View Full Version : Technique Changes

05-15-2003, 05:45 AM
Lately I've been experimenting with minute technique changes in hopes of realizing even small increases in shot making abilities. Things such as different bridges, bridge lengths, stances, head positions, ball speed; basically anything I could think of. I had a giant leap a little over a year ago when I drastically changed how I aim. Yesterday I tried something I never experimented with which had another dramatic effect on my accuracy, at least initially. What I did was reduce my backstroke length to nearly half of what I was use to. It felt really strange at first, but the accuracy results were undeniable. The downside of the shorter backstroke is the slowdown of the CB and not getting the same after-shot positioning I was used to. Would be interested in knowing whether anyone else has experimented with their technique and gotten improvements with any of them. Also, whether this shorter backstroke works for anyone else.

05-15-2003, 06:06 AM
I had been having difficulty on some mod difficulty long cuts. I just practiced reading the angle. If it had throw, I aimed for the far side of the pocket or used oe.

I have not found varying bridge lengths to matter unless it is a real delicate shot some long shots or an over the ball shot.

I have tried lots of stuff, looking for that 'quick fix'. They usually lasted for a day or two and then I was back to the same problem. Later on, sometimes they worked again.

The reason these things worked for a day or two is because my analytical brain was temporarily disengaged which allowed me to shoot the natural way. Once my brain adjusted to the change, it did not work anymore.

I have quit worrying about bridge length, stance or any of that stuff. Just get up on the shot and treat every shot, whether in practice or a match, like it is the money ball.

When I do not treat every shot that way I am lazy and start missing but that is just me. Pool has been hard for me to learn,albeit a challenge.


05-15-2003, 06:20 AM
I think the backswing is more a matter of comfort or at what point in your take away do you reach the point where you can comfortably and accurately eccellerate the stroke to accomplish the shot you have in mind. Some great players have slow and long take aways (Busta) and some short (Hopkins). Worry about the forward stroke not the backward one......JMHO....

05-15-2003, 07:05 AM
I have been doing the same thing for the past 2 - 3 years; however, mostly my changes have centered around stance. I change from a traditional pool stance to more of a snooker stance on a daily basis. I am still trying to figure out which is more consistent for me.

It is kind of frustrating because sometimes I will shoot well with either stance and sometimes I can't shoot in either stance...lol.

I do know that their are certain shots that I shoot better in once stance or another and I will change when those specific shots come up in a match.

How have you altered your stance? What were the results?

05-15-2003, 08:23 AM
Yes, I have experimented with my stance and have been happy with one which is midway between the two conventional stances. How did I know what was right for me? First I took a bent over stance, without a stick, and bent the forearm to see where my natural swing was in relation to the rest of my body. Mine was approximately 45 degrees from whatever I was facing. Therefore, (I deduced) if I faced 45 degrees from the shot, my natural swing would be straight. Further experimenting fine tuned the most confortable and accurate stance for me. The only time I use a more conventional "pool" stance is for the break because I can generate more power with it.

05-15-2003, 08:32 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote bluewolf:</font><hr>Just get up on the shot and treat every shot, whether in practice or a match, like it is the money ball.<hr /></blockquote>That would cause me to choke on every shot. /ccboard/images/graemlins/wink.gif

05-15-2003, 08:48 AM
When I first started playing pool I did what was natural in my stance. Then my head got filled with all of these ideas:real pool players do this, and adress it this way and you are doing it wrong. It took me a long time to get back to what I was in the beginning.

I did not analyze anything back then. I just got up to the table and shot. Of course I needed to have a good stroke but there is something to be said for doing things natural as long as the stroke arm can move freely.

And people have written chapters about alignment. Just like socrates says, if you step up and your stroke isnt balanced or whatever move your feet.

If I start practice strokes, what people call preshot, and my stroke is crooked, I move my feet a bit, or if my aim is not in line with where I see that I need to strike the cb in order to hit the ob, I move my feet.

