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360 PureCue Stroke Trainer - A Truly Great Product

A Right On Pool Invention

About.com Rating 5 Star Rating

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360 Pure Cue Stroke Trainer

360 PureCue Stroke Trainer

The 360 PureCue Stroke Trainer (US version for pool and billiards)
The bright spot of my weekend was trying a 360 PureCue Stroke Trainer (US pool and billiards version) as designed by pro snooker player and top teaching coach Neil Johnson. PureCue is a terrific invention, a simple idea that is brilliantly executed. I believe an APA-ranked 2 or 3 might quickly turn to a 6-level or higher using a PureCue to train their skills.

A Cue That Makes You Shoot Straight

The 360 PureCue features a two-piece butt end brought together by a self-centering spring mechanism, resembling a large flexible coil ending where the floating point veneers would begin on a typical cue. The design is sleek and attractive and someone not watching closely at the pool hall would think the PureCue is a traditional cue stick.

Its ingenious coiled spring flexes the cue off line on poor strokes of any kind. After testing the PureCue using both laser-straight strokes and the kinds of subtle errors I see in other strokes, I'm certain my billiards students will be able to feel flaws they don't know they have now. I received instant feedback before strokes were completed and in some cases even before the backstrokes had finished.

For example, unless I stroked pure, without wrist action or else used proper ulnar or radial wrist deviation, the coil bent off line. The pronation, supination and wrist twists that can ruin a player's career became obvious and I was prevented from stroking through the cue ball at all.

The PureCue could strengthen the play of someone who swerves the cue vertically as well. A pendulum or straight line stroke that is off line can bend the coil as can any incorrect pacing and jerky arm motion, too much upper arm motion, etc.

Use For Varied Strokes At The Table

Johnson calls his invention a "360-degree cue" as it provides haptic feedback through the entire range of possible stroke motions. A player who thinks they now stroke very straight could discern subtle flaws. The 360 PureCue helped with elevated shots, too. You know the kind, those challenging plays made with your cue stick jacked up at a steep angle to shoot for a faraway object ball, the cue ball starting near the rail. No problem with the PureCue, I made those shots just fine when I stroked them the way I know they should be stroked.

Shots taken with a mechanical bridge or at some odd arm angle, jump strokes and even open break strokes are likewise advantaged with the PureCue. The unit I tested was able to handle a strong breaking action (beginners will want to start gently then work their way up to break strokes in training).

Players can learn in moments how to easily kill the cue ball on contact with the head ball while crushing the rack. In other words, you should be able to break more accurately and more powerfully than before while using less effort.

On the other end of the shot scale from full open breaks, I easily and accurately made the kinds of gentle and subtle plays needed for Straight Pool too, including dead stop shots besides fractions of an inch of follow or draw at will. Oh, and I made almost every bank shot I attempted as well this weekend. Fabulous! I was enjoying the feedback so much I was almost unwilling to return to my personal cue stick for play.

Add Benefits To Your Play

Benefits of the PureCue:

1. Feel a pro stroke (possibly for the first time ever!) and add that "Eureka!" moment to your game by becoming one unit with the cue

2. Stay on plane correctly both vertically and horizontally, helping to stroke with your hand where you've aimed with your eyes

3. Develop an evenly paced stroke and reduce cueing anxiety while learning to come down and through the cue ball as I teach here at About.com

4. Fix your stance as the PureCue Stroke Trainer becomes a stance trainer, too, as you are forced to set your body to match the pure stroke motion you'll need to keep the cue from bending

Ready To Go With My Highest Approval

The unit I tested, similar to those available at Neil Johnson's 21CCSC website, was a two-piece cue with a Canadian Maple shaft. The ultra-glide finish and pro taper shaft made for seamless play. My trainer was 58 inches in length with a 13 millimeter tip. With its hard Elk tip in perfect round straight out of the packing carton and the cue's quite solid hit, I was able to shoot at anything I liked just like using my regular cue. My PureCue's 18 ounces even felt like a perfect 19 due to its exotic construction. Smart.

In fact, I started with the Stroke Trainer then switched to my personal cue and then went back and forth every few shots between the two cues with no issues. During my evaluation session, I used the PureCue first, sinking the first shots I made with it (okay, clearing several tables using it!) and was thrilled that for me it handled like an otherwise orthodox and legal pool cue stick.

In the interest of complete disclosure, I did question what it could do for an experienced player like me. I assumed with my skills I could keep the loop from utterly breaking down at will. In other words, my poor strokes are better than the good strokes of other players. Yet even at my level I received subtle feedback from the coil during every shot.

This feedback helped sharpen my focus and I asked myself if I could cut some extremely angled and thin shots with the PureCue--and then I did. The player is forced to transfer awareness from the tip and forward shaft to the place where they need to "think" to feel a pro stroke.

So for any player up to my level it may help induce a dead stroke state of awareness by removing anxiety about aim and the aim line to where it belongs--focusing on pure stroking. One more thing, I doubted after a cutting the first few balls in that I could draw with the trainer and I was further pleased to pace some very strong draw strokes with little effort.

In case you can't yet tell, I am absolutely pleased with the 360 PureCue so far and will use it in student lessons, besides recommending it to players up to a pro level as well. Dear readers, there's little as uncomfortable for me as testing an item that is poor in execution but I have no worries in this case...

Five stars and if we had six to grant at About.com, I'd give them to the 360 PureCue Stroke Trainer, one of the more masterful training devices of any kind I've seen for pool, snooker and billiards. Bravo, Neil Johnson, and I hope you many players will use PureCues so our sport may enjoy a better level of competition overall.

Disclosure: A review sample was provided by the manufacturer. For more information, please see our About.com Ethics Policy.
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