Let’s look in this article about keeping our stick level when we hit the cue ball and why that is so important. I’m sure you have all taken shots that looked right, but when you hit the cue ball, the shot was off by a lot.
Why it’s Important to Keep a Level Cue Stick
Because the bed of the pool table is very hard, anytime we are hitting down on the cue ball, we develop a force into the table that causes the cue ball to do some unpredictable things.
The first thing that happens to the cue ball is that it jumps off the table. By hitting down into the cue ball, we cause the cue ball to hop as it is moving down the table. This causes us to hit the object ball in a spot other than the one we are aiming at.
Hitting Down on the Cue Ball
Next is by hitting down on the cue ball, and being slightly off the vertical axis, we cause the cue ball to curve as well as jump.
We now have a curving, bouncing cue ball trying to hit a one millimeter spot on the object ball. This makes our aiming problem very difficult.
So what we want to do when we shoot pool is make sure we have our stick as level as possible at the moment of impact with the cue ball. Now I realize that the rail and cue ball position will, to some extent, limit how level we can get with our cue stick. However, trying to get your cue stick as level as possible on all your shots will help with your accuracy.
Drills to Practice Keeping a Level Cue Stick
One place that many intermediate players raise their bridge unnecessarily is when they are shooting off the rail. Here is a picture of a good rail bridge that keeps your cue stick under control, yet doesn’t raise the stick excessively.
Figure 1 & 2
You form this bridge by putting your thumb next to the shaft of the cue stick (Figure 1), and then putting your index finger over the top of the stick to securely hold it in place (Figure 2).
This bridge will keep your stick level and not hitting down on the cue ball. You can use this bridge when the cue ball is 4 to 10 inches from the rail. Closer to the rail requires a different bridge and when the cue ball is further from the rail you can put your bridge hand on the table.
When the cue ball is closer than 4 inches or so to the rail, you can lay your hand flat on the table and run the cue stick between your thumb and index finger. Figure 3 shows what that bridge looks like.
Good luck with these bridges and keeping your stick level.
More from the Pool Odyssey Series from Mark Finkelstein:
- Getting Better at Pool – A Pool Odyssey I
- The Basics – Hitting Softly I A Pool Odyssey II
- Keeping It Simple – Stay on the Vertical Axis I A Pool Odyssey III
- 3 Drills to Keep Your Cue Stick Level I A Pool Odyssey IV
- How to Stand at the Table: 5 Steps to the Perfect Pool Stance V
- What Do We Look At? – A Pool Odyssey with Mark Finkelstein VI
- Controlling Our Cue Stick I BCA Instructor Mark Finkelstein VII
About the Author
Mark Finkelstein is a professional pool player, a BCA Master instructor, anAmerican Cue Sports (ACS) Level 4 instructor, and House Pro at Slate Billiards in New York. He is also a former UPA Touring Pro and has played on the Joss 9-Ball Tour. Mark is leading instructor and can be found at other sites like NYC Grind, Easy Pool Tutor, and Inside Pool Magazine. Mark has also authored a book with McNally Jackson aptly titled, “Pool Ramblings.”