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Why Use A Slip Stroke


Why Use A Slip Stroke

A visitor submitted a new term for our billiard glossary this weekend called slip stroke. Apparently, it is a stroke where the shooting player instantaneously loosens his or her grip on the butt of the cue, allows it to slip forward, and then re-tightens the grip just before the cue tip strikes the cue ball.

My curiosity piqued on this one. I wonder why anyone would want to use this type of shot. It seems like a willy-nilly repositioning of the grip on the pool cue, and prone to error. How does this shot benefit the player? This was the first I've heard of it.

Why Use A Slip Stroke

Replies & Comments

  1. billiardsforumFenwick on 1/15/2008 6:26:53 AM

    Slip Stroke from; easypooltutor.com/article15.html

    Submitted by BadAndy (badandy)

    There is not much info on slip stroke and apparently no clear definition. From what I have read I believe I do utilize the slip stroke when I get going, kind of in the zone. I have tried to force myself to use it, to push me in the zone and it seldom works. The slip does not push me in the zone, the zone itself creates the slip stroke in me. That is me, perhaps different to others who use it, I am new to it, but like it. I only use it on normal shots, not over the ball stuff etc.

    This is how I characterize my slip stroke. When I am there, I am very loose, kind of fluid like, natural. I know it sound dorky, but it the best way I can think of to characterize it. During the first two strokes the butt slips around in my hand by about an inch or two searching for the proper balance point for that particular reach on that stroke. It settles down in about two strokes and feels good, straightens out etc. Then on the contact stroke the shaft will actually slide forward a bit (not always) about ¼ to ½ inch. The fact that the shaft is semi airborne there should be no side movement and follow through is perfect. Its just a nice feeling.

    If anyone is a target bow shooter, its similar to not gripping your bow. You have a strap on the bow that your hand fits into so when the arrow is release the bow falls forward on it own allowing for a smooth departure of the arrow, no side twisting.

  2. billiardsforumbilliardsforum on 1/15/2008 6:31:40 AM

    Hey Fenwick,

    Thanks for the reply - now that you mention the in-the-zone part - I can kind of see how it happens. I'll bet a lot of players unconsciously do it.

    Don't you think, though, that it would be a better approach to slow down and carefully execute rather than blow it on a mis-gripped slip stroke, which seems highly probable?

  3. billiardsforumbilliardsforum on 1/15/2008 7:40:27 AM

    Actually, now that I think about it, slip stroke seems more like an unconscious problem, rather than something a player tries to learn; which is what I first thought.

  4. billiardsforumFenwick on 1/15/2008 12:17:28 PM

    I agree I don't think a slip shot is a good method to shot making and when in the zone I have no idea what I do. When a long time friend wanted to demonstrate being in the zone to his bowling students he would ask me to throw a few balls. He would then sneak up behind me and when I took my first step drop a ball on the lane behind me. I never noticed! The only way I can find out if I'm guilty is using the video camera and I plan on doing that soon. I also hope it will help me get out of the slump I'm in? The main obstacle I face is getting the owners permission. This would be during non peak hours but the owner might not wish to open that door? In that case I'll find a new location to film myself.

  5. billiardsforumbilliardsforum on 1/15/2008 4:50:30 PM

    Do you typically play at a privately owned club, or at a chain hall like Dooly's?

  6. billiardsforumtedmauro on 1/15/2008 8:04:14 PM

    Wow it's been a long time since I have heard or thought about the slip stroke. It seams like I even read about it in a book on Billiards. That was at least 20 years ago. It might have been the Robert Byrnes book or the Minnesota Fats book on pocket billiards. I can't recall. I experimented with it back then. I can relate to a kind of slip stroke when you are in the zone. I played around with it quite a bit years ago. I currently hold my cue with a light grip but never let it slide through my hand. I totally changed my game around 1994 based on sound fundamentals and the slip stroke is not part of it. The topic of this post is why use a slip stroke. I went to my table and played around with it and found that you can get some massive follow through with it which equals massive spin on the ball. I did not feel in control enough however.

  7. billiardsforumFenwick on 1/15/2008 8:20:42 PM

    It's a public hall with 42 tables. One of the few good houses left in the area. In fact it's the only safe place around sad to say. It's nice to find your car windows not broken when you leave.

  8. billiardsforumFenwick on 1/17/2008 2:09:48 PM

    Update. I tried the slip shot and honestly thought it was hap hazard at best. Must be a trick to it or you have to be in a zone and not be aware you're doing it.. I then watched the house Pro give lesions last night. When he was done and approachable I asked him about the shot. His reply was forget about it! Did I learn anything watching him; yes. He the Pro is smooth as silk but his student was a older man dare I say was totally lost despite the Pros best efforts.

