Here are some other questions though:
1) Do you press downwards on the rod, the way most rollover shooters do, when preparing to shoot? It seems if I don’t do this, the rod has a tendency to rattle around in the bearing which I suspect decreases accuracy. By this I mean pressing downwards on the rod so there is pressure on the six o’clock position of the bearing…
IMHO putting the pressure on six o’clock is only good for snake- shooter (like me) because when you press down the rod, you lift the middle man. This gives you a quick start for a rollover, but less accuracy for the “more controlled” european front pin. Most front pin players I know prefer a pressure on 9 to 11 o’clock of the bearing, that puts more pressure on the front pinned ball. It’s more a feeling of a “clockwise pressure” for best control… I think. Some good front pin player like the german player Thorsten Petersen (who has been to Dallas the last three years, reached 1997 3rd place in no-pro mixed with Frederico’s girlfriend) are using a special grip: The palm is placed on the right side of the grip, the fingers are completely under the grip.
2) When learning this shot, like me, is it best to start with a very simple series, i.e. pinning it on the center dot, tiny walk/rock back and forth, then shoot? As boring as a rollover I know, but keeps it simple as far as shot mechanics go. Is it better even to just not walk the ball at all but rock/fake back and forth, then shoot? This is just for learning, I feel that if this is all you are going to do with the shot there is very little benefit to using the front pin vis the rollover.
When I switch for fun to the front pin, I place the ball one dot away from the center to the near side, and hover tiny over the ball. From this position I try to score a pull, a push, a flip-over straight, a pull-fake-and-angle-back-to-pushside, a push-fake-and-angle-back-to-pullside, or to reverse shots: fake pull and score to push or vice versa. This open less holes than tapping around, but it’s more simple and a good start.
Keep in mind to keep contact to the ball as long as possible (like Bruce told) and never practice only to one side.
I’m making a little progress. After practicing at home, I have started to play bar games with the shot and can win some. I played my first DYP in months last week and used all front pin (singles). Didn’t win any matches but did take one of the intermediate level players to match ball (couldn’t put it away, sigh). It’s a real confidence builder to score on the push, pull and middle holes in a tournament setting.
I try to score the match ball with a slow angle shot or a straight when I play the front pin. It’s cool to win with these slow balls on a fast defense ;.)
— Stefan Janssen