Pro vs. Amateur Long Backstroke on Final Delivery

RabbiHippie

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Mark Wilson is a big proponent of a long stroke with a pause on final delivery. In this clip, Wilson measures Alison Fisher's backstroke at 1.702 seconds and observes that pros usually fall within 1.2 to 1.8 and amateurs 0.4 to 0.8 seconds. Cisero Murphy's two shots here are 1.649 and 1.898 seconds.

I've timed different pros in slow motion and have found that a lot of exceptional pool players actually fall around 0.8 to 1.0 seconds but the point remains that their backstrokes are slower and more controlled than amateurs. Typically only players with a snooker background have pauses as exceptionally long as Murphy's or Fisher's.
 

mr3cushion

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Mark Wilson is a big proponent of a long stroke with a pause on final delivery. In this clip, Wilson measures Alison Fisher's backstroke at 1.702 seconds and observes that pros usually fall within 1.2 to 1.8 and amateurs 0.4 to 0.8 seconds. Cisero Murphy's two shots here are 1.649 and 1.898 seconds.

I've timed different pros in slow motion and have found that a lot of exceptional pool players actually fall around 0.8 to 1.0 seconds but the point remains that their backstrokes are slower and more controlled than amateurs. Typically only players with a snooker background have pauses as exceptionally long as Murphy's or Fisher's.
I've always advocated that the, 'backstroke' should emulate the 'actual' final stroke! Being so the player doesn't lose the, tempo, timing and speed. Obviously, the stroke should Always be, 'decrescendo' not 'diminuendo.' Just as in a correct Golf swing, the player wants the swing/stroke, 'accelerating' not 'decelerating' thru the CB. Even if the shot requires a, 'slow-roll.' a 'Continuous, straight follow-thru' horizontally and vertically.
 

GoldCrown

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I always admired Alison’s slow deliberate stroke. Just about perfect form.
 

mr3cushion

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I always admired Alison’s slow deliberate stroke. Just about perfect form.
She comes from a, 'Snooker' background. Entirely different animal.

P.S. Playing with a 'slow run-up/backswing' forces the player to, 'switch gears' when they have to move the CB more than 10!'

It's like trying to take a car from 1st gear to 5th in one gear shift.
 
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lll

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in this video by mark wilson
he talks about the pause BEFORE backswing and mentions and emphasizes the SLOW time from backswing thru forward swing to contact
he doesnt emphasize in this portion of the video of PAUSING AT THE END OF THE BACKSWING
he just emphasizes the long time from start of backswing to contact of the pros compared to amateurs
 
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lll

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the PBIA school of which mark wilson is a member they teach
set/pause/finish
with the pause being the end of the backswing
for me that gives me the tendency to "punch the stroke"
sort of i am at a standstill and now i have to pop the clutch
mark finklestein a master instructor within PBIA
told me to think of the stroke as "pitching pennies"
nice and smooth and under control
the smooth transition from back to forward is most important in my opinion
as an aside
i went to see mark wilson for lessons
and he wanted a slow backswing and a pause before forward stroke
during my time with him
he said to me wryly
"have I ever told you once that your backswing was too slow" 😱 ;)
after all these lessons i am glad that i only play bad
just think how bad i would play if i never took a lesson....😂
 

RabbiHippie

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Here's a newsreel of Harold Worst from the 1954 3-Cushion championships in Argentina. The timer superimposed over the footage actually helps with doing this kind of stroke analysis because you can see his final delivery stroke beginning around 3:07 when the tip is drawn back and ending around 4:07 when the tip impacts the cue ball. (I believe the last number is frames which rolls over from 29 to 0 at the second threshold.) So, a final delivery stroke of a little less than a second. I came up with 0.800 using slow motion in a video editor.

Jay Helfert describes Worst's stroke as a "rather short punch stroke," which is interesting because I'd say 0.8-1.0 seconds is actually fairly typical for top pool players with a nice "long" stroke. That's about the same as Justin Bergman's stroke, for example. I need to do measurements for someone like Buddy Hall who was noted for his long smooth stroke with a pause. Cisero Murphy has an almost exaggerated pause that is actually fairy common among snooker players.
 

mr3cushion

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Here's a newsreel of Harold Worst from the 1954 3-Cushion championships in Argentina. The timer superimposed over the footage actually helps with doing this kind of stroke analysis because you can see his final delivery stroke beginning around 3:07 when the tip is drawn back and ending around 4:07 when the tip impacts the cue ball. (I believe the last number is frames which rolls over from 29 to 0 at the second threshold.) So, a final delivery stroke of a little less than a second. I came up with 0.800 using slow motion in a video editor.

Jay Helfert describes Worst's stroke as a "rather short punch stroke," which is interesting because I'd say 0.8-1.0 seconds is actually fairly typical for top pool players with a nice "long" stroke. That's about the same as Justin Bergman's stroke, for example. I need to do measurements for someone like Buddy Hall who was noted for his long smooth stroke with a pause. Cisero Murphy has an almost exaggerated pause that is actually fairy common among snooker players.
Harold Worst had what we call in 3 cushion a, 'Power Stroke.' He was heavy handed playing 3C, playing the, 'Hard' game, hence a longer stroke. Not a 'Finesse' game like Hoppe.
 

kollegedave

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Mark Wilson is a big proponent of a long stroke with a pause on final delivery. In this clip, Wilson measures Alison Fisher's backstroke at 1.702 seconds and observes that pros usually fall within 1.2 to 1.8 and amateurs 0.4 to 0.8 seconds. Cisero Murphy's two shots here are 1.649 and 1.898 seconds.

