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View Full Version : Tight or loose grip at contact with cue ball?



phil in sofla
03-27-2002, 02:23 PM
For some time, I have been a believer in the almost floating cue barely in your hand, not gripped so much as merely resting by gravity in the fingers, throughout the stroke. Not quite so loose as to have the cue slip its position in the hand during the stroke, as in a slip-stroke technique, but just this side of that. When I'm feeling that light of a touch on the grip, I seem to shoot my best for accuracy and touch. Recently I've been working on feeling that on my break, and it has helped me a) hit the rack very accurately, and b) very hard. So that's my take for now-- tried it, like it, believe in it.

By contrast, there seems to be at least two variant ideas. One is to be firm on your grip throughout the stroke, either when breaking or with regular shot stroking. CJ Wiley advocates this on his tapes, and there is a guy on the web (maybe with a book, although I've never run across it) touting his system of 'power pool' techniques, involving among other 'firmed up' techniques, quite a firmer grip than I talk about above, which he considers weak and suspicious and tending to cause misses.

I gave that a try for breaking, but didn't find it worked too well for me, and since I've gone with the looser feel on the break and seen that work so well, I haven't given it much thought, since.

Now, I ran across the Monk's website (or articles of his elsewhere) where he says to tighten up firmly just as you're approaching the hit, and to stay firm through the ball and past, into the follow through. I'd seen others say something like that as to breaking (Buddy Hall, for one), but thought they were just talking about after the hit, so the cue didn't launch down table out of your hand, sort of a natural last part of the stroke.

Trying that yesterday, it felt pretty good, and especially with draw shots, seemed to add a real positive feel and some added authority on the action. Now that I think of the advice to 'accelerate THROUGH the hit (or ball),' it seems that would require some firmness, because if you just 'let the cue go,' like any other ballistic situation, once let go, it would be DEcellerating at and through the ball, not accelerating.

A little torn between the two ideas now, preliminarily liking the feel of gripping at the 'business end' of the stroke at the hit and beyond, but without enough experience to really compare it to the 'letting go' alternative, which I DO have enough time with to know that feels and works great.

How firm are you in your grip, and when? Does that vary from your break stroke to your regular stroke? And do any of you use the 'firm all day, every day' firmed up grip throughout the stroke? TIA for your input.

Rod
03-27-2002, 08:05 PM
Phil, I'm from the camp of light grip pressure. My grip is very similar to yours in the first paragraph. I like wrist movement and a snug grip will take that away from me.
I like to feel the weight swing, and once again a firm grip hurts that sensitivity, for me. I play with a slip stroke, but not to be confused with letting the cue slip on the follow-thru. Mine is done at the take away. I feel the words firm, snug, etc, spells tension. I play most shots as described above. The specailty or certain shots require a different technique.
Obviously CJ's advice will not work for me. The monk's idea may have some merrit, but it's a fine line, increasing grip pressure and the timing. Personally I think it could lead to tension, jabs , shoulder movement and poor c/b control.
Thats what we try to eliminate, but if it works for anyone then use it.
On the break I do increase the pressure slightly. Any time more speed is needed I know the pressure will increase a little, but not to the point of firm.
For me it's more important to start with the correct grip pressure, and keep that consistant during the stroke.
In other words don't start out light and increase it by a large amount. I know it hurts my timing.

Alfie
03-28-2002, 04:40 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote: Rod:</font><hr> I play with a slip stroke, but not to be confused with letting the cue slip on the follow-thru. Mine is done at the take away. <hr></blockquote>
Rod, you are a very accomplished player which gives credibility to the technique. Would you please describe the mechanics of your slip stroke? What is the front hand doing? What is the back hand doing? When did you first employ its use? Was it taught to you early on by a mentor or did you come across it experimenting with new techniques on your own? Why do you prefer it over the much more common non-slip stroke? Are there any draw backs to its use?

Alfie -- full of questions

Rod
03-28-2002, 01:06 PM
My My My just full of questions aren't we? Thank you for the compliment Alfie, but my game is not what it once was.
I'd be happy to explain and thanks for asking.
When I started I was like everyone else, I fell in love with the game, and there was not enough hours in the day. After a year or so, I graduated from playing the old guys, they got tired of paying me, small change stuff. At that time I really started to notice the better players and what they did, position play, stroke etc. There was two guys that I especially liked watching. One had a real lose wrist with a lot of snap, and a ton of power if he needed it. The other had a very free flowing slip-stroke. He also had more power in reserve that could be called on at any time. I was a young man so all this stuff was pretty impressive.
I imulated the slip stroke, with a bit more wrist. I honestly don't recall any explanations, or instruction. A lesson then was play for the money, and if I lost, which happened a lot, go back and play the old guys again or a new victim.

