From time to time I will....

mr3cushion

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From time to time I will post some excerpts from my Book/DVD, "The Concise Book of Position Play."

Here is my, 'Authors Statement' on the subject.


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Author’s Statement


Set in My Ways
In the past, the masters of the game jealously guarded and hoarded their insights, experiences, tips, techniques and strategies of the game. This has sadly led to a decline of interest in a great artistic game. With 45 years’ experience, I have accumulated and gained insights into the game to which most players have never been exposed. Like my predecessors, I too resisted divulging the winning secrets I have accumulated.

With the advent of the information superhighway, the abundance of billiard information is overwhelming and often confusing to the novice and intermediate players that desire to improve their game.

Time to Let Go
After many years of personal contemplation of my life experiences, I have decided to share the essential techniques and knowledge to allow the average player an opportunity to elevate his game. This will bring satisfaction to aspiring players. I will share your joy as you discover your potential while overcoming the frustrations of a difficult game. We will experience increased enjoyment of the game as an ever increasing brotherhood of players grows.

It’s Always Been a Difficult Game
Since 1983, I have considered how I could provide a simple uncomplicated method of instruction to the eager player without the clutter of too many details. I have concentrated on the basic and logical methods that may apply to all cue games. These include the various strokes, aim, and physics, fundamental techniques, logical shot analysis and shot systems that I developed and acquired during my career.

Improvement is Eminent
Scoring is the goal of the game. The secret to scoring many is ball control and position play. Learning to control one ball will improve your ability to score another point by 25%, two balls under control improves your odds to 75%. Control off all three should lead to multiple point innings. This is a key principle of my book.

The Concise Approach
The instructional package is well-defined work with accurate diagrams and explanations that can be easily understood. The DVD provides additional reinforcement and clarity to the book. This video will audibly and visually demonstrate features of related subjects in the text to further enhance understanding of the material.

It is my belief that players will progress at a faster pace using the methods and techniques in this package. This will require structured and disciplined practice-not just hitting the balls around. This will also help to develop patience and focus in your game. The results will bring great satisfaction and reward!

One day you won’t be The Big Dog…You’ll be The Old Dog!
Instructing others and playing good billiards has brought great satisfaction to my life. Educating new players to be able to compete with the high level of billiards played overseas is one of my greatest ambitions. This work is intended to pass my legacy of this most difficult and beautiful game to a new generation of gifted and aspiring players who have been denied the knowledge and instruction to advance and improve. Take my work, build on it, improve it, share it, and rise to your potential. “Good shooting and play good billiards!”
 

mr3cushion

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The Foundation basic fundamentals


The Importance of Proper Fundamentals

The world’s best players have it
I’m sure there will be those who’ll say, “why so much attention to the fundamentals in a book pertaining to position play”. It’s essential in every sport to have a standard of technique in order to pass on these skills to others. With a sound and complete understanding of these basics, and correct concept of the game, players can play a formidable game for many years to come. This is why the greatest player in the modern game, Raymond Ceulemans can still at age 70 plus continually averages over 1.40 in world competition. If any player of the last generation is quintessential in their fundamentals it is he.

Today’s generation master of the fundamentals is Frederic Caudron. His fluid stroke and tempo are attributes for every amateur to emulate. I, myself, have tried to pattern my game after these two men. Obviously, these are my humble opinions, but these Champions’ records speak for themselves.

The beginning section, “The Foundation basic fundamentals is really a prelude to understanding the proper concepts and techniques needed to execute the position shots throughout the remaining sections. This can be a fresh beginning for Newbie players as well as a check list for the more seasoned players when their game seems to be missing something. The problem can usually be traced back to a simple flaw in the player’s mechanics.

I’ve taught many students since 1987 and 98% of them I was able to help considerably, except for players that had time in the game and started with faulty fundamentals. They were simply not willing to go backwards a little to go forward a lot. Unfortunately, there were some players who were always on the brink of going to the next level (position play) but, because of inconsistency in their stroke; they were unable to achieve reproducible results. This is why sound fundamentals are so important. It lets the player have confidence in his natural abilities and not to over analyze each shot to the point that they lose their timing and tempo.

The Pre-Shot Routine

Doing it the same every time
Initially, the player should evaluate the current ball position and visualize the contemplated solution. Next, always use a consistent pre-shot routine. This allows the player to develop the stroke-rhythm; tempo and focus needed while simultaneously acquiring the shot alignment and target point for the cue ball. Photo1a.

