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View Full Version : Squirt and Back Hand English -- a question



JoeW
05-20-2008, 05:07 PM
Joe Tuckerís recent three part video on the use of side spin raises an interesting issue. I have not been a big fan of back hand English but now see that using JoeTís approach to a modified BHE it dramatically improves my use and control of side spin. Apparently he combines front hand offset with back hand English to reduce the amount of squirt. The concept of a pivot point is not an issue in Joe's approach though it may explain why some pros have extended bridges.

It would seem that when the cue stick is offset and held parallel to the center of the cue ball the maximum amount of squirt is obtained. Using JoeTís approach the bridge hand offsets for English and the back hand moves towards the center of the cue ball (or the line of travel for the CB).

It seems to me that when this back hand shift is used that the cue stick has a reduced tendency to push the cb off line. This appears to make sense as there is less force applied to the side of the CB and relatively more force from the center line of aim. (JoeT's videos are an excellent examples of the technique if they are studied closely.)

Is this true from a mechanical point of view?

Whatever is going on, I learned from JoeTís videos that keeping the back of the cue stick closer to the line of travel for the cue ball leads to better control. Setting aside the Hawthorn effect (any new idea produces a positive effect just because its new or observed) it may be that the player is placing more concentration of the cb line of travel relative to squirt and this is the simple answer to the improved cb control.

I am anxious to here some sound reasoning from our educated colleagues, as I find that the technique can be used to significantly improve oneís shot making. I suspect that the improvement is effective for those who already take the game and their practice routines seriously.

One of the primary benefits, as alluded to by JoeT, is the idea that inside English can be used much more often to control cue ball positioning. Here too I had been of the opinion that the less English one uses the higher the rate of consistency. JoeTís technique suggests otherwise for serious players who seek excellent control.

I do not know what is going on here, I do know that my shot making and cue ball control have taken a stage shift over the last week. I am now running tables that I did not run before.

I observed a pool buddy who is a B+ to A- player in a five hour match we had this weekend. I noted that he too uses this technique. When I asked him where he learned it, he did not know what I was talking about. Seems that he has played like this for years. I have yet to observe some other excellent players but I suspect that it is a technique that is used by othrs, perhaps unconsciously.

Considered opinions are sincerely appreciated.


Joe Tucker three part video (http://www.howcast.com/videos/3348-How-To-Apply-Side-Spin-To-the-Cue-Ball-and-Its-Effects)

dr_dave
05-20-2008, 06:00 PM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: JoeW</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Joe Tuckerís recent three part video on the use of side spin raises an interesting issue. I have not been a big fan of back hand English but now see that using JoeTís approach to a modified BHE it dramatically improves my use and control of side spin. Apparently he combines front hand offset with back hand English to reduce the amount of squirt. The concept of a pivot point is not an issue in Joe's approach though it may explain why some pros have extended bridges.

It would seem that when the cue stick is offset and held parallel to the center of the cue ball the maximum amount of squirt is obtained. Using JoeTís approach the bridge hand offsets for English and the back hand moves towards the center of the cue ball (or the line of travel for the CB).

It seems to me that when this back hand shift is used that the cue stick has a reduced tendency to push the cb off line. This appears to make sense as there is less force applied to the side of the CB and relatively more force from the center line of aim. (JoeT's videos are an excellent examples of the technique if they are studied closely.)

Is this true from a mechanical point of view?</div></div>JoeW,

I'm not exactly sure what your question is. JoeT seems to advocate an intuitive combination of FHE and BHE. BHE and FHE are well defined when there is a precise pivot point; and if your cue's natural pivot length and bridge length are well matched to the shot requirements, FHE or BHE alone can be effective (see my Novemeber '07 article (http://billiards.colostate.edu/bd_articles/2007/nov07.pdf) for illustrations and explanations). JoeT's approach seems to require lots of feel, and there is no well defined pivot point. However, I think this is a better approach than using BHE or FHE alone (for most shots and most cues) because every shot will have a different amount of squirt, swerve, and throw based on the amount and type of English, shot speed, cue elevation, ball and table conditions, cue natural pivot length, etc. (for more info, see my August '06 through April '08 articles dealing with squirt, swerve, and throw (http://billiards.colostate.edu/bd_articles)).

FYI, I have a good summary of important effects when compensating one's aim when using English. Here it is:
http://billiards.colostate.edu/threads/aiming.html#compensation

Whatever method is used, significant "feel" developed from many years of intelligent practice and successful experience is required to be consistent and accurate with the method. And if you change your cue or shaft, or play under different conditions, you need to be able recalibrate that feel some.

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: JoeW</div><div class="ubbcode-body">One of the primary benefits, as alluded to by JoeT, is the idea that inside English can be used much more often to control cue ball positioning. Here too I had been of the opinion that the less English one uses the higher the rate of consistency. JoeTís technique suggests otherwise for serious players who seek excellent control.</div></div>Inside English results in less and more-consistent throw over a wide range of cut angles (see my February '07 article (http://billiards.colostate.edu/bd_articles/2007/feb07.pdf) for more info). Maybe that has something to do with it. However, one does not always have the luxury or desire to use inside English.

Regards,
Dave

JoeW
05-20-2008, 06:34 PM
Let me try to be a little more specific.

Does a cue stick thrust off center with the butt angled towards the center line of travel produce less squirt than a cue stick thrust off center with the butt Parallel to the line of travel?

I use a Predator Z2 and need less english than with the regular shaft. Perhaps the whole thing has been JoeT's advice to shoot by feel.

However. It seems that my mind easily calculates the squirt and swerve. It is one of those, "I did not know I could do that," kind of things.

I do think that the principles can be taught. That is, there are definite real world concepts that are used having to do with angles. I am not any further along in my thinking and thought that there might be some physical principles at work of which I am not aware.

Jal
05-21-2008, 01:30 AM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: JoeW</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Let me try to be a little more specific.

Does a cue stick thrust off center with the butt angled towards the center line of travel produce less squirt than a cue stick thrust off center with the butt Parallel to the line of travel?</div></div>
By "line of travel", I'll assume (for the moment) that you mean the intended line of travel of the cueball, ie, the center-line (long axis) of the cue is aligned with the cue's direction of motion, but angled with respect to the cueball's intended line of travel. If that's what you mean, then the answer is no, you don't get less squirt. You're just compensating for it.

If you mean the center-line of the cue is angled with respect to the cue's direction of motion, I don't know the answer, or how you might achieve this, given the restrictions of the bridge hand.

If you mean a swooping stroke, that should, I think, result in less squirt.

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: JoeW</div><div class="ubbcode-body">I do think that the principles can be taught. That is, there are definite real world concepts that are used having to do with angles. I am not any further along in my thinking and thought that there might be some physical principles at work of which I am not aware. </div></div>This may or may not help. /forums/images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/smile.gif

If you know your cue's pivot point distance from the tip, and it's such that you can conveniently bridge at the pivot point, then to apply english, you first line up for centerball, and then merely pivot about your bridge hand (moving your rear grip hand in or out to do so). You then shoot (propel the cue) in this new direction. The cueball will take off in the same direction as when you had lined up for centerball. Note that this direction is defined by a line running through the cue's pivot point and the center of the cueball. No matter how the stick is oriented, or how you arrived at that orientation (see below), by definition, the cueball always takes off in this direction (sans any funny stuff, like swooping).

If the pivot point is not so conveniently located, but instead is m times farther from the tip than your bridge length, a couple of other methods can be used.

You can use a combination of backhand english (as above) and parallel english. Here, you take up 1/m'th of the intended tip offset by pivoting about your bridge (backhand english), and then make up the rest of the offset by parallel shifting the rest of the way. For instance, suppose your cue's pivot point is 3X longer than your bridge length. You could then set up using parallel english at 2/3'rds of your intended offset, then pivot about your bridge for the remaining 1/3'rd. If you did the geometry, you would again find that the cue's pivot point lies on a line going through the center of the cueball in its intended direction of travel.

