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qSHAFT
01-29-2003, 10:07 PM
I've been juggling three 1kg spherical weights to improve my pool game for about 15-30 minutes a day for the past 6 months. Seems to be working so far, exercises the arm muscles and reflexes, as well helping balance, rhythm, stamina, consistency, focus (both visually and mentally) and coordination. Most importantly there has been much improvement in my game.

An interesting side effect of this exercise was a discovery about focus. When juggling I could focus on either the balls looping at the top of the arc, or on some object in the distance, with equal ease. Yet when I go through the transition of focus change from the close to the far there was a period of adjustment (approx 2 seconds) where my body was slightly disoriented and I would quite often drop them during this period.

My theory is that this disorientation also occurs when you are in your preshot stance and move focus from the cue ball to the object ball but is not as pronounced as you aren't moving anything else at the time (at least you shouldn't be).

This would imply to me that it is better to take fewer longer looks at the object ball and cue ball than many rapid looks, and also not to shoot too soon after changing focus for the last time.

I am hoping that with continued juggling practice my body will become less affected during the focus transition and my game will improve as a side effect.

Anyone else out there have some crazy practice routines?

01-29-2003, 11:00 PM
I juggle and have for many years but never noticed that it helped my pool game. I imagine if you count sheep and believe it will improve your pool game, it will as well.

Jimbo

qSHAFT
01-29-2003, 11:25 PM
It ain't ther same if your only juggling ping pong balls jimbo. Try juggling for half an hour with kilo weights and tell me it isn't toning up those arms of yours.

Rod
01-29-2003, 11:36 PM
Not me, hell I'd drop one and bust a toe. /ccboard/images/graemlins/shocked.gif What ever works. LOL You are right about having slow eye movement. I always have and it pays. There was an article about Quiet Eyes someone posted. If you do a google search it should come up.

qSHAFT
01-29-2003, 11:37 PM
I should also add that it was the process of focussing on a far object and then on a close object and back again while juggling that I am hoping will make the transition of focus from cue to object ball smoother without the phase of readjustment.

Rod
01-29-2003, 11:47 PM
Here is one link to Quiet Eyes, but the link posted some time back was related to pool, same effect.

http://www.pbs.org/saf/1206/hotline/hvickers.htm

Do a search on CCB for Quiet Eyes and it should come up.

Fran Crimi
01-30-2003, 12:10 AM
qSHAFT, I was really impressed by your post; the way you observed your own eye movement and focus while juggling, and how you were able to draw a comparison to pool. Great job.

Sorry in advance for the long post, but it's hard to describe this in a just few sentences.

I did a little research in eye movement awhile back and here's what I found: I was studying Steve Mizerak's game because I think he's one of the all-time greatest players that ever lived. I noticed that he had very rapid eye movement when he was in his stance and practice stroking. He'd move his eyes back and forth continually, but it was very interesting how he did it. When the cue tip was at the cue ball, he'd look at the cue ball, when he pulled it back to his fingers, he'd look at the object ball. So his eyes were timed with his stroke. Back and forth, every stroke, all the way into his execution stroke. So, I decided to give it a try.

When I first tried it, I nearly fell over from dizziness after a few strokes. I kept at it and would last a little longer before I got dizzy. Then eventually over time, I was able to do it, but it took some months of practice. So the conclusion I came to was that since your eyes are muscles, you can strengthen the muscles through training and they will eventually adapt and focus quicker. (Purely unscientific, but that's my conclusion.)

But the real question I couldn't answer was why do it? Does it make you see better and ultimately, play better, as opposed to taking longer looks and less frequently? I couldn't see any difference in result. I don't think it makes a difference in pool, but with something where you're forced to follow something that's in motion, like juggling, I bet it makes all the difference in the world. There is one benefit that I can see in timing your eye movement with your stroke and that's that you are sure to look at both the cue ball and objcet ball when you are down on the shot. Sometimes players forget to look at the cue ball and just stare at the object ball. That's bad.


Fran

qSHAFT
01-30-2003, 12:50 AM
Hi Fran,

Thanks for the advice, I will have a go at Miz's technique the next time I get a practice session in.

One question though, did he carry this technique onto the actual stroke, meaning did he look back to the cue ball as he was about to make contact?

Also the speed that he changed from one focus to the other interests me, as from my experience with juggling it can take almost two seconds for the body to become fully oriented with the change of focus. This could explain why so many people have success with an added pause in the final backswing, because the body has more time to adjust to the focus.

Thanks - qSHAFT

qSHAFT
01-30-2003, 12:51 AM
Thanks for that Rod, the article was a very good (and interesting) read.

Cheers - qSHAFT

snipershot
01-30-2003, 01:02 AM
Hi qSHAFT, I don't have a crazy practice routine, but whatever works to improve your game is the most important reguardless of how you improve it, as long as you continue to see an improvement in your game keep using the same routine and continue to get better.

Fran Crimi
01-30-2003, 01:05 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote qSHAFT:</font><hr> Hi Fran,

Thanks for the advice, I will have a go at Miz's technique the next time I get a practice session in.

