If you spend any amount of time watching your friends and opponents play, you can observe many bad habits. One of those bad habits is known as the “Jubilation Stroke”. This is a very common fundamentals problem even among good players.
This is also known as “jumping up on the shot”. This occurs when a player is stroking the shot. At the same time as the follow-through occurs, the shooter starts raising the body from the down position – as if celebrating success. Of course, it is a premature activity, as can be observed in the results (missed shots and poor positioning).
Mechanically, this is what happens: as the cue stick stroke moves forward, the head starts to move upwards, following by the upper body. At the end of the stroke, the upper body is vertical and the cue stick has also risen into the air. By the time all body movements are completed, the final stance has no relationship with the original starting position.
There is only one problem. The shot will not and cannot get the results originally expected. This is because the pool stroke does not follow the planned line of movement. The cue ball will be hit a little harder than intended, and not at the expected cue tip to cue ball contact point. The consequences of these premature celebrations are impossible to predict. The reason for this failure between expectations and the actual table results is caused because of a very basic error in the stance.
To prove to yourself just how easy it is to screw up a shot, you can intentionally force yourself to do a jubilation stroke. Set up a straight-in shot with the object ball two diamonds from the pocket and the cue ball two diamonds away from the object ball. Bend down over your shot and lean your weight forward. When more than 50% of your weight is on the forward foot, line up your shot and make a medium hard stroke. You will discover that you can’t stop yourself from rising on the stroke.
There is one situation where leaning into a shot does not cause problems. When your shooting philosophy is “slow and slower”, you will not observe yourself jumping up on the pool stroke. It shows up when you apply significant speed to your shot. That is when the bad stance will destroy a critical opportunity to run out the table for a win.
The correction to this bad habit is simple. Shift the majority of your body weight (55% or so) onto your back foot. This will also shift your upper body back a couple of inches, which allows you to use more of the cue stick to help in aiming.
When you put some energy into a pool stroke, it will be impossible to rise on the stroke. It will also help on your follow-through. Since you aren’t shifting your body positions on the shot, your stick will continue forward for a longer distance without deviation. If shooting a long green draw shot, you will get better cue ball action.
For break shots, you will hit the cue ball with a more precise contact between tip and ball. Combined with the longer follow-through, you get more energy into the shot. Together this gets better rack action and helps keep the cue ball in the middle of the table.
If you’ve been unconsciously celebrating before the balls stop rolling, it will take some time to overcome the bad habit. To get yourself used to shooting your pool stroke with the weight on our back foot, add the item as part of your pre-shot routine – i.e.,
1. Determine the shot,
2. Get down on the shot,
3. Shift weight onto back foot,
As time passes and you get a few thousand shots under your belt, the whole process gets easier. Your pool strokes will become more trustworthy because you are NOT introducing extra body action during your stroke. If you track your game wins, this seemingly minor improvement of your stance fundamentals will be noticeable.