Analyzing everything, I retarded my pool. Fast Larry said I had 'paralysis by analysis' and said just go back to doing things by feel.

For months I watched my apa7 hubbie do something different everyday and it was 'this is it', I am 'shooting the lights out'. With so many things, just as I so many times experienced, it worked for a day or two until the analytical brain decided it had been had.

I tried different stances, grips, bridges, you name it. In the end I went back to what I was doing in the beginning, except for the training on the stroke, I went back to what was natural, and all of a sudden the balls started falling in the pockets.


05-15-2003, 11:08 AM
Certainly what makes the game so enjoyable is the opportunity for experimentation and continuous improvement.

As a student of the game I have done my share of experimenting. With regard to these experiments I might offer the following:

"When I first start with the idea I have success, as I stay with the idea I have a mess."

Carl Lohren in "One move to better golf"

That is slow becomes TOO SLOW. Short backswing becomes to short, etc.

The other question I might suggest you ask your self after working with a change for a while is:

Will the results of this change benefit my game over time?

and remember results take time to measure.

The game continues to come back to fundamentals. In my opinion if the experiment is not leading to an improvement in the core fundamentals in the area of stance, alignment and/or the delivery and timing of the stroke then the change may work for a short while but might impede your long-term progress.

Experimentation and an open mind are necessary to continue to improve - just make sure you are measuring the results of your experiments properly and over time.

Jon from MN
05-15-2003, 11:23 AM
I agree with that. I actually teach some of my students to do the same eventually I think it not only makes us bear down but it will reduce the pressure when shooting a money ball. jmo Jon from mn

05-15-2003, 03:03 PM
I need a reason to use a short stroke. Such as the c/b is a little to close to the o/b, or a nip draw. Sometimes similar to your description but with a couple of changes. Anytime I use a short stroke I'll also make the bridge shorter and move my back hand forward to keep the relationship the same. It is a well known technique with good players. It compliments the shot and of course the stroke length.

Here is an example. You need to play position on the 5 ball. The c/b is 6" from the 1 ball. If you use just a short stroke with a normal bridge and your back hand is farther back, your normal position, it makes this shot difficult. Reason being you have to cut off your stroke to keep from fouling the shot. The simple way IMO is to use a 4" or maybe 5 inch bridge and choke up on the handle in equal porportions. It lets you follow thru better and almost eliminate any chance of a foul. The same applies if you draw the ball. Once a person gets use to this technique it becomes very natural. I don't know if you or the others use this but it really comes in handy. You can get a lot of power, more than one might think in a short area because your not cutting off your stroke, or at the least very little. It is shot with a firmer grip and you can tuck your elbow into your side to act as a brake. Just some thoughts.

Wei table (http://endeavor.med.nyu.edu/~wei/pool/9egg/)


It's good to experiment, you can learn new stuff that way. Just try to keep it within the basic fundamentals.


05-15-2003, 09:34 PM
You my friend are on the right track, many great players, shorten the bridge and backstroke, when thy are trying to cinch a very tough shot. When you have to move the cue ball a ways lengthen the bridge and the follow thru. When you want to drag the cue ball, watch Reyes no one hits it as good. Then there is the dip stroke when you are trying to hit a soft stroke with extreme spin. As you can see there no just one way, it is art form, you the player must work on these strokes and be able to use them when needed. I hope this helps. Thnx EZMark

05-16-2003, 05:45 AM
Thanx EZMark. I believe a certain amount of experimentation is normal and occasionally can lead to breakthroughs as long as the pitfalls discussed are watched for. Of course, taking lessons from a professional is the ultimate method of learning and using new techniques and I'm looking forward to an upcoming session with Scott Lee next month. But we can't have someone of his calibre on call all the time, and to be satisfied with the status quo when one knows they can do better eventually leads to frustration (I've got the 2.25" holes in my walls to prove it). The leaps I have experienced in the last year or two have removed that frustration and really rejuvenated my passion for the game, and I expect to have a few more leaps simply because I'm willing to accept change.