  9. billiardsforumbilliardsforum on 1/17/2008 5:04:55 PM

    "hap hazard at best" - that is about the best description of that type of shot I can think of.

    That totally answers my first question - I just thought I was missing something. Like Ted, I can see how slip can happen unconsciously when you are just in it, in a zone-like state, but other than the zone, I see no practical application or benefit.

  10. billiardsforumFenwick on 4/30/2008 8:43:55 PM

    Sorry in advance as this is going to be long winded but I hope it's found to be useful in some small way. I have been playing someone who continues to spank me at straight pool. The main reason aside from his superior position play is his remarkable use of all English and of course his shot making. I have watched him and tried unsuccessfully for 8 months to figure out how he gets such forceful break shots without changing his stroke very much. What we called supper follow in the old days. The cue ball hits the rack, bounces back and then goes back into the rack a second time with force follow! The point of my reply, I'm getting there, is a friend who plays the night shift and never had the chance to see this man play came in early one day just to observe him. He also was amazed. While on the side line together we both saw it. He uses the infamous elusive slip stroke. His grip in light, finger tips, about 5-6 inches from the but of the Cue. The shaft on his hitting stroke slides or slips so his grip is almost to the butt of the Cue and his grip becomes firm. He's old school and I don't even know if he is aware he does it. I was wrong again as when used correctly it is not "hap hazard at best". I will not try to learn this method as it would mean starting from scratch again. It may be the reason Robert Byrnes, or Minnesota Fats and other players of that era did the things they did the way they did? Ted Mauro, I also subscribed to your training course some time ago and did learn from your lesions. Thank you very much.

  11. billiardsforumtedmauro on 5/1/2008 2:44:21 AM

    You are very welcome on the training course.

    Your post above brings a thought to mind. I used to have trouble shooting the cue ball all the way down the table, hitting an object ball and then drawing the cue ball all the way back up the table.

    I learned that if you use some finesse with a quick stroke and extreme and exaggerated follow through, it will draw that cue ball back every time as opposed to a long drawn out slamming the ball stroke.

    The slip stroke is the best form of true follow through that you can find. There is no way you can pull up on your stroke if you toss the cue right through the cue ball. Kind of like letting the hammer do the work when driving nails. Same thing on the force follow shot.

  12. billiardsforumquickshot on 5/1/2008 10:35:15 AM

    I don't know whether it is a zone or not. At my age zones seem to come and go, but I have unknownly used the slip stroke during a shot line up. I sometimes hold the butt very lightly and lining up a shot the shaft would slip a little on the forward motion. Of course, as the gods would have it, that little slip would be enough to hit the CB and cause it to roll a few inches. That is not a good thing. The slip stroke is not on my short list in the learning curve.

  13. billiardsforumJJFSTAR on 5/1/2008 12:46:14 PM

    Fenwick you are referring to Robert Byrne's standard book of pool and billiards where he answers a query from a reader asking him if he had ever experimented with the "reverse slip stroke" and his answer was no.

    Most of us when we are doing our warm up, practice, feel or whatever you want to call them strokes and on our delivery stroke weather we are conscious of it or not do slip forward to some degree. This is because our stick motion is more forward than backward and most of our wrists are rather loose making our hand more relaxed.

    Try to pick a place on the wrap where you started and after your shot is completed grip tightly and look to see if there is a difference. 99% of us will see that the grip is farther back than when we originally bent down.

    The "slip stroke" is very simply this little slip forward exaggerated to the point that it is apparent to the naked eye and is just a stylistic difference in what is being emphasized it is not new, wild or different.

  14. billiardsforumJJFSTAR on 5/1/2008 1:01:07 PM

    Fenwick you are referring to Robert Byrne's standard book of pool and billiards where he answers a query from a reader asking him if he had ever experimented with the "reverse slip stroke" and his answer was no.

    Most of us when we are doing our warm up, practice, feel or whatever you want to call them strokes and on our delivery stroke weather we are conscious of it or not do slip forward to some degree. This is because our stick motion is more forward than backward and most of our wrists are rather loose making our hand more relaxed.

    Try to pick a place on the wrap where you started and after your shot is completed grip tightly and look to see if there is a difference. 99% of us will see that the grip is farther back than when we originally bent down.