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While approaching the table, cue in hand, using warm-up strokes as you move towards the table, establish your stance and commit to the visualized shot. Photo1b.

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Dennis "Whitey" Young

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mr3c, sent me his book, and the above fundamentals of the pre-shot routine, really got me thinking. I then realized that I am all over the place when it comes to this. Because of the above, I shored up my pre-shot routine and gained 20% in pocketing ability.

I see the shot before ever going down, I approach the same each time, bring the cue down on to the cue ball the same each time.
What really struck me was mr3c comment; "that developing a sound pre-shot routine builds confidence". I was on board now for sure. Thanks mr3c! Whitey
 

mr3cushion

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The Stance

The correct approach to your shooting position at the table
Your table stance is essential to the preparation for a successful stroke. If your stance and body alignment are incorrect, all other aspects of the basic fundamentals will be affected: head, bridge hand, cue arm and elbow.

The correct placement of the head and body facing the target line
The player's forward foot should be parallel to the target line. The back foot should be positioned approximately 45 degrees to the table. This allows proper body alignment along the target line. Aligning yourself more closely along the target line allows the shooter to have a better shot perspective. The cue should be centered directly between both eyes, Photo2.

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Photo 2

The proper way to position your feet at the table
The player's weight should be equally distributed on both legs for a stable stance. This will eliminate leaning and instability. See Photos 3 & 4. You should feel comfortable before you attempt any stroke.

Photo 3
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Photo 4
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mr3cushion

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The Bridge

The correct position of the bridge hand
The bridge is the foundation for the cue. If the bridge is not solid and secure, errors will occur in the stroke. A firm and stable bridge is required. Hand should be slightly curved back towards the body with elbow slightly bent with the palm resting on the table, Photo 5.

TCBPPFundamentalsphotos02_edited-1.jpg

Photo 5

The proper length bridge for most shots in 3 cushion billiards
Bridge length, the distance from the bridge hand to the cue ball, will vary from shot to shot. Depending on the distance desired and the stroke you employ the bridge length will generally be 8 to 10 inches, Photo 6.
This is the proper bridge in order to achieve the correct height on the cue ball, so that the cue is as level to the table as possible, you simply separate or pull your fingers together to get to the correct point on the cue ball you're trying to hit.

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Photo 6

When striking the cue ball along the equator (center line) using center, left or right hand spins, we will use a medium height, Photo 7.

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Photo 7

For the application of left or right hand English above the center line (follow English with left and right hand spins) you will raise your cue by drawing your fingers together, Photo 8.

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Photo 8

Draw shots are hit below the equator with either left, center or right hand spins. We lower the cue by spreading our fingers to lower the bridge, Photo 9.

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Photo 9

The Grip

The proper full hand grip
The grip gives the player general control of the cue ball. Full finger grips are the most common choice among better players. The grip should rest in the palm of your hand; see Photo10, instead of lying in the player's fingers.

TCBPPFundamentalsphotos15_edited-1.jpg
Photo 10

The players that use more of their wrists give more rotation to the cue as it is swung back and forth. You may want to use a finger grip when applying maximum effect to the cue ball, (the cue ball maintains spin on 3 or more cushions.) For most shots in 3 cushion billiards, (especially short-angle shots), you want to use as little wrist action as possible, for better control of the cue ball, and a consistent hit on the first ball or cushion.

The proper position of the elbow and arm at address
The proper position of the upper arm and elbow (lower arm) are the key to your stroke. All strokes are slightly different due to our different physiology, but we share the same basic fundamentals. A player's lower arm should be perpendicular to the floor and upper arm parallel to the floor, Photo 11. While stroking the cue, you will experience the wrist breaking prior to contacting the cue ball. This will bring rhythm, timing and consistency to your game.

TCBPPFundamentalsphotos16_edited-1.jpg
Photo 11

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Photo 12

Just at the point before contacting the cue ball, the player will have better rhythm and timing in their delivery of their cue. It's at that split second when the wrist breaks, just before contacting the cue ball, Photo12. This is the main reason why some players are able to create more effect on the cue ball than other players; fortunately, I've been one of those players that possesses this attribute.

The simple move
The last element of a proper grip is the simplest. Most average players are looking for some magical move to make just before they strike the cue ball, well; I'm here to tell you, there isn't one. It's the simple opening of the hand on the cue when swinging the cue back, Photo13, and when the cue swings forward closing the hand around the cue with all fingers, Photo14. Also the middle knuckles on the cue hand, should be pointing to the floor. This along with the arm and the elbow in the correct position when addressing the cue ball will give the player a more consistent effect on the cue ball.

