Posts Tagged ‘bridge hand’

A Solid Bridge Is Indispensable In Pool

Tuesday, March 8th, 2011

A Solid Bridge Is Indispensable In Pool

By Ernie Reynolds

I’m always looking for ways to consistently shoot pool well. As I play, I take note of any shots I miss and analyze if I am doing something wrong. I noticed something recently.

I missed a couple easy shots that I would normally make without much effort. The thing was, my shots were way off – I missed the pocket completely with the object ball.

On my next shot after one of these misses, I began my usual practice of going over the basics when I am missing – checking my stance, stroke, how I was hitting the cue ball, if I was bending over enough, etc. It was then that noticed that my bridge was kind of loose and sloppy.

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I mostly use the closed bridge when possible, as I feel that it provides the most secure grasp of the pool shaft. The index finger and thumb wrap around the shaft to hold it in place firmly but still allow it to slide for the stroke.

The problem was I wasn’t closing the index finger around the shaft tight enough, and the shaft had some sideways play during the stroke. As a result, when I took the shot, the cue tip was contacting the cue ball somewhere other than the center of the ball, causing the shot to veer off course.

Subsequently, on my next shots I paid attention to this little detail and grasped the shaft more firmly. Problem solved. I sometimes slide my middle finger up against the shaft while using this bridge to help firm up the grasp on the pool shaft.

The fingers of the bridge hand need to have a solid hold on the pool shaft to avoid this problem of the shaft floating around. The bridge MUST remain absolutely still so that the end of the shaft doesn’t move around and affect the tip hit on the cue ball.

I use hand chalk so I can get a firm grip, while still allowing the shaft to slide easily for the pool stroke. Some people prefer using a pool glove for the same reason.

Another aspect of the bridge I might mention is the support for the bridge. The three fingers that support the bridge should be splayed as far apart as possible to provide a rock-solid base. If your cue tip is wavering around because of a weak bridge it is almost impossible to hit the cue ball correctly and consistently, resulting in a lot of missed shots.

I observe many beginner pool players forming a shaky bridge. Their fingers are often not spread out enough to provide a solid base for the bridge, and they don’t grip the cue shaft firmly enough to prevent the tip from moving around.

This is a major stumbling block to their successful shot making. I try, whenever possible, to take the thirty seconds necessary to show them how to form a solid, strong bridge.

If you are not sure of what a solid bridge looks like, take a look at this page on my Pool For site. The pictures there can show much more easily than can be explained the proper way to form a good bridge.

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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