The basic set up is not any different, except my right hand (shooting hand) is slightly forward of 90 degrees. On the back stroke, there is a very slight increase of pressure in my bridge hand, very slight. My right hand slides back, (this is feel/instinct on how much) then my bridge hand lets go and the cue is brought to a full back swing. Because of this, grip pressure for me has always been light and there is a definite change in direction, a pause as it called today. The transition in the forward swing ( gradual increase in speed) is smooth, considering a slip-stroke player (me anyway) has to start the release early. Rember since the hand slid back, contact with the c/b will come early when the arm is more than 90 degrees. I like that technique myself because it almost guarantees a full finish thru the c/b. I think thats what we all want more or less, a smooth take away, unhurried change in direction, with a good finish thru the c/b. Of course it's obvious you don't need a slip-stroke to accomplish the same goal.

I guess you could say there are draw backs. It can't be used on every shot. When the c/b and o/b are close together or some finess shots it will not be used. However we all make changes to our bridge length and where we hold the cue, depending on what the shot calls for.

I should add in my early years I had the pleasure of watching the late, great, Jimmy Moore and that put the finishing touch on my style of play. I think he was pretty successful! I'd like to think if you looked up, slip-stroke in the dictonary, you would see either, refer to Jimmy Moore, or power and control with little effort.

Alfie
03-28-2002, 10:40 PM
&gt;&gt;&gt;My My My just full of questions aren't we? Thank you for the compliment Alfie, but my game is not what it once was. I'd be happy to explain and thanks for asking.&lt;&lt;&lt;

I've seen those Fargo scores and thank you for the response.

&gt;&gt;&gt;The basic set up is not any different, except my right hand (shooting hand) is slightly forward of 90 degrees. On the back stroke, there is a very slight increase of pressure in my bridge hand, very slight.&lt;&lt;&lt;

What is your normal bridge length? How far back do you pull the cue before braking it with the bridge hand?

&gt;&gt;&gt;My right hand slides back, (this is feel/instinct on how much) then my bridge hand lets go and the cue is brought to a full back swing. Because of this, grip pressure for me has always been light and there is a definite change in direction, a pause as it called today.&lt;&lt;&lt;

How close to your finger loop does the tip get? What kind of wrap does your cue have?

&gt;&gt;&gt;The transition in the forward swing ( gradual increase in speed) is smooth, considering a slip-stroke player (me anyway) has to start the release early. Rember since the hand slid back, contact with the c/b will come early when the arm is more than 90 degrees. I like that technique myself because it almost guarantees a full finish thru the c/b. I think thats what we all want more or less, a smooth take away, unhurried change in direction, with a good finish thru the c/b. Of course it's obvious you don't need a slip-stroke to accomplish the same goal.&lt;&lt;&lt;

If it is not too much too ask, would you put a rubber band on the cue at the front of the grip hand and then measure from it back to the the grip hand at the end of the shot?

Scott Lee
03-29-2002, 01:49 AM
I'm with Rod ALL the way on his reply to this post! I am frequently having students "test" the flex in my bicep, both on normal shots, and even break shots, to show that there is VERY little flex, and a loose grip on the cue throughout the swing process right through to the finish!

Scott Lee

TonyM
03-29-2002, 02:11 AM
Phil wrote:
"Now that I think of the advice to 'accelerate THROUGH the hit (or ball),' it seems that would require some firmness, because if you just 'let the cue go,' like any other ballistic situation, once let go, it would be DEcellerating at and through the ball, not accelerating. "

Actually, whether or not you squeeze the cue at impact, or let your hand remain relaxed (and that's what we are talking about here I believe)has no effect on the cueball action. The cue decelerates at impact regardless of what we do. This is because at impact (and remember the impact time is so short)there is enough "give" in the soft tissues of your grip hands to allow for the possibility of affecting the conditions during the event.

I think that the main issue of grip pressure is better related to the ability to deliver the cue accurately and consistently. For some players this will require a relaxed grip, for others it may require a firmer grip.

