Ted Schulze at Laser Stroke was kind enough to provide me with an evaluation copy of his Laser Stroke training product. Boy, am I glad he did; I really like this thing. Check out their website for pictures, a video and testimonials.
It’s a small (2.75 inches), light (1.5 ounces) laser device that fits over the shaft of your cue. There are two rubber “O” rings in the mount that prevent the Laser Stroke from harming your cue. Slide it up the shaft until it grips firmly. How far it goes will depend on the shaft in question, but on mine it was just before the joint.
Like most inexpensive laser devices, this one uses a battery-powered red laser mainly used in hand-held pointers. Not only are batteries included, they provide an extra set as well. The pointer devices all project an invisible laser beam that puts a red spot on whatever it’s shining on. Unlike all others I am familiar with, the Laser Stroke has a small lens in the path of the beam which spreads the normal spot out into a line. The beam itself is still invisible, but the line is very visible on everything it touches; down your shaft, across the table, onto and beyond the cue ball, all the way to the wall. The line on the cloth, up and over the ball and on the wall are quite visible in a bright room, but it’s even easier to see well if the lighting is a little subdued.
Turning on the LS is as easy as you’d expect, there’s a small plastic piece that goes through the device. Push in on one side to turn it on, push in on the other side to turn it off.
What I like most is the instant feedback about the straightness of your stroke.
When you first set up the LS you need to adjust it. If you have a stick you can leave it on then you’ll only have to do this once. If you want to take it on and off of your only playing cue, you’ll need to make these adjustments each time. If you do choose to store the device off the cue, there’s a nice little carrying case included. The adjustments are easy and can be made reasonably quickly, especially after you’ve done it once. There’s a cap in the front that holds the lens and it’s very easy to turn it to rotate the beam a corresponding amount. Doing this with the beam on makes this very easy indeed.
There are 4 tiny set screws that adjust the beam up, down, left and right, and the allen wrench to make the adjustment is thoughtfully and conveniently included in the package. The only difficulty I encountered was that in order to make the adjustments, you must remove the cap that holds the lens in order to get to the set screws, so you’re essentially making the adjustments blindly. Adjust a little, put the cap back on and turn on the beam to check your work, repeating as necessary.
Using the device is a pleasure; it’s light enough not to interfere with the feel of the stick. The stick will be a little heavier, and the balance point will move a bit forward, but this won’t matter in your practice. The Laser Stroke’s position on the stick keeps it from interfering with your stroke in any way.
What I like most about the device is how it provides instant and recognizable feedback about the straightness of your stroke. Turn it on and do warm up strokes toward a cue ball. Watch the light on the wall beyond the cue. Rotate the cue in your hand a little until the laser line is perfectly vertical on the wall. Now, stroke back and forth and watch the line on the wall. If the line doesn’t move as you stroke back and forth, your stroke is perfectly straight. I couldn’t do that at first. If you are not moving the cue exactly along the line of the original aim, the line on the wall will move left or right. If you are twisting your forearm or rolling your wrist, the line will move off the vertical and be angled up and to the right or left instead of straight up and down.
It’s simply amazing what direct feedback can do for you while you practice.
It’s simply amazing what direct feedback can do for you while you practice. Without a dedicated partner, an expensive trainer, or cumbersome video recording and playback equipment, it’s very hard to get accurate data about what you are actually doing when you stroke. Our kinesthetic sense isn’t strong enough and accurate enough to enable us to know on our own how we’re actually executing the various components of our stroke. This simple device can do it for you, and in real-time. It’s working for me. I’m putting in some daily practice and I see my stroke straightening out already.
Inventor Ted Schulze says that “the most important thing about the Laser Stroke that people don’t really appreciate or understand is that most of the Pool Players out there have some kind of a flaw in their stroke but they don’t realize it. They keep shooting and missing shots for years not realizing they have a flaw in there stroke that could easily be fixed if they were aware of it.” I think Ted is spot on, and I also think using his Laser Stroke is a great way to see the flaw, and then correct it.
Normally selling for $87.95, it’s on sale until the end of the year for $67.95. There’s a 30 day money back policy, and a one year warranty, but I don’t know anyone who’s tried it who didn’t immediately like it, including a couple guys who don’t normally like training devices of any kind.
The laser Stroke has been very positively reviewed on a couple other pool blogs. You can check out their reviews for more perspective.
“Fast Mikie” McCafferty’s review of the Laser Stroke on Diary of a Pool Shooter.
The AnitoKid’s review of the Laser Stroke on his blog “The AnitoKid on Billiards”.