A Solid Bridge Is Indispensable In Pool
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 Beginners.com site. The pictures there can show much more easily than can be explained the proper way to form a good bridge.