Should I keep some space between the cue and the fingers? Should I hold the cue with two fingers or five? Should I tighten the wrist or keep it loose? Questions like these often come from many pool players. The truth is there are many ways of holding a pool cue. Some are correct and some not. Players often have to learn and relearn how to have a good grip of their pool cues. In this process they should always keep in mind that it’s their comfort while playing which matters the most. Carlos Hallon, a three cushion game player grips his cue with the tip of his thumb and forefinger, but he can hit the ball with sledgehammer force.
In this post we will lay down the guidelines and discuss the essential elements of holding a pool cue. We will guide you in building a comfortable and solid grip, which will help you handle your cue rather than just grip and rip it. Follow the guidelines and try to make it your second nature.
Holding the cue
Holding the butt end of a cue is more about what best suits you. Just keep in mind few simple guidelines:
- 1. Don’t grip too hard: The harder you hold the cue butt, the lesser control you will have on cue impact. A common mistake made by players is to hold the cue butt with too much tension. You don’t have to strangle the cue to death. Just take it easy and relax. Trust that your cue will do what it is supposed to do, which is to hit the cue ball in shot line.
- 2. Hold the cue butt at a convenient point: The grip should be placed in accordance with your bridge hand. Get in to your natural stance and keep the cue tip near the cue ball. Check whether your grip forearm is perpendicular to the floor. Make necessary adjustments and you will soon find a comfortable spot for holding the cue butt.
Form a ring with two fingers and a thumb
When you are stroking for the shot make sure that the cue is resting gently in your gripping hand. It is your index finger and middle fingers that should hold most of the cue weight. Don’t grip the cue too hard and keep some air between the top of cue and your hand. Otherwise you will grip the cue tighter and tighter without consciously knowing you are doing so.
Keep in mind that your palm shouldn’t press against the cue as this would be another sign of holding the cue too hard. As mentioned earlier, too much tension in your grip will just decrease your control over the shot. Your grip should be solid but relaxed, so that the cue can move freely.
A mistake some pool players make is to place the thumb on top of the cue. You might feel that you can really guide the cue to where you want it, but that’s not a good habit. It will only lead to more complications and inconsistencies in the long run.
Checklist for a good, solid pool cue grip
Here is a checklist to help you find a good grip:
- 1. Check whether your hand is in line with your forearm and your thumb pointing towards the ground. Your wrist angle will determine your thumb angle as well. Keep your wrist nice and loose.
- 2. Your thumb should rest on side of the cue and your cue should rest on the index and middle fingers.
- 3. Your grip should carry the cue to impact and let the cue’s momentum do rest of the work.
- 4. The index and middle finger should bear most of the cue weight and the thumb shouldn’t allow the cue to waver in any side.
- 5. As you finish the entire stroke your ring and pinky fingers should barely touch the cue.
Often pool players suddenly clench the cue just before making contact with the cue ball. Some pool players have a habit of doing this, while for some other players it happens when they are playing a tough shot. The reason can be because the player doesn’t trust their plan or if they are facing a difficult shot. This sudden tension in your hand can result in jerking your cue. This can result in disturbing synchronization between the shot line and cue movement. Make it a habit while practicing to keep your grip relaxed and as solid as possible.
Enjoy the game of pool.
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