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How to Hold a Pool Stick

How to hold a pool Cue

Pro-tips and Techniques for the beginners to take control of pool, the cue and the ball!

Playing is not just about strokes and mental techniques. Holding the pool cue also plays an important role in winning the game. That is why learning and practicing the basic grips in the game is as important as understanding how to play billiards, pool or snooker. Learn the basics to avoid troubles and frustrations. 

To fully enjoy the game, allow us to teach you the basic techniques in how to hold a pool cue.

You need to start with the basics. But you can buy an expensive cue later on.

Where to Hold the Pool Cue

Take note: hold the cue depending on what your dominant hand is - left or right

Where you put your hands on pool stick is key because it is fundamental to your overall accuracy and consistency when learning to play pool, snooker or billiards. It will also make sure you can aim at the cue ball correctly.

To say it another way poor hand placement on the cue can easily ruin your shot!

Make sure that you decide which is your dominant hand because it controls the speed and accuracy of the pool cue; Normally you will do this instinctively - but I have seen people for some reason do it wrong and often they find the habit hard to break.

So starting with the basics and the first step in the best way to hold a pool stick is with your dominant hand at the back. Put your hand close to the rear of the stick. In other words, position your hand properly. Do not grab it tightly - make sure your fingers are just firm and in control so you are not tensing your forearm muscles.

Usually, beginners mistakenly hold the cue stick too far backward or way too far forward. This means they lose control in terms of both power and direction of the cue tip.

Also if you are a women it is better to get a pool cue that is suited - and same if you are a man.

For the right-handed people, placing your hand on the butt of the cue and in a natural but controlling position is the way to go.

Now for the left hand, position it going on the table where your hand creates a bridge for the cue stick. (we will cover this later)

Another point to remember is to position your forearm perpendicular to your stick. In that way, it will help you shoot accurately and helps your cue stick alignment with the cue ball

Other pool cue grip tips!

Your body should be in line with the cue ball. This will help you aim your shot correctly.

Hold the cue using your thumb and index finger and add your middle finger if you'd like a bit more power.

When you carefully grasp the cue to your waist level with your hand, use your dominant hand and grab the rear end of the stick. To see if you have placed your good hand on the right place - you can always in the begining place some marker tape and check for some tape at the rear where you are to place your hand on the cue.

Make sure your right-hand makes a 90° angle with your cue – that is how you will know that you are holding the cue correctly.

Other Things to Keep in Mind:

Keep the cue ball inline with your body - after the mastering the best way to hold a pool cue this is the next most thing important because doing this will help you make cue ball shots properly.

Hold the other end of the cue stick, which is called the tip with your other hand and try to get an idea of how to hold the tip down with your other hand on the table.

how to hold a pool stick

2. How to Grip the Pool Cue

Take note: try to loosen, relax, and control your grip. Don’t tighten your fingers too much.

How to grip - is one of the key ways in how to hold pool stick correctly. One of the most common mistakes beginner pool players make is gripping their pool stick too tightly. The proper grip should be by gently supporting the cue with your first three fingers and the pinky should barely touch the stick and refrain placing your thumb on the top of the cue. 

But how much looseness in the grip should you have?

Some players will use their fingers and rest it to the stick in the palm to increase its control. Lay it on the pool table and pick it up with the least amount of effort as possible. That is how lightly you should grip.

Tightening the grip can be tempting especially if you are tense but your constant practice will make it perfect. While there may be fancy ways on the internet on how do you hold a pool stick - just keep to the basics.

Make sure you do not use a “DEATH GRIP”. A Death Grip or Tight Grip on the cue will almost certainly result in an inaccurate cue ball hit. There is no need to squeeze all 5 fingers (especially your index finger) and your palm on the pool butt holding the cue in balance during the entire shot.

There are always exceptions on how to grip or how to hold a pool stick - here are some - just so you know.

  • Specific shots may require it - for example if you are space restricted and need to do something like a Nip Draw Shot on the cue ball.

3. The Bridge

There are two common variations of the hand bridge: open bridge and closed bridge.

Now you have mastered the pool cue grips - you need to make an open bridge with your hand that is resting or placing the cue  on top- and this hand bridge is positioned close to the cue ball.

Put this hand about 6-8 inches away from the cue ball. Make the bridge - there is a wrong way and right way - however, each body and hand is built differently so you will make your own style of placement for the shot. The closer your cue tip to the ball, the more accuracy you'll have with your shot.

Once your hand is stable on the table, you will make a bridge or a kind of a cradle with your hand that will allow you to rest the cue on your hand and allow the tip of the cue close to the ball. You want the cue tip close because it will leave less room for error when you take the shot at the ball. There are a number of different bridges that work better in certain situations.

However, in learning ways to hold a pool stick it's best to use the most common bridge, the open bridge, first:

For the open bridge, a bridge is formed by placing your hand on the table and spreading your fingers apart.

Slide the cue between your index and middle finger knuckles or in the "V" that is formed between your thumb and index finger.

The pool cue is supported by the "V" between the index finger and thumb.

You can adjust the height of the cue tip by raising or lowering the arch of the hand.

This allows the cue to slide as you aim it at the ball.

An open pool or billiard bridge is highly suggested for beginners. It is key in how you place the cue also.

Now, the closed bridge is best for the professional or advanced players who exert more effort in the game. This way of bridging can secure your cue stick in place and less likely to move around when taking a shot.

To achieve a closed bridge, you should touch your thumb to your middle finger and place the cue stick across your two fingers just above the knuckle. Next, wrap the index finger to create a stable bridge and accurate shots. And never forget to keep your eye on the ball when you take the shot.

Another tip is to cup your palm by pulling the fingers towards the heel of your hand to achieve a center cue hit. And with a firm and stable base, it would create an efficient bridge for your shots.

But whatever your desired position for the bridge will be depending on your comfort, whether it’s the deep shallow or “V”.

How to Hold a Pool Stick

Learn, Practice and Improve

How to hold a pool cue or stick correctly is satisfying.

These are the basic factors for improving in holding your cue sticks.

For sure, it will take time and effort in practicing and learning.

But fret not, this will save you from losing the game. Just remember, how to hold pool cue and presence of mind (visulization) must be followed all throughout the time.  If you find yourself doing it the wrong way replay the sequence of how to hold a cue stick in your mind. To take the shot - visualize it in your mind first - get the correct bridge and keep your index finger in a support role for the bridge. Now before the shot - keep the cue ball close to the tip of the cue - and take a perfect shot.

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