Lately, I have been getting the feeling that
I have finally developed a stroke.
This is a major breakthrough for me,
because for the last 3 years I have felt that
I did not have anything close to what could be called a stroke.
What I have been searching for is a stroke that is
smooth, flowing, reliable, confident, accurate, and
above all, looks and feels good.
I have this theory that if a thing looks and feels good,
that it is probably natural and effective.
Recently I have discovered what it means to have a stroke.
I am getting a new feeling as I follow through.
But the feel is something else.
A lightness in the cue,
as if it floats and slides easily in my right hand.
I am thinking that I am experiencing what
is said about "letting the cue do the work".
And that other famous quote about a stroke being
"a beautiful throwing motion".
The best stroke I have ever seen was
during my Road Trip, in Aurora, Colorado,
at a place called the Rack 'em Cue Club.
The shooter was a black dude called "Georgia Boy".
He was a road player and a hustler,
and called New York City his home.
Had been playing the game for over 50 years,
and his stroke was such a thing of beauty
that it is almost impossible to describe.
The thing that struck me the most was
how the cue almost danced in his hands
with what is known as a slip-stroke,
whereby the forward (hit) motion of the cue
was actually completely un-gripped.
His stroking hand was not touching the cue
in any way.
Rather it had been thrown forward at the
beginning of the stroke,
and was caught at the end of the stroke.
His wrist was extremely light and flexible,
almost whippy (although not as much as Bustamante).
It was totally mesmerizing.
He wouldn't let me videotape his stroke,
but I have it clearly imprinted on my mind.
It could be that meditating on his stroke
has caused mine to become more like his,
or, rather more like a true stroke
which is personalized to me.
It is the job of the stroke to deliver
a variable amount of energy
along a variable longitudinal plane
along a variable vertical deviation from the horizontal
and have the cue tip delivered
to a variable place on the cue ball,
and to continue to follow-thru after the hit
either on the same or different
variable energy, plane, etc.
The stroke, or the forward motion of the cue,
guided by the hand/wrist/forearm/arm,
is what delivers all the above variables.
The evolution of my stroke made a major step forward
when I started to deliver a full stroke
A full stroke is a confident stroke
and it delivers consistent, known results.
I have learned that it is better to deliver a full stroke
and adjust with english/throw/draw/follow than it is to
vary the speed of the stroke, especially at the low end
where table anomalies are more influential.
Although I have heard these things for almost 3 years
from El Maestro himself,
and from reading,
but some things can only be learned by doing,
over and over and over.
Time and attention are the keys to learning.
I'm sure there were many times when El Maestro
must have thought I was a complete dunce, but I knew that
"I will persist until I succeed".
One of my favorite sayings is:
"The ox is slow, but the earth is patient."