Hi there Matt,
Follow-up on last night's email I sent you (attached with my note today). Today, I thought I would look at books to see what was said about my identified issues. I started with yours. I carefully reviewed what you said about the 3 ways to put the body in position and focused on the third, of course.
I also reviewed what you said about pendulum stroke and dropping the elbow. I went to the pool room and tried your methods: they worked fabulously!!!! My shooting was very accurate. I played some guys some games and played extremely well. After they left, I practiced some more and it seems really good.
It doesn't come naturally--I'm very used to the second stance (the intermediate's stance before the expert's third stance) and keep wanting to put my body over the stick rather than squat in the way you've suggested. I also found that about a jacked up shot and then tried it with your concepts in mind and my body was out of the way and the shot went in!
I am using my standard bridge and classic grip position, but trying to do a "flattened" pendulum motion as you suggest. I even tried a few shots with primarily UPPER arm motion and still made the shot--this must mean that my shoulder is in line and I felt comfortable in the stance. I have to do some more to learn how to properly position myself and step into the position smoothly. Hopefully, this will continue! Thanks for the good instruction in the book and on About.com and your continued support. Regards.
Here're the photos with my new bent left arm position. I started with more of a bend, but for some reason (perhaps my glasses), I can't see the shots very well when down that low. I either have to stand higher or I have to pull back some, which stretched out the left arm some. These are photos with my being pulled back some and thus a straighter left arm.
If we are scientists doing true experiments, we'd try to change as few variables as possible, hopefully one at any one time, to narrow our focus and increase our understanding.
You wrote earlier: "...I usually grip about the same place and plan to just move my bridge closer to the ball. Usually, I'll not quite know where to place my feet and I'll put them close to normal and when I go down, I'll see where the bridge ends up. It won't be as close as desired, so I might do a combination of bringing my feet forward some (while still down on the shot) and scoot my bridge forward, possibly stretching for it some."
That is what I'm referring to as the WRONG way to shorten your bridge. I want to help you the right way and then at least half the other problems you're having will melt away--forever. But you're going to need to try what I've suggested instead of trying to fix the wrong thing.
For example, if your bridge is too long, your head is too far away to sight the balls well, so alignment and everything else will be off. So moving the cue or aiming to the left or right is no good and just compounds the issues.
And as far as stroke mechanics, of course there are misses with that long bridge you're using. You might as well play tennis by holding the head of the racket at its strings and hitting the balls with the handle end instead.
A lot of people play pool wrong, few play it right. I recognize that I've stated elsewhere the pros take a lot of strokes using an 11-inch or even a 14-inch or so bridge between their finger loop or open bridge and the cue ball. And they add excellent technique to that also.
But for most players, a 7-inch bridge or less is what's needed. I'd play most anyone golf for money if I was using regulation clubs and theirs were twice as long! So I know I'm in good stead when I see players with those lengthy bridges--they usually are rank amateurs or perhaps decent intermediates.
Again, I can use longer bridges but why use a nuclear weapon when a hammer and nail make the size hole that is needed? Plus, having the camera near the table, lower even than a player's eyes, makes the bridges on TV seem still longer…
Here's a look also at the 45-degree classic stance we spoke about.