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phil in sofla
10-07-2002, 08:41 PM
Practicing by myself over the weekend, a guy asks to hit with me. All of about 5' 5", 135 pounds soaking wet, I notice he's gripping the house cue he picked up back at the butt. I figured he was a banger, and couldn't possibly be accurate with that grip point, and his 12" to 15" at least bridge length, at his height.

Well, he controlled his stroke very well, shot very smoothly and accurately, to my surprise. Also broke a ton, which figured. I guess he knew the houseman, and soon was explaining that he had talked to some expert or another about that exact grip point (Mike Coltraine's name came up, but I wasn't sure that was whom he was citing as authority on this).

What he said was that this expert supposedly admitted that the wayback grip was the superior method, that the 'classic' or standard grip point some 5 inches back of the balance point would yield better results quicker, but that if you mastered the more difficult technique he was using, you'd eventually go further than with the standard grip point.

I heard this before he showed me his game, and I thought he was blatantly misinformed, and the 'expert' too, if he really had said that. After seeing him use it to such a good result, I guess I'm more neutral now, but I still don't buy it completely. Seems that having that huge bridge length is a recipe for inaccuracy.

How say you: FOS, or something to it?

Drake
10-08-2002, 05:34 AM
I used to be....You Have to stroke like this, Grip like this right here, bridge 6 inches from the cue ball, and have a stance like this. THEN I had a revelation, I went to a Pro tournament. All of the pro's had different stances, strokes, grips, and bridges. The Filipino's are known for their long bridges......I MEAN really LOOOOONG. Busty looks like he's holding a toothpick. Double J's index finger hardly touches and his grip is sometimes on the very end of the butt. Buddy and Cory also grip way back on the Butt of the cue. Go Figure!! Good Luck and Don't be afraid to try something different.

10-08-2002, 05:45 AM
Interesting!

I see a couple of possibities: (1) An extra-long bridge would force a player to be extra careful about keeping his backswing and follow-through straight, and (2) an extra-long bridge might provide a good sight picture for precise aiming.

With regard to the first possibility: a good player learns to stroke straight with a traditional grip, and the traditional bridge doesn't have the built-in instability than this guy's has. With regard to to the second possibility: a traditional bridge enables a good player to sight his mark adequately, again without building in instability that can reduce accuracy.

Your story reminds me of another player who has an "ugly" bridge. The fingers of this guy's bridge hand crawl around like a bunch of snakes on speed--until the last possible moment. Then he firms up, makes the shot, and takes your cash.

OSV C-Chariot

10-08-2002, 04:19 PM
I heard this before he showed me his game, and I thought he was blatantly misinformed, and the 'expert' too, if he really had said that. After seeing him use it to such a good result, I guess I'm more neutral now, but I still don't buy it completely. Seems that having that huge bridge length is a recipe for inaccuracy.

How say you: FOS, or something to it?

___________________________

Well, I don't see Efren holding the end of his cue, although he does have a long bridge.. perhaps the longer bridge helps see the layout of the table and shot more accurately or something. I don't know.. I use a long bridge on some shots that are wierd and off the rail a few inches.. I never have too many problems with 'em.

Hard to tell.. but I try to keep an open mind.

phil in sofla
10-08-2002, 04:28 PM
Interestingly, this guy shot most shots with an open bridge.

Thinking about it, given his height, with such a long bridge length, he HAD to grip so far back on the cue so that when he approached the hit point, he'd have his arm vertical at that time.

I THINK the theory on the long bridge is that it helps you stay straight on the stroke, with the momentum of the cue greater to 'hold' it on line by its momentum. Also, it probably helps put 'stuff' on the ball.

TonyM
10-08-2002, 11:02 PM
"I THINK the theory on the long bridge is that it helps you stay straight on the stroke, with the momentum of the cue greater to 'hold' it on line by its momentum. Also, it probably helps put 'stuff' on the ball."

I think that both those statements are false!

The cue's tendancy to stay on line is based on it's inertia. Specifically it's "Moment of Inertia" (MoI), literally inertia about a pivot (your bridge hand for example). The cue's MoI is a function of it's weight distribution about it's length, not where you hold it.

And cue ball action is only dependant on the actual location of the tip/ball contact point, and the stick speed at impact. The cueball has no idea how much shaft is in front of your bridge.

Here is how I look at it:

You can draw a simple geometrical representation of the distance from the tip to the bridge fulcrum, and the bridge to the back hand grip point. You can assume that your back hand has a normal fixed amount of side to side error. Do it for a short bridge, and a long bridge. Draw a line out from the tip to the cueball, and out from the cueball to the point of aim (at the object ball). What you have is two "similar triangles".

