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View Full Version : The backhand grip that would make instructors cry.



DeadCrab
08-18-2007, 09:37 AM
I have found a grip for my backhand that has really helped straighten out my stroke. I think this is mainly because it gives be good feedback regarding stick position in all three planes of motion (yaw, pitch, and roll). I probably have increased stroke problems because I shoot left handed, but I am right eye dominant.

I cradle the stick with the first knuckle (proximal interphalangeal joints) pointed straight at the floor, as is typically recommended. Little finger off the stick, ring finger very light pressure. Instead of wrapping my thumb around the stick, I lay it flat, on the top of the stick, aligned with the long axis of the stick, directly opposite the knuckles cradling the stick. So, you basically point your thumb where you want the stick to go.

This has helped me reduce the usual culprits like steering and wrist rotation, and I find that I am changing my "choke up" on the stick a lot more, which probably reduces pendulum effect. For follow through, the thumb should continue pointing right at the target.

Since you don't see top players doing it, it probably isn't a great thing, but it works better for me, so far.

Fran Crimi
08-18-2007, 10:49 AM
[ QUOTE ]
This has helped me reduce the usual culprits like steering and wrist rotation, and I find that I am changing my "choke up" on the stick a lot more, which probably reduces pendulum effect. For follow through, the thumb should continue pointing right at the target. <hr /></blockquote>

It reduces everything, including your stroke, which is why you're getting a quick fix. You're going to have a whole lot of trouble with the big shots with that restricted stroke. I don't think it's worth it---Neither do the pros.

Fran

DeadCrab
08-18-2007, 11:08 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Fran Crimi:</font><hr> &lt;/font&gt;&lt;blockquote&gt;&lt;font class="small"&gt;Quote:&lt;/font&gt;&lt;hr /&gt;
This has helped me reduce the usual culprits like steering and wrist rotation, and I find that I am changing my "choke up" on the stick a lot more, which probably reduces pendulum effect. For follow through, the thumb should continue pointing right at the target. <hr /></blockquote>

It reduces everything, including your stroke, which is why you're getting a quick fix. You're going to have a whole lot of trouble with the big shots with that restricted stroke. I don't think it's worth it---Neither do the pros.

Fran <hr /></blockquote>

Yes, it does shorten the stroke. Playing on a 7' table, this is not the liability that it would be on a bigger one. The way I see it, it is the thumb position on the stick that limits the stroke, everything else is good. Once I get the backhand feel grooved, it is a matter of moving the thumb to the side while keeping everything else that has been learned from keeping the thumb on the stick.

Like I said, instructors wouldn't like it.

Fran Crimi
08-18-2007, 12:33 PM
I played on the pro tour for 20 years. I'm not just an instructor. Everything I teach, I've tested in competition. You are making a mistake. Trust me.

Fran

pooltchr
08-18-2007, 03:39 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote DeadCrab:</font><hr>
Yes, it does shorten the stroke..... Playing on a 7' table, this is not the liability...
<font color="blue"> Anything you do that limits your stroke is definiately a liability. </font color>

Like I said, instructors wouldn't like it. <hr /></blockquote>
<font color="red"> Here's another instructor that agrees with Fran.
Steve </font color>

randyg
08-18-2007, 03:56 PM
I think Deadcrab is "pulling our leg"....SPF=randyg

wolfdancer
08-18-2007, 04:11 PM
Actually, I think he's on to something here; ...he may also be "on something"?
I intend to try this tip out next time I am playing pool on my yacht where yaw, pitch and roll, sometimes affect one's stroke.

1Time
08-18-2007, 04:34 PM
I occasionally use that thumb pointing grip on certain shots, but with a variation. I bend my thumb so its tip is touching the cue. It's a very stable grip. You may find you like this even better. I actually got the idea of using it from how a few pro golfers hold their putters with their thumb tips touching the putter's grip. For most shots I use a couple more standard grips. I've found the grip to be a very important component to shot making and cue ball control. I say use whatever grips work best.

DeadCrab
08-18-2007, 04:36 PM
Next time you see Tiger Woods plant one, look where his thumbs are relative to the long axis of the club.

Next time you see a surgeon sew, look where their index finger is (hint:laying right on the long axis of the needle holder).

