If there is one thing that everyone knows about pool game, it is that it is interesting and thrilling to play. It does not matter if you are young or old, everyone enjoys playing a game of pool. And if you want to be the coolest amongst your friends, you should master it.
As an amateur or a beginner in the game, you can end up being poor at making consistent accurate shots. Now, do not feel bad like it is all your fault.
The truth is that, no one tried teaching you how to hold a pool stick correctly. For those unaware, holding the pool cue correctly is a basic and the most crucial step needed in playing pool.
If I am being honest with you, you will never be a good player if you do not understand how to hold a pool stick. While you think of it as a simple and useless thing to learn, the fact remains that it is not.
There are techniques and rules involved in mastering it and this is why we have compiled this article. I will be teaching you the steps involved in holding the pool cue correctly to get specific shots.
Understanding The Different Types Of Bridging
Before we delve into how to hold a pool stick, it is important you have a good understanding of the bridge techniques. For beginners, you need to know Billiards Shooting Tips .There are lots of bridge techniques you can carry out with your fingers, be it your pinkie finger or index finger . They include:
• The Open Bridge
One thing to have in mind about the open bridge technique is that it is the most popular. The reason for this is not farfetched as it is the easiest technique to apply when you compare it to other techniques.
When I make use of the open bridge technique, I first of all position my submissive hand on the pool table’s surface when I lean forward, and I keep my fingers apart from each other. After taking this position, I simply use my dominant hand to clutch the other end of my pool cue.
Read carefully, because as I assume the position above, I normally place the pool cue between my thumb and index finger. Slowly, I raise up my thumb and embark on bridging the cue’s tip with only my index finger.
As for my middle finger, it is definitely not compulsory to use it along with my index finger even if I need to adjust my loose grip. Just as I have explained, you can try this step when next you want to use the open bridge method.
• The Closed Bridge
The closed bridge technique is used by experts as it helps them enhance the precision of their shot accuracy. To use the closed bridge technique, I simply make a closed fist then place my non dominant hand on top the pool table.
You have to read carefully so as not to miss any step. Once I close my fist, I make the next move which is to widen my hand by opening my ring finger, small and middle finger. In this position, one must not include their index finger.
With all this done, I position my thumb underneath my closed index finger. I further enclose it by creating a circle with my index finger by positioning it over my thumb.
Once this is done, I have to bend my fist circle which I made by my index finger and my thumb. I embark on this by placing the pool cue within and carry out lots of back and forth movements in a bid to release it properly and make certain shots.
Now you have an idea on how to make use of the closed bridge method with your bridging hand.
• The Rail Bridge
In learning how to hold a pool stick, it is important you learn bridging techniques like the rail bridge technique. The rail bridge is used when the pool ball is near the rail and your one hand does not have enough room for an entire shot.
As a simple technique, I will show you the steps I use with this technique. First of all, I place my non dominant hand slowly on top the rail. Then, I make the typical open bridge shot.
This shot is made when I position my pool cue between my index finger and my thumb subtly , then I place my index finger above my cue in a manner that the cue ends up between my index finger and middle finger perfectly.
Once this is done, the next thing I do is to adjust my firm balance, bend my legs a little bit and take a precise shot by simply aiming at the center of the cue ball. Like I stated earlier, the rail bridge technique is quite simple.
• Mechanical bridge
The mechanical bridge is used when your target ball is far from you and will not be reachable even if you make use of open bridging. It is also used when you are shooting pool on a bigger and wider pool table.
Another reason to use this method is when your object ball is placed ahead of your cue ball. And as you keep trying to hit those target balls, your bridge becomes shaky and unstable.
As a pool player, the step I use in carrying out the mechanical bridge is by placing the bridging cue laying flat on the surface of the table the correct way. Then, I position the bridging cue in a way that the bridge top is estimated to be roughly six to eight inches away from the cue ball.
As I do this, I make sure I am a bit close to the cue ball, but I also remember to keep a good distance in order for a smooth shot with better control to go through. As for the bridge cue, I make use of a proper grip to gold it confidently with my other unused hand.
While following these steps like I do, ensure that the bridge cue is on the left to the shooting cue especially as a right handed player. Furthermore, I embark on moving my shooting cue and placing the cue shaft in any of the marks on top the bridge head.
When that is done, I position the cue in the lowest mark as it is ideal for when one tries to draw or need to stop the cue ball. Bear in mind that though I position the cue in a high notch, it is only suitable for those who need the cue ball on a following path.
More so, if you have lots of object balls, there will be some extra elevation as you will need to place the bridge top on the side surface and use a side mark. Once all these are sorted out, I normally clutch my pool cue at the end of the cue.
In doing this, my thumb is placed below the bottom of the playing cue in a comfortable position while the remaining four fingers are positioned all around the crown. As for my shooting elbow, it is fixated on my side.
An important fact I have to let you in on is that, I use my fingers and wrist for stroking my cue and not my elbow. More so, there will be no need to touch another object ball or the cue ball while you play pool.