Do the math and what you will find is that if you want to minimize your error at the CUE BALL, you should use a shorter bridge. If you want to minimize your aiming error at the OBJECT BALL, then a longer bridge is more accurate.

Optimize the one, and you reduce accuracy on the other.

There is no "free lunch" in pool!

I think that this explains why highly skilled players tend to favour a longer bridge than most. Their strokes are well developed and reliable. Thus they can increase their bridge length (to gain some aiming accuracy) without adversely affecting their cueball aiming accuracy.

Novice players with developing strokes are best advised to stick within the "normal" range of bridge lengths until their strokes are better (6" to 9").

Such is what I think...(whatever it's worth).


Tony

Alfie
10-09-2002, 01:31 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote: TonyM:</font><hr> Do the math and what you will find is that if you want to minimize your error at the CUE BALL, you should use a shorter bridge. <hr></blockquote> This is clear to me.

<blockquote><font class="small">Quote: TonyM:</font><hr> If you want to minimize your aiming error at the OBJECT BALL, then a longer bridge is more accurate.
<hr></blockquote> This is not clear to me. Explain, please.

Alfie
10-09-2002, 02:08 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote: phil in sofla:</font><hr> [...] this expert supposedly admitted that the wayback grip was the superior method, that the 'classic' or standard grip point some 5 inches back of the balance point would yield better results quicker, but that if you mastered the more difficult technique he was using, you'd eventually go further than with the standard grip point. <hr></blockquote> Sounds like BS.

NEXT!

10-10-2002, 10:01 PM
This is incorrect, Tony. Assuming that lateral movement of the backhand is the same no matter where you grip, you would only get more accuracy if the distance between the bridge hand and stroking hand was widened unnaturally. If the distance between the two hands remains the same, so as you grip near the back of the cue the bridge hand comes back too and a longer bridge to cue ball distance results, there will be less accuracy at the cue ball and at the object ball. It's not only common sense, but you can draw the triangles, with the pivot occurring around the bridge hand and with the lateral movement of the backhand assumed to be the same amount in both cases.

Also, as the bridge hand gets closer to the center of gravity (COG), the lateral movement of the of the backhand may even increase for the simple reason that it's easier to rotate an object around its COG. Of course, we are not talking about a lot of weight here and the bridge hand is still rather far from the COG so the effect is undoubtedly negligible. What's more important to consider is that with the traditional stance you are cradling the cue and letting its COG place your arm in its natural position whereas by holding the cue near the butt end you are more likely to grip it and have your arm take up unusual positions.

That said, if the kid can shoot with it, what the hell. Of course, I don't have to watch his ugly mechanics, thank God. I've always felt the game is more than just pocketing balls; it's the way you pocket them: your stroke, your stance, and the way you move around the table. I love to watch a good player like Steve Mizerak (when he was less heavy), the stately Irving Crane and the short, jauntily elegant master himself, Willie Mosconi. Of the modern players, I don't think you can beat the precision of a Mike Sigel or the power of an Earl Strickland or the measured movements of a Buddy Hall. Then there are Philippinos like Efren Reyes and Francisco Bustamante, whose exotic, spider-like movements may have cultural rather than physical origins. Though they are undoubtedly two of the best, a little goes a long way. It's like a meal that is just too rich to have too much of. And for the women, I'd much rather watch the stroke of a Vivian Villarreal than the chin-cleft consistency of an Allison Fisher.

Anyway, none of these great players have what I call really ugly mechanics, though Allen Hopkins comes close. But the way Phil described this kid gripping the cue at the butt plate, forget it; I don't care if he could run 11 straight racks. Jeez, than everybody would be copying him. Perish the thought.

Best regards,
Bob

cheesemouse
10-10-2002, 10:17 PM
fightingbob,
For a minute there I thought you were discribing the changing of a flat tire with a cuestick. I'm glad I can't understand what you wrote. No cut intended my mind just shuts off when I read this tech stuff but I am glad somebody thinks about this stuff.

Duke Mantee
10-11-2002, 05:59 AM
It can be fun to speculate about the physics and geometry of pool, but you gotta face it: our ideas about those subjects are often just guesswork, or folk wisdom--or folk ignorance. What we get from the CCB's scientists, on the other hand, is solid, useful information. I'll take as much of that as I can get! So I agree with Cheese: I'm glad that these guys are willing to do the scientific work and share their results with us.

D.M.