TCBPPFundamentalsphotos27_edited-1.jpg
Photo 13


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Photo 14

Aiming

What ball to look at last
The process of aiming has been highly debated for many years, do you look at the cue ball last, or the object ball last before delivery? I believe this depends on what game of billiards the player is playing, if it be one of the small games, e.g., straight rail, balk line, or one cushion, it would probably be more helpful to look at the cue ball last, because the slightest variance in English would affect the shot more drastically than in 3 cushion. The correct stroke and amount of object ball in 3 cushion billiards is more important to achieve.

The initial lining up of a shot
We start off the aiming process during our pre-shot routine, by standing behind the shot and lining up the cue through the cue ball where you want to apply the English through the point the player wants to contact the object ball or cushion first. Then with the cue in the bridge hand, the player takes their position to the cue ball. During many years of playing, I’ve seen many different ways players aim, the most faulty being, they always start out aiming center ball, then right before they deliver, they move to the English they desire. This shifting of the cue causes a faulty stroke right from the beginning and the intended line of aim is lost. The player must always approach the cue ball with the intended effect through the cue ball to the target point, whether it be object ball, or cushion.

What are you aiming with?
How and what spin to aim at the target is another debatable question. Do you aim the cue ball at the target, to imagine a ghost ball at the object ball, or do you aim the cue tip at the target? For me, I believe the latter is more accurate, for the simple reason that the player is holding the cue in their hand. This is what you have complete control over, not the cue ball. Aiming the cue tip at the target will give the player a more precise way of contacting a specific portion of the object ball. There is an exception to this rule. If the player is trying to contact the object ball extremely thin without or as little English as possible, then you aim the edge of the cue ball to the edge of the object ball.

Deflection or no deflection, that’s the question?
I really struggled internally to even include this information on aiming and deflection, for fear of the wrath of the so called “scientific” pool community, but I’ve always been somewhat fearless. Let me say that science has its place in every sport. Yes, pool and billiards are sports. To understand some physics of the game is always helpful, but to take it to a level where the player forgets about natural feeling, may cause, “paralysis by analysis”. This is where confusion can occur with too much analysis and information.

When aiming at a target with English, the determining factor concerning whether the cue ball will deflect, or not, depends on, how far the cue ball is from the first object ball, the amount of English applied, and the stroke being used and if the player is using a conic billiard cue, (a billiard cue with a constant taper.) If the cue ball is 24 inches or less from the first ball, there will be no cue ball deflection, no matter how much English or stroke used. Obviously, the further you are from the target the more chance the cue ball has to curve with Extreme English, this will be reduced greatly by playing with a cue that is conic in design, and applying a shorter follow through, this will keep the shaft of the cue from flexing as much at impact. The harder the player strikes the cue ball, the more flex; hence, this will cause more curve and deflection to the cue ball.

 
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mr3cushion

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The Foundation basic fundamentals

The Stroke and Follow Through

The past and present strokes in 3 Cushion Billiards
One of the most common faults of amateur players is the incorrect concept of the proper stroke and follow-through in 3 cushion billiards. Unfortunately years ago in the pre-modern game era, 30’s 40’ and 50’s, the equipment in the United States was vastly different. Modern tables are heated. Synthetic rubber is used for the cushions. Phenolic balls are used instead of Ivory and the woolen table cloth slowed the cue ball down more than today's cloth. The statement, “you must follow-through on all shots”, was misleading. The professionals of that era should have said, “Apply the proper follow-through for each individual shot”.

The modern game of 3 cushion billiards has evolved into a precision game. In order to achieve that consistent precision, you must have a stroke that is free from flaws. A certain amount of natural hand-eye coordination will give some player’s more consistent results. But the proper stroke and follow through can be taught to the level of any player’s natural ability.

The start of the proper stroke
The proper stroke starts in the pre-setup routine. After analyzing the position that waits for you, determine what kind of stroke is needed to achieve a point. Before the player addresses the cue ball, he needs to decide on the rhythm and tempo for that particular shot. Use a couple of warm up strokes to get the feeling.

When addressing the cue ball, the cue tip should be fairly close to the cue ball before you start your backswing. The player should learn to develop the same number of warm-up strokes on every shot. This provides the rhythm component of the stroke.