Next time you see a skilled wood carver use a gouge or chisel ... guess what they put their thumb or index finger? It is on the long axis of the tool. Same as mechanics using a screw driver in tight places, ect, ect.

None of this is by happenstance. It is how you correctly position and control a tool.

I found that using my thumb along the shaft helped me get the stick where it needed to be in 3-planes. I went back after Fran's admonitions, and found that if I lined up and did my "approach" with my thumb on the long axis, and then let it fall passively to the side before shooting, I got the benefits of lining up an accurate stroke, without the negatives of having my thumb locking up the cue and shortening the stroke.

Frankly, I don't think that this is any more outlandish than the "fork ball" and "thumb down" grips that were discussed on this forum a couple of years ago. It is certainly no sillier than some of the gizmos that get pedaled to newbies by some of the best in the business.

It helped my stroke, which may be reflective of the dire straits it was in. If you are afraid it will destroy your game or send the earth hurtling towards the sun, don't use it.

cushioncrawler
08-18-2007, 06:23 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote wolfdancer:</font><hr>Actually, I think he's on to something here; ...he may also be "on something"? I intend to try this tip out next time I am playing pool on my yacht where yaw, pitch and roll, sometimes affect one's stroke.<hr /></blockquote>Woolfy -- It allso works in the bedroom. I now find that i dont needta turn the light on. madMac.

Fran Crimi
08-18-2007, 10:15 PM
[ QUOTE ]
I went back after Fran's admonitions, and found that if I lined up and did my "approach" with my thumb on the long axis, and then let it fall passively to the side before shooting, I got the benefits of lining up an accurate stroke, without the negatives of having my thumb locking up the cue and shortening the stroke.
<hr /></blockquote>

You know what I can't figure out? How your stroke continued to improve after you dropped your thumb. I can understand the temporary benefit of the short stroke with your thumb on the butt, but using your thumb to align your shot and then dropping it down? Most players don't realize how much goes into alignment, all the way from head placement to how you point your toes. The only thing I can think of is maybe as you point your thumb at your target, it's causing you to step into the shot a bit differently. Other than that, I'm sitting here scratching my head. I'm stumped.

Fran

ken_r
08-19-2007, 01:30 AM
Frankly, I can't figure out how it improved when he put his thumb on the stick in the first place.

Fran Crimi
08-19-2007, 08:20 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote ken_r:</font><hr> Frankly, I can't figure out how it improved when he put his thumb on the stick in the first place.

<hr /></blockquote>

Yes, I know what you mean. It's a very limited benefit for players who twist during the stroke process. The thumb acts as a focal point for concentration. If you can keep it on the top (or sometimes side) of the cue all through the stroke, you aren't twisting. But you wind up with a stroke in a vise.

Fran

1Time
08-19-2007, 11:47 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote ken_r:</font><hr> Frankly, I can't figure out how it improved when he put his thumb on the stick in the first place.

<hr /></blockquote>

Often one will find there's a huge difference between thinking and doing. I suggest there is a greater chance of better understanding this grip after one tries it.

Aiming is largely a matter of imagination. Lining up the OP's grib thumb on the cue likely assists with imagining a line from the thumb and extending through the tip of the cue.

I, however, found the largest benefit from using my variation of this grip to be the stability of the grip, which in certain shots provides more accuracy and control.

cushioncrawler
08-19-2007, 04:59 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Fran Crimi:</font><hr> &lt;/font&gt;&lt;blockquote&gt;&lt;font class="small"&gt;Quote:&lt;/font&gt;&lt;hr /&gt; I went back after Fran's admonitions, and found that if I lined up and did my "approach" with my thumb on the long axis, and then let it fall passively to the side before shooting, I got the benefits of lining up an accurate stroke, without the negatives of having my thumb locking up the cue and shortening the stroke.<hr /></blockquote>You know what I can't figure out? How your stroke continued to improve after you dropped your thumb. I can understand the temporary benefit of the short stroke with your thumb on the butt, but using your thumb to align your shot and then dropping it down? Most players don't realize how much goes into alignment, all the way from head placement to how you point your toes. The only thing I can think of is maybe as you point your thumb at your target, it's causing you to step into the shot a bit differently. Other than that, I'm sitting here scratching my head. I'm stumped. Fran<hr /></blockquote>Fran -- I am thinking that putting yor thumb on top makes u hold the cue "shorter", ie yor arm is foreward of vertical. Holding the cue shorter might be frowned upon but i reckon that many players out there would actually benefit (for some shots for some of the time). Apart from the shorter grip, it would i think give a shorter backswing, with possible benefits for some players allso. And, of course, it givz a shorter followthroo (ditto). madMac.