And as you play, it is vital to make conscious shots with more precision and even hit the ball. Finally, this is all you need to know to carry out the mechanical technique.
Tips: How To Hold A Pool Stick
Now that you understand the bridge techniques you can use as you play pool, it is time to learn the basics on how to hold a pool stick. The tips you need to learn include:
1. Make use of your comfortable bridge hand then grasp the cue
A proper way to hold a pool stick is to cautiously grasp the cue stick at your waist level using the hand position you are comfortable with. Like I normally do, I use my dominant hand to grab the rear end of the pool stick.
And if I need to check if my dominant hand is on the ideal place, I usually check for tape at the rear. Then, subtly yet slowly, I move my hand placement behind the tape. To know if this is done correctly, you should have a difference of roughly four or five inches from this tape.
Then, I make sure my right hand creates a ninety degree angle with the cue stick to know if I am holding the cue stick in the proper way. Have it in mind that, lots of people that began playing pool make use of a tight grip.
This should not be the case as it is a wrong way to hold the pool stick. The proper grip is a loose grip that is precise. When you have gotten the correct holding format, you are to cradle the tip of your cue stick with your hand.
I usually place the cue tip between my index finger and thumb. However, you can use your middle finger if you need to hold it in a relaxed grip.
Understand that, this sort of cradling is known as the open bridge since it is the most common.
Moving further, I ensure that my body and the cue ball are in one direct line as this will help with making proper shots. It is advisable to hold on to the other end of your cue stick with your non dominant when learning how to hold a pool stick.
2. Your Upper body should be dropped to the pool table
In learning how to hold a pool stick, the next step is to take a good look at the pool table then start imagining your shot by having a precise focus. One way I easily get this done is by dropping my upper body down towards the pool table.
As I drop my upper body on the table, I hold the cue stick on my right hand and grip the other end of my cue stick with my palm. However, I do not bridge the cue tip with my other hand just yet.
This is because any tiny slip can go right ahead to hit the cue ball. When doing this, ensure that you do not blink and try your best in staying motionless. More so, I ensure my legs are not straight but bent in a way.
3. Bridging or cradling the tip of the cue using the other hand
The most vital part of knowing how to hold a pool stick is holding your cue properly to make a good shot. At this point, I normally open my palm and place it down on the surface of table just behind my cue ball.
One general rule I must let you know is that your other hand must be placed a minimum of six to eight inches behind your cue ball. I do ensure I spread my fingers widely when I place my palm on the table.
While my palm is open on the table, I slide the cue stick subtly between my index finger and thumb. Ensure you do not do this hurriedly as it can damage or burn your skin. More so, I ensure the open bridge I make with my thumb, index and middle finger are stable.
If the fingers happen to be displaced pretty easily or tremble, you can swiftly lose any shot. This means that all your ring fingers, index fingers and even the pinky finger must be in place when practicing how to hold a pool stick.
4. Gripping the cue firmly and concentrating on your target
As your posture is kept firm and balanced, you are to concentrate on the object you aim on hitting. Then, focus on your cue ball using the cue. Like I stated earlier in the article, embark on imagining the shot you want to play to hit your object ball with your cue ball.
When I play, I always have it in mind that hitting the ball will not be enough, so i ensure I hit the center of my cue ball for highly extreme precision. The result from doing this is that, it heightens my chances of immensely hitting my object ball.
When you want to embark on this mission, ensure you are comfortable and note that your cue stick will have to be aligned with the cue ball so that the object balls in your path can be seen clearly.
5. Balancing of your cue to make the shot
When I am done constructing my shot, I usually slide my cue forward and backward to get the ideal feel before making my final shot. However, when I do feel that something is not right, I embark on readjusting my shot.
Note that, when you readjust, you are to stay firm while keeping your balance. Then, move the cue forward and backward some more to ensure you will do nothing but hit the cue ball right at its center.
Bear in mind that you are not shooting pool in different directions, so your planned shot must be followed through severally and only hit the cue ball when your body is firm, the bridge is accurate and the shot will go where you want it to.
When I am done reaffirming, I immediately take my shot by moving my cue back and forward with enough force. Though the force I use is dependent on the kind of shot on my mind to play.
One tip to let you in on is that, when I am done taking my shot, I keep my body low in that same position for some seconds. You can try it out as it helps in creating the original shot position with time.
When playing this game, ensure that the bridge you male is comfortable for your cue to subtly slide between your thumb and forefinger. Note that if your bridge is tight, the cue will connect with your skin easily and even change the shot.
Now that you have different ideas on how to hold a pool stick when playing the game, it is time to take your practice to a whole new level. However, bear in mind that I have shared my experience with you and you can follow the steps to play a better game.
Do not forget that, in the game of pool, the major parts of your hands used are your upper arm, pinky finger, middle finger, ring finger, index finger and your thumb. If you want to use a pool glove to play, then that is alright as well.