: Tom Simpson
Ask The Master: "I have little problem with shorter draw shots, but....when I am on a longer draw shot which takes more power and follow through, I very frequently miscue and also loft the cueball off of the table.
I must be dipping the cue tip downwards when contacting the cueball. I try to think about leveling my pendulum stroke out at the bottom of the arc by letting my elbow drop somewhat on the follow through, but many times I'll still miscue, sometimes quite a few times in succession. I'm starting to become somewhat paranoid when I'm confronted with these longer drawshots. Normally on shorter draws, I am relaxed and don't use any power; just a good relaxed follow through.
I sure would appreciate any assistance that you could pass my way. I have, in my estimation, worked hard at developing good mechanics, but I must have a glitch. Maybe it's more mental, I don't know." Sincerely, Jim C.
As you correctly realize, your tip is dipping into the cloth and scooping or lofting the cueball. This is happening because your fundamentals are breaking down when you shoot hard, and when you try to "do" something rather than letting the stick do its job. Pretty common. Let's look closer.
The most common causes of tip dipping are 1) wrist curling, 2) raising the elbow on the backswing (like a wind-up), and 3) jumping up during the hit stroke. All three raise the butt of the cue, lowering the tip.
1. Curling the wrist raises the butt of the cue. Wrist curling can happen because you unconsciously curl it to get farther through the ball to get good action. Curling allows you to stroke farther without before you run out of stroke room and bang into your chest. Curling can also be caused by clenching, which many players do on hard draw strokes. It could also be that curling is what you do when you shoot hard. It just doesn't come up often enough to realize it's a fundamentals flaw. Whatever the cause, if that's what it is, let's fix it. Start with my PoolDawg piece "How Can I Stop Twisting My Wrist?
2. Raising the elbow happens when your arm tenses up and your elbow resists opening. If your elbow is rigid, your stroke will swing in the shoulder, raising the butt of the cue. Relax. Get your elbow oiled up and working. Pull the cue back smoothly. No jerkiness.
3. Jumping up is what we call it when a player stands up during the hit stroke. If you're rising up and your elbow comes up, so does the butt of the cue.
Advice: Practice draw progressively. Start with what you can easily control, and incrementally work your way toward longer shots, more draw distance, etc. This will allow you to discover some of your necessary changes. Light grip, fluid elbow, smooth stick movements. Don't elevate.
More advice: Don't shoot the shots you can't do.
Best advice: Come to pool school. Send me an email for the details and current schedule.
One of the all-time greats, Luther Lassiter, said something close to this about big draw: "I loosen my grip, then when I'm stroking I loosen it again, and finally, I loosen again for the hit."