How to Hold a Pool Cue
Pool is a beloved sport worldwide. If you've been to a bar or a friend's house with a pool table, you'll already know it's a fantastic place to gather, meet new people and play a couple of games. While some people play pool recreationally, there are professional pool leagues with national and world championships — some of them even have cash prizes!
If you're new to the game or want to brush up on your skills, check out this guide on pool cue holding techniques to improve your game.
The Importance of Holding a Cue Stick Properly
Most successful pool players have mastered the art of holding the cue stick. Learning how to hold a cue can help enhance precision, focus and steadiness. It is the foundational skill from which you can build your abilities to become more accurate and consistent.
Issues With Improper Grips
Is there a wrong way to hold a pool stick? If you do not hold your cue stick properly, you can run into issues that will impact your performance.
Discomfort: Improperly holding a cue stick might be uncomfortable, preventing you from being able to relax and breathe. When you are comfortable, you can focus on other aspects like your stability and aim.
Imbalance: An improper grip can also lead to an unbalanced cue stick. As a result, your shots could go places you don't want them to. An imbalanced hold can also pose safety risks, with a greater possibility of the cue stick coming loose and injuring you or someone nearby.
Shakiness: If you aren't holding the cue stick right, your hands will be shaky. Shaky hands make for a tricky shot, and you'll have a tough time if you need precise or delicate movements to make the shot.
Less control: Overall, an improper hold means you will have less control of the cue stick, and as a result, of the cue ball. Having good control of your aim and power is essential to improving your skills in pool, so be sure to hold your stick correctly.
Step-by-Step Guide for Holding and Positioning a Cue Stick
How do you hold a cue stick? If you don't have a preferred grip or are looking for new techniques, follow this step-by-step guide to get you back to basics.
1. Hold the Cue Stick at Your Waist
With your dominant hand, or the one that feels more comfortable, grab the cue stick at the end and hold it at waist level. Make sure your body is in line with the cue stick to be sure you can make proper shots. Additionally, you'll want to find tape on the stick and hold your hand about four or five inches under it.
You also want to watch to ensure your grip isn't too loose or too tight. Be sure your hands have a firm but relaxed grip on the cue stick. Holding the stick with your thumb and index finger can help you achieve the ideal hold for a pool shot.
2. Bend at the Waist
When you lean toward the table, be sure to bend slightly at the waist. If you only bend down with your shoulders, you will have a hard time getting a good shot and controlling your stick. If you try to take a shot while you're stiff or standing upright, you won't have a good view of the cue ball and you'll have less control of your cue stick.
In addition to bending at the waist, it's also a good idea to bend your knees slightly and stand with your feet a few inches apart for the best balance.
3. Make a Cradle or Bridge With Your Other Hand
With your other hand, you will make a cradle or bridge to balance or hold the skinnier end of the cue stick. This hold allows you to easily move the cue stick back and forth, without impacting the direction or force of the shot. It also helps keep the pool cue straight while you follow through.
While there are several types of holds, the open bridge is the most common, and is often the easiest starting point. You can achieve this by placing your fingers on the table and nestling the stick between your index finger and raised thumb.
4. Focus on the Target and Hold the Cue Stick Firmly
In this step, you will take your attention off your hands and the cue stick to focus on the target ball. Align the end of the cue stick and the target ball so they will make contact when you take your shot. However, in this stage, while you focus on the ball, mentally visualize where you want to hit, so the ball goes in your desired direction.
Often, the best place to start is at the center of the target ball. As you progress in your skills, you can aim for other areas to perform different moves.
5. Balance the Cue Stick and Shoot
With the end of your cue stick held firmly in your dominant hand and the tip of the cue stick balanced on your other hand, slide the cue forward and make contact with the target ball. Rather than tapping the ball, you'll want to use a little force to ensure the target can go where it needs to. Where and how hard you hit the target ball will determine the shot's strength and direction.
Don't be afraid to take your time and try a few practice runs before hitting the target to be sure you take the shot you want.
In addition to the open bridge, you can use a few other more advanced bridge techniques to up your pool game.
While most players may work with different bridges to accomplish various techniques, you can stick with the one that's most comfortable for you as you're learning, and work your way up to using the rest.
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