Stroke length and stroke angle —or translation and rotation, if you choose to be more technical— are two of the key elements of the casting stroke. Good technique asks for those two elements to be used in the proper sequence —that is, starting with translation only and applying rotation at the end of the stroke—, what has been called delayed rotation, although my mate Bernd Ziesche prefers to say:
“It is not delayed rotation, it is rotation at the right time.”
The late Mel Krieger classified casters into two broad groups: engineers and poets. The first group is formed by those who need to know how things work in order to learn them; the other one relies more on feeling and doing those things than in any analytical approach.
Mel didn’t make any qualitative distinction between the two groups; although he himself was a poet instructor, he never dismissed those more inclined to the engineering way of seeing things. In fact he saw both views as equally valuable and complementary.
Not so long ago endless debates about the pushing versus pulling casting “styles” were the norm. Currently it is a much rarely discussed subject, though it keeps appearing now and then. That issue always was the source of many doubts, the following is my take on a it.
Mel Krieger’s concept of a “pulling” stroke as opposed to a “pushing” one wasn’t intended as a way of telling apart two different casting styles, it was coined to describe any good casting stroke whatever the style used. For him the reference wasn’t the line but the rod: pulling the rod versus pushing it. In that regard, if you rotate the rod at the start of the casting stroke the rod is in front of your hand for the rest of the motion, so you are pushing it. Conversely, if you leave rotation for the end of the stroke the rod travels behind your hand, so you are pulling it. In summary, you should “pull through” when using an “elbow up-down” style, as much as when using an “elbow backward-forward” one.