Fran Crimi
08-19-2007, 06:46 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote cushioncrawler:</font><hr> Holding the cue shorter might be frowned upon but i reckon that many players out there would actually benefit (for some shots for some of the time). Apart from the shorter grip, it would i think give a shorter backswing, with possible benefits for some players allso. And, of course, it givz a shorter followthroo (ditto). madMac. <hr /></blockquote>

It's possible, Mac. I think I'm giving up speculating here unless I actually see him shoot. There are too many possibilities and a whole lot of variables. Change one key variable and the whole theory changes---ya know?

Maybe he'll post a video of himself.

Fran

ken_r
08-19-2007, 07:45 PM
[ QUOTE ]
Often one will find there's a huge difference between thinking and doing. I suggest there is a greater chance of better understanding this grip after one tries it. <hr /></blockquote>

Fair enough.

I gave the grip a try. All I can say is my thumb/wrist must not bend like yours does. Using this grip I have zero back swing. The only way I can even make an attempt at a stroke with this grip is to use my shoulder or to open my grip hand so the cue is dangling on the tips of my fingers.

wolfdancer
08-20-2007, 01:23 PM
Mac, I think there's a reason that no one else, in the long history of this game....has ever tried to promote such a grip variation. And after three of the Nation's best instructor's speak up here against the idea...
I tried it and it felt so awkward, I gave up.
But, if it is helping out in his game...and as he says, on a 7 ft'r you don't need a lot of stroke.....(with the generous pocket openings, you don't need a lot of aim either)
I had already made a little adjustment with my thumb position that helped cure my tendency to twist the shaft on some shots. It works for me...but for someone else???
This also reminds me of Golf where the supposed problem is that a player is lifting his head....but that's just an effect, and not a cause...something that occurs earlier in the swing has caused the head to lift...
I'd look for something else that may be causing "yaw" etc.
Speaking of thumbs...two great golf tips I read recently involve both thumbs....I'm hitting the ball straighter and farther now....but I'm all thumbs....

KellyStick
08-20-2007, 03:50 PM
I thought I was a sort student of the game. And I guess I am but after reading this it ocurred to me that I have no idea how I hold my stick. I hold it the way it feels good and is probably feels good differently depending on the type of shot. If that makes any sense. I watch the end of the cue to make sure it's not wandering all over the place with my stroke. BUt I really don't know how I hold it.

I'll have to experiment now and see what I do. Probably gonna screw up my game for months....

Deeman3
08-21-2007, 08:20 AM
Wolfdancer,

Wow, I'm having a hard time just getting my brain around this one. If they are saying that they are placing the thumb on top of the cue, would that not increase the tension in the top forearm muscle during the stroke?

I know there are some legitimate alterations to bridge and grip for a few specialized cases, handicaps and so forth. However, the snooker players seem to do very well because they are disciplined to do things "the right way" from the git go and, therefore, don't suffer the abnormal adjustments we continue to try to make to solve fundamental bad practices.

I suffered for about a year with an open bridge in the fact that, after 30+ years of using a closed bridge exclusively, I just couldn't discipline myself to keep the cue from flying up after a shot. (It took Scott to point this out to me) I know SPF would supposedly cure this but it was much easier to go back to my tried and true closed bridge with only a slight falloff in long shot accuracy.

I think, once a person starts venturing into the "adjustments" phase of alterning their game with non-standard grips, stances and bridges, they need to run, as fast as they can, to a qualified instructor.

Jager85
08-21-2007, 11:34 AM
Anytime I have a stroke problem it is because my grip is too tight. This grip sounds tighter like it would make my stroke worse. Everybody is different so I guess whatever works, but it is definately not for me.

Jager

DeadCrab
08-21-2007, 12:01 PM
In order to clarify things a bit, it should be noted that when I started playing regularly (about 8-9 mos ago), I wanted to develop a "touch" game. I didn't want to be a banger. So, I took a very light grip on the cue. I mean, really light. I was using my index, middle, and thumb tips to hold the sides of the cue. Not cradling the cue at all. No finger contact between 4 and 8 o'clock. Lots of air between the cue and thumb-index web.

