Bridge supports the cue and gives stability while playing. It enables you to move the cue back and forth without wobbling here and there. It is one of the most important elements of playing pool but is often overlooked by beginners. A solid bridge will help you deliver the cue on the intended point of the cue ball. A good bridge should be comfortable and solid. An easy trick to make your bridge solid, is to put some weight on your bridge hand. Always remember the basics of developing a good bridging technique – Your bridge should be solid, comfortable and should help you hit the cue ball at the intended point.
Two bridging techniques most commonly used are:
- Open Bridges, and
- Closed Bridges.
In this post we will provide a simple step by step process of using these two bridging techniques. We will also you help you understand when to use one type of bridge over the other.
Open bridge technique is the most commonly used technique and is suitable for most shots. While using the open bridge technique your hand doesn’t encircle the cue shaft. The top of shaft should remain completely untouched. It is particularly successful when a player wants to hit an exact point on the cue ball. It has an additional advantage. Because you can see right down the cue shaft you are better able to see the cue path and shot line. Use short open bridge when you want to hit the cue ball softly.
An open bridge is not recommended while playing following shots:
When a player has to maneuver around blocking balls,
- When lot of sidespin is required, or
- When you are shooting too hard.
There are two types of open bridge techniques:
- Fist Bridge
- Spread Bridge
Fist bridge is the easiest bridge often used by beginners. It is effective and can be used in many situations. The only thing to be kept in mind while using a fist bridge is to keep your thumb firmly pressed against your fist. Following are the steps to develop a solid fist open bridge:
- Make a fist with your bridge hand and place your thumb between the two knuckles of your index finger.
- Place your fist on the table at the location where you want your bridge to be.
- Raise your thumb and press the inside of your thumb against the first knuckle of your index finger.
Spread bridge is complicated than the fist bridge but is the most common type of bridge used by professional pool players. In a spread bridge your fingers and the butt of your hand should be firmly planted on the table. Just as in fist bridge, your thumb should press against your hand and shouldn’t allow the cue to move here and there. Try equating the pressure on all your fingers by putting some weight on your bridge hand. This will help you develop a solid spread bridge. Here is a step by step guide to start using a spread bridge:
- Place your hand flat on the table and fingers spread wide.
- Raise your main knuckles without lifting your fingers or your palm. Keep your fingertips firmly placed on the cloth and your fingers at a straight and sliding position.
- Lift your thumb and press it against your index finger exactly as you would in the fist bridge.
Closed bridge is slightly complex than the open bridge. It is often used in long shots that require firm strokes and maximum control of the cue. The thumb rule is to use it when there seems a possibility of the cue jumping while playing. In a closed bridge your finger wraps around the shaft as if it is a safety net that will keep the cue from wobbling and help keep it down. Following are the steps involved in developing a solid Closed bridge:
- Place your hand on the table and keep your fingers in relaxed position.
- Lift your index finger so that it points in the air.
- Slide your thumb over so that it touches your middle finger.
- Place your cue shaft in the groove between the tip of your thumb and the middle finger.
- Close the loop by placing it around the cue shaft. The tip of your index finger should touch the tip of your thumb and the side of your middle finger.
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