The arm with which we hold the back part of the cue is the arm that forms the catch or the grip of the cue.
We should answer some questions first in order to hold the cue properly and to be precise.
There are two principles by which we determine where we hold our cue.
The first principle is based on the spot where cue is in balance:
First with your left hand you find the spot of balance. Then grab your cue to that spot with your right hand, next with the left and again with the right. That’s the ideal spot to hold the cue in relation to its production balance.
Since everyone has a different arm span, and because during the game we use different bridge distances, we won’t constantly hold the cue in that spot. Instead our grip will move up and down. In order to hold the cue properly with these variations in mind, we will follow the next principle.
The second principle for determining the spot of catch is based on the rule that relative to the ground, the back arm needs to be 90 degrees in the moment of contacting the cue ball during a shot.
As stated before, the picture above demonstrates that the back arm needs to be 90 degrees relative to the ground and in accordance with the length of the bridge cue slides in the span of your arms. So when your bridge is shorter—you grip your cue a little to the front, and when the bridge is longer it is gripped a little bit to the back, so you can maintain that 90 degree angle.
Also, notice in the upper picture that the position of the back hand is more proper than on the lower picture. Pay attention to that because the proper position of the back arm is critical for the quality shot.
We hold the cue with index and middle fingers while rest of the fingers rest lightly on the cue without squeezing hard because when cue moves from front to back and opposite there should be enough room for the change of an angle relative to the hand.
Here there are variations on this subject, for example some players use the thumb and index finger for gripping while other fingers are relaxed. Some players for more difficult shots which require more accuracy also grip with their pinky. I consider all that as variations and I won’t analyze it any further, but the point is that we grip not with all fingers at the same time because there won’t be enough space in the hand for a change of angle.
The last, but most important thing is that you mustn’t grip the cue hard. If you grip too hard you are not going to execute a shot smoothly and you are not going to be able to transmit the desired effect on the cue ball in order to get position. When you are holding your cue and when you swing it back you must notice how your skin and tissue move in the direction of pulling, and in the end the cue leaves your hand. You must grip in such a way that during a shot you don’t drop your cue but grip light so someone can pull it from you. So not too hard but not too light.
Hopefully, now that we have learned the basics of grip. you are able to correct any mistakes or confirm your knowledge.
Practice everything that we have mentioned so far and prepare for the next article where I will talk about basic bridges.
Photo: provided by author and Piroshki Photography Editor: Dana Gornall