Or, a combination of backhand and fronthand english can be used (as Joe Tucker advocates), but the math is more complicated. If the cue's pivot point is again m times your bridge length, and your grip hand is positioned at n times your bridge length, then the amount of offset to be taken up by pivoting about the bridge is given by:

(1/m)(n-m)/(n-1)

with the rest of the offset made up by pivoting about your grip hand (fronthand english). Obviously, it takes considerably more work to figure out how to tweek your bridge length to arrive at some convenient fraction like 1/2 or 1/3 or 1/4. With pivot and parallel shift, it's much easier to do this. The net result is the same though, the pivot point of the stick ends up on the same line as described above.

Of course, if you're doing it all be feel, I don't see why you wouldn't just set up with the stick already angled as needed; as Joe T puts it, the way the pros do? The only criticism I have of his video is the same one, maybe, that Dr. Dave does. Why go through these separate procedures of pivoting about this and that, and/or shifting, unless you're explicitly following one of the formulas given above? Otherwise, it all comes down to judgment, and I don't see what advantage there is in doing it in separate steps. But I could be missing something.

Jim

Bambu
05-21-2008, 08:00 AM
I agree Jal, it all comes down to judgment and feel. So there is no magic formula, or any right or wrong way to use english. There are great players who use bhe, fhe, and combinations of the 2.

JoeW
05-21-2008, 08:40 AM
Thank you:

JAL said, "By "line of travel", I'll assume (for the moment) that you mean the intended line of travel of the cueball, ie, the center-line (long axis) of the cue is aligned with the cue's direction of motion, but angled with respect to the cueball's intended line of travel. If that's what you mean, then the answer is no, you don't get less squirt. You're just compensating for it."

This is what I was looking for and appears to be the answer. Apparently I am simply compensating and it follows that with a sufficient amount of playing time and observation of the mechanics involved, the mind learns to adjust as needed.


JAL said, "Why go through these separate procedures of pivoting about this and that, and/or shifting, unless you're explicitly following one of the formulas given above? Otherwise, it all comes down to judgment, and I don't see what advantage there is in doing it in separate steps. But I could be missing something."

I automatically line up centers in my pre-shot routine. During this process I also line up the stick starting from the cloth and moving to center ball. With what I have learned lately, I then offset as needed. For me, and perhaps others, this multi-stage process alows me to feel comforatable with the idea that every thing is lined up. When this has been accomplished I move off center as needed.

From what you have related I guess I will need to look into using the pivot point now that I can "feel" the compensations needed.

From a psych perspective I find it interesting how easily the mind can make all of these calculations after the "basics" have been learned. That, of itself, merits some further study. I was impressed with what my mind / body could do when it came to learning to fly an airplane "by the seat of the pants" and now find that there are subtle abilities that can be enhanced when playing pool. Gotta love this sport.

dr_dave
05-21-2008, 08:41 AM
Jal,

Excellent post!!!

Dave

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Jal</div><div class="ubbcode-body"><div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: JoeW</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Let me try to be a little more specific.

Does a cue stick thrust off center with the butt angled towards the center line of travel produce less squirt than a cue stick thrust off center with the butt Parallel to the line of travel?</div></div>
By "line of travel", I'll assume (for the moment) that you mean the intended line of travel of the cueball, ie, the center-line (long axis) of the cue is aligned with the cue's direction of motion, but angled with respect to the cueball's intended line of travel. If that's what you mean, then the answer is no, you don't get less squirt. You're just compensating for it.

If you mean the center-line of the cue is angled with respect to the cue's direction of motion, I don't know the answer, or how you might achieve this, given the restrictions of the bridge hand.

If you mean a swooping stroke, that should, I think, result in less squirt.

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: JoeW</div><div class="ubbcode-body">I do think that the principles can be taught. That is, there are definite real world concepts that are used having to do with angles. I am not any further along in my thinking and thought that there might be some physical principles at work of which I am not aware. </div></div>This may or may not help. /forums/images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/smile.gif

If you know your cue's pivot point distance from the tip, and it's such that you can conveniently bridge at the pivot point, then to apply english, you first line up for centerball, and then merely pivot about your bridge hand (moving your rear grip hand in or out to do so). You then shoot (propel the cue) in this new direction. The cueball will take off in the same direction as when you had lined up for centerball. Note that this direction is defined by a line running through the cue's pivot point and the center of the cueball. No matter how the stick is oriented, or how you arrived at that orientation (see below), by definition, the cueball always takes off in this direction (sans any funny stuff, like swooping).

If the pivot point is not so conveniently located, but instead is m times farther from the tip than your bridge length, a couple of other methods can be used.

You can use a combination of backhand english (as above) and parallel english. Here, you take up 1/m'th of the intended tip offset by pivoting about your bridge (backhand english), and then make up the rest of the offset by parallel shifting the rest of the way. For instance, suppose your cue's pivot point is 3X longer than your bridge length. You could then set up using parallel english at 2/3'rds of your intended offset, then pivot about your bridge for the remaining 1/3'rd. If you did the geometry, you would again find that the cue's pivot point lies on a line going through the center of the cueball in its intended direction of travel.

Or, a combination of backhand and fronthand english can be used (as Joe Tucker advocates), but the math is more complicated. If the cue's pivot point is again m times your bridge length, and your grip hand is positioned at n times your bridge length, then the amount of offset to be taken up by pivoting about the bridge is given by:

(1/m)(n-m)/(n-1)

with the rest of the offset made up by pivoting about your grip hand (fronthand english). Obviously, it takes considerably more work to figure out how to tweek your bridge length to arrive at some convenient fraction like 1/2 or 1/3 or 1/4. With pivot and parallel shift, it's much easier to do this. The net result is the same though, the pivot point of the stick ends up on the same line as described above.

Of course, if you're doing it all be feel, I don't see why you wouldn't just set up with the stick already angled as needed; as Joe T puts it, the way the pros do? The only criticism I have of his video is the same one, maybe, that Dr. Dave does. Why go through these separate procedures of pivoting about this and that, and/or shifting, unless you're explicitly following one of the formulas given above? Otherwise, it all comes down to judgment, and I don't see what advantage there is in doing it in separate steps. But I could be missing something.

Jim </div></div>

dr_dave
05-21-2008, 09:01 AM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: JoeW</div><div class="ubbcode-body">JAL said, "Why go through these separate procedures of pivoting about this and that, and/or shifting, unless you're explicitly following one of the formulas given above? Otherwise, it all comes down to judgment, and I don't see what advantage there is in doing it in separate steps. But I could be missing something."

I automatically line up centers in my pre-shot routine. During this process I also line up the stick starting from the cloth and moving to center ball. With what I have learned lately, I then offset as needed. For me, and perhaps others, this multi-stage process alows me to feel comforatable with the idea that every thing is lined up. When this has been accomplished I move off center as needed.</div></div>Good point. Many people prefer lining up the shot center-to-center (CB to ghost-ball or target point) before making the "feel" adjustments based on the expected squirt, swerve, and throw for the given shot.

Regards,
Dave

JoeW
05-21-2008, 09:07 AM
BTW I appreciate the math explanation of how FHE and BHE work to arrive at a line of aim. Thank you. I have a better understanding of the function of the pivot point but tend to think that the mind is better at making these calculations than a purely mechanical process. There are too many variables in play to reduce it to rules to be followed.

It seems to me that the concsious mind is better at making discrete decision point decisions and the subconscious is better at estimating a process involving continuous functions. If this is true then shooting by "feel" is the best explanation available after the principles have been learned.

This leads me to a better understanding of the long running discussion of those who use "mechanical" versus "feel" approaches. Some people are more willing to "trust" the subconscious processes. I hypothesize that the latter will be "better" players at the end of the day.

dr_dave
05-21-2008, 09:23 AM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: JoeW</div><div class="ubbcode-body">It seems to me that the concsious mind is better at making discrete decision point decisions and the subconscious is better at estimating a process involving continuous functions. If this is true then shooting by "feel" is the best explanation available after the principles have been learned.

