How to Stand at the Table: 5 Steps to the Perfect Pool Stance

We are moving our way up the chain of fundamentals to develop a solid pool game. We have looked at staying on the vertical axis of the cue ball, keeping our stick level and shooting more softly.

In this article, I want to look at stance. Now the hard part about teaching you how to stand is that everyone is different, height, weight, sex, wing span, etc. But there are a few things that are common to all stances that I want to go over, and then give you a way to check and see if your stance measures up.

1. The Big Secret is Balance

The first part of a good stance is that you are balanced. No standing on one toe, leaning forward, feet too close together, or awkward positions. The classic feet shoulder width and at about a 45 degree angle to the line of the shot is a good place to start.

2. Free Movement of the Arms

Next is freedom of movement for your arm. In another piece we will talk about the magic move of pool, but for now make sure that your arm swings freely and does not hit your body during the stroke.

3. Relaxed Stance

We also want to make sure that we are relaxed. Close your eyes when you are in your stance and see if you feel any tension or tight muscles. If you do, try and relax them.

4. Grip on the Cut Stick

Our grip on the pool cue should be at the place that when the tip is on the cue ball, our forearm of the shooting hand is perpendicular to the floor. You can find this place by making a closed bridge, releasing your grip, and moving your back hand in a pendulum motion stopping at the bottom of the arc. Pick up the cue at this point.

5. Cue Stick Level to the Table

Finally, we want to stand so that our stick is level to the bed of the table. This may require that you bend your knees or lean forward more than you are now.

How to Test Your Pool Stance

Ok, here is how you test this. I want you to aim at a straight shot at the far corner pocket. Make sure it is a long shot. Now get in your stance and aim. Once you have this aim down, swing the cue stick a few times and stop with the tip resting almost on the cue ball. Now, close your eyes and relax. Stay with your eyes closed for at least 5 to 10 seconds.

Now open your eyes and check your shot alignment. If you are still on the line of the shot, congratulations, you have a great stance. On the other hand if you are off a little on the line of the shot, you need to work on your stance. There is tension, imbalance or another error creeping in.

Once you can get down and close your eyes and still be on the shot, move your arm slowly in a full pool stroke to make sure that you are not hitting your body. Now is your stick level? If you pass all these hoops, you have a good stance. If not, keep finding where you have tension and relaxing it. Before you know it you will have a great stance.

Good luck and see you on the road.

More Instructionals:

  1. Getting Better at Pool – A Pool Odyssey I
  2. The Basics – Hitting Softly I A Pool Odyssey II
  3. Keeping It Simple – Stay on the Vertical Axis I A Pool Odyssey III
  4. 3 Drills to Keep Your Cue Stick Level I A Pool Odyssey IV
  5. How to Stand at the Table: 5 Steps to the Perfect Pool Stance V
  6. What Do We Look At? – A Pool Odyssey with Mark Finkelstein VI
  7. Controlling Our Cue Stick I BCA Instructor Mark Finkelstein VII
  8. How To “Stand” Shooting Pool Based On Your Height from Matt Sherman at
  9. The Black Widow Instruction – Stance by Jeanette Lee (Video)

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.”