05-16-2003, 10:32 AM
I've always felt myself to be a fairly competent player but periodically had those times when finding my aiming point was more like thrashing around in the weeds with a stick looking for a snake... "I just know it has to be in there somewhere." I've also been a strong advocate of staying low and keeping your dominant eye over the cue. However, even with that have had times when I almost felt like I was going cross-eyed trying to focus in on a shot. Once you lose confidence in yourself everything starts to come undone.

At the start of this year I decided to totally de-construct my game. Although I think it caused some grief with my league teammates,(by 1/2way through the season my shooting average had dropped to below 75%) I still was determined to stick with it.

Like everyone I've had those moments when you totally feel locked into every shot. That's the sence of consistency I was striving for and in my practice sessions took notes on various changes + or -that happened when I changed basic aspects of my mechanics.

The end result is that when I now get down over a shot I automatically check certain physical markers... my hips are square to the shot, the cue is directly under my chin but my head turned just slight enough that it's also under my left "non-dominant" eye. When I now look down the cue there is a sense of both my eyes triangulating on the contact point I visualize on the object ball. My best description of the feeling is that when I touch that contact point with my eyes all other aspects of my mechanics flow with it. I now have exceptional confidence in my aim and can put more attention to just the weight of the shot and positional play.

It seems rather a Zen like kind of thing... just to look at a spot on the object ball and shoot. It was very difficult to mentally bring myself to trust in it in the beginning. In league and tournaments I'd tend to fall back into what was old and familiar but the more I came to trust in it the more confident/relaxed I became. Like they say you have to shoot a shot a 1,000 times (at least) to make it yours.

Don't get my wrong, I'm still quite capeable of missing a shot but now I'm always somewhat surprised if I do and I'm always close.

To my team's relief we finished in 1st place for the season. I had the pleasure of sinking the shot that clinched it for us and I also won league high average with 92%. Ya gotta find out what works for you... Bob

05-16-2003, 12:12 PM
Over the year's I've seen some player's really put themselves in a rut and stop progressing because of continous technique changes.I think it's good for someone to try different technique's, but after awhile one should,stay with one technique and if you need more help seek out a good instructor.

phil in sofla
05-20-2003, 09:48 PM
A couple of years back, I watched Danny Bassovich ('Kid Delicious') win a local pro tournament with a pretty strong field, beating Buddy Hall in the finals.

The guy practice stroked maybe 10 times, sometimes resetting after that, standing up, then doing the 10 practice strokes again. All his practice strokes were full length, but almost always, his final back stroke was maybe half what he had been practicing. I can't do that many practice strokes without losing focus myself, and I never tried his half-stroke technique, but it was hard to argue with his results for that tournament.

05-21-2003, 05:22 AM
There you go braggin' again Bob!!J/K
It was nice to see you get into your usual "swing" or "stroke" of things.
Don't worry, we never gave up on you!!

05-21-2003, 06:11 AM
Thanx "phil" for the observation. So far the shorter backstroke has been fruitful for me. May become a permanent thing. Just so everyone knows, I'm not talking about a jab here. When I finally put a ruler against my stick to get some figures on the subject, I found that my original backstroke was anywhere from 4 to 6 inches on average. My new backstroke is more in the 3 to 4 inch range. However, I do continue to use the longer stroke when the shot calls for it.

05-21-2003, 07:25 PM
Hey Carey... good to hear from you. Hope we get a chance to hit a few together over the summer. I'm still surprised with the change I made in my game in the last couple months of the season. it still surprises me when I come to the table these days that it's still there. I'm still quite capable of losing my share of matches but the main change in my game is the increased feeling of confidence I have when I come to the table. I just know that because I now see the lines for shots clearer than I used to I don't suffer the same kind of perioic self doubt I used to. If you can I'd appreciate if e-mail me that team pix from lat year. And let me know if you hear of any worthwhile tournaments that come up. ...Bob