As other aspects of my game improved, I became very confident in my choice of aim point, and realized I had a delivery problem. Some of this is due to being a left shooter - right eye dominant, but it became clear that with prolonged shooting, I was having backhand problems.

I did a search on this forum, and found some posters (in 2005) had success using the "thumb down" grip. I tried this,with varied results. When I did it in a mirror, I could see why it wasn't working well for me. When holding a cue, and pointing my thumb straight down, my wrist would extend about 20 degrees. As I have heard that the wrist should stay neutral, with the apex of the thumb-index web straight up, I started looking for a way to achieve this.

For my hand-cue combination, I can confirm this alignment by laying my thumb on the long axis. For whatever reason, this helps get my wrist neutral. After taking stance, I set my left hand with the thumb on the top of the stick. When I shoot, I either let the thumb fall off the stick, or let the knuckle relax and bend a bit. On backstroke, I let the ring and little fingers roll off the stick.

I'll see how things go. Hopefully with time I won't need a spatial reminder. If I don't progress with this, a couple of wraps of adhesive tape can keep the old wrist where it belongs.

Deeman3
08-21-2007, 02:00 PM
Whatever works for you, works for you. It just seems gimicky to me to do other than the simplist thing to deliver the cue in a straight line if you have to go beyond what is considered normal in holding a cue. I could be wrong but to make a comparison to golf, if you are having to turn your wrists "strong" to avoid a slice, you are not addressing the fundamental flaw in your swing. Same thing in pool. Just because you think laying your thumb in a different place increases your ability to stroke straighter, does not mean it is so. I believe, and I'm not the last word on this, that if you have to compensate for the inability to hold your wrist straight by any sort of adjustment, that adjustment will break down under pressure over time and you will, then, make other adjustments to compensate.

So, in golf I'd consider adjusting my swing mechanics and in pool I'd look to re-master the basics. You say your aim is good so why do other than go back and learn how to keep your wrist straight and consistent? I still think applying pressure with your thumb will eventually happen and you will compensate for the tightened muscle. I have been wrong before.

wolfdancer
08-21-2007, 03:38 PM
Dee, that goes along with my thinking....like "lifting your head up" in golf....which is an effect of an earlier error.
Three top instructors here, don't like it (and that's about $300 worth of advice)
While the "band-aid" may work for awhile...it doesn't sound like a long term solution.
In my experiment...it seemed to place the rest of my hand off plane????

pooltchr
08-21-2007, 04:41 PM
Dee,
This is precisely why we always start out with new students evaluating the fundamentals. If you got the basics right, there is no need to add anything to artificially force yourself to do what is correct. There is a very simple way to move the cue forward in a straight line. I see no reason to make it more difficult. Let the weight of the cue draw your grip hand straight down below the elbow. (Gravity works if you aren't trying to fight it) Then simply let your forearm swing back and forth from the elbow. Guess what? The grip hand (and the cue that it is holding) both move in a straight line!
Twisting the wrist, steering the cue, and many other problems can only happen when the shooter lets extra muscles get into the picture.
Keep it Simple.
Steve

Deeman3
08-22-2007, 07:45 AM
Steve,

I remember Fran, years ago when she was about the only professional instructor on this board, "Why would you make such a simple game/motion complex? Back-Forward-Smooth."

You can't get much better advice than that.

SKennedy
08-22-2007, 09:05 AM
Reading these posts is interesting for the simple fact that no matter the "sport," basic fundamentals are always key. I am not the expert at pool or golf, but do know things like baseball. Some of the same terms are used (follow through, etc.) regardless of the sport. I do know this.....if your fundamental mechanics are not sound, you will only reach a certain level of ability and will find it very difficult or impossible to improve beyond that point. You'll be sitting there wondering why others have passed you by when it comes to skill. Also, regardless of your skill level, we all fall into bad habits we fail to sometimes recognize that can really affect our game. Guess that is why pros will video themselves and have others they trust review and point out problems, etc.
As to thumbs and quick fixes....if they are not part of the basic fundamantal mechanics, then it's best to leave it be. As to my pool playing expertise and value of my pool coaching abilities....not worth a plug nickel. I'm just offering a general opinion.

okinawa77
08-22-2007, 08:06 PM
The bottom line is...dexterity is a key factor to success in stroking. There is an endless number of different grips and bridges and stances and aiming positions, but it all comes down to dexterity. Using your thumb the way you described is not a big deal. If it works, then use it.

