Open Rail Bridge
When you are in the situation that the cue ball is too close to the rail or on the rail, it is very hard to use a closed rail bridge, so we have to use an open rail bridge.
Please notice that word “rail” is part of the name of this type of bridge. So whenever you can, try to keep your shaft in contact with a rail while at the same time in contact with the cue ball, and also after contact in your follow through. If you do this you will have better contact with that small part of the cue ball you can hit, and also you will avoid miscuing which can often occur in these situations.
Don’t forget that “Chalk is free!” so chalk well before any shot on cue ball that is frozen to the rail.
This position minimizes our potential to spin the ball with left or right english, so if possible try to avoid english in these situations. If you have to apply english, then be aware that top spin english can curve the cue ball path very quickly and causes squirt in side of the given english technique. Also on close range, deflection will occur too.
Let me introduce you to the three most common open rail bridges.
1.“L” open rail bridge: is suitable for soft shots with short back swing and short followthrough. With this rail bridge you can control the intensity of the cue ball in distance of one table length very well.
2. “V” open rail bridge: is suitable for stronger shots and gives great feel for shots with energy that can move cue ball for a two lengths of the table. It gives longer back swing and also the follow through will be faster and longer.
3. “U” open rail bridge: is suitable for long strong shots, equivalent to the energy needed for three+ lengths of the table. It gives the longest back swing, highest acceleration—an full followthrough amplitude. As you can see with this position you are locked on the rail and your bridge hand is stable even if your palm is out of the rail, so this is the most solid way to extend the bridge length with out shaking your hand as it can occurs when you prolong your bridge by putting your “V” bridge in air and resting only on top of your finger.
Of course there are several more bridges that could be used on rails and over pockets, but they are just variations of these three basic bridges, so try to modify them as they suit your position and your hand anatomy. Take care to keep your shaft in contact with the cushion and try to be as stable as possible, without shaking and floating of your bridge hand or thumb during the execution of the shot.
Beside the basic bridges, that we have covered in these four articles about the bridge, there are many variations that we use for playing over ball, for masse or jump shot.
Of course, when you can not reach your cue ball, you can always use the mechanical bridge to assist you in your shot.
With this article I am closing this bridge topic and I wish you all Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Practice and master STANCE, GRIP and BRIDGE so we can start the New Year with most important of all fundamentals—THE STROKE.
Best regards from Belgrade!
PS: Subscribe my YouTube Channel, I put some nice pool position drills there, so see you there too:
Photo: provided by Boris Vidakovic Editor: Dana Gornall
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