Ask the Viper

Melissa Little

I’ve been actively playing and progressing in my game for eight years.  Right now, I’m fine-tuning my game aspiring to make it into the pro ranks, but my stroke has gotten away from me the last couple months.  My upper arm is dropping on my back swing when it used to be level.  I can still run tables, but the motion is causing comments from other players and is concerning to me.  Help, please.
QUESTION: Is it OK to move your upper arm during your practice strokes?  Thank you for your help.


NO, NO, and for sure NO!!! You do not want to move your upper arm when stroking through a ball. My question to you – is how do you know you are moving your arm up and down? Are you videotaping yourself? Or can feel/see the movement or is a friend just telling you so? Either way it is important to fix problems when they arise. I suggest next time your in the pool hall practice stroking along the felt line of pool table rail. Make sure that your cue is following the line of the felt straight and fluid- not with a seesaw / side-to-side motion.

Listen, many moons ago, my long time coach tried to adjust my slip stroke… he actually tried to force me to not slip and it really messed up my game for a while. Usually, the reasons for mechanical problems are because your body is compensating for other problems such as your stance. So check other mechanical issues too.

On anther note: Sometimes when you focus your attention to long on a mechanical issue you can dwell and become obsessed with it. Your stroke might be fine and it has just become a part of your style and now you need to be focusing on other parts of the game. If you get a chance to take one of my open clinics I suggest you do so and I can check it out for myself.  The next one is scheduled for June 12th at the Wynkoop and you can get more information on my website at

Best of luck to you,


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