Archive for July, 2008

Concentration At The Pool Table – I’m Lost Without It

Monday, July 28th, 2008

I went down to my usual Friday night pool-playing session the other night. I play at a little local bar “where everybody knows my name” as the saying goes. I’ve been playing there for years.

Right next to the table I was playing on, a large screen TV sits on the wall about 6 feet off the floor. The Red Sox were playing the Yankees. Anybody familiar with these two teams knows that, when they have a match-up, it is usually a good game.

At this stage of my life, I can play 8-ball pretty well if I do say so myself. However, this past Friday found me losing games that I certainly should have won. I was missing shots that I normally could make in my sleep.

Between shots I was watching the game, especially when a good hitter would come up. I normally never watch baseball on TV, but with that big screen right there in my face, I couldn’t resist.

After a while I started to get a little perturbed by all the shots I was missing. I mean I was missing straight-in shots from halfway down the table and simple cut shots. What the heck?

Then it hit me – concentration – or the lack of it to be exact. I wasn’t giving my sole attention to the pool game, but was sharing it with the television. It really made a heck of a difference in my pool playing.

And it’s funny, because even when I realized what the problem was with my shooting, I still couldn’t get myself to concentrate fully with that darned TV distracting me. Try as I might, even when I thought I was concentrating better, I still didn’t play up to my usual level.

Because I often play in a bar, I have learned over the years to tune-out the background noise and distractions. Boisterous drunks and loud music normally just pass through one ear and out the other. Not that night though.

Why was this ball game distracting me so much? I don’t know. Maybe I got swept up in the attention spans of the other 10 or so people attentively watching the baseball game. Maybe I just wasn’t in the mood for playing pool that night? Maybe the Chinese food I had for lunch didn’t sit right? Whatever.

I do know that without my concentration working properly, I simply do not shoot anywhere near my best pool. I knew this before of course, but Friday night just really hammered home the message – if you want to shoot your best pool, you’ve got to give the game your full attention. You can bet that’s what I’ll be doing next week.

Good thing  they don’t play football on Friday nights. 8^)


The Pool Table

Friday, July 25th, 2008

The Pool Table
By []John Gibb

Bars and recreation venues in rural or urban areas offer to their visitors the excitement and the sportsmanship of a famous table-played game, called pool or billiard. On the billiards table’s totally flat surface, pool game fans strike, with the use of a specially designed long wooden stick known as “cue stick,” colorful balls moving them around the table’s area. Pool games attract a variety of publics from around the world, who enjoy the exhilaration of calculating angles and estimating how many strikes it will take them to accomplish their winning goal.

Pool tables are mainly separated into two categories, called carom and pocket tables. In fact, the word “billiards” when standing alone refers to the carom games played on a table without pockets, as opposed to games played on pocket billiards which people recognize as “pools” or also known as “snooker” tables. In Britain and Ireland though, the word “billiards” denotes the “English billiard” exclusively, which is the version of the table with the ball pockets. The difference between the two types is that carom billiards tables do not have six openings –four at each table corner and two at the middle of each of the table’s largest sides– in which the pool player is called to direct the colorful balls on the surface of the table by striking each one of them, or more than one at a time, with a white ball. The white ball acts as the “mediator” between the cue stick’s point and the round surface of the colored ball the striker aims to hit. If the striker manages to hit the white ball with the right speed and from the right angle then it will in turn hit the colored one which will be directed to fall into one of the tables’ holes. Pool table fans generally refer to pocket billiard games, such as 8-ball, 9-ball, straight pool and one-pocket.

Found in many sizes and styles, billiards or pools are tables in a rectangular shape and are generally twice as long as they are wide. When someone refers to the number of a pool table’s foots this actually denotes its longer sides’ length. Mainly a function of space, the pool table’s length varies. English billiard tables, for example, are 12 feet long, while bars typically offer 7-foot tables. Pool halls tend to have 9-foot tables for more professional players, whereas the once commonly found 10-foot tables are now considered collectible items. Finally, the “felt” or “baize” is the cloth that covers the pool table’s exposed surface and he higher its quality the faster the balls run on its completely flat surface.

