen /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif

Bassn7
04-24-2006, 12:38 PM
Let's visit the EXACT intent of the pause. What I'm hearing is that the pause is the time allowed for the eyes to focus on the target (the precise spot on the object ball) just before releasing the backswing of the shooting stroke. The pause is not intended for preparing the speed, length or type of stroke. Is this correct?

Stretch
04-24-2006, 01:41 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Bassn7:</font><hr> Let's visit the EXACT intent of the pause. What I'm hearing is that the pause is the time allowed for the eyes to focus on the target (the precise spot on the object ball) just before releasing the backswing of the shooting stroke. The pause is not intended for preparing the speed, length or type of stroke. Is this correct? <hr /></blockquote>

Correct. everything about the shot ie speed, spin, stroke has already been programned into the action. The pause at the end of the backswing is purely a visual clerification. It's the trigger. St.

randyg
04-24-2006, 01:42 PM
Bassn7: Let's get our terminology correct. We SET on the cueball. We PAUSE at the end of our back stroke.

At that point you are correct....SPF-randyg

randyg
04-24-2006, 01:44 PM
POOLSHARKALLEN: Hire him back...randyg

dr_dave
04-24-2006, 02:57 PM
FYI,

In a past thread, many of the topics being discussed here were discussed in great detail. If you are interested, you can check out some of the key points via the links under "stroke," under "set-pause-finish-freeze" in the threads summary section of my website (http://www.engr.colostate.edu/~dga/pool/threads.html). I found it interesting to read some of these past postings after reading the debate in this thread.

Happy reading,
Dave

<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Bassn7:</font><hr> There seems to be two methods of thought here: to pause or not to pause. I'm under the belief that the practice strokes exist to prepare your body for the stroke that you are about to use. By pausing, this would erase that preparation. I order to reproduce an exact stroke each time, what's the physical and mental purpose of the pause before shooting? If you pause before shooting, why practice stroke at all. What's the training thought here? <hr /></blockquote>

dave
04-24-2006, 03:13 PM
During your warm up strokes you are supposed to continuously visually check the relationship between your tip placement on the cue ball and the contact point on the object ball. You are not supposed to look at the object ball only during the warm up strokes. In order to do this, you are supposed to alternate where you are looking (focusing) IN RHYTHM with the warm up strokes. During the backswing your eyes should focus on the object ball contact point. During the forward swing your eyes should shift to the contact point on the cueball. Then repeat this alternating focus with each successive forward and backward motion of the warm up stroke. On the final backswing, the pause is designed to allow you a moment to consciously shift you focus back to the contact point on the object ball before you complete the final forward motion and follow-through of your stroke. That alternating rhythmic focus takes a LOT of practice before it gets ingrained but this way you continuously recheck the visual elements of the shot alignment and nothing is left to chance, thereby increasing the accuracy and consistency of your stroke delivery system.

dave
04-24-2006, 03:17 PM
If you do not alter your visual focus in rhythm, if you look at the object ball only; then, in my opinion, the pause is pointless.

pooltchr
04-24-2006, 04:15 PM
Dave,
I'm afraid I have to disagree. When doing practice strokes, the eyes should be on the cue ball. If you need to check the contact point or line to the object ball, stop moving your cue, then check it. Any time you are moving the cue without the intention of striking the cue ball, you should have your eyes on the cue ball. Once you are done with the warm up strokes, set (pause at the cue ball), let your eyes focus on the target, then backstroke, pause and finish your stroke.
Allowing your eyes to focus on the target when you are moving the cue is inviting a foul.
Steve

Rod
04-24-2006, 11:34 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote PoolSharkAllen:</font><hr>

Anyways, here's a clarification of what he intended for me to do:
"The pause before the final stroke is essential.The second, short pause with the tip at your bridge hand is extra important for you because you tend to take too short a backswing for your final stroke. Consciously taking the tip back to your hand and stopping it there will solve that problem.

Allen /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif <hr /></blockquote>

Allen, thats good advice. I see this happening all the time. Players with less experience get in a hurry to shoot a shot. Doing so they snach the cue back. I have a phrase I like to use. "Finish Your Backswing".

"Gradually" bring the cue tip to the C/B and pause, let your focus go from tip placement to the O/B during this pause, "Gradually" start the cue back, (this is important because a snatch will make your backswing short) slight pause, then slowly start forward, no matter the power needed. This is the transition area. If you start forward fast, you just waisted the preparation needed to make a smooth stroke.

What you'll find, once you learn to slow down your stroke, you'll hit the cueball exactly where intended. The reason pool players never excell is they don't grasp the importance of these fundamental movements. You have to be accurate and quick movements will surely make you loose your focus.

Rod

randyg
04-25-2006, 04:42 AM
Rod: Well stated, thanks....SPF-randyg

Scott Lee
04-25-2006, 08:44 AM
As usual Rod, good post. One small thing I would like to add. Most poolplayers are unaware of how tiny the actual contact area is, between the tip and CB. It is appx. 1/8", or the size of the red circle on a red circle CB. Many players get confused with the new measles ball, and think the contact area is that same size. Because of the minute contact point, it is incredibly easy to miss striking the CB exactly where you are intending, by as little as 1/8".