This leads me to a better understanding of the long running discussion of those who use "mechanical" versus "feel" approaches. Some people are more willing to "trust" the subconscious processes. I hypothesize that the latter will be "better" players at the end of the day.</div></div>Well stated. I also think "trust" and "feel" (and confidence) can be better for many people if they know and understand all of the important effects. I think people who don't have this "knowledge" embedded in their subconscious psyche already (from many years of intelligent practice and successful experience) might benefit from learning about squirt, swerve, and throw effects (http://billiards.colostate.edu/threads/aiming.html#compensation).

Regards,
Dave

JoeW
05-21-2008, 09:35 AM
There is another interesting idea here from a teaching prspective Dave. Obviously the student needs to learn the basics and sound fundamentals. The question then becomes how and when do you introduce playing by feel (for lack of a better word). From one perspective the sooner the student learns to trust the sub-conscious processes the more confidence they develop. From another perspective failure will lead to avoidance of sub-conscious control. I think that it is probably necessary to coach over a period of time. This suggests that players need to develop not simply learn the sport.

I know that as a competitive diver my coach was the most significant factor in my diving ability. I think this may be true in learning to play pool competitively.

dr_dave
05-21-2008, 09:51 AM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: JoeW</div><div class="ubbcode-body">There is another interesting idea here from a teaching prspective Dave. Obviously the student needs to learn the basics and sound fundamentals. The question then becomes how and when do you introduce playing by feel (for lack of a better word). From one perspective the sooner the student learns to trust the sub-conscious processes the more confidence they develop. From another perspective failure will lead to avoidance of sub-conscious control. I think that it is probably necessary to coach over a period of time. This suggests that players need to develop not simply learn the sport.</div></div>Great point. I agree 100%!

Regards,
Dave

jondrums
05-21-2008, 03:49 PM
has anyone tried carefully determining and actually marking the known pivot point on the shaft itself? I'm considering doing this with a spare shaft just for fun because I think it would really add to my ability to consistently use BHE as well as knowing when to use a combination of BHE and FHE or adjust the pivot point for other effects (speed, swerve, throw, ect).
Jon

Jal
05-21-2008, 05:14 PM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: JoeW</div><div class="ubbcode-body">...I automatically line up centers in my pre-shot routine. During this process I also line up the stick starting from the cloth and moving to center ball. With what I have learned lately, I then offset as needed. For me, and perhaps others, this multi-stage process alows me to feel comforatable with the idea that every thing is lined up. When this has been accomplished I move off center as needed.</div></div>
Thanks Dr. W. (And thank you Dr. Dave for your generous remark.) I guess I can see that pinning down one variable first might make things a little more reliable. If you want to expand on this any, please do.

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: JoeW</div><div class="ubbcode-body">From a psych perspective I find it interesting how easily the mind can make all of these calculations after the "basics" have been learned. That, of itself, merits some further study. I was impressed with what my mind / body could do when it came to learning to fly an airplane "by the seat of the pants" and now find that there are subtle abilities that can be enhanced when playing pool. Gotta love this sport. </div></div>
My library has videos from a PBS series called "Thinking Allowed", hosted by Jeffrey Mishlove, a psychologist and interviewer par excellence. His subjects usually relate to consciousness and he even throws in some physics now and then (he's had Murray Gell-Mann on as a guest - the discoverer of quarks). One of his most interesting series of interviews is on "how consciousness works", with a Dr. Bernard Baar.

Besides showing where consciousness is located in the brain using a model (at least where the critical parts are), he shows PET scans of subjects in various stages of learning, and how cortical activity diminishes as they become expert at the tasks.To be sure, they don't answer the million dollar question of "what is consciousness", but it is very fascinating stuff, and seems to be where your interests lay. With your background, there probably isn't anything there you don't already know, but you might enjoy it if you ever come across it.

I don't think this is psychology per se, but I'm wondering what you think about the importance of proprioception in aiming? From some crude tests I've done, I actually think it might be as good as, or even more accurate than my eyesight when lining up, as long as I'm staring at the targeted object ball, of course. This is another kind of "feel", rarely discussed, but maybe you have some thoughts on it (or anyone else for that matter).

Jim

dr_dave
05-21-2008, 07:33 PM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: jondrums</div><div class="ubbcode-body">has anyone tried carefully determining and actually marking the known pivot point on the shaft itself?</div></div>I've suggested this to a couple of manufacturers, but I don't think they thought many customers would understand or be interested.

Dave

Bob_Jewett
05-21-2008, 08:52 PM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: jondrums</div><div class="ubbcode-body">has anyone tried carefully determining and actually marking the known pivot point on the shaft itself? ... </div></div>
I assume you mean the true (swerve-free) pivot point. It seems like manufacturers could label their sticks with this just like the weight, but if you check the house sticks in the pool hall, the error in stick weight seems to be +-2 ounces. I think that right now there is no easy way to measure the true pivot point.

For practical play, I suppose it is better to mark the effective pivot point for the typical shots you play, which presumably is in about the center of the effective pivot points for all shots you play. (Each shot has its own effective pivot point which depends on the speed, cloth, elevation, draw/follow, and distance to the object ball. And, of course, the shaft of the cue stick.)

JoeW
05-21-2008, 10:45 PM
JAL said, ĒI don't think this is psychology per se, but I'm wondering what you think about the importance of proprioception in aiming? From some crude tests I've done, I actually think it might be as good as, or even more accurate than my eyesight when lining up, as long as I'm staring at the targeted object ball, of course. This is another kind of "feel", rarely discussed, but maybe you have some thoughts on it (or anyone else for that matter).Ē

There is a great deal of physical feedback that must be coordinated when playing pool. Consider the idea that one can not see their back hand during the stroke. The alignment is by feel. That is, the hand moves left and right until it come to a position that is satisfactory to the image required and then the brain is capable of freezing this side to side motion. Another issue is the way that some people aim by moving their hips to align a shot (my preferred way BTW) This is all proprioceptive feedback. If you learn to trust the feedback from your eyes and allow your hips to line up the shot the results are more than satisfactory in the context of fixing the alignment and not having to move hand, eye and stroke.

We do not actually look at the bridge hand to determine where to place it while playing but we move it exquisitely for the correct hit position.

Bob Fancher in an essay on AZB when discussing the one eyed shooter problem suggested placing a patch over the dominant eye and shooting with the non-dominant eye. I tried this and found that one can shoot quite well with a patch over the dominant eye. Bob and I have opposing views on this topic as I think that pros do, and we all should, shoot using a one eyed shooting stance when extreme accuracy is needed.

So it seems to me that while vision is the primary vehicle for integrating and coordinating all of the required body movements. None of it would be possible with out a considerable amount of proprioceptive feedback. The ability to coordinate all of the muscles involved is usually out of awareness. This is particularly evident when you realize that walking is actually controlled falling.

I suspect that people who have learned to listen to their body, or those who have learned to allow the body to move as needed without attempting to control it, can close their eyes after the correct stance has been obtained. These individuals are also much more fluid in their movements.

Unfortunately the sub-conscious mind is only vaguely aware of this aspect of the nervous system . There are many closed loops which are initiated at times by volition. I think that one of the primary ways that we can maximize proprioceptive feedback is to develop a rhythm that allows all of the coordinated movements to act in concert. For instance, some instructors suggest using some pattern for stroking such as three strokes and shoot. I would bet that people who have such a rhythmic approach are better players because of all the nervous system coordination that is required.

In some of my prior work with chronic care brain damaged patients I have been amazed at the ability of the mind to remap one physical ability based on the operation of another set of muscles. We are very adaptive learning machines with exquisite controls that are far beyond conscious control.

Bottom line rhythm is a requirement for excellent control.

JoeW
05-21-2008, 11:04 PM
One of the fascinating aspects of Tuckerís approach to the use of FHE combined with BHE is the ability of the mind to assess all of these lines and calculate the correct line on which to place the cue stick that results in the line of travel for the cue ball. It is then able to determine the necessary stroking process and the amount of force to use to obtain the correct hit and position in the context of squirt and deflection. Here too there is a self correcting feedback system that includes external objects. The ability of the system to learn to control the process is reflected in the training time required.