While the word “billiard” has presumably originated from the French word “billart,” which means “mace”–an implement that was the predecessor of the modern cue–the game did not remain constricted in Europe. Evolving from an outdoor to an indoor game, billiard became known as “pool,” which originates from “poolrooms” where people gambled off their money betting on horse races. Since billiard tables were commonly found in this type of venue, pools became a synonym of billiards and gained fanatic supporters in every continent.

John Gibb is the owner of   pool table resources
, For more information on pool tables check out

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Billiards FAQs

Friday, July 25th, 2008

Billiards FAQs
By []Eddie Tobey

Billiards is a fast growing leisure sport played on a billiard table, with a stick known as cue stick, usually 58 inches in length, and weighing 18 to 21 ounces. The cue stick is used to hit the balls, moving around the table.

1. What are the benefits of playing billiards? Billiards is a game that increases eye-hand coordination, focus and concentration, and even practical application of physics and geometry.

2. What are the essential equipment required for billiards? Balls, rack, table, cues, mechanical bridge, scoreboard, mirror lights, dart boards, and chalk.

3. What is the standard size of a billiard table? Billiard tables are available in four basic sizes. They are 7 foot (39 inches by 78 inches), 8 foot (44 inches by 88 inches), oversized 8 foot (46 inches by 92 inches) and 9 foot tables (50 inches by 100 inches). These names refer to the interior playfield dimensions.

4. What are cue balls? In billiards, cue balls are the balls that a player strikes with the cue stick. These are made from ivory, wood, and various synthetic materials. Today, phenolic resin is also used for manufacturing these balls.

5. What is Billiards chalk? Billiards chalk is one of the most important accessories in billiards used to reduce the friction between the cue shaft and the bridge hand caused by perspiration.

6. What are the essentials needed to decorate the billiards room? Billiard clocks, posters, billiard signs, CD holders, movie stills, sports figurines, wall art, decorative furniture and cabinets, chalkboards, and pool table lights.

7. What is the difference between pool and billiards? In pool, there are 16 balls including one black, one white, seven red, and seven yellow. Billiards involves only three balls: one red, one black, and one white.

8. What is the Billiard Congress of America (BCA)? Billiard Congress of America is a national nonprofit organization located in Colorado. It is the governing body that controls the billiard industry. []Billiards provides detailed information on Billiards, History of Billiards, Rules of Billiards, Billiards Supplies and more. Billiards is affiliated with []Pool Tables for Sale .

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The Bridge In Pool And Billiards

Thursday, July 24th, 2008

The Bridge In Pool And Billiards
By []Ernie Reynolds

In pool and billiards, the bridge is what supports the cue shaft when taking a shot. It’s important to have a good, solid bridge to ensure that the cue tip doesn’t have any sideways movement that will adversely affect your aim.

There are several types of bridge – open, closed, rail, and what I call the over-the-ball bridge. For shots on the table that you have trouble reaching, there is also the mechanical bridge.

The easiest bridge to use, and probably the most popular, is the open bridge. This is formed by laying the bridge hand on the table with the fingers spread, pulling the four fingers back to form an arch with the knuckles in the air, and tucking the thumb up against the index finger. The cue shaft is supported by the “V” between the index finger and thumb. The height of the cue tip to the cue ball can be adjusted by raising or lowering the arch of the hand.

The closed bridge provides a more secure grip on the cue shaft and is preferred by more advanced players. This bridge is formed in a similar way to the open bridge, with the difference being that the tip of the index finger and the tip of the thumb are held together to form a circle or loop. Some shooters hold the fingers tip to tip, while others will overlap the thumb nail with the index finger. The cue shaft is held in this loop, and the index finger and thumb are squeezed around the shaft to support it securely, as the shaft slides through when shooting.

The rail bridge is used when the cue ball is so close to the rail that there is no room to place the bridge hand on the table. The bridge hand is held a couple inches over the rail and the tips of the index and middle fingers are placed on the rail, the width of the cue shaft apart. The thumb is tucked up out of the way. The cue shaft is place directly on the rail between the two fingers and the stick is stroked in this manner.

