poolSynergy anniversary edition!

this is the anniversary volume of poolSynergy!!!  welcome back, and thanks for reading this post.

the topic for the anniversary volume is “three tips”.

for the main page of the anniversary volume, visit the link below.  it contains a list of all the posts on this month’s topic.

main page for poolSynergy anniversary volume

also, visit the link below for a complete list of poolSynergy’s monthly topics.


below is my post for this month.  enjoy.

well, well, what do you know.  poolSynergy has survived a whole year!!  and this, my friends, is the anniversary edition of poolSynergy.  once again, you’re perusing a custom-made, handicrafted piece of literary bargage.  😛  read on!

for the anniversary edition, mr. biddle asked us to come up with three tips that may possibly aid your pool development.  for that, i decided to give three tips on stroking.  keep in mind that there are thousands of ways to stroke, and my tips are only a small fraction of what you can do.  but if you’ve been hitting that wall and can’t seem to grow your stroke or make it more effortless, try ’em on for size.  you may find them helpful.

my three tips are:
1. keep the arm muscles completely relaxed.
2. focus on generating power with an easy, loose swing; minimize using your muscles as much as possible.
3. gradually add muscle power in small increments as you get comfortable & familiar with the loose swing, if you need it.

these tips are self-explanatory, so i won’t elaborate too much.  primarily, tips 1 & 2 are given to help you develop a true pendulum swing, if you don’t have it already.  (for a more detailed discussion on the styles of arm swings, read my old post.)  why would you want a pendulum swing?  simple: effortless power.  by allowing gravity and your cue to do the work for you, you’re simplifying your job as a player.  you’re reducing the number of things to do, as well as the effort you need to hit a shot.  i’d call that a win-win.  remember, when under stress (tournament, gambling, etc.), simpler mechanics tend to hold up better than more complicated ones.

now you can rely on your arm muscles to develop power, but i personally find that it takes much more work to move the cueball if you try to rely on brute force.  you can be very successful at it, but i kind of don’t see why you should work twice as hard for the same result.  my inner cheapskate doesn’t like to pay more for the same, so i tend to advocate for the natural pendulum stroke.  😛

keep in mind though, if you do try these tips, you’ll be very tempted to add muscle power into your swing at first; that’s a natural reaction.  fight that urge!  don’t give in and try to get used to the new sensation of letting your arm swing effortlessly.  it may be helpful to hit short-distance shots in the beginning, and only swing your arm a little.  this way, you will have time to get used to the feeling of just simply swinging your arm and not tensing your muscles.  only nice, relaxed, easy little swings.

once you learned to let your mind go and just swing your arm, gradually lengthen the distance between the cueball and the object ball.  at this point, learn to swing your arm bigger and faster to generate more power.  things will get tricky here: in order to swing your arm bigger and faster, you’ll have to use some muscle power.  the key thing to remember is to always relax your arm when you stroke, even while you’re using some muscles in the process.  the more relaxed your arm is, the more effortless power you’ll have.

for me personally, the more relaxed my arm is, the more effortless power i seem to generate.  it’s very weird.  in essence, you’re yielding control (of your muscles) to ultimately gain greater control and power.  kind of a paradoxical concept, and very counterintuitive, but i find it to work very nicely.

if you’re looking for a different way to stroke, give these tips a try.

6 comments on “poolSynergy anniversary edition!

  1. Relaxation is a very important concept to understand, and one that’s particularly valuable if you master it, tough as it is. It seems to go against the grain, but the results when you get it right are awesome. Thanks for the post.

  2. Excellent advice on the swinging pendulum concept. I started using this approach for my lag shots about a month ago and I’m planning on writing a post about it. My lag shot now uses absolutely no muscle at all. It’s purely gravity powered…with great results (when I use it). Why do I not always use it? Old habits die hard my friend! Nice post, and excellent advice!

  3. p00lriah, have you noticed that this is one sport that does not require muscles when playing? You never hear somebody say, “Oh, my arms are tired from playing pool.” You would think more adults would be playing pool. 🙂

    • the more i play the more this rings true. i must confess that i would say my arms are tired under two conditions: playing after lifting heavy objects, or playing a marathon session (8 hours).

      there are a lot of people play at my fave PH, but they’re mostly weekend warriors; the regulars are only a few hands full. as u know, to play seriously requires a big commitment of time, & most folks are simply too busy to commit to this hobby. i think in ned polsky’s book “hustlers, beats and others”, he said that the number one reason people quit pool is starting a family (i’m paraphrasing). so i guess pool has lots of casual players but very few serious shooters.

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