Hell, I did a Philipino behind the back variation during a straight pool match....only it was behind the head. I could either try to masse left handed...or do it right handed with the "behind the back" modified. I tried it, and made the shot. My opponent just about lost his mind when I pulled it off. I really love to play pool, and I am a firm believer...as in life in general....that anything is possible. When you start putting limits on yourself, just because other people say it's not possible or not a good idea, then you have already lost.

Be free. What does it hurt to try something new or different.

I mean.. a lot of these techniques were created by experimentation.

One stroke I would like to try is the "slip stroke". In my experiences, few people use it, few people know about it, and trying to describe the technique is a difficult task in itself.

Fran Crimi
08-22-2007, 10:26 PM
[ QUOTE ]
Be free. What does it hurt to try something new or different.
<hr /></blockquote>

What does it hurt? Nothing, as long as you've got a hundred years on your hands to experiment. Most of the stuff you're going to try on your own isn't going to work. That's just the way it is ---- 90% failure, 10% success, and I think I'm probably being generous with those percentages. It's probably more like 98% and 2%.

By all means, experiment away---It's one of my favorite things to do---But once in awhile you just have to trust somebody. It's a great time-saver. Go with the ones who have the most experience. Let those who have been there and done it help you through it once in awhile.

Fran

SKennedy
08-23-2007, 08:27 AM
Great advice Fran. My parents gave the same advice when I was a teen and the subject was not about pool, but life in general. Did I listen to them? Of course not. Do I wish I had? You bet! Do I wish my kids would listen to me? Absolutely! At my age, I now listen to those more knowledgeable and experienced. Saves time and aggravation!

Eric.
08-23-2007, 08:45 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Fran Crimi:</font><hr> &lt;/font&gt;&lt;blockquote&gt;&lt;font class="small"&gt;Quote:&lt;/font&gt;&lt;hr /&gt;
Be free. What does it hurt to try something new or different.
<hr /></blockquote>

What does it hurt? Nothing, as long as you've got a hundred years on your hands to experiment. Most of the stuff you're going to try on your own isn't going to work. That's just the way it is ---- 90% failure, 10% success, and I think I'm probably being generous with those percentages. It's probably more like 98% and 2%.

By all means, experiment away---It's one of my favorite things to do---But once in awhile you just have to trust somebody. It's a great time-saver. Go with the ones who have the most experience. Let those who have been there and done it help you through it once in awhile.

Fran <hr /></blockquote>

Good, sound advice. Why try to rediscover something that otehrs have already done the work on? I'd rather spend time trying to improve on others work/experience. But that's just me.


Eric

randyg
08-23-2007, 10:11 AM
Without proper "Centergistics" experimentation may become fruitless.........SPF=randyg

SKennedy
08-27-2007, 12:27 PM
Tried the thumb thing yesterday. Felt very, very awkward. Don't see how it could help anyone.

bradb
08-31-2007, 10:55 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Fran Crimi:</font><hr> &lt;/font&gt;&lt;blockquote&gt;&lt;font class="small"&gt;Quote:&lt;/font&gt;&lt;hr /&gt;
Be free. What does it hurt to try something new or different.
<hr /></blockquote>

What does it hurt? Nothing, as long as you've got a hundred years on your hands to experiment. Most of the stuff you're going to try on your own isn't going to work. That's just the way it is ---- 90% failure, 10% success, and I think I'm probably being generous with those percentages. It's probably more like 98% and 2%.

By all means, experiment away---It's one of my favorite things to do---But once in awhile you just have to trust somebody. It's a great time-saver. Go with the ones who have the most experience. Let those who have been there and done it help you through it once in awhile.