I doubt that any form of mathematics exists that could solve such a complex problem. In the context of proprioceptive feedback the mind is working with objects inside and outside of itself to make these calculations that will produce a particular result. The margins of error that are allowed (such as ball size and weight, pocket size and the tables we play on) effectively illustrate the abilities of the mind to control internal and external phenomena.

We are amazing machines.

JoeW
05-21-2008, 11:33 PM
One more thought on proprioceptive feedback and then I am off to sleep.

Working memory holds between 4 and 7 concepts. By analogy it is a four bit processor. At least this is the current thinking. It therefore follows that chunking an athletic process into groups of 4-6 (donít over load the machine by running at capacity) is the way to build a functioning system. In the last few weeks I have been working on a four step pre-shot routine and each step contains four things to be done. I suspect that this chaining process will enable the player to rapidly set the necessary functions in the sub-conscious memory. This is a form of associative learning (like when we learned the houses on a paper route). Each step is, to some extent, an attempt to set a proprioceptive systemic process in motion in a sequential order. When well learned the system just chugs along making shot after shot.

jingle
05-22-2008, 07:00 AM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: jondrums</div><div class="ubbcode-body">has anyone tried carefully determining and actually marking the known pivot point on the shaft itself?
Jon </div></div>

I have. I just used an ultra-fine black Sharpie permanent marker to make one small dot at the pivot point. If you didn't know it was there, you probably wouldn't notice it.

JJFSTAR
05-22-2008, 12:03 PM
jingle where is that point on your stick and what is the type, weight and length of your stick and shaft? Thanks in advance for the answer.

Jal
05-22-2008, 07:36 PM
Thanks Dr. Joe, and sorry for the delay.

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: JoeW</div><div class="ubbcode-body">...Bob Fancher in an essay on AZB when discussing the one eyed shooter problem suggested placing a patch over the dominant eye and shooting with the non-dominant eye. I tried this and found that one can shoot quite well with a patch over the dominant eye. Bob and I have opposing views on this topic as I think that pros do, and we all should, shoot using a one eyed shooting stance when extreme accuracy is needed.</div></div>
Let me describe two experiments I did, and perhaps you may want to comment on them. One was intentional, the other not.

The first one involved setting up shots, so that if hit full, I would miss by about a diamond. I then set up in the usual way for a full hit, looking back and forth between stick, CB and OB, but made the adjustment to pocket the ball while only looking at the OB. My feeling is that I was relying solely on proprioception to accomplish that, though I can't say that there wasn't some contamination from peripheral vision entering into it. I was able to make all the shots I attempted, about 6-8. The OB was roughly 1-1/2 to 2 diamonds from the pocket.

The second test was inadvertent and sprang from smoking too much. Arriving at the pool room, I found I could not focus on my cue properly, and could only tell, visually that is, that it was pointing in the general direction of the OB. My brain could not seem to integrate the separate images from eyes. I decided to try my usual warmup shots anyway, long straight ones. I ended up making a higher percentage than I had ever done before (though I didn't play all that well afterwards).

Admittedly very anecdotal, these experiences suggest what I had suspected all along: that in my case anyway, proprioception is the main tool that I use for aligning the cue, not vision. My eyes only provide the target. (I don't shoot rifleman style.)

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: JoeW</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Unfortunately the sub-conscious mind is only vaguely aware of this aspect of the nervous system . There are many closed loops which are initiated at times by volition. I think that one of the primary ways that we can maximize proprioceptive feedback is to develop a rhythm that allows all of the coordinated movements to act in concert. For instance, some instructors suggest using some pattern for stroking such as three strokes and shoot. I would bet that people who have such a rhythmic approach are better players because of all the nervous system coordination that is required.</div></div>I won't dispute your basic premise, but I do wonder if rhythm is important. Watching Irving Crane's 150 run ("Clash of the Titans"), he doesn't seem to have any obvious rhythm at all. The time he takes between shots seems to be a function of the difficulty of the situation he's in. And the number of warm up strokes varies all over the place. I, personally, have found it better to not force any type of rhythm.

Well, that's kind of a slap in the face for your long and thoughtful response. Please forgive... it's just my opinion.

Jim

cushioncrawler
05-22-2008, 09:50 PM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Jal</div><div class="ubbcode-body">.....I don't think this is psychology per se, but I'm wondering what you think about the importance of proprioception in aiming? From some crude tests I've done, I actually think it might be as good as, or even more accurate than my eyesight when lining up, as long as I'm staring at the targeted object ball, of course. This is another kind of "feel", rarely discussed, but maybe you have some thoughts on it (or anyone else for that matter)..</div></div>Jim -- This remindz me of when u used to spend too much time doing one-ball and two-ball stroke/aim drillz. I used to spend at least 10 minutes on such drillz at the start of each session. Often when my stroke woz sour this stretched to 60 minutes.

On one occasion i woz so bad that i ended up spending all morning on this "warm-up" drill, but i only managed to get worse. Disgusted, i played one particular shot one final time -- but this time by just uzing feel (or something) -- and i got a perfikt rezult. Qdrill for me involves 3 types of shot...

(1)... U hit a ball straight up the table and it kumz straight back. This shoodnt be confuzed with that useless drill mentioned on this forum where u shoot up'n'back, the ball hitting the qtip on its return. No, i hit from a measured mark towards a measured mark on the top cushion, hitting parallel to the side cushion -- and where the ball hits the first cushion iz much more important than where it kumz back to -- but naturally u wont be completely happy unless u get both correct.

(2)... U hit the OB into a corner pocket, the qball following in allso, ie along a diagonal. This iz tougher than (1).

(3)... U repeat (1) with a ball at the mark on (against) the cushion, the qball rebounding straight back. This iz tougher than (1) or (2), in fakt, on a 12' table, u are doing well if u can bring the qball back to hit the baulk cushion without it hitting a side cushion first.

The shot i shot uzing feel woz (3), shooting up the centerline of the table (in fakt there iz no marked line but there are 4 spots to guide u). The qball bounced (a double kiss in fakt) off the OB, rolled straight back along the centerline, then rebounded off the baulk cushion straight back along the centerline, and met the OB kumming back along the centerline allso, both kissing (for a third time), and both then finally coming to rest sitting exacktly on the centerline. A one in a million shot.

In playing this shot, uzing feel, i didnt take any real notice of the cue, ie i didnt try to align it on some sort of line relativ to the OB etc (in fakt, in repeating this sort of shot in later years, when i care to check, it appears to me that the cue iz pointing a long way right of target, but my mates tell me that to them the alignment looks pretty perfikt). And i didnt take any real notice of where the qtip woz going to contact the qball (here, if/when i care to check, it appears to me that the qtip iz going to hit the qball way too hi and way too far right'of'center). And i didnt take any real notice or care about body or feet etc. And i didnt take any care about having some sort of straight backstroke or straight forwardstroke etc. And, madMac woz very-angryMac.

The whole thing woznt much different to a kid throwing a stone at a can, ie one stone, one can, one kid, one throw, and zero care about the rezult (but too many throws and i guess that the kid would end up looking for a forum on throwing stones).

I remember that i have played whole games uzing this sort of feel, mightbe i shood giv it another try.

I woz at a mate's place and he woz having trouble with hiz stroke, and i showed him (3), and told him about my one-in-a-million shot. He woz having a go at it (3) while i woz looking at hiz trophy wall (lots of Ozz snooker championships, one world-snooker championship, etc etc) -- then he called out, hiz qball had kissed the OB for a third time, in the middle of the table, and the 2 balls had stopped on-line. This woz an amazing rezult, especially az, for the first half-duzzen attempts that i watched, hiz qball allmost hit the side cushion instead of the baulk cushion. But, i had to point out, that, yes, the 2 balls had stopped "on-line", but they were both about 4" west of the center-line, whereaz my ballz stopped dead on-line, dead on the center-line. By the way, i asked him how he aimed hiz cue, he said he didnt ever aim hiz cue -- when he next vizits i will havta ask him more about that.