Personally, I've experimented with both, and I prefer a more relaxed grip, even on draw shots. To achieve this, I relax the thumb on my grip hand, sometimes even moving it away from the butt slightly, just before impact. This way I cannot squeeze the cue.

I think it makes sense to use a consistent grip pressure for every type of stroke.

Tony

Rod
03-29-2002, 03:07 PM
Quote"
I am frequently having students "test" the flex in my bicep, both on normal shots, and even break shots, to show that there is VERY little flex, and a loose grip on the cue throughout the swing process right through to the finish!

Scott Lee


I'll bet you are Scott, especially letting those cute young college gals doing the "test". lol When you see white knuckles it's either going to be a long lesson, or duck!
Seriously, that is a good test to get your message across.
Sometimes I'll feel the tension in a players arm, then give it a few pats, shake it a little and say, relax, relax. They have a real good hold on that pup sometimes!

Rod
03-29-2002, 04:04 PM
What is your normal bridge length? How far back do you pull the cue before braking it with the bridge hand?

My bridge length is about 8". Braking usually starts at the very begining of the stroke. I'm not really aware of exact timing so it's difficult to give an exact answer. I wouldn't want to be aware either.


How close to your finger loop does the tip get? What kind of wrap does your cue have?


As an educated guess within 1/2", and my wrap is firm pressed lined, very slick. Leather or no wrap will not work for me, to sticky.


If it is not too much too ask, would you put a rubber band on the cue at the front of the grip hand and then measure from it back to the the grip hand at the end of the shot?


I could do that Alfie, but the answer will vary depending on the shot, mood, planet alignment. Kidding of course.
My best guess is up to four inches as an extreme, with two inches appx being normal, if you can call any of this stuff normal.

phil in sofla
03-29-2002, 06:30 PM
Scott, just to clarify, you say you're going ALL the way with Rod's answer, but you don't yourself go with or teach Rod's 'reverse' slip stroke method, wherein the cue is slid during the back stroke, to where the upper arm is ahead of 90 degrees to horizontal as of ball contact, do you?

Alfie
03-29-2002, 08:31 PM
A 2"-4" slip on a slow pull back seems to be hardly any "slip" at all. This is much more subtle and less risky than what I had imagined a slip stroke to be. Do you know of any other slip stroke styles?

Rod
03-30-2002, 01:20 AM
A 2"-4" slip on a slow pull back seems to be hardly any "slip" at all. This is much more subtle and less risky than what I had imagined a slip stroke to be. Do you know of any other slip stroke styles?


Other players that use this stroke may slip more, I think I did at one time. 4" is a fair amount, for fun you should try it and see how that feels. I think a person with long arms is likely to slip more on the cue. Roger Griffis that use to live out here uses a slip-stroke. I think he slid more on the cue, but it's been a while, so I'm not sure.

I don't know of any other styles. There could be some minor differences of this same stroke, but hard to identify since they are so similar. The slip amount would be the easiest to notice. Some people say letting the cue go on the follow-thru is a slip stroke. I don't agree at all, thats just letting go of the cue. I have done that, so what do I have a double slip-stroke? No way! Any player that holds the cue relaxed or light may experience this at times.

Rod
03-30-2002, 01:40 AM
Scott, just to clarify, you say you're going ALL the way with Rod's answer, but you don't yourself go with or teach Rod's 'reverse' slip stroke method, wherein the cue is slid during the back stroke, to where the upper arm is ahead of 90 degrees to horizontal as of ball contact, do you?


Phil, I know your question was for Scott, but I don't know anyone in their right mind that would teach a slip-stroke.
I am curious however, what do you mean by a 'reverse' slip-stroke method? The hand slides back on the cue, the cue does not slide back. I'm confused about your explanation, or you did not understand mine, of how a slip-stroke works.

Alfie
03-30-2002, 03:08 AM
Thank you, Rod

Scott Lee
03-30-2002, 04:39 PM
Phil...Actually, myself, I DO use nearly the identical "slip" method described by Rod. I don't really teach that, or necessarily advocate, as it is difficult to control for many players. Like Rod, I have just played this way myself for a long, long time. I try to teach methods that are consistent and easy to practice(and when demonstrating to a student, will use the '90 degree at point of contact' as the appropriate example to emulate!).

Scott Lee

stickman
03-30-2002, 04:56 PM
Add one more to the loose grip camp. If I'm loose and relaxed, I shoot best. As Rod said, tightness in any part of my game relates to tension. I feel like I have a better feel of the ball, my stroke is smoother, etc.