Fran <hr /></blockquote>

Hi Fran, I just had to throw my 2 cents in here. I have a similar problem to Crabs, I have a very dominate right eye and tend to over cut on shots to the right which shows up on power shots. Several years ago I switched to a looser grip with a rocking motion so the grip is mostly with the thumb and index finger and a light grip with the back fingers. This helped to eliminate wrist twist that somehow I was adding to the shot because my eye was pulling the shot right. I don't know about recommending it but it worked for me. As to pointing the thumb forward, Crab may wanna drop that or he could find himself going sideways like his namesake. /ccboard/images/graemlins/cool.gif

Fran Crimi
08-31-2007, 11:20 AM
[ QUOTE ]
Hi Fran, I just had to throw my 2 cents in here. I have a similar problem to Crabs, I have a very dominate right eye and tend to over cut on shots to the right which shows up on power shots. Several years ago I switched to a looser grip with a rocking motion so the grip is mostly with the thumb and index finger and a light grip with the back fingers. This helped to eliminate wrist twist that somehow I was adding to the shot because my eye was pulling the shot right. I don't know about recommending it but it worked for me. As to pointing the thumb forward, Crab may wanna drop that or he could find himself going sideways like his namesake.
<hr /></blockquote>

Hi Brad,

Your grip is very popular among pros. Many players put more emphasis on the first two fingers and less on the last. I prefer the opposite, but that's just my choice. Regardles of which end you prefer to put the pressure on, the key is in the looseness, just like you posted. If you're loose, then you've got a good shot to avoid twisting. As for twisting, there are so many different reasons why people twist, and it's hard to tell what the cause is without actually seeing the player shoot. Sometimes it's a dominant eye thing like you described, sometimes it's due to the player steering the shot, sometimes it's a stance issue, and sometimes it for no reason at all other than a bad habit started many years ago.

Fran

wolfdancer
08-31-2007, 12:43 PM
Brad, I "solved" my twisting problem by pointing my thumb downwards and resting the cue in it's first joint...looking at my thumb right now...I see I only have one joint in it...hmmm
Resting the cue in THE thumb joint...has helped...but I probably still add some twist (I was influenced by that Chubby Checker song...and now I look like Chubby))
Off the pool topic for a minute....I found this little place up in BC, that looked interesting....checking it out further...it's a 9 hr drive from the Border, is reachable by a ferry that operates... weekly? or a small plane that flies weather permitting....but the fishing is great...
With 40 full time residents, and 60 part time....I doubt there's a pool hall up there though....
I still may check the place out...in case they move the draft age up to include SS recipients...
web page (http://portland.craigslist.org/clk/rfs/405366498.html)

bradb
09-01-2007, 08:34 AM
Wolfie, you would love the Vancouver Island. Have you ever visited BC? The ferry (a ship really) runs every 2 hours during the day from BC or you can catch one from Washington. Port Hardy is a depressed mill town on the tip of the Island, thats why housing is so cheap... the mill shut down and its getting deserted. Pretty rugged country up there but beautiful. Lots of rain and cold in the winter but if you love fishing/camping you're in heaven. The house would make a good summer retreat.

There would be a few pubs with the odd bar table but you're about as far out as it gets.There is another ferry on over to the mainland and Prince Rupert. From there its gods country, horse back or float plane for 500 miles to Alaska.

If your gonna visit let me know I'll get you an itenerary. The ferry ride up the Queen Charlottes is worth the trip in itself. Brad

stikapos
09-13-2007, 02:05 PM
There is actually a shooter in my pool hall who uses this grip. The problem with it is that everything you shoot will become a variation of a punch stroke. This is fine if you shoot barbox, but if you have to move the cue around the table, you'll have a pretty tough time of it. You'll overhit everything in the process. And all of your efforts will certainly be laid to waste if you don't line up on the ball correctly. I've never met someone with a thumb grip that I couldn't whip like a dog. If you have problems with your stroke, I would try a stroke aid such as buddy hall's or better yet, Joe Tucker's. Or try a coke bottle. Or stroke in line with the rail. Whatever.

tim

okinawa77
09-13-2007, 04:03 PM
I think one aspect that has been overlooked in this topic for the thumb technique that DeadCrab described is that this technique has advantages/disadvantages depending on the way in which you stroke.