Jim -- All the same, (despite my story) i dont think i agree with u when u say that your propriaception iz more accurate than your eyesight. Koz, in the end (and in the beginning) everything iz due to priaproception. Aligning a cue and 2 ballz, for a dead-straight shot with zero spin, iz priapreception allso, it iznt just "eyesight". Perhaps, mightbe, aligning 3 sets of crosshairs, uzing one eye, might kum down to "just eyesight", but, uzing 2 eyes, nope (with all due respekt to players out there with only one eye). What i am saying iz that i agree that feel can do wonders, but feel and muscle memory and prepreception are all in there somewhere. madMac.

Jal
05-23-2008, 01:20 AM
Mac, I knew if anybody would back me on this....though I realize you're not drawing any conclusions. Interesting stuff, as always.

Have you ever seen Franscisco Bustamante shoot? He's one of the top Filipino players. He makes no attempt to align his cue until he's into his final stroke. Up to that point, it's angled down and off to the side. Can he really gather any useful visual feedback during that final thrust forward?

Jim

JoeW
05-23-2008, 07:26 AM
I do not know what is going on here but there is further suport for the statements made. A few people I know have poor eye sight. One friend says that he can not see the OB at the end of the table clearly (it is a blur) none-the-less he continues to make shots like he did ten years ago.

Vision has to be involved here. My wife is legally blind and on disability with something like 20 / 300 vision. She has to hold a book about two inches from her eye to read and has a huge computer monitor that helps her use her peripheal vision to the max. She can not see the OB three feet away. If I line her up using two cue sticks end to end she can often make a ball 5 - 6 feet away. However, if she sets herself up on a shot that is less than three feet away after walking around the table, getting close to the ball and viewing from as many angles as possible her ability to line up the cue stick is off by 10 - 20 degrees. She did not play pool before she lost her vision but was athletic. This is one determined lady. If you met her you would probably not think that she is legally blind as she refuses to use a cane and compensates in many ways to make it appear that she can see. In reality she can not see a person's face from four feet away.(Our friends say that that is why she married me!)

The point here is that no matter how much you concentate, vision is required to set the target. The visual requirements, in the case of my friend with poor vision, is minimal, but as in the case of my wife, there is a minimal visual requirment.

So it would seem that perhaps my friend uses the rails and pockets as reference points after one has learned to stroke on line. Like playing a violin, some people have more talent than others.

eb_in_nc
05-23-2008, 07:50 AM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: JoeW</div><div class="ubbcode-body">I do not know what is going on here but there is further suport for the statements made. A few people I know have poor eye sight. One friend says that he can not see the OB at the end of the table clearly (it is a blur) none-the-less he continues to make shots like he did ten years ago.

Vision has to be involved here. My wife is legally blind and on disability with something like 20 / 300 vision. She has to hold a book about two inches from her eye to read and has a huge computer monitor that helps her use her peripheal vision to the max. She can not see the OB three feet away. If I line her up using two cue sticks end to end she can often make a ball 5 - 6 feet away. However, if she sets herself up on a shot that is less than three feet away after walking around the table, getting close to the ball and viewing from as many angles as possible her ability to line up the cue stick is off by 10 - 20 degrees. She did not play pool before she lost her vision but was athletic. This is one determined lady. If you met her you would probably not think that she is legally blind as she refuses to use a cane and compensates in many ways to make it appear that she can see. In reality she can not see a person's face from four feet away.(Our friends say that that is why she married me!)

The point here is that no matter how much you concentate, vision is required to set the target. The visual requirements, in the case of my friend with poor vision, is minimal, but as in the case of my wife, there is a minimal visual requirment.

So it would seem that perhaps my friend uses the rails and pockets as reference points after one has learned to stroke on line. Like playing a violin, some people have more talent than others.
</div></div>

Joe, I am 56 and my vision is also pretty poor, albeit not as bad as your wife's. I don't wear glasses while shooting pool as I find my game actually is better without them. You are correct, vision is definitely required for shooting pool, but I would submit that visual "clarity" perhaps is not. I say this as the visual component I believe is most critical is being able to sight the CB to OB ball contact points to create the necessary angle for making the shot. Even though your friend see's a blur at the other side of the table, he still has this blur as a visual reference for sighting the shot, so perhaps this is why he is still making shots like he did 10 years ago.

Where I run into trouble is on thin long cuts, but we all seem to have issues with these shots when there is a lot of green and looming obtuse angles.

JoeW
05-23-2008, 08:17 AM
I read the comment about Crane and would suggest that there must be some sort of internal rhythm. I doubt that it is possible to coordinate all those muscles without some sort of synchronicity.

We may not be aware of it but some muscles relax and some contract to produce the shot. I suspect that using an intentional rhythm in the beginning or when one's stroke is off, leads to better shot making. Later, when over learned, the rhythm may not be obvious outside the body.

I know that when I try to set the rhythm in my shot making it feels wrong and I start missing. However, if I let my body set the rhythm after I am ready to shoot the shot making is better. This is difficult to describe and here too it is a proprioceptive feeling that my mind / body is in sync.

We even have an expression for it in everday life when we say that we just feel out of sync today. I suspect that feeling this natural rhythm is part of getting in stroke. I think that one can facilitate this natural rhythm.

In the past I have suggested that the player should use some sort of rhythm when approaching the table. This would be something like John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever. Play the music in your head and get that natural bounce to your walk. I got laughed at for using a feminine image but it could be the theme song from a Clint Eastwood movie. Whatever appeals to the person's sense of rhythm. I think that the player's natural rhythm will lead to a better session. Here too we are talking about shooting by feel and allowing all of the body's proprioceptive systems to synchronize.

I think that a study of intentionally using rhythm to initiate a "better" session could be conducted but I am no longer at the university with access to a pool of unwilling subjects :-)

JoeW
05-23-2008, 08:35 AM
To show how important rhythm is in many situations here is a quick one person study to try that can be used in many ways.

Wait till you are in a grumpy mood. Now walk across the room and down the hall, about 40 feet or so. Walk with the rhythm that you use when you are in a really good mood. Don't bounce or exaggerate it, just walk the way you do when you are feeling really good. You will find that your mood changes, you will naturally feel in a better mood.

You need to be a little sensitive to your own moods and to allow it to happen. I have used this technique many times with depressed patients and find that it can be used to lift depression for the same reason that playing your favorite music works --It puts you in a better mood.

The technique works in any area of life and for present purposes would also work at the pool table. We all know that when you are feeling good, in sync, you play better. You can also use this "trick" when you need to be upbeat for a presentation or a talk on some important topic.

Have a happy, rhythmic, day :-)

The original research for this proven technique comes from S. Schacter and B. Latanne who found that emotions follow behavior. In this case the "behavior" is natural body rhythm for "good" moods. The mind will respond in kind. This technique can be used in many ways in many places to alter one's mood for any of several purposes. In other words if you shoot better when angry then set the rhythm for anger, etc.

Jal
05-23-2008, 12:06 PM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: JoeW</div><div class="ubbcode-body">I do not know what is going on here but there is further suport for the statements made. A few people I know have poor eye sight. One friend says that he can not see the OB at the end of the table clearly (it is a blur) none-the-less he continues to make shots like he did ten years ago.

Vision has to be involved here. My wife is legally blind and on disability with something like 20 / 300 vision. She has to hold a book about two inches from her eye to read and has a huge computer monitor that helps her use her peripheal vision to the max. She can not see the OB three feet away. If I line her up using two cue sticks end to end she can often make a ball 5 - 6 feet away. However, if she sets herself up on a shot that is less than three feet away after walking around the table, getting close to the ball and viewing from as many angles as possible her ability to line up the cue stick is off by 10 - 20 degrees. She did not play pool before she lost her vision but was athletic. This is one determined lady. If you met her you would probably not think that she is legally blind as she refuses to use a cane and compensates in many ways to make it appear that she can see. In reality she can not see a person's face from four feet away.(Our friends say that that is why she married me!)