I've timed different pros in slow motion and have found that a lot of exceptional pool players actually fall around 0.8 to 1.0 seconds but the point remains that their backstrokes are slower and more controlled than amateurs. Typically only players with a snooker background have pauses as exceptionally long as Murphy's or Fisher's.
I agree, but why? Why do pros tend to have back strokes that are more controlled?

IMHO, it is because professional level pool requires a forward stroke that starts from zero and accelerates smoothly. For me, a smoothly accelerating forward stroke is easier to execute if it starts as part of a controlled back stroke. Are there exceptions to this...sure. But if we are talking about "best practices", I am 100% on board with a slow back stroke. Some people find a pause useful. I don't, but to each his own.

Rushing the tip forward results in inaccurate tip position at contact...in my view.

Just my 0.02

kollegedave
 

johnnytronic

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good luck trying to train your muscles to do this after 30 years of not doing it.
I've took a slightly different approach and tried to just take a smoother back stroke with consciously making it slower but not a real pause.
The OB blutooth trainer can help with this as it tracks that pause amongst other data.
 

RabbiHippie

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in this video by mark wilson
he talks about the pause BEFORE backswing and mentions and emphasizes the SLOW time from backswing thru forward swing to contact
he doesnt emphasize in this portion of the video of PAUSING AT THE END OF THE BACKSWING
he just emphasizes the long time from start of backswing to contact of the pros compared to amateurs
You're right, III, and I didn't mean to misrepresent what Wilson teaches. When I'm analyzing video to measure someone's stroke, I'm looking at the same "milestones" that Wilson is. I start timing when the tips draws back for the final stroke and stop timing when the tip makes contact with the cue ball on delivery.

I'm starting to wonder if the "pause" at the top of the pendulum in the backstroke is related somehow to "quiet eyes" and a player's personal eye pattern. My hypothesis is that players with snooker training may be taking 0.5-1.0 second in between the backward and forward motions to focus their "quiet eyes" on the contact point whereas pool players may be doing the same thing but earlier, prior to any movement, while holding the tip still near the cue ball.
 

lll

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You're right, III, and I didn't mean to misrepresent what Wilson teaches. When I'm analyzing video to measure someone's stroke, I'm looking at the same "milestones" that Wilson is. I start timing when the tips draws back for the final stroke and stop timing when the tip makes contact with the cue ball on delivery.

I'm starting to wonder if the "pause" at the top of the pendulum in the backstroke is related somehow to "quiet eyes" and a player's personal eye pattern. My hypothesis is that players with snooker training may be taking 0.5-1.0 second in between the backward and forward motions to focus their "quiet eyes" on the contact point whereas pool players may be doing the same thing but earlier, prior to any movement, while holding the tip still near the cue ball.
there are 2 eye patterns the pbia instructors talk about
concentrating just on the final gaze from cueball to object ball (assuming you look at object ball last )
can be done 2 ways
1) at set position and get your quiet eyes
or
2) it can be done on the backswing pause to get your quiet eyes
if you do pattern 2 then your backswing pause tends to be more pronounced since you have to set your eyes
i dont remeber if it was crabbcatjohn or my house pro mark coats that knows buddy pretty well
said they once asked him about his long pause and he told them thats when he shifts his vision from cueball to object ball
i cannot verify if its true or not
 
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RabbiHippie

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there are 2 eye patterns the pbia instructors talk about
concentrating just on the final gaze from cueball to object ball (assuming you look at object ball last )
can be done 2 ways
1) at set position and get your quiet eyes
or
2) it can be done on the backswing pause to get your quiet eyes
if you do pattern 2 then your backswing pause tends to be more pronounced since you have to set your eyes
i dont remeber if it was crabbcatjohn or my house pro mark coats that knows buddy pretty well
said they once asked him about his long pause and he told them thats when he shifts his vision from cueball to object ball
i cannot verify if its true or not
I did some measurements of Buddy Hall's stroke and found his final delivery was around 1.2 seconds. It's hard to track a player's eye movements, but I'll go back and try to confirm when Buddy's focus shifts fron cue ball to object ball.

I'd say that in general there's a half second or more of work that needs to be done with "quiet eyes" on the contact point and whether that happens in the set position or during a pause at the top of the backswing is the explanation for the time difference between snooker and pool players. I'm willing to chalk the difference up to personal preference. As Johnny points out, switching would take a major alteration in one's game.
 

lll

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I did some measurements of Buddy Hall's stroke and found his final delivery was around 1.2 seconds. It's hard to track a player's eye movements, but I'll go back and try to confirm when Buddy's focus shifts fron cue ball to object ball.

I'd say that in general there's a half second or more of work that needs to be done with "quiet eyes" on the contact point and whether that happens in the set position or during a pause at the top of the backswing is the explanation for the time difference between snooker and pool players. I'm willing to chalk the difference up to personal preference. As Johnny points out, switching would take a major alteration in one's game.
a player can switch his gaze at set and still have a long pause at the top of the backswing
ie not all players with long pauses at the top of the backswing switch their focus from cueball to object ball at that time
 

vapros

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My own feeling is that the pause at the top of the backstroke is when you make the final decision on just how hard you plan to hit the ball. The aiming is done, but the speed is fine-tuned there.
 

lfigueroa

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Real dangerous to take one player's approach to the game and trying to make it a universal truth.

You can find guys who play at a super high level to support any theory you want to throw out there. Some guys make a living out of telling students that because Player A does it in such a fashion, it's the way they should do it.

Lou Figueroa
 
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