View Full Version : Correct stroke, without knowing the problem... >:(

05-19-2003, 12:58 PM
Ok, I finally got a chance to start shooting through the Black Belt Billiards book this weekend. To my surprise, the first two shots in the book gave me more problems than I would like to admit! I almost skipped them, and am GLAD that I didn't!!

In the first shot, he asks that you make 10 balls, from the foot spot into the far corner pocket, using top, center and bottom hit's on the cue ball.
Top and center I was fine. Using effective draw I popped the cue ball off the table 2 out of 10 times. /ccboard/images/graemlins/frown.gif Ok, not a problem, I fixed that.

However, on the 2nd shot in the book, he asks that you take the cue ball, from the foot spot shooting it into the far rail, returning to the short rail under you and back to the far rail.
With the ultimate position of the cue ball ending up about 12" off the far rail without leaving the middle "lane" of the two diamonds on the short rails.

Holy CRAP, this took FOREVER for me to make happen consistently! I got it, finally, but the cue ball was STILL traveling horizontally a LOT more than I would like.

I practice at home, on a 7-foot table with ANCIENT rails. Which could contribute to this, a little. But I was doing it from both ends of the table and the cue ball consistently ends up 3-6" to the right of it's starting position.

Anyway, my wife is not into pool and I can't get any of my friends to do drills with me or watch me shoot to try and figure out what in the heck is wrong with my stroke!

Are their shots/drills that I can do that will "improve" my stroke, or at least help me figure out what is wrong with it?
I don't have a video camera and can't afford one, or lessons at the moment. So I'm trying to figure out a way to do this "on my own", for the most part. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

05-19-2003, 02:22 PM
The first tell tale sign is the miscue on the draw shot.
The second shot shows as well.Your either moving a little and or your making a maneuver with your back hand.
Do you seem to miss the lag mostly one way? If your stance is solid and there is no head or body movement then it lies somewhere in your shooting arm. Well one more problem is finding the center of the c/b, some have a hard time with that.

Most people have the tendacy for the stroke to veer off to one side. In such a drill it will show up big time as you noticed. Make a bridge parallel to a rail. In your shooting stance, stroke the cue down the straight line separating the cushion from the wood. Do you see your cue going off to one side a little? In most cases it will and that puts however slight, unwanted english on the c/b.

Does your lower arm and wrist hang straight down? Is your wrist cupped or bowed at all? Check that before you shoot that shot to see if anything has changed. Many times people will make a move back there from the address position or before.

If all is well, your arm and wrist hang straight down, the last one is is in most cases the problem. That would be grip pressure. You may or may not hold the cue light at address, I don't know. It should be light. It is my very educated guess that grip pressure is changing. You may start out light but because of a change it will steer the cue. Even a moderate change can cause this, that prevents a natural swinging of the weight. The weight goes straight if you let it. That draw shot told me it's changing. If you have tight or tense muscles the stroke gets quick back and through. Tension will steer the cue and cut off a nice follow through. Be "very" aware of this one aspect. You don't need to see it you can feel it if your aware.

As far as the drill you could start out doing the same except at a slower one rail speed. You'll be able to feel what's happening in your stroke better. Then increase it as you go along. The speed really starts showing errors.


05-19-2003, 02:37 PM
Crap! I think you hit it! I'm almost positive it is the change in grip! I have had this problem for a long time with my draw, causing the cue ball to stop or drift instead of reverse direction when shooting the draw.
It kills my follow through. I'll bet that is the case. I will pay special attention to that in my drills tonight and let you know tomorrow if that's it.

I'm always scared that not gripping it will cause the cue to pop out of my hand or the cue ball to die or lose it's gas when I need it most. And shooting hard shots... yep, that HAS to be it!

Thank you Rod, thank you much. I'll let you know if/when that corrects it /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif

05-19-2003, 03:04 PM
Your welcome. Getting use to holding the cue light won't come overnight as you know. Once you find the problem though you make yourself aware when you practice. One suggestion should that be your problem. When you need more cue speed, increase your pressure slightly. VERY SLIGHTLY! Do this at address and keep it consistant through out the stroke. Nothing wrong with a "little" more pressure, as I said it's the increase of pressure that kills you. Let me know and Good Luck.