The point here is that no matter how much you concentate, vision is required to set the target. The visual requirements, in the case of my friend with poor vision, is minimal, but as in the case of my wife, there is a minimal visual requirment.

So it would seem that perhaps my friend uses the rails and pockets as reference points after one has learned to stroke on line. Like playing a violin, some people have more talent than others.
</div></div>
I surely am not denying the importance of vision. In the tests I did, it was definitely required to see the object ball and set the initial tip contact position on the cueball. The question is, how important is it for aligning the cue stick along the desired aiming direction?

Obviously, proprioception is necessary for maintaining this direction once the stroke has begun. But what about the initial alignment? I would guess that people who shoot with their chins on the stick are relying on vision heavily. But for some of us, proprioception may be the principle mechanism. Do you think that's absurd on the face of it, or plausible?

Jim

Jal
05-23-2008, 12:32 PM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: JoeW</div><div class="ubbcode-body">I read the comment about Crane and would suggest that there must be some sort of internal rhythm. I doubt that it is possible to coordinate all those muscles without some sort of synchronicity.

We may not be aware of it but some muscles relax and some contract to produce the shot. I suspect that using an intentional rhythm in the beginning or when one's stroke is off, leads to better shot making. Later, when over learned, the rhythm may not be obvious outside the body.

I know that when I try to set the rhythm in my shot making it feels wrong and I start missing. However, if I let my body set the rhythm after I am ready to shoot the shot making is better. This is difficult to describe and here too it is a proprioceptive feeling that my mind / body is in sync.

We even have an expression for it in everday life when we say that we just feel out of sync today. I suspect that feeling this natural rhythm is part of getting in stroke. I think that one can facilitate this natural rhythm.

In the past I have suggested that the player should use some sort of rhythm when approaching the table. This would be something like John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever. Play the music in your head and get that natural bounce to your walk. I got laughed at for using a feminine image but it could be the theme song from a Clint Eastwood movie. Whatever appeals to the person's sense of rhythm. I think that the player's natural rhythm will lead to a better session. Here too we are talking about shooting by feel and allowing all of the body's proprioceptive systems to synchronize.

I think that a study of intentionally using rhythm to initiate a "better" session could be conducted but I am no longer at the university with access to a pool of unwilling subjects :-)

</div></div>
It sounds like (at times) you might mean what I would take to be "timing", as opposed to "rhythm", ie, repetitive actions done in a metronomic fashion. From what I've seen while watching pro matches, if any rhythmic sequence is being followed, it's very subtle, enough to elude me, at any rate.

Maybe I'm not thinking abstractly enough, or putting too restrictive a meaning on the word "rhythm" ?

Jim

JoeW
05-23-2008, 02:10 PM
Jal said, "Obviously, proprioception is necessary for maintaining this direction once the stroke has begun. But what about the initial alignment? I would guess that people who shoot with their chins on the stick are relying on vision heavily. But for some of us, proprioception may be the principle mechanism. Do you think that's absurd on the face of it, or plausible?"

I think it is more than plausible. I suspect that industrial / experimental psychologists who work with pilots, such as in the Navy or Air Force could tell us much more. The chin on the stick may be one way to focus concentration while all of the other factors are at work. Seems to me that regardless of where you place your eyes, none of it would work with out feedback. Some people concentrate one way some another.

Timing, rhythm, I guess it goes by different names. I prefer rhythm because we are all aware of various rhythms we use throughout life. I think that becoming attuned to one's natural rhythms is useful and can be used to pull yourself out of slump.

JoeW
05-23-2008, 02:25 PM
With regard to proprioception being the more important variable note that when my wife can see a line of aim (with much effort) she is unable to place the cue stick on the line. I suspect that some form of peripheal vison (which is all that she has)is used by most of us to maintain the line.

I think that the fovea (central vison of which she has none) is used to align the stick and then periphael vison keeps it on line with the use of proprioceptive feed back.

This could be confirmed or denied by restricting the vison to central vision only through the use of some sort of blinders. Hmm - an interesting study.

I suspect that some people,and it sounds like you are one, may be able to maintain a steady state when the aim line and stroke have been established. This would be the way in which some people can look away from a shot and continue to stroke and make the shot anyway.

The question becomes is this a good and useful technique? I can see that the answer could go either way.

On the one hand if it is the sub-conscious process that has fixed the state then it can adjust as needed. On the other hand if the conscious process fixes the steady state then there is little room to adjust as needed. I suspect that good players learn to let the sub-conscious control the adjustments.

JoeW
05-23-2008, 03:03 PM
I have found a little information about what the brain / mind is doing when FHE and BHE are combined to set the CB in motion on a specific line. I was observing myself setup and shoot over several shots and noted that there is some sort of stick centering tha is used.

Apparently my mind sets a position towards the middle of the stick on the shot line to the CB. Rather than aim with the length of the stick it appears to be aiming with the center of the shaft / whole cue stick (?) and then making all of the necessary adjustments for throw, squirt, force, etc.

I'll bet one of you physists / engineering types can explain the mechanics behind that idea. It does not appear to be the pivot point but some form of establishing a point from 24" + or - behind the cue ball and on the shot line to the OB. The centering point is behind the bridge hand and before the balance point about six - eight inches in front of my nose (more or less)

Currently it is weird feeling but a powerful method that I have not yet learned to trust. It is quite effective and I try to get my conscious mind out of the way as I am not sure what the hell is going on.

JAL's comments on proprioceptive feedback are in serious play.

cushioncrawler
05-23-2008, 06:00 PM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Jal</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Mac, I knew if anybody would back me on this.... though I realize you're not drawing any conclusions. Interesting stuff, as always. Have you ever seen Franscisco Bustamante shoot? He's one of the top Filipino players. He makes no attempt to align his cue until he's into his final stroke. Up to that point, it's angled down and off to the side. Can he really gather any useful visual feedback during that final thrust forward? Jim</div></div>Jim -- I hav a feeling that i dont really understand Proprioception. Re Busta -- it remindz me of when i woz a lad i went throo a period where i uzed lots of side-spin for every shot (english billiards here on a 12' table), even the dead straight pots. Now, when u play like that, u never ever try to (need to) aim or align or ?? your cue -- u just get down on the shot and feel the trajektory & the kontakt point on the objekt ball -- in my case i dont uze "kontakt point", i imagin the needed eclipse of qball-on-objektball.

I think that the Filipino'z uze so much side, so often, that perhaps they prefer to uze feel for every shot, especially with the small tables and big pockets etc. Try it, try uzing lots of sidespin for every shot, whether u need it or not, just for an experiment, but for a whole session not just for a few minutes. I will try it (feel) again myself later today, but this time i am talking about uzing zero-spin mainly.

Re vizion, i allwayz thort that good vizion woz the real reezon that champions were champions, in lots of sports. madMac.

cushioncrawler
05-23-2008, 06:25 PM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Jal</div><div class="ubbcode-body">...Obviously, proprioception is necessary for maintaining this direction once the stroke has begun. But what about the initial alignment? I would guess that people who shoot with their chins on the stick are relying on vision heavily. But for some of us, proprioception may be the principle mechanism. Do you think that's absurd on the face of it, or plausible? Jim </div></div>Jim -- I dont agree that proprioception kumz into the actual stroke -- i dont think that it can, there iznt time. Sure, a Filipino swinging forward and back before hiz stroke iz getting a feel for line. And, sure, a snooker player can feel that everything iz in place and ready to go, before the stroke, perhaps with a few back'n'forwards allso (probably mainly to check the contact on the qball and to get a feel for the required speed). But, for most shots, u just pull the trigger -- there aint no time to get any feedback.