Adding additional variables, such as speed, angle, and spin, make it just that much more likely that the shooter will miss where they are aiming at, by small amounts... which may result in a missed shot, or missed position. Having a well-defined preshot routine, which includes a set/pause at the CB, before the final backswing; and a smooth (or gradual/slower) backswing; helps to create a consistent, accurate, and repeatable stroke. For some players, an accentuated pause at the end of the backswing, will help in making an easy transition to an accelerated stroke, to a natural finish position.

Bottom line: Pause/set for at least ONE second at the CB, before beginning the final backswing and forward stroke. The "pause" at the end of the backswing may last a fraction of a second, or longer, depending on the desire of the shooter (the key, of course, it to do it exactly the SAME way every time). The cue must still come to a stop before changing direction...even if for only a millisecond. Hope this helps...

Also, here's a definition between practice strokes, and warm-up swings: warm up swings are done behind, and up to the CB, and help set up the timing cycle; practice strokes are taken next to, and through where the CB would be sitting, and help fix the natural finish position of the tip, and stroke speed, in the mind of the shooter (these two things are exactly the same in golf).

Scott Lee

SpiderMan
04-25-2006, 08:54 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Rod:</font><hr> I have a phrase I like to use. "Finish Your Backswing".<hr /></blockquote>

Rod,

It took me a year after our session to assimilate this into my everyday play, but it was worth it.

SpiderMan

dave
04-25-2006, 01:28 PM
Steve,
I respect your opinion and your description is certainly the valid standard of stroke mechanics for most players, especially novices. One point of clarification. Either you misread my original post or I didn't write clearly enough (which is quite likely). On the forward motion of your warm up strokes, your eyes shift focus to the cueball and the specific tip placement on that cueball. So, there is absolutely no danger of commiting a cueball foul as your response suggests. The pause on the final backswing is to ensure that you eyes have shifted back to the target on the object ball before the final motion of the forward swing and follow through. I am not advocating looking at the cueball last as you shoot the shot. Whether one agrees or not with this technique, I wanted to make sure the description was clear and understandable for anyone who may wish to try this. All the best to you. Dave

pooltchr
04-25-2006, 03:55 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote dave:</font><hr> Steve,
I respect your opinion and your description is certainly the valid standard of stroke mechanics for most players, especially novices. One point of clarification. Either you misread my original post or I didn't write clearly enough (which is quite likely). On the forward motion of your warm up strokes, your eyes shift focus to the cueball and the specific tip placement on that cueball. So, there is absolutely no danger of commiting a cueball foul as your response suggests. The pause on the final backswing is to ensure that you eyes have shifted back to the target on the object ball before the final motion of the forward swing and follow through. I am not advocating looking at the cueball last as you shoot the shot. Whether one agrees or not with this technique, I wanted to make sure the description was clear and understandable for anyone who may wish to try this. All the best to you. Dave <hr /></blockquote>

Stated that way, I agree. During the warm-up strokes, I try to have my students focus remain on the cue ball. If there is a need to check alignment to the target, I recommend they pause the cue movement, check alignment, then continue warm-ups with focus back on the cue ball.
Trying to move focus back and forth quickly just becomes confusing as the eyes never get the chance to really lock in on anything.
And I am right with you on having the focus on the target at least from the final pause until the finish.
Steve

DickLeonard
04-26-2006, 06:51 AM
Wolfdancer I never used the pause due to the tremor in my stroking arm. I attribute that to pitching curveballs at age 9 till 15. The only way I could play without the tremor affecting my stroke was to practice stroking while walking around the table. Then I would get down line up the shot and shoot, no warmup just shoot. I had minimal success with that system.

The pause if one is to add it to your stroke can only be accomplished by practicing it for two weeks without playing
anyone. It must become part of your game without thought. If it is not part of your game as soon as it is tested under fire and fails you will revert back to your old style. Most people cannot go for that length of time without playing but that is what it takes.####

Snapshot9
04-26-2006, 07:24 AM
What about players that focus on the cue ball last, like Ralf Souquet?

Now I have got to quit thinking about what you guys said, or it will MESS UP MY STROKE .... lol

I have found that one thing that 'tunes me in' is to shoot
rolling ball shots (which I have done a lot of in 44 years).
It is my 'sucker game' for A+ players and above who egos
won't let them not compete even though they never practice
them.

ceebee
04-26-2006, 07:40 AM
I use the warm up strokes as basically defined here in some of these posts. I also use my warm up strokes, to develop feel for the speed required in the shot.

Pausing for that last second check is mental insurance that my aiming is correct. Then I pull the cue back on line, to my mentally designated point for speed control &amp; stroke through the shot.

That's my 2 cents. Good Luck to you folks,,,

DickLeonard
04-27-2006, 05:54 AM
Snapshot I read a Golf aticle by Jim Colbert the Golfer in
Golf Magazine in the 1970s. In it he taught playing the shot in your mind then concentrating on the golf ball. I tried it playing pool and the first time I tried using that system I ran 212 balls with the city water dept digging up the street in front of the poolroom. The room owner thought enuff of that he had a plaque made and hung it in his room. Then I took a twenty year break and never went back to keeping my eye on the cueball.

Maybe Golf Magazine has archives where you could retrieve the article.####