The Back Stroke
In the first photograph we see the cue stopped at the very back of the stroke’s range, where we must note several important features. 1) At this point in the stroke, the hand is behind the arm. In order to get it back there and to facilitate a more sensitive and powerful motion proceeding more from the hand than the arm, we can allow the ring and middle fingers fall away from the cue. 2) Since a still photo stops action there’s no way to tell from this one that the hand should stop momentarily at this stage of the stroke. Although most of us do not naturally employ that pause in back, it’s well worth the effort to make that a part of every shot. Pausing the hand in back ends all rearward motion before shooting with a stroke comprised of pure forward motion using only those muscles needed for that movement. Pausing in back also works to ensure that we take the cue back far enough. For most shots, at this point in the stroke, the ferrule should be touching the bridge hand to ensure a natural, and full forward movement. Players often discover, after introducing the pause in back, that their strokes have more power. It’s very common, in the initial stages of this new approach, to observe the cue ball moving as much as twice as far as expected owing to more efficient mechanics. 3) The last item to note at this stage is that, while the hand is relaxed, here is where we feel maximum tension. In the moment that the hand begins moving forward, there should be a slight, subtle release in grip tension to help generate acceleration.