Billiards Stroke

Stroke: The Wrist Is The Secret Of It All

By Fast Larry Guninger

Take a look at Fast Larry's First Billiard Stroke Instruction Article.

When you watch footage of Hoppe, Greenleaf and Willie Mosconi, the three greatest players of all time what you see is them flicking their wrist into every shot they make. Itís a beautiful thing to observe and marvel at. That is how they achieve what they do and make the cue ball dance at will.

I could show you the films and 98% of you could not go out and duplicate what you just saw. You see it, you want it, but you cannot do it? You try and flick your wrist and you can not do it.

You are all swinging your wrist and forearm in one piece, together as one. I call that a chopping wood stroke or the sledgehammer. You caní t flick the wrist like Mosconi, because you never cock it back so it can unload and flick into the ball.

Sit at your chair and let your arm just hang down loose. Have someone put a ruler along the back of your wrist and back of your forearm so they are now in line. Take the ruler away. Now begin to bend your wrist back, keep bending it now faster and watch it drive and move your forearm back with it. That is how you load and cock your wrist. You stroke with the wrist, and not with the forearm. You do it now backwards of what you have been taught and are now doing. I begin my stroke not by moving my forearm back, but with a back bend of my wrist that moves my forearm along behind it. At the back of the swing I then release the cocked wrist with a flick and again the wrist leads with the forearm following through the ball. Itís like the rebound you see in Tiger Woods golf swing. Ben Hogan did it the best. Imagine a fly casting stroke. I donít do this on every stroke or shot, but on power draws or follows I sure do. I bunt, push, poke and dunk a lot of shots to make the cue ball slide or do weird things with no wrist cock or flick. I make play like Tom Kennedy on a couple of shots then slide into Mosconi and whip a shot. An advanced player nrrdsa variety of strokes he can use.Let the arm hang again loose, now bend the wrist back, keep bending it, farther and farther until pain hits you, now flick it hard, there is your power to your stroke. Your force follows will explode; your draws will now be burning rubber. Your break shot will double in power. You goal is to see how far you can learn to bend your wrist back. I learned how to put a red circle cue ball in my mouth and spit it out to make trick shots. I once made the 6in6 butterfly spitting the cue ball out of my mouth and that was on my old VHS tape I sold. On the same tape I spit a cue ball out, went 7 rails and potted a ball at the end. A world record that went farhter than the 5 rail shot Byrne raved over and could not believe possible. You canít get the cue ball in, but I can by stretching the jaw muscles until finally they got longer. You can do the same thing to the wrist. Muscles and ligaments will stretch.

God apparently never wanted us to play pool or he would not have designed the wrist anatomically so we could do this. Now where He has it, the wrist does not bend back well. As you can see it does not want to go back and it will not go back very far. As this is a move you never make in every day life, you have no strength in these small tiny muscles. With just a small amount of exercise and training you can build strength there and learn to extend and lengthen the ligaments so the wrist can go back to its maximum range and full load. Yes Virginia, I am giving up the secret to how Mike Massey and I can and are hitting all these massive draw shots you drool over and could not make in a thousand years. Well you can now.

Number your fingers 1-4. One, Index, 4, Pinky. Any player letting his pinky finger fly in the air is a girlie boy. Itís a dead give away. Watch the Byrne tapes.

Just kidding, not serious. I have 2-3-4 on the cue. Most of you have 2-3 with the 4 pinky floating off, and you are not girle boys. When I begin to cock my wrist fully back and it achieves full loading my 4 pinky now comes off the cue and floats and the 3 finger also loses contact and is barely off. When I flick into the ball those two fingers go back on the cue at their original positions.Most of you are holding your fingers on the cue and are locking it down, which is killing your wrist action. Whether your primary contact finger is #1 index and #2 bird depends on the size of your hands and fingers. Most pros have the index almost floating. If you learn how to have your primary hold in the webbing between the thumb and index finger then the cue can float on the fingers.

There are many reasons why I hold all the power records in the game, including the break records, 8 balls on the break at both 8 and 9 ball, records that have never been tied in the last 44 years and will stand forever and never be broken. The power wrist flick is one of them. Iíll pass on a few more tips to you as well. Having a 17Ē arm, 50Ē chest, huge lats of muscle and learning how to put my entire 250 lbs into a shot does not hurt. But, you could be 100 lbs, with skinny arms, and develop tremendous strength in just the wrist and still achieve tremendous force. You see golfers of this size drive 300 yards like Chi Chi. I can flick my wrist at impact a lot faster than you can drive your forearm and wrist in a straight line through the ball. That is why I am more powerful than you are.

This is one of my 17 inner secrets of the game. It is the secret that came from Shoeless Joe Jackson, who gave it to Sam Parks who later became the roommate of Babe Ruth, he got the secret and hit 715 home runs. Sam then gave the secret to Ben Hogan and then to Jimmy Ballard who gave it to the entire pro ranks. Its how to swing a thing, but not see it in parts, but to see it and feel it as one, one unbroken circle back and through. The big muscles fire, then drag along larger ones which fire, then smaller ones that fire, the wrist, then the smallest fire, the fingers, in one whip lash motion. You must do it totally by feel. Itís called the golf secret of connection. Yes Virginia, it works in pool as well. Every since I discovered it, in 1967, I have been a scratch golfer.

I have also trained for decades in a gym and am a 2nd degree black belt in Karate. We can hit any thing, four times harder and with more speed than you can because we invested years of training on just that single thing.

OK, no dojo, no time for a gym. Took a barbell and cut it the length of my cue. You train with a one pound cue every day; I train with a 12 lb cue. Golfers do the same thing which was where I got this from. I had a pound of lead on my 1 iron I would swing to build strength with, of course I swung it left-handed and I am right- handed. Taking my right hand off the weighted club built up my left side muscles. Then I swing a sledge ax left-handed. That was how I was able to hit 3 to 5; 300 plus yard drives in every round. I trained to be able to do this.

In pool I take my 12 lb barbell cue, get into the break position and simulate the break, back and into an air ball that does not exist with a full wrist flick and follow through. I do 100 in a row, moving my body back and forth. Then I take the bar bell and invert it into a masse shot position and stroke it up and down 100 times again. I have never found any one in pool who can duplicate this when I challenge them. No matter how young, how strong they are, they fail at it. They donít have these small muscles developed and I do. Where it counts, I am stronger than all of you. This is where my break power came from. Now you know why I make 7 balls on the snap every two months at age 62, I have been doing this all of my life.

I have a 15 lb barbell on my desk. If the phone rings, I begin to swing it with my wrist. I have a 10 lb barbell in my car, a ball to squeeze and a spring you close with your hand. I walk around with a heavy hand swinging it as I walk. You will find with just a little work your power will go through the roof.

If you want power, go to work on it now.

If you really want power, then you must come to the source of it all, the Power Source Pool School and take lessons with me. Delta in Atlanta is ready, when you are.