05-19-2003, 03:05 PM
I went through the issues described here a while back. Getting everything in my arm to be loose and fluid takes some serious concentration if you are used to being tight. The funny thing is, by being loose, particularly in your hand, wrist, and forearm, you can add TONS of power to your stroke. Now I don't mean that you should go for a lot of wrist movement. Whipping your hand around on your wrist joint is not at all what you're after. I just mean that the muscles should be loose and relaxed.

A GREAT drill to fix this problem is this: set up the object ball about 18 inches from the cue ball. Make it a straight in shot. it doesn't matter if it is into the side or the corner, just whatever allows you to most comfortably make your regular shooting stance and bridge.
Now, the goal is to hit the dead center of the cue ball, and stop the cue ball dead. FIRE it into the object ball. I would start out at the minimum speed that will stop the cue ball. Look to make sure that the cue ball is not spinning AT ALL. Ideally, if you have a ball with a dot on it, put the dot towards you. The perfect shot would have the cue ball slide into the object ball and stop dead without the dot moving at all. When you can do this, hit the ball harder. Make sure that for the whole range of stoke speed, you can keep the cueball from spinning. The key to this drill for me was to really focus intently on the cue tip to cue ball contact. You should know exactly where the tip will contact the cueball. The other key factor is to follow through straight.

You can then try moving the cueball further away from the object ball. Keep doing the shot at various distances and speeds. I realize once you get far enough away from the ball, you will need to hit low to do a stop shot. That's fine. Actually its good, because it lets you test out the low hit to make sure you're hitting those straight too. Just keep looking to see that the cue ball has zero sidespin after contact. It is impossible to do this without hitting the ball in the center, and it is nearly impossible to hit the cueball where you want with a crooked stroke.

Getting that feeling where your arm feels loose loose loose and effortless is so important. Don't worry about the cue flying out of your hand. I always show people how I can just rest the cue on my fingers, and not even use my thumb, and still hit the ball fairly hard with lively draw. (I don't think I'd try breaking that way, though ;-)

Good luck, post your progress!!


PS--I decided before I read your post that I was going to do this drill. I want to put the cue ball about 8 feet away from the object ball and practice stopping it dead. For me, it was to be more of an accuracy drill. I don't want to see the cue ball move to either side at all. Anyway, good luck.

05-19-2003, 03:47 PM
Its funny cause i got the book also and skipped the first two drills and went on to some of the others but now that you brought this up im going to do the second one to see what results i get. I have been aware of the changing grip thing for a while, one of the few things ive caught and have got it as under control as i could. But it takes a second of thought for me before i stroke, a mental checklist if you will. But im definetly going to do that second one.

05-19-2003, 04:16 PM
Thanks Rod! You have also helped me.
Lock /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif

05-19-2003, 09:07 PM
First, glad to hear you are gutting out the first two drills, particuarly that second one as it can be a bear.

Stickability is 95% of ability.

Rod provided you with some excellent food for thought. I might offer the following with regard to things that might help if you do not have someone there to observe your stroke.

The practice aid described in the book with the line down the center has a lot of merit when you are practicing this drill alone and if you are struggling a bit. It will help point out whether you are delivering the tip and cue stick straight down the target line. If you are delivering the cue straight and still not producing the intended results then you can move your focus to your sight perception and make sure you are in the center of the cue ball.

Taking the tension out of your grip as Rod suggested should help your feel for the cue as well. It might be helpful to develop the sensation that the ENTIRE length of the cue is on the line of the shot. Sense where the butt of the cue is pointing. Is it on the line of the shot? I like to imagine there is a tube, slightly bigger than the butt extending behind the butt of the cue and on the line of the shot. On the backstroke feel like you are drawing the butt straight back within the tube.

Just some thoughts to consider.

Good luck - Enjoy the Journey.

05-20-2003, 10:01 AM
Gutting out is right. /ccboard/images/graemlins/tongue.gif
My home table has really small pockets, especially the side pockets. The 3rd drill is proving a challenge as well /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif I'm actually terrified of the 0 Tolerance stop shot drill now LOL

I truly think my rails are affecting my performance in the 2nd drill. I have to hit the ball HARD to get it to travel three rails on my table at home, where-as at the pool hall it's a shot that requires just over lag speed for me. Frustrating, but it should help me develop a smooth stroke, even for more powerful shots. That's what I'm hoping at least.