    The "slip stroke" is very simply this little slip forward exaggerated to the point that it is apparent to the naked eye and is just a stylistic difference in what is being emphasized it is not new, wild or different.

  15. billiardsforumFenwick on 5/1/2008 7:15:21 PM

    "Fenwick you are referring to Robert Byrne's standard book of pool and billiards where he answers a query from a reader asking him if he had ever experimented with the "reverse slip stroke" and his answer was no."

    No. I was referring more about his, Robert Byrne, being a superior player and perhaps he used the slip stroke? I now would guess he did not?

    I did see Fat's play around the mid to late 1970's and I honestly don't know what he did other then talk fast and pocket balls. He sure could make them balls fly. I was guessing he may have used the slip stroke?

    "Try to pick a place on the wrap where you started and after your shot is completed grip tightly and look to see if there is a difference. 99% of us will see that the grip is farther back than when we originally bent down."

    I will. Thanks.

    And the main reason for my last reply was just a FYI stating I know someone who uses it and gets massive English and control with it.

  16. billiardsforumgreyghost on 12/13/2009 4:57:36 AM

    Definition of a Slip Stroke

    During the last backswing of the grip hand before delivery to the cue ball, the back hand loosens up and slips farther back on the cue stick. A player using a slip stroke will choke up more on the cue, as the grip hand slips back on the cue on the final back stroke. (watch Willie Mosconi, and especially Cowboy Jimmy Moore who had a beautiful and long slip stroke)

    Some of you are confused on types of strokes.

    Another similar stroke style is the STROKE SLIP, or Dart Stroke as some call it. It is the exact opposite of the Slip Stroke. As opposed to letting the hand slip back on the final back stroke, the hand loosens up on the final forward stroke. The cue actually "darts" through the grip hand and then you regrip. Basically your throwing your cue forward, the grip loosens the cue slides forward through the grip hand and finally the grip hand re-grips. The re-grip doesn't happen untill after contact with the cue ball.

    Now I'm going to explain the benefits of these two types of strokes (FACT: both are RARELY seen today, you can't name one world class player that uses a slip stroke or stroke slip/dart stroke today.)

    First off when it comes to the stroke also know that the VAST majority of players (95+%) don't complete their stroke.

    This is why most players only have 3 playing speeds 1)Break Speed 2)Their normal playing speed 3)Bunt Speed

    The one stroke that most players do finish (albeit the wrong way) is the Break Speed Stroke.

    First the wrong way to attain a complete stroke is to drop the elbow upon delivery, this gives you another pivot point in the shoulder. The elbow comes down and the cue tip can extend far out.

    The correct way to complete a stroke is:

    1)pull the cue back all the way on the final backstroke 2)THE ELBOW IS STATIONARY AND DOESN'T MOVE 3)You deliver the shot and the grip hand will stop right on the side of your chest (close to your nipple) 3a)Stand up and let your hand hang to the side of your hip arm straight, now relax the arm. Next quickly try and hit your shoulder by just letting the hinge (elbow) work. Now you see where your hand is sitting against the pectoral muscle....THIS IS THE HOME POSITION or FINISH POSITION.....I call it the home position because thats how I teach, "the grip hand goes home, and the ball goes in"

    Overgripping the cue, can cause you to steer it upon delivery. Knowing this we can deduce that a lighter grip will be easier to control. When the grip hand is too tight, it affects the way the wrist works mechanically with the rest of the arm. Too tight a grip hand and it puts tension on the bicep and can or will cause the elbow to drop.

    A light grip will let the wrist work properly with the arm, upon completion of the stroke the grip hand knuckles should be angled up.... kinda like this symbol / tho not that steep (30-45degree) the pinkie knuckle is going to be pointed towards the ground and the index finger knuckle will be pointed up.

    Now instead of players adjusting the speed at which they deliver the cue stick to make a certain speed shot, most actually stop the delivery of the cue FAR short of the home position...just like a BUNT in baseball, they don't complete the swing. It is much easier to train yourself to ALWAYS COMPLETE THE STROKE ON EVERY SHOT, the only adjustment you make for speed of hit is HOW FAST YOU DELIVER THE CUE STICK....NOT HOW FAR. They hit the ball perfect in every way, except...since the hand is not going home it is actually in a state of DECELERATION upon contact with the cue ball, as opposed to ACCELERATION.

    So a COMPLETE STROKE....will always ACCELERATE through the CB(cueball)

    Forget about "hit the ball and then follow through" thats crap, follow through has NOTHING to do with action on the cue ball. The cue tip only contacts the CB for 1/1000th of a sec. So anything that happens after contact is meaningless in regards to how it will or wont affect a shot. You COMPLETE the Stroke fully to the home position, and that will naturally cause the stroke to be accelerating the whole length of the delivery.