I personally believe in the continuous straight, horizontal and vertical stroke method, and not pausing. If the player interrupts the rhythm, he may lose the timing and tempo he was trying to achieve. Another very important part of the stroke is crescendo, (increasing speed), never decelerating. Just remember, whatever number of warm-up strokes you choose to take, embed that into your game.

The five basic strokes to simpler billiards
It’s time to talk about the real basis for being able to play better and get better position with less effort. There are five basic strokes used in 3 cushion billiards. They are the: normal, short, rapid, slow, and dead ball strokes. These and their combinations are used to avoid kisses and play position. Knowing when and how to use these strokes is the core to being a better than average player. When the player knows the correct strokes to use for certain shots, they need not be concerned on contacting the first object ball exactly, that’s the one thing that makes 3 cushion billiards more forgiving than pocket billiards.

The normal stroke
Now to the different strokes, the normal stroke can be defined as a stroke that has a follow through approximately twice the length of the bridge the player is using for that specific shot. This stroke is used for most shots that have a natural angle from the cue ball to the object ball and then to the first cushion. We can generally use the normal stroke for natural angle cushion first shots (banks), see Photo 15.

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Photo 15

The short stroke
The next stroke is the short stroke. The name explains it all. The short stroke is probably used by better players more often than any other, especially on new cloth. This stroke is not an abrupt jab, but a well timed shortened stroke with a shorter follow through than the length of the player’s bridge, see Photo 16.

A little trick to help facilitate the effect is to use a shorter bridge than normal. Keeping the cue tip on the cue ball for a shortened time gives a purer hit. This makes sense. The common use of the short stroke is to make extremely thin hits on the object ball, keeping the cue ball from rolling forward on perpendicular angles into the first ball. Less wrist action helps with these types of shots.

TCBPPFundamentalsphotos32_edited-1.jpg
Photo 16

The rapid stroke
The rapid stroke is used for giving pace to the cue ball without really hitting the cue ball hard. It’s like a discus thrower winding up before he releases. It will give momentum to the shot. The rapid stroke simply means that the warm-up and delivery-strokes are moving faster than the normal stoke. This stroke is employed on five, six, and seven cushion shots, especially with full hits on the first object ball, to avoid a kiss, or drive that ball a lengthy distance.

The slow stroke
Using the slow stroke will allow the player greater accuracy when playing half-table, short-angle shots, where the first ball is hit less than half full. Another application of the slow stroke is to help impart extreme English to the cue ball. During the delivery strokes the cue will swing slower than the normal stroke. This will help facilitate an exaggerated follow-through at impact, combined with more impetus. This results in a high rate of spin on the cue ball, thus making it possible to maintain English on 3, 4, or even 5 cushions.

The dead-ball stroke
And finally, the last basic stroke is called the dead-ball stroke. This stroke is very useful when playing steep angle across the table shots and full length table short-angle shots. The dead ball stroke is really a combination of the short stroke, grip and the technique used for this stroke.

The technique for this stroke uses no wrist action and only the forearm moves from the elbow. There is no wrist-break with the dead-ball stroke. Don't open and close the hand around the cue. This gives less rotation to the cue, so less effect. With this technique, using the short stroke with no wrist action, the player is able to control the natural forward motion of the cue ball on very full hits. The long table full ball shots do not need much force. Thus, the player will have better control.
 

ChicagoFats

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I am curious.... in your picture it looks like you are favoring the cue slightly towards your left eye. In your written description you indicate the cue should be centered between both eyes. Is this camera angle or is it a little towards your left eye?
 

mr3cushion

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I am curious.... in your picture it looks like you are favoring the cue slightly towards your left eye. In your written description you indicate the cue should be centered between both eyes. Is this camera angle or is it a little towards your left eye?
Fats; These photos were taken at a time I was going thru many eye surgeries, mainly my right eye. This a sort of a, "Do as I say, not as I do at that moment" thing.
 

Island Drive

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I enjoyed reading your material....

I have two concerns with what I've read, in relationship to how I taught/learned (pocket games) compared to what your saying for 3 Cushion, they are different games, with different size balls and what your looking at during the shot is different.

#1. In a pocket billiard games, you must look at the obj. ball last when pulling the trigger.

#2. With your had perpendicular to your elbow, I totally agree that's your ''base line'', meaning it should Never be rearward of perpendicular at rest.

But....
It's hard for me to imagine that....
Holding the butt of the cue at rest or, slightly forward of the elbow would be incorrect.
 

mr3cushion

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I enjoyed reading your material....