When the cue ball is touching or very close to another ball, it may not be possible to use the open or closed bridge. This is when the over-the-ball bridge is used.

This bridge is very similar to the open bridge, except that the palm of the hand is raised up off the table. This raises the “V” of the bridge that supports the cue shaft. The thumb is tucked up higher next to the index finger knuckle instead of along the shaft portion of the index finger. With the “V” higher, you are able to reach over a ball that may be in the way of the cue ball, and contact it with the cue tip to make the shot.

Whichever of the three bridge types you use, it is important to spread out the fingers that are touching the table as wide as possible, to provide the maximum support and stability to the bridge. The bridge must not move at all when taking a shot as this will negatively affect your aim and result in missed shots.

The mechanical bridge is made of plastic or aluminum and attaches to a spare cue stick. This device allows you to position the bridge near the cue ball when it is not possible to reach the cue ball to shoot in the normal manner. It features grooves that are made to hold the cue shaft as it is stroked for the shot.

Ernie Reynolds is a long–time pool and billiards player. His site — is evidence of his love for the game and his desire to share the wealth of knowledge he and others have acquired over the years. Pool and Pocket Billiards Resource A site for pool and pocket billiards players, where game descriptions, equipment care and maintenance, playing tips, pool accessories, billiards history, links, how–to videos, and more are just a click away.

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Perfect That All-Important Pool Shooting Stance

Monday, July 21st, 2008

Your pool shooting stance is one of the basic items you should master if you have any hopes of becoming good at the game. Without a proper stance, your stroke will not be smooth and accurate, and the balls just won’t go where and how you want them to.

When you are first learning the game is a good time to pay close attention to your pool stance, because if you can get into the habit of using a proper stance, you won’t have to break a bad habit later on. The secrets to an excellent pool shooting stance are to be well-balanced, comfortable, and correctly aligned to the shot at hand.

When approaching the pool table for a shot, decide where you need to hit the cue ball and object ball, to sink the desired ball in the desired pocket. Line your body up so you can see the line of the shot you are about to take. If you are left-handed reverse the following instructions.

If you shoot right-handed, you will want your left foot to be closest to the table and your left leg should be slightly bent. Some people feel comfortable with their feet at an approximate 45 degree angle to the cue stick, while others prefer more or less angle. Experiment with your foot placement until you feel comfortable. The feet should be about shoulder width apart.

The body will be bent at the waist, with the left hand extended and forming the bridge. Some weight is put on the bridge hand to help steady the bridge and reduce strain on the back. The right leg should be fairly straight.

The upper section of the right arm should be parallel to the table, and the forearm is ideally at a 90 degree angle to the upper arm. Grip the cue butt loosely, so that the stroke will be perfectly vertical and not waver off to the side.

Important – keep your cue stick as level as possible. This will enable you to hit the cue ball above and below the center line, for follow and draw shots, without miscueing.

Your chin should be down low and directly over the cue stick. Sight down the stick with your preferred aiming eye, so that you have a straight line of sight from the cue ball to the object ball.

It is very important that you have a smooth, even stroke, so work on this and keep it in mind at all times when playing. Bend the right arm at the elbow and stroke using a pendulum motion. Keep the stroke on an even vertical line – any movement to the side will throw off your aim.

Before you hit the cue ball, take 3 or 4 practice strokes to make sure you are hitting the cue ball at exactly the right spot for the type of shot you are attempting. These practice strokes also give you the chance to sight back and forth between the cue ball and the object ball, so you get your aim just where you want it.

Finally, when you shoot, be sure to follow through on the stroke. Your cue tip should go right through where the cue ball was, and travel at least 4 or more inches for most shots. Follow through will make an amazing difference in your ability to make the shots, especially long shots.

A good pool shooting stance and a quality pool stroke are pool basics that will always pay off for you in the future. Spend a little time getting them right now, and it will make all the difference in your game.

Ernie Reynolds is a long–time pool and billiards player. His sites and are evidence of his love for the game and his desire to share the wealth of knowledge he and others have acquired over the years. Visit his sites for game descriptions, equipment care and maintenance, playing tips, pool accessories, billiards history, links, how–to videos, online pool games, and much more.