    This is the reason you see players hit the balls at 10,000 miles and hour to draw and it only draws a foot. They hit the cue ball right, and even accelerated through the first 1/3 of the stroke (maybe) and then DECELERATION occurred. Since you hit the ball with deceleration, the ball does not POP off the tip...the cue tip more or less PUSHES the CB.

    So to finish this all up, I'm going to explain some benefits of the slip stroke

    Remember how I said if the grip hand is not going to the home position at the chest then DECELERATION is occurring. And that even tho most every player has this symptom, they do accelerate through at least the first 1/3 of the stroke.

    In the Slip stroke your going to be holding the cue with the grip hand further up the wrap area. When you slip back your hand it gives you alot of extra length. This extra length shows up during the pause on the backswing (everyone has a pause no matter how slight) b/f you finish the stroke. Remember how I said your always going to find ACCELERATION in the first 1/3 of the stroke? Well when the grip hand slipped back, it made up for the other 2/3 of the stroke and your going to acheive Pure ACCELERATION in the delivery of the tip to the ball.

    So yea your going to have a longer follow through, but its not the follow through its the acceleration that helps us move the balls. By sliding your hand back during the back swing you added length to the stroke....which if enough length is present you could find your self always having perfect acceleration without having to complete the stroke fully with the hand ending in the home position.

    You modified the use hand position on your tool (cue stick) to Trump the effects of deceleration that occurs very often in very many players. By the time you started to decelerate the ball has long done hit the tip and left.

    Knowing all this you should easily understand how the STROKE SLIP/DART STROKE works.

    Your actually releasing the cue around the start of the final delivery(forward stroke), and then the re-grip occurs after tip contact with the CB.

    By letting the cue slip FORWARD this time, you gave it forward energy and ACCELERATION. One thing you might see is a shorter follow through distance of the tip through the CB. It could also be longer, it just depends on when you catch the cue again and stop it.

    The Stroke slip/Dart Stroke PROVE that that follow through affects nothing, as stated b/f its all about ACCELERATION through the ball.

    Food For thought

    -light grip on cue...no matter what kind of stroke your using -ACCELERATE thru the CB by always finishing with the grip hand in the "HOME" position -Vary only velocity of stroke to adjust the speed of the shot, you do not adjust speed by adjusting the length of the stroke....this is why every one is so inconsistent, in a game that calls for consistency.

    If anyone has any questions or comments or would like further instruction in proper cueing techniques, Traveling Lessons, or just anything pool just drop me an email at keebie2@yahoo.com

    For a better game, Keeb-

  17. billiardsforumFenwick on 12/13/2009 10:59:02 AM

    That is one of the best posts I've ever read here. Every point you made is the same as I've been taught by former pros as well as B.C.A. Master instructors.

    **Especially educational, ** ( 1)pull the cue back all the way on the final backstroke 2)THE ELBOW IS STATIONARY AND DOESN'T MOVE 3)You deliver the shot and the grip hand will stop right on the side of your chest (close to your nipple) 3a)Stand up and let your hand hang to the side of your hip arm straight, now relax the arm. Next quickly try and hit your shoulder by just letting the hinge (elbow) work. Now you see where your hand is sitting against the pectoral muscle....THIS IS THE HOME POSITION or FINISH POSITION.....I call it the home position because thats how I teach, "the grip hand goes home, and the ball goes in" )

    Might I suggest you set up a account and perhaps pay to advertise here and become the house pro. I think a lot of members would take you up on the lessons and your expertise would IMO be very helpfull here. I also would like to know your name.

    I'm only speaking for myself not the owner of the site.

  18. billiardsforumquickshot on 12/13/2009 12:58:54 PM

    It has been around a long time but not really popular. I have used it on ocassion but not to the point that I would shoot with it. I sometimes find it sneaking into my warm up motion. Okay, I lie. I have tried to use it in some of my practice sessions but found it to unstable. I have enough problems with the regular stroke.

  19. billiardsforumFenwick on 12/13/2009 1:23:17 PM

    I wasn't endorsing the slip stroke but his post in general. I only know one person who can execute a perfect slip stroke but he's been using it for 40 years.

    Sorry for the confusion.

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Why Use A Slip Stroke

  • Title: Why Use A Slip Stroke
  • Author: (Billiards Forum)
  • Published: 1/13/2008 10:12:05 PM