I have two concerns with what I've read, in relationship to how I taught/learned (pocket games) compared to what your saying for 3 Cushion, they are different games, with different size balls and what your looking at during the shot is different.

#1. In a pocket billiard games, you must look at the obj. ball last when pulling the trigger.

#2. With your had perpendicular to your elbow, I totally agree that's your ''base line'', meaning it should Never be rearward of perpendicular at rest.

But....
It's hard for me to imagine that....
Holding the butt of the cue at rest or, slightly forward of the elbow would be incorrect.
I don't think your #1. bullet point is chiseled in granite! "I" believe if a, 'pool player' has a long straight in stop shot, the most important element is to contact the CB in it's vertical axis. If the player has, lined the shot up properly initially, going for CB to OB on warm up strokes, the last look can be on the CB!

A little caveat, many straight pool players of the past, gripped the cue slightly forward. This may be OK in that game where the top players are just mostly playing on 1/2 of the table, correctly so.

#2. If a players hand at address to the CB is too forward from the, 'perpendicular to the ground, the stroke follow-thru is already 10-20% finished, causing a player to have to use that much force. Plus, the wrist isn't being utilized optimally, just a, snapping of the cue up into the palm.

If the cue behind the perp at address, then the stroke will be delivered to late, before the wrist can be useful right before the contact with the CB.

This is one of the, 'main' reasons for my way better than average stroke! I get the maximum effect with the least amount of effort, (force).
 

Island Drive

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Reading comprehension will help! I never said the word, 'every.' "I" believe if a, "'pool player' has a long straight in stop shot,"
31 minutes ago
Island Drive said:
I enjoyed reading your material....

I have two concerns with what I've read, in relationship to how I taught/learned (pocket games) compared to what your saying for 3 Cushion, they are different games, with different size balls and what your looking at during the shot is different.

#1. In a pocket billiard games, you must look at the obj. ball last when pulling the trigger.

#2. With your had perpendicular to your elbow, I totally agree that's your ''base line'', meaning it should Never be rearward of perpendicular at rest.

But....
It's hard for me to imagine that....
Holding the butt of the cue at rest or, slightly forward of the elbow would be incorrect.
Click to expand...
''I don't think your #1. bullet point is chiseled in granite!''

This statement tells me, that some do, all I'm asking is who is that player?
If your Granite statement is NOT saying that, then I apologize for thinking that from the way your text expressed your thoughts.
I'm not attacking your credibility, I'm just making players realize, in pocket games this is how it should be done.
 
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mr3cushion

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31 minutes ago

''I don't think your #1. bullet point is chiseled in granite!''

This statement tells me, that some do, all I'm asking is who is that player?
If your Granite statement is NOT saying that, then I apologize for thinking tha,t from the way you expressed your thoughts.
I'm not attacking your credibility, I'm just making players realize, in pocket games this is how it should be done.
I don't follow pool players that much, so, what can I tell you.

BTW, this section is named, 'Banks, Kicks, Caroms & Golf.'

"MY" thread is about the fundamentals for, 'Caroms', '3 Cushion billiards'.

Maybe it would be helpful to all, if you mentioned, 'What ball to look at last in pool', in the Main section of this forum.

Many aspects of, pocket billiards do not apply in Caroms/3 cushions.
 

Island Drive

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I don't follow pool players that much, so, what can I tell you.

BTW, this section is named, 'Banks, Kicks, Caroms & Golf.'

"MY" thread is about the fundamentals for, 'Caroms', '3 Cushion billiards'.

Many aspects of, pocket billiards do not apply in Caroms/3 cushions.
This is good information, and this is how I think because of experience. But beginning, learning players, are they aware that one way is better for 3 cushion, and thee other for pocket games? That's all.
 

mr3cushion

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This is good information, and this is how I think because of experience. But beginning, learning players, are they aware that one way is better for 3 cushion, and thee other for pocket games? That's all.
Most of the fundamentals for 3C, which are taught to beginners, soon come to realize the differences in 3C and pool.
 

12squared

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Tell me one top pro that looks at the cue ball last on every shot?
Ralf Souquet told me he looks at the cue ball last on most if not all shots. This was in 2004 at DCC. I believe there are others.

And many look at the cue ball last when breaking.
 

lll

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Ralf Souquet told me he looks at the cue ball last on most if not all shots. This was in 2004 at DCC. I believe there are others.

And many look at the cue ball last when breaking.
most instructors say to look at the object ball last except
on jump shots/ cue ball frozen to the rail
jmho
 
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