So, it appears I’ve somehow changed my stroke, yet again. This weekend, I played a while but was still thinking about Thursday and how I didn’t feel right at the table. Actually, I haven’t felt “right” at the table for a month. Personal interferences aside, my mechanics just feel foreign all of a sudden. I’ve gotten to a point where I don’t have to focus on my stroke, but in doing so, I think I have neglected it too much. So, Saturday while I was shooting around I tried to focus on swinging straight and accurate. I had recently been analyzing the arm movement of Shane van Boening and I noticed something very subtle. During his pre-shot strokes, his elbow is tucked just a bit closer to his body, then on his final stroke – at the end of his backswing, his elbow comes out and is now 100% in line with the cue to start his forward movement. I think this is the cause for the subtle shaft movement you’ll see during his stroke. It’s not as wild as Bustamante’s, but still, it’s so fluid it’s very visually attractive. It’s also very purposeful while still adhering to basic stroke guidelines.
But, my stroke is not SVB’s stroke, however I have taken some notes and tried to use those for my own. As such, my stroke now is sort of a mix of Bustamante and SVB… My pre-strokes are pretty loose and a bit loopy, but now, my final backswing is slow with a mini-pause at the end before I bring my forearm forward and let my wrist and hand trail and whip the cue forward at contact.
Last night, I went and practiced alone for 2.5 hours, playing BB 8-ball trying to prepare for tonight’s league match. After I got warmed up, I noticed immediately just good my stroke felt. It felt deliberate, yet natural – and I was very accurate with position and pocketing all night. I never broke and ran, but the table was not breaking too well and I didn’t really focus on it as a primary goal. I wanted to work out whatever kinks had worked themselves into my stroke, and I feel I have done just that. I didn’t take any video, but I’ll get some later this week.
I feel confident and ready for my match tonight – and that’s a good thing since we’re tied for first place and we’re playing the other team tied for first. 🙂 So, whoever wins tonight wins the whole session and bypasses the playoffs in the championship tournament in February.