Posts Tagged ‘cue tip’

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.

Make That Cue Ball Dance!

Wednesday, October 1st, 2008

When I go to a pool hall or bar to play some occasional pool, I usually don’t bother to bring my cue stick. Sometimes I forget it and other times I just don’t want to be bothered with carrying it around. I don’t like to leave the stick in my car and expose it to theft or temperature extremes.

On these occasions I just take a stick off the rack to shoot with. You can usually find a fairly straight cue stick if you look around. Most places will have a half decent selection of them available.

One thing I notice about these sticks though, is the cue tips are often slick and shiny. Many racks are broken, games are played, and no one maintains the cue tips. It’s not really anyone’s fault, it’s just the way it is.

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Pool For Beginners
Pool and Pocket Billiards Resource

A smooth, slick tip, however, is not conducive to good cue control and the successful use of english. When I try to apply some draw to a shot with one of these sticks, I either get hardly any draw at all or I end up jumping the cue ball up in the air.

Attempting to get some effective side spin on the cue ball just doesn’t work when the cue tip won’t grab the ball enough to really get it spinning. I have a little more luck with follow or top spin, but you can’t shoot a quality game with top spin alone.

Miscues are another consequence of having a cue tip that is too smooth. You can’t get the needed friction on the ball without a little texture on the tip to enable it to hold on to some tip chalk.

Since I don’t have any fancy cue tip tools to roughen up the tip like a tip pick tool or a cue cube scuffer, I took along a small piece of medium grit sand paper to my Friday night pool session. I selected a stick off the rack and ran the sandpaper over the tip a little bit to roughen it up. Once the tip was rough I applied a liberal dose of tip chalk and broke the rack.

WOW! What a difference! Just that small degree of roughness on that cue tip made all the difference in the world to my ability to control that cue ball. With the pits and hollows of the leather allowing places for the chalk to hang on to, I got much more friction on the ball and that tip grabbed that cue ball like it had glue on it.

I started getting exceptional draw on the cue compared to what I was getting earlier. When I put some side english on the shot, the cue ball was spinning around like it was in a pinball game. My cue ball was literally dancing around the table.

I was getting so much action on the cue ball that I had to start toning down my spin. The cue was traveling way beyond where it would normally go with an unroughened tip. It actually made the playing more fun from watching that cue ball dancing and spinning around.

Once I toned it down and got the feel for the new action a game or two later, my cue ball positioning really improved immensely. I won a lot of games that night and had a hell of a good time doing it.

That little piece of sandpaper has a new home in my car now. Hot or cold weather won’t adversely affect it, and I want to make sure I have it available to roughen up my tips from now on. It really made that much of a difference in my playing.

If you play with bar cues, or even if you have your own cue and don’t roughen the tip occasionally, I suggest you try this little trick before your next games of pool. It only takes less than a minute, but makes for a whole night of much-improved pool playing.

Roughen that cue tip, chalk it up good, and make YOUR cue ball dance!