One question though, did he carry this technique onto the actual stroke, meaning did he look back to the cue ball as he was about to make contact?

Also the speed that he changed from one focus to the other interests me, as from my experience with juggling it can take almost two seconds for the body to become fully oriented with the change of focus. This could explain why so many people have success with an added pause in the final backswing, because the body has more time to adjust to the focus.

Thanks - qSHAFT <hr /></blockquote>

qShaft, you should be an instructor. I think you're right on the money as to the reason for the pause in the backstroke. There's one more reason for the pause, which is to assure that the forward stroke has continuous acceleration to the point of impact. But both are equally as important.

To answer your questions: Mizerak held his vision on the object ball during the final stroke. He didn't look back at the cue ball at impact. Also, he wasn't fast-stroking his practice strokes, but they weren't slow, either. They were a nice pace, maybe about a second from cue ball to object ball, so it's faster than the two seconds you're mentioning. I don't really recommend that way unless you're already doing it because like I mentioned before, I don't really see any extra added benefit; and it takes a while to get used to that method. I'm not sure it's worth it. But I guess it's something you can try if you're curious.

Most players, including myself, take a few practice strokes, then pause at the cue ball and look back and forth, then take a few more strokes, pause and look. It seems to work fine as long as you don't forget to look at the cue ball.

Regards,

Fran

bigbro6060
01-30-2003, 01:09 AM
i'm glad and hope it works for you, but i'd rather spend that 15-30 minutes a day on the Pool table /ccboard/images/graemlins/cool.gif

TonyM
01-30-2003, 02:06 AM
"This would imply to me that it is better to take fewer longer looks at the object ball and cue ball than many rapid looks, and also not to shoot too soon after changing focus for the last time."

Interesting, some recent scientific studies from the University of Florida (The "Quiet eye" phenomena) that measured the number and length of fixations on object ball and cue ball by skilled players came up with the exact same conclusions!

What you do with your eyes, and when you do it in the stroke sequence seems to be more important that most people would give it credit.

I've often thought that juggling would be a good form of "cross training" for pool.

Glad to see that it is working for you!

Tony

TonyM
01-30-2003, 02:17 AM
Fran, one more drawback to Mizerack's technique was discussed on rsb some time back by Ron Shepard. That is, that the eye's ability to acquire a new target and achieve focus begins to degrade as we get older.

So for a young player with young eyes, it might not really matter that much if they switch focus back and forth from the cue ball to the object ball during the stroke. Their eyes can acquire the new target and come into focus in time. But as we get older, it gets harder for our eyes to get the job done.

So Ron suggested that older players adopt a technique that takes the ravages of time into account (Lol!).

Like a pause or a slower switch or something like that.

The final suggestion was that since this technique can work for older players, it doesn't make sense to teach a different technique to younger players, since they might be forced to switch later in life anyway.

Perhaps (and I'm only speculating) Mizerak's game would benefit from a change that would take into account older eyes?

I remember Jim Rempe saying that he tried to get close position on every shot these days because his eyes could no longer be trusted for the really long shots!

I'd like to have his eyes even in their current state of decrepitude!

Tony
-lol!

socrates
01-30-2003, 07:55 AM
Interesting post to this thread. There is an article and a drill to coordinate your eye movements in pool on my web page on this very topic that some may find of interest.

Its under "The eyes have it" menu bar.

Any feedback would be appreciated.

http://members.aol.com/blkbeltbilliards

Fred Agnir
01-30-2003, 09:02 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote qSHAFT:</font><hr> This would imply to me that it is better to take fewer longer looks at the object ball and cue ball than many rapid looks, and also not to shoot too soon after changing focus for the last time.<hr /></blockquote>

If someone were to ask me to list down the major milestones in my pool playing skillset evolution, this one (longer looks at each ball) is the latest. I call it "acquiring a target." BCA Instructors (Pool School and others) teach this as "eye patterns."

Sometimes (often times), you just can't acquire the target consistently if you don't give it more than a cursory look.

Fred

01-30-2003, 09:34 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote qSHAFT:</font><hr> It ain't ther same if your only juggling ping pong balls jimbo. Try juggling for half an hour with kilo weights and tell me it isn't toning up those arms of yours. <hr /></blockquote>

No way could I juggle for half an hour with kilo weights! /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif Just thinking about it makes me tired!!! Actually ping pong balls are fairly difficult unless you do mouth juggling. /ccboard/images/graemlins/confused.gif

Jimbo

socrates
01-30-2003, 09:40 AM
Fred.

Really liked the terminology - "Acquiring the target"

Made me think of a scene from the movie top gun. "I've got tone." when the missle lock locks on the target.

Another line I believe applies to pool is from the movie "Searching for Bobby Fisher." Don't move until you see it. Translated for pool. Don't shoot until you see it.

Fran Crimi
01-30-2003, 10:45 AM
Good point, Tony. I do find it interesting, though, that Mizerak didn't wear glasses when he played, even in later years. I wonder if all that eye exercising might have helped him a bit there.

