A good stroke implies following a complete shot routine. The routine begins once a commitment to the shot selection is made. This includes:
Getting down on the shot and settling your body into a balanced stable platform.
The stick forearm hangs straight down from the elbow.
The grip is loose, resting on the closed fingers, not firmly grasped.
The only physical movement of your entire body is the forearm swinging like a pendulum back and forth, back and forth.
The tip contact point on the cue ball is precisely identified and the bridge hand height and placement is adjusted accordingly.
The practice forward and backward strokes are each exactly the same. a pendulum. The cue tip does not waver to the sides.
When you commit to the stroke, the movement forward starts slow and then accelerates smoothly for the chosen speed. There is no jerky start.
The forward stroke passes through the cue ball and continues until it it can't move forward any further. When the forward movement is stopped, it does so gradually over a few inches, not with a forced jerk.
If you have a stable stick speed that you use as your standard speed, there is a simple trick you can use to slow it down for softer shots. Shorten up the distance from your hand to the cue ball. Because the distance is lessened, you will unconsciously shoot with less speed. Try it. You can shoot harder with a shorter bridge, but you will have to force yourself to do so.
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