Posts Tagged ‘Hand Chalk’

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.

For more info, visit my websites…
Pool For Beginners
Pool and Pocket Billiards Resource

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 Beginners.com site. The pictures there can show much more easily than can be explained the proper way to form a good bridge.

Mentally “Intend” to Kick Ass on the Pool Table

Tuesday, September 14th, 2010

Mentally “Intend” to Kick Ass on the Pool Table

By Ernie Reynolds

Does anyone disagree that pool is a mental game? After you’ve paid your dues and learned how to shoot, what is the biggest detriment to consistently playing your best?

Concentration, lack of attention, forgetting the basics – in other words, your MIND.

Your mind is often the biggest saboteur to winning pool games on a regular basis – at least mine is.

For more info, visit my websites…
Pool For Beginners
Pool and Pocket Billiards Resource

In my 40+ years of playing pool, I have made most every shot hundreds of times. I have read the books and seen the videos. I know how to shoot. Then why can’t I do as well one day as I can the next?

I contend that the main problem is not external conditions or distractions. I have shot some of my best pool in a crowded, noisy bar with drunken people banging into my stick and TVs blaring overhead.

I have shot well with crooked pool cues and with lousy tips. Dead rails and soiled felt were the same disadvantages to my opponents as to me.

I do have my own pool cue now and I wouldn’t go back to using bar cues willingly. It certainly helps some. And yes, I do carry my own hand chalk with me.

At least in my case, neither the equipment nor the environment have that great of an impact on my ability to shoot consistent pool.

So, if the mind is the biggest culprit to causing your pool game to be inconsistent, what can you do? Is there a way to get a mental kick in the butt so you can get back on track?

“Intend” to shoot your best pool.

“Intend” to concentrate fully in the game at hand and not allow external distractions to divert your attention.

“Intend” to beat your opponent.

I have been a student of the mind for many years. I practice meditation, hypnosis, and other forms of mind control. I believe that “something else is out there” besides our everyday consciousness.

And I also believe that controlling the mind will allow me to better control my pool playing. If pool is indeed a mental game, then getting your mental facilties well in-tune with your pool game can only help, right?

When the mind is relaxed and at peace, the mental chatter and useless thoughts just sort of fade away. You are left with the ability to focus your mind on constructive ideas and enjoyable pursuits instead of wallowing in negativity.

One practice I have when playing pool is to occasionally take a deep breath and mentally tell myself to “relax” if I find that I am not playing up to par or feeling uptight or anxious. When I am behind in a pool game, I sometimes say a mental “relax and win” to myself. It’s amazing how many times my opponent will miss an easy shot or make some other mistake after doing this.

I do find, however, that the act of “intention” has the strongest effect on my pool game. If I actually intend to play my best pool, it often happens.

I play pool regularly every Friday night. When I wake up on Friday morning, before I get out of bed, I mentally “intend to kick ass on the pool table tonight.” I don’t always remember to do it, but when I do, it certainly makes a difference.

This time between being asleep and fully awake is an excellent time to make an intention, by the way. The mind is still in a suggestible state, and intentions get right into the subconscious mind and go to work. Hypnosis works in this manner by putting the subject in a suggestible state of mind.

So that’s my theory. I know it works for me and I’ll bet it will work for you as well. Try it yourself and see.

I’d like to hear some comments as to whether people think this is a crazy notion or something beneficial to use themselves.