Several years ago, I had a problem with focusing. The doctor I saw had invented a bio-feedback eye exercising gizmo and he suggested I try it for 6 weeks. The way it worked was that you looked into a lens and focused at a dot which would appear to move closer and farther away. You couldn't blink until the machine detected something happening to your irises (change in size, I presume) and beeped at you. After 6 weeks, I no longer needed glasses. Still don't have them although I have occasional lapses.

I know what doctors say about what happens to your eyes when you get older, but things are always changing in medicine. Maybe they'll discover that certain eye exercises will help prolong healthy eyesight into much later in life than we presently believe.

Fran

Fred Agnir
01-30-2003, 12:21 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Fran Crimi:</font><hr> The doctor I saw had invented a bio-feedback eye exercising gizmo <hr /></blockquote>

I love it when you talk dirty like that.

Hope this helps,

Fred

Tom_In_Cincy
01-30-2003, 07:16 PM
Fran, (love it when you talk pool at this level)

I had the great opportunity to watch Max Elerbe exercise his preshot routine and warm up strokes at the Derby City Classic TV Table 3 times.

I was amased at the mechanical approach to his warmup strokes. On his forward stroke, he would look at the cue ball, his cue tip would stop just short of the cue ball, then he would look at the object ball, then he would draw the cue stick back, and repeat this about 3 or 4 times. There was a pause, but it was very slight. On long shots, he looked at the OB last, on short shots.. it was still the OB, but not always. I think it depended on if there was any side english hit on the cue ball.

What was really impressive was the timing. You could almost clock it and it would be the same everytime. He was so focused, you could hear the intensity.

Timing and focus and getting into that rhythm was awsome. It had me mesmerized. So fluid, yet mechanical in accuracy.

I think I only saw him mis 3 shots in 3 different matches. The one shot cost him the match against Ralf Souquet, Ralf never Max back to the table with anything to play.

Same thing happened with Max's match with Shannon Dauton for 1st place. Max missed one shot.. and was ahead 3-0 and Shannon never let Max have a shot a the table again.

Two great matches, three great players, all having the very same focus, timing, stroke routine.. but I have to say.. Max's routine was the best.

Fran Crimi
01-30-2003, 10:34 PM
Tom, that's interesting stuff about Max. I haven't seen him play but I'll be sure to watch him when I get the chance. Sounds like you saw some great matches.

Thanks for the info.

Fran

Fran Crimi
01-30-2003, 10:42 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Fred Agnir:</font><hr> <blockquote><font class="small">Quote Fran Crimi:</font><hr> The doctor I saw had invented a bio-feedback eye exercising gizmo <hr /></blockquote>

I love it when you talk dirty like that.

Hope this helps,

Fred <hr /></blockquote>


It helps.

As the old joke punch line goes....I'll be sure to keep an eye out for you.

Fran (Can't tell that joke here, something about a hooker with a glass eye. Did I say that? Smack me.)

Rod
01-30-2003, 11:17 PM
[ QUOTE ]
Several years ago, I had a problem with focusing. The doctor I saw had invented a bio-feedback eye exercising gizmo and he suggested I try it for 6 weeks. The way it worked was that you looked into a lens and focused at a dot which would appear to move closer and farther away. <hr /></blockquote>

Fran all this machine did is move the dot near and far? It is interesting that would help so much. As we get older some of us lose the, elasticity, for lack of a better word, of the lens. Then it becomes difficult to focus at different distances. I'm guessng but I imagine the amount of light the pupil lets in has some impact also. There must be or should be a computer program that could do the same. It wouldn't give us the feed back of the machine but it might help. Any thoughts on that?

~~~ rod has stiff lenses, I think

Fran Crimi
01-31-2003, 12:04 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Rod:</font><hr> &lt;/font&gt;&lt;blockquote&gt;&lt;font class="small"&gt;Quote:&lt;/font&gt;&lt;hr /&gt;
Several years ago, I had a problem with focusing. The doctor I saw had invented a bio-feedback eye exercising gizmo and he suggested I try it for 6 weeks. The way it worked was that you looked into a lens and focused at a dot which would appear to move closer and farther away. <hr /></blockquote>

Fran all this machine did is move the dot near and far? It is interesting that would help so much. As we get older some of us lose the, elasticity, for lack of a better word, of the lens. Then it becomes difficult to focus at different distances. I'm guessng but I imagine the amount of light the pupil lets in has some impact also. There must be or should be a computer program that could do the same. It wouldn't give us the feed back of the machine but it might help. Any thoughts on that?

~~~ rod has stiff lenses, I think <hr /></blockquote>

Rod, all I can recall is that dot getting larger and smaller, moving farther away and getting closer. It was white, so when it got larger there was definitely more light.

I think you're right, that it should be able to be duplicated easily enough, and I wondered myself why this technique hasn't really taken off over the years. The only thing I can think of is that it isn't beneficial to the manufacturers of glasses, lenses or even the doctors if people start needing less eye care. Maybe it's one of those things they quickly swept under the rug.

Fran