Three Common Stroke Flaws

Perhaps the most important aspect of a player’s game is the ability to deliver a straight smooth stroke on demand. Without a good stroke it’s virtually impossible to deliver the tip through the cue ball with precision and accuracy. 

A good stroke is characterized by a perfect pendulum motion.  As the stroke finishes, and the grip hand goes up, a player’s tip should go down.  

It’s important to note that you need to have your grip hand at 90-95 degrees when the tip is in the “set” position (when the tip is almost touching the cue ball and you are getting ready to shoot).  Striking the cue ball when your grip hand is pointed straight to the floor is essential because this is the most level your stroke will ever be.  If you strike the cue ball when your grip hand is less than 90 degrees, the tip is already on its way down towards the felt.  

Three common flaws can prohibit you from delivering a perfect pendulum stroke.  In this month’s article we will address all three.

1. NOT FINISHING YOUR STROKE:  The most common reason a player’s tip may not reach the felt is that they may not be finishing their stroke.  After winning a pro tournament in the 1980’s Mike Sigel had a bruise on his chest.  When asked where the bruise came from Mike explained it was from finishing his stroke perfectly on every shot.  Finishing your stroke high may result in you hitting your chest.  Just don’t hit it as hard as Mike!

2. ELBOW DROP:  If your elbow drops, it’s very common for the tip to either finish fairly level or with an upwards motion.  Usually this is a result of poor stroke mechanics.  However, many of today’s players are now emphasizing elbow drop and are finishing with a more level delivery.  In most circumstances, this is not the norm. Unless you are playing at or near the pro-level, stick with the perfect pendulum motion.  Work on your elbow drop so that your tip finishes on the felt. 

3. THE DEATH GRIP:  Believe it or not, but gripping the cue stick too tightly can also cause your tip not to reach the felt.  If this is the case, I recommend that you practice gripping the cue with the index finger and thumb only.  Do this for about 3 weeks and learn the correct cue action.  Once you learn the correct stroking motion then add two more fingers but not the pinky.  The pinky finger is normally the culprit for causing a twisted motion or crooked stroke.  Leave the pinky finger off the cue if you want to shoot straight.

Don’t fall victim to any of the stroke flaws mentioned above.  When you finish your stroke always ask yourself “Where’s my tip?”  Always finish with your tip touching the felt or at the very least it should be heading in a downward direction.  If your tip is not heading down, ask yourself why.  Most likely It’s from one of the reasons mentioned above.  Eliminate all three stroke flaws from your game and your accuracy will improve significantly.