Regarding "chin on cue", i think that this mainly helps the modern player to uze the modern pendulum -- but it might help u to get better aim too i guess. madMac.

cushioncrawler
05-23-2008, 07:28 PM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: JoeW</div><div class="ubbcode-body">I have found a little information about what the brain / mind is doing when FHE and BHE are combined to set the CB in motion on a specific line. I was observing myself setup and shoot over several shots and noted that there is some sort of stick centering tha is used. Apparently my mind sets a position towards the middle of the stick on the shot line to the CB. Rather than aim with the length of the stick it appears to be aiming with the center of the shaft / whole cue stick (?) and then making all of the necessary adjustments for throw, squirt, force, etc. I'll bet one of you physists / engineering types can explain the mechanics behind that idea. It does not appear to be the pivot point but some form of establishing a point from 24" + or - behind the cue ball and on the shot line to the OB. The centering point is behind the bridge hand and before the balance point about six - eight inches in front of my nose (more or less). Currently it is weird feeling but a powerful method that I have not yet learned to trust. It is quite effective and I try to get my conscious mind out of the way as I am not sure what the hell is going on. JAL's comments on proprioceptive feedback are in serious play.</div></div>Joe -- I dont know about uzing a part of the stick that far back, but it remindz me of when uzing a bent cue, u havta force yourself to aim with the end 6" of the stick and ignore the rest -- but here i am talking about when uzing stick-aim, not feel-aim.

With any/all aiming, u mostly look at (1) a qball and (2) an objektball and (3) a pocket, and often (4) the final pozzy for the qball (which probably meenz (5) an aiming point on the first cushion). But, in the last second, u will only (mostly) hav eyes for the objektball, or for the qball. If u uze feel-aim, then of course u will be looking at the objektball. If u uze stick-aim then u hav a choice. I like looking at the qball last, ie during the forward-stroke -- it helps me to hit with proper pace -- otherwize u find that your intentions sort of desert u during the stroke, but this duzzenmeen that i now agree that proprioception haz a role during the forward-stroke. madMac.

JoeW
05-23-2008, 11:00 PM
Now I know that you are an engineer Cushion crawler, so your story about not understanding a biological self correcting system does not fly (or walk or crawl). BTW, I tried to go to your web site just to see if I could learn why you use your special brand of english but the URL doesn't work. Perhaps you could fix that (the URL not your english).

It is easy to say do this and this, it is difficult to try and explain why this and that works, but then I am sure that you knew that. Come on give it a try. I'll bet that even educated Australians can make some good guesses. If they are going to be guesses they will not be easy ones. (just ragging on you so don't get angry -- or even mad.)

JoeW
05-23-2008, 11:07 PM
In terms of not enough time for proprioceptive feedback to work consider the idea that walking is controlled falling and we have time to self correct before we fall, even when we dance.

DeadCrab
05-24-2008, 06:43 AM
I'm a big proponent of "proprioceptive aiming" in the presence of sub-optimal visual skills.

There are a couple of proprioceptive "cues" that I find useful in compensating for my wandering eye dominance and inconsistent stance (the product of a lousy back).

1. Persons with visual problems can often "point" quite well. The index finger is the most efficient proprioceptive pointer (which is why we use it preferentially), and the thumb is the second best. I lay my back-hand thumb along the cue and point it at the target when setting my shot. This puts the cue on the proper line for me, and has a consistency that my visual system isn't going to give me.

2. For varying stance issues, a little body contact with the cue shaft on the chest wall can provide some spatial feedback as to where the cue is in space, and help add some consistency to the stance.

3. I prefer a closed bridge for a number of reasons, proprioceptive feedback being one of them.

cushioncrawler
05-24-2008, 07:38 PM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: JoeW</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Now I know that you are an engineer Cushion crawler, so your story about not understanding a biological self correcting system does not fly (or walk or crawl). BTW, I tried to go to your web site just to see if I could learn why you use your special brand of english but the URL doesn't work. Perhaps you could fix that (the URL not your english). It is easy to say do this and this, it is difficult to try and explain why this and that works, but then I am sure that you knew that. Come on give it a try. I'll bet that even educated Australians can make some good guesses. If they are going to be guesses they will not be easy ones. (just ragging on you so don't get angry -- or even mad.)</div></div>Joe -- I still think that, once u pull the trigger, there iz nothing one can do to change the shot. But, thinking some more, if u hav a pause at the end of the final backswing, u here hav an opportunity to change something, or to stop. We see Tiger stopping at the end of hiz b/s, and Jack Niklaus once didnt stop but sensed that hiz one-iron woznt quite in the correct pozzy and made a conscious change to hiz f/s and ended up hitting the pin and it getting voted the shot of the year. But i hav never seen or heard of any billiardist doing a Tiger and stopping their shot and getting up and starting again, nor of any billiardist doing a Jack and making a change in the f/s.

But, i suppoze that a billiardist can sometimes stroke with a long slow glide, so slow that he/she can see what iz happening, and perhaps even make changes to line and to speed.

And, i know of some billiardists who make some sort of moov with their bridge on some shots, to help get some special action, or to help avoid a foul. The moov i am talking about happens before the qtip contacts the ball. But i dont know that i would agree that this fits the bill, koz here the moov iz preprogrammed.

Which URL iz that?? I dont hav a website. madMac.

JoeW
05-24-2008, 10:12 PM
Cushion crawler, Under homepage in your profile it lists

http://macnsherie@skymesh.com.au

Internet explorer says no such page.

From your prior post I guess this is your email not your home page.

BTW I worked for a fellow countryman of yours during the 1960s. You might know him or of him -- Sir John Eccles (nobel laurate in neuro-physiology). Seems it took an Australian fellow to tell the rest of us how the synapse works.

If thought of as a continuous function I can see no reason why the body could not self correct during the stroke. We have several in-process self correcting systems. How about a basket ball player in the air and adjusting to conditions in flight to make a basket.

A down hill skier adjusting to the terain as she comes on it.

Or for that matter, you or I eating with a fork and deciding to stop eating. We change direction and set the fork down on the plate quite nicely. In this context it is possible that a player might correct. Whether they do correct is another matter.

I suspect that at times the pause at the end of the stroke could precede a change in direction when the sub-conscious process is fully in charge of the shot making.

Prior to the final swing the brain / mental control is under the joint control of conscious and sub-conscious processes. During the final swing full control of the execution is given over to the sub-conscious and that process may adjust during the swing based on "other" information.

To the extent that some of this is true it woul seem that the sooner the player learns to stop thinking and let the sub-conscious play the sooner their game will improve.

Somehow I have a feeling that all of this musing may wreck my game as I am now interested in attempting to observe what is going on during a pool shot.

Jal
05-24-2008, 11:54 PM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: cushioncrawler</div><div class="ubbcode-body"><div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Jal</div><div class="ubbcode-body">...Obviously, proprioception is necessary for maintaining this direction once the stroke has begun. But what about the initial alignment? I would guess that people who shoot with their chins on the stick are relying on vision heavily. But for some of us, proprioception may be the principle mechanism. Do you think that's absurd on the face of it, or plausible? Jim </div></div>Jim -- I dont agree that proprioception kumz into the actual stroke -- i dont think that it can, there iznt time. Sure, a Filipino swinging forward and back before hiz stroke iz getting a feel for line. And, sure, a snooker player can feel that everything iz in place and ready to go, before the stroke, perhaps with a few back'n'forwards allso (probably mainly to check the contact on the qball and to get a feel for the required speed). But, for most shots, u just pull the trigger -- there aint no time to get any feedback.</div></div>
Mac, maybe it isn't so obvious after all...and after your challenge, I'm wondering myself. I guess what I was thinking is that the cue is guided to its target without much or any visual feedback, at least for those that look at the OB last. But I can see, I think, that it might not require proprioception to accomplish this; just give the right muscles the signals to fire at the right time and let'er rip. This seems all the more likely with a purely pendular stroke, where the elbow's hinge joint constrains lateral motion.