I will cut some of my extra felt and try using your practice square as suggested, maybe that will help. /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif

05-20-2003, 07:16 PM
__________________________________________________ __________
Aboo said:

However, on the 2nd shot in the book, he asks that you take the cue ball, from the foot spot shooting it into the far rail, returning to the short rail under you and back to the far rail.
With the ultimate position of the cue ball ending up about 12" off the far rail without leaving the middle "lane" of the two diamonds on the short rails.
__________________________________________________ _________

Good Drill... I tried it and had no trouble while using a snooker stance. However, I did have a little trouble at first with a more standard stance, although it was close. But, I shortened my bridge in the standard stance and then had no problems at all completing the drill.

Therefore, I would suggest shortening your bridge length if you are having problems.

Good Luck.

05-20-2003, 07:40 PM
I constantly have trouble with the first drill where you follow the OB into the corner pocket with the cue ball. I don't know what it is. I try to hit it straight in as possible but it constantly goes a off to one side or the other.

phil in sofla
05-20-2003, 07:59 PM
Does your stroke have a pause at the end of the final backswing?

For me, if I don't pause, my mechanics get a little squirrely in the transition from back to going forward again, and that is especially true when stroking firmly.

Since your issue is when you're hitting firmly (drawing, or the 2nd exercise, which you have to hit hard to do on your table), maybe that could be a factor.

05-21-2003, 12:31 PM
I do have a pause in my stroke. I found the cause of my miss-hitting to be the shifting grip as I launch into a more forceful shot. I tend to tighten my grip hand when shooting hard, as well as when attempting to put a lot of draw on the ball. For some reason, my brain thinks I need to hit the ball harder to reverse it's spin. And when I hit the ball hard I switch from a loose to a firm grip at the very last second. While this works on short draw shots, it is NEVER accurate from a distance.

I am now trying to beat my brain into submission with mindless repetition /ccboard/images/graemlins/tongue.gif

05-21-2003, 04:10 PM
So you would say my educated guess hit the sore spot? /ccboard/images/graemlins/frown.gif
You have identified the problem, now what's the best cure?
Let me suggest a couple of ideas. As Steve suggested and was my train of thought but not put into text is, swing the weight.
You lose feel of the weight if you rush the forward swing because your grip pressure will increase.
Usually it's the increase of pressure from the begining that will cause the rushed motion. In your case you say it's near impact. I'd say it starts happening well before then. Just another educated guess.

Having a pause or slight pause will not correct this as you well know. Although I think it helps the situation. What I prefer to say is, Finish your backswing. There isn't a time frame there. When you finish, then start forward. It creates a moment in time. If you bring the cue back to quickly it makes that transition more difficult. What is a pause? Well to me it's a brief moment in time. Do you know how long that is? I sure don't know how long it is either, for you or me. Enough about the pause, just make sure you finish your backswing. If the shot requires more force than light pressure allows then increase very slightly before your backswing.

I'm sure Steve's fine book has many drills and this may be in there or similar. Set up draw shots starting out close at first. When you can execute from a close distance without tension then move the c/b farther back. If you stumble then move it forwards. You build confidence from short distances and it carries over. Draw the c/b back to points A, B, C, D, etc. Now move the c/b back 1 diamond each time and start over. You will find your limit without tension.

wei table (http://endeavor.med.nyu.edu/%7Ewei/pool/pooltable2.html)



Another is off a side rail, same thing when your confident at that distance move the c/b back a diamond. Mark your spots so there set up the same each time what ever angle you choose. To me none of these shots require any force there hardly above med slow speed. When the c/b is table distance though it's a test for any of us and be accurate.
We all have limits, find yours and play accordingly.

%AI1F3%GF5_1%PM7K2%UK7C7%VJ0E8%WZ0N1%XL7C2%YR4M8%Z L2C3%]g1O2


phil in sofla
05-21-2003, 04:46 PM
I find I must keep the cue loosely gripped to be accurate, or else steering or something comes into play.

For more power, how about using the same stroke with just a longer swing, both back and forward? Longer bridge length, and more follow through length at the end.