Rifle or Sniper stance/stroke: Commonly used in Snooker, this aiming approach involves having your face very close to your cue. Use of the thumb technique would mandate the shooter to be double or triple jointed. I happen to be double jointed, meaning I can bend my fingers back twice as much as normal. I have tried the thumb technique using the sniper aiming stance, and I found the tension during the back end of the stroke (back swing) to be distracting. But with practice and conditioning, the thumb technique can deliver the same results as any other technnique. The main area of focus would be to not allow yourself to twist the cue during the stroke...unless that is your intention. Hence the advantage of the use of the thumb technique. If you want to impart a twist at the moment of impact (which will create more action and altering of the cue ball track line) the thumb technique will allow you to deliver more twisting power. If you are not double jointed, then using this thumb technique with the sniper stance will require you to either short stroke or turn your grip hand to the side during the end of the back swing.

Mid level crouch: A lot of players bend down so that their eyes/face is about 1 foot from their cue. I usually use this stance. The same distractions/obstacles I mentioned in the sniper/rifle stance are present, but not as noticeable. One other advantage that is present in all of these stances is, using an open bridge, the thumb technique allows you to apply downward pressure with less effort than the normal grip. Thus preventing miscues associated with using an open bridge while applying english.

Stand Up approach: I have seen this aiming stance used rarely, but the shooters I have seen use this stance are usually Break and Run shooters. This stance involves just a slight bend, practically standing straight, just hunched over a little. In this stance, the thumb technique has little to no tension during the stroke. But in my testing of this Stand Up approach, your swing power is the most efficient, and it takes awhile to adjust. This requires a very soft touch because you are able to transfer tremendous power to the cue ball. Your cue ball contact aim is dependant on your bridge. The thumb technique is advantageous when using the open bridge. I have found that this stance is key to delivering a powerful break shot, but prefer not to use the thumb technique for the break, unless there is problem with stangle gripping. If I find that my grip is strangling the cue, implementing the thumb technique would alleviate this problem.

Side stroke: I think this originated from young players that were too short to reach the table. Many players that started playing at a very young age know this stroke. In this stance/stroke, use of the thumb technique would not hurt nor help the execution of the stroke. It is a similiar case to the mid level crouch.

All in all, the thumb technique is most problematic when using the rifle or sniper aiming stance. With the use of other stances, with enough practice, your consistency and execution of shots should be just as well as the recommended (most common) grip.

The thumb technique is rather awkward to use during masse or jump shots.

Just to re-iterate my previous reply, it is all a matter of dexterity as far as the success or failure of the thumb technique.

I have seen and played against players that have an arm missing, and although they do not use the thumb technique on all shots, they do use it on some, and it is advantageous for them.

I don't approve or disapprove the teaching of this thumb technique, but I think a full understanding of the technique is necessary. And ultimately, it is up to the listener/student to value or discard the information.

stikapos
09-14-2007, 09:23 AM
Okie, you are correct that stance has a great deal to do with stroke. However, I would have to say that concluding that an upright stroke grants a better chance of success using the thumb grip may ignore fundamentals. What is important in a stroke is having a pivot point that allows a burst of acceleration without imparting force. It is acceleration through the cue ball that is "stroke". Doing it with the thumb adds force, which becomes "poke". Also, the chance for moving the shoulder increases dramatically, which should decrease accuracy.

tim

1Time
09-15-2007, 06:06 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote ken_r:</font><hr> &lt;/font&gt;&lt;blockquote&gt;&lt;font class="small"&gt;Quote:&lt;/font&gt;&lt;hr /&gt;
Often one will find there's a huge difference between thinking and doing. I suggest there is a greater chance of better understanding this grip after one tries it. <hr /></blockquote>

Fair enough.

I gave the grip a try. All I can say is my thumb/wrist must not bend like yours does. Using this grip I have zero back swing. The only way I can even make an attempt at a stroke with this grip is to use my shoulder or to open my grip hand so the cue is dangling on the tips of my fingers.

<hr /></blockquote>

Your solution to this is to move your grip abnormally forward on the cue (find what works best). An alternative to this grip is what I call the "locked-wrist" grip. It's much easier to demonstrate than to explain, but the benefit is similar in that it provides more stability. I used to know a guy here in Vegas (Wally) who used this grip all the time (like he was born with it) and he played very well. However, I found use of either of these grips for every shot or even most shots to be far too limiting. I recommend this grip as a means to improve one's shot-making with a select few shots, and to provide anyone one here criticizing it a reasonable basis upon which to do so.