I do make "corrections" midstroke sometimes, as I suppose most everybody that lacks a well-honed and rigidly adhered to pre-shot routine does, but I'm having doubts that this has anything to do with proprioception, now that you bring it up. I'm going to re-read some of JoeW's comments and have another look at Mr. Bustamante. I would still argue that he and others may use it more than vision to set the cue's initial direction, whether or not it's of much use once the stroke is underway.

It may be necessary, in a trivial sort of way, for it to report that the upper arm is maintaining its position during the stroke, and that the brain shouldn't mess with it. But as you say, does it have the time even for this?

Jim

cushioncrawler
05-25-2008, 12:51 AM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: JoeW</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Cushion crawler, Under homepage in your profile it lists http://macnsherie@skymesh.com.au Internet explorer says no such page. From your prior post I guess this is your email not your home page. BTW I worked for a fellow countryman of yours during the 1960s. You might know him or of him -- Sir John Eccles (nobel laurate in neuro-physiology). Seems it took an Australian fellow to tell the rest of us how the synapse works.

If thought of as a continuous function I can see no reason why the body could not self correct during the stroke. We have several in-process self correcting systems. How about a basket ball player in the air and adjusting to conditions in flight to make a basket. A down hill skier adjusting to the terain as she comes on it. Or for that matter, you or I eating with a fork and deciding to stop eating. We change direction and set the fork down on the plate quite nicely. In this context it is possible that a player might correct. Whether they do correct is another matter. I suspect that at times the pause at the end of the stroke could precede a change in direction when the sub-conscious process is fully in charge of the shot making.

Prior to the final swing the brain / mental control is under the joint control of conscious and sub-conscious processes. During the final swing full control of the execution is given over to the sub-conscious and that process may adjust during the swing based on "other" information.

To the extent that some of this is true it would seem that the sooner the player learns to stop thinking and let the sub-conscious play the sooner their game will improve.

Somehow I have a feeling that all of this musing may wreck my game as I am now interested in attempting to observe what is going on during a pool shot.</div></div>Joe -- This made me get out my copy of Precision Billiards by Roy M Geyer, 1928. Roy woz a psychologist, and begame amateur billiards champ of India after taking the game on seriously in hiz old age. In 1921 he sez he found the master key -- "Through the mind to the ball". He sez....
(1)...they laughed at my attempts at mixing psychology with billiards.
(2)...when i was nearly forty... i had to unlearn the greater part of what i had "learned"... It takes more effort to relearn than to learn it only once.
(3)...more than 23 years ago Dr Alfred Taylor Schofield.. wrote.. "By intensive training the mental effort is no longer regulated in conciousness, but is carried out by the sub-conscious mind."
(4)..billiards.. can be learned from books.
(5)..strokes will reel themselves out of your Visual and Muscular Memories of their own accord..
(6)..Just as a bicycle chain may be too tight, so may a billiard player's carefulness and consciousness be so tense that they hinder and hamper the free running of his Subconscious Mind.
(7)..Never will yourself to make a big break...
(8)..if any attempt is made to introduce little variations in these actions, the Will prevents the Subconscious Mind from operating at its best.
(9)..Positive Expectation should convey a powerful suggestion to the Subconscious Mind while in the act of making each stroke..
(10)..The Subconscious Mind.. does not want to know what it should not do..
(11)..Fast practice is only another term for slow progress.
(12)..Don't make the winning of games a fetish. Aim higher than that..
(13)..fear can be got rid of easily by putting entire trust in the Subconscious.
(14)..the greater the speed, the more efficiently will the Subconscious operate.. etc etc.

But Roy duznt really say anything about "self correcting" a stroke. And, didnt Willie tell madMoore that to him hiz arm woz "dead" during the stroke?? madMac.

Jal
05-25-2008, 12:53 AM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: JoeW</div><div class="ubbcode-body">...Somehow I have a feeling that all of this musing may wreck my game as I am now interested in attempting to observe what is going on during a pool shot.</div></div>
When I got back to pool, my game was coming along fine using an open bridge. Then I foolishly spent about six months comparing an open vs closed bridge. Toward the end of that period my game was in a most pitiful state. Some of us must limit ourselves to "there's the ball - there's the pocket". I wouldn't doubt that you might be able to multi-task much better, but I feet morally obliged to convey this tale as a caution.

Thanks for your, DeadCrab's and Mac's continued comments on the subject. Your observation about the conscious and sub-conscious machinery working on possibly different sets of data is very interesting and provocative. I think you have written before about techniques for quieting the conscious part. While you should get a big fat fee for revealing any secrets, as this has much broader applications than billiards, if you ever care to elaborate, now or in the future, I won't try to prevent it. /forums/images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/smile.gif

Jim

JoeW
05-25-2008, 08:14 AM
As I said before, I do not know what is going on but, to date my best (most accurate pocketing and position) results when I use imagery. I attempt to visualize the OB as it moves to the pocket and then I attempt to visualize the CB as it travels and hits the OB and moves to the best position. I find it interesting that sometimes the position is better than expected and not what I had intended.

Given JAL's comments on proprioceptive feedback I think I have simply found a way to turn the process over to the sub-conscious easily and quickly.

Seems Roy Geyer and I have many thoughts in common, though he phrases them differently. I took up psychology as a field of study because it is a can of worms. Figured even a dummy like me might be able to make a contribution. For whatever reason and however we come on it, psychs all begin to sound alike after awhile. In my later years I somewhat regretted my decision and probably should have gone into neurophysiology as John Eccles encouraged.

Thank you for the referral to Geyer's book. I will see if I can find a copy as it should be fascinating reading.

JoeW
05-25-2008, 10:26 AM
Cushion Crawler could you give me the Publisher name and Place of publication for Geyer's book. It is not on the net but I can order through international interlibrary loan at my university. Thanks

BTW here is a good site for out of print books on billiards and snooker
EABA Online (http://www.eaba.co.uk/books/book-index.html)

They had an abstract from Geyer's book but not the whole thing. I am attempting to write a book on psych contributions to pocket billiards and would vey much like to review his work.

cushioncrawler
05-25-2008, 04:51 PM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: JoeW</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Cushion Crawler could you give me the Publisher name and Place of publication for Geyer's book. It is not on the net but I can order through international interlibrary loan at my university. Thanks. BTW here is a good site for out of print books on billiards and snooker. EABA Online (http://www.eaba.co.uk/books/book-index.html) They had an abstract from Geyer's book but not the whole thing. I am attempting to write a book on psych contributions to pocket billiards and would vey much like to review his work.</div></div>Joe -- It looks like it iz self-published -- it iz 272 pages, hardcover -- front sez...

PRECISION BILLIARDS -- R. M. GEYER -- AMATEUR CHAMPION OF INDIA -- Printed for R. M. Geyer, Sedborough House, Longsight, Mussoorie, U.P., India -- 1928.

Naturally it iz just about my favorit book. If u have any trouble getting your hands on one, my madMate haz i think one or two A4 copies. I guess Roy died at age 80 in about 1963, in which case i guess copyright kuts out at 2013 -- but my Indian mates havnt ever heard of him -- Roy iz a mystery. He iz mentioned in one of my old Billiards Player magazines (1930??), koz he used to watch the big billiards matches at Thurstons. I think that BoB Jewett haz an original, but duznt hav a spare. One woz sold on Ebay recently -- actually, i think there were zero bids at about 400 UK pounds.

One possible shortcoming in Roy's rigor iz that he pretty much concentrated on middle-pocket loozerz, from in-hand -- this woz when this shot woznt limited -- prezently u karnt make more than 15 hazardz in succession. But i guess that hiz theoryz can apply to any kind of shot in any kind of game on any kind of table.

Thanks for the EABA reference -- i spend lots of time looking at their stuff (the magazines mainly). Koz i pretty much hav every book (english billiards) u will ever see listed, plus i hav copyd a few that i aint got -- plus my madMate haz pretty well a complete library anyhow (plus some books not listed), and its really only the old magazines that interest me nowadayz. madMac.

JoeW
05-25-2008, 06:04 PM
Thank you, our Research Librarian will have fun finding a copy. I haven't stumped her in 30 years so I doubt I will now.