how to hold a pool stick

Mastering the Game: How to Hold a Pool Stick Like a Pro?

Karen Tomkins

Pool is a popular game that needs skill, strategy, and precision. Whether playing for fun or contests, you need to know how to hold a pool stick properly to make accurate and consistent shots. This article will show you how to hold cue sticks like a pro in 5 easy steps.

1. Grab The Line Near Your Waist With A Relaxing Hand

With different types of pool cues on the market, you should get high-quality ones that suit your skills and preferences to get the best results. Now, the first step is to grab the cue near your waist with your dominant hand. 

how to hold the pool stick

Image Source: WikiHow

Place your hand about 4 to 5 inches from the end of the cue. The tip to find this spot is there is usually a tape that marks the balance point of the stick. 

Also, hold the cue lightly with your thumb and index finger. Add your middle finger if you want more power. 

Your grip should relax but be firm, not tight or loose. Ensure to feel the weight and balance of the cue in your hand. Also, your arm should be at a 90-degree angle with the stick, and your elbow should point downward. 

2. Lower Your Upper Body To The Table

The second step on how to hold the pool stick is to lower your upper body to the table. This step helps you align your eyes with the cue and the target ball, giving a better view of the shot.

Then, bend your knees scarcely and lean forward. Meanwhile, keep your back straight and your head level. Remember to position yourself where your chin almost touches the cue and your eyes are directly over it. 

how to hold a pool cue stick

Image Source: Littleeagles

Besides, keep your body stable and balanced, avoiding unnecessary movements or distractions. To do this, breathe normally and relax your muscles, especially your shoulders and neck. 

3. Cradle Or Bridge The Cue's Tip With Your Other Hand

Here is how to hold a pool stick properly with your other hand. This hand will support the ball on the table and guide its direction. The proper distance from your hand to the cue ball is about 6 to 8 inches. The closer you are to the ball, the more control and accuracy you will have.

There are different types of bridges that you can use to hold the cue, depending on the pool table sizes and your skill level. Here are some of the most common bridges that you can try:

Opened Bridge

The open bridge is one of the simplest and most versatile bridges you can use. The proper way to hold a pool stick with an open bridge is to use your non-dominant hand to spread your fingers out on the pool table. Meanwhile, hold the end of the cue stick with your dominant hand. 

how to hold pool stick for beginners

Image Source: Basic Billiards

Put the tip of the cue stick between your index finger and thumb. Lift your thumb and hold the cue's tip using your index finger. If it feels better, you can also use your middle finger along with your index finger for a more secure grip. 

The open bridge is suitable for most shots, as it allows you to see the cue ball clearly and change the angle of the cue easily. However, it sometimes does not provide enough stability or power, especially if you have sweaty or slippery hands.

Closed Bridge

Use a closed bridge if you wonder, "How to hold a pool cue stick with more control?"

Start by placing your hand on the table and curl your index finger around the cue, forming a loop for it to pass through. Place your thumb on your index finger, creating a tight grip for the stick. Spread out the rest of your fingers on the table for support. 

how do you hold a pool stick

Image Source: World of Pool & Billiards

This closed bridge is suitable for shots that require more power or spin, as it provides more stability and control for the cue. 

Rail Bridge

How do you hold a pool stick when the cue ball is near or on the rail (the edge of the table)? In these cases, a rail bridge is what you need. 

To make this bridge, you must place your hand on the rail and curl your fingers, forming a hook for the cue to rest on. Then, place your thumb on your fingers, creating a groove for the cue to slide through. 

proper way to hold a pool stick

Image Source: Basic Billiards

Ensure your pool cue is straight and steady as you line up your shot, and follow through with a smooth and controlled stroke. 

The rail bridge is suitable for shots that require a high or low angle on the cue ball because it helps to increase or lower the cue tip without touching the rail. 

Elevated Bridge

Besides the rail bridge, the elevated bridge is another technique to use when raising the cue tip above the table. 

How to hold a pool stick and make an elevated bridge? Position your index finger on the table at an almost right angle. Then, create a tripod by resting your pinkie finger on the surface and tucking your middle and ring fingers beneath it.

how to hold a pool stick properly

Image Source: Littleeagles

Now, you need to lift your thumb upwards to form a V-shaped channel in the air between your thumb and index finger. Take your shot while firmly gripping the cue between your thumb and index finger.

This elevated bridge allows you to hit the cue ball at a steep angle, best for a jump or a masse shot.

Mechanical Bridge

When you cannot reach the cue ball with your hand or need extra support for the cue, this technique can come in handy. It is usually a metal or plastic stick with a groove or a fork at one end that can hold the cue. 

Speaking of how to properly hold a pool stick using a mechanical bridge, you need to place it on the table near the cue ball and adjust its angle and position. 

how to properly hold a pool stick

Image Source: Basic Billiards

After finding the right angle, place the cue on the groove or fork and hold it with your dominant hand.

Many skilled players use the mechanical bridge for shots that are too far or awkward for their hand, as it brings an extension and a stable platform for the cue. 

Yet, the groove you use can strain your pool cue. Check out our guide on making a pool cue to cut costs on buying new ones and design your unique tool.

4. Grip The Cue Firmly And Focus On The Target

Keep going with our guidelines on how to hold pool stick for beginners. Stand steady and keep a strong posture. Focus on what you want to hit, then turn your gaze to the cue ball with your cue stick. Hitting right in the middle gives you a better chance of hitting the other ball.

Stay relaxed and ensure your cue stick and the cue ball are lined up correctly to see the path to the other ball. 

5. Balance The Cue And Make Your Shot

how to hold a cue stick

Image Source: WPA Pool

Once you've set up your shot, gently move the cue stick back and forth to get a sense of it—re-adjust your position if you feel like something's off. 

After making changes, stay steady, grip firmly, and move the cue stick back and forth several times to ensure you hit the cue ball in the middle. This practice will help you fine-tune your aim.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the most accurate way to hold your pool cue?

The answer can vary from player to player, depending on your style, skills, and personal preference. But generally, here are 5 steps to help you hold a pool cue more accurately:

  • Step 1: Grab the line near your waist with a relaxing hand.
  • Step 2: Lower your upper body to the table.
  • Step 3: Cradle or bridge the cue's tip with your other hand.
  • Step 4: Grip the stick firmly and focus on the target.
  • Step 5: Balance the cue and make your shot.

How do you swing a pool cue?

To swing a pool cue properly, you must smoothly move it back and forth in a straight line. Keep your backswing short and slow, and when you're ready to hit the ball, make your forward swing fast but nice and smooth. 

Your wrist should stay straight, and your arm should be like a straight line to the cue. After you hit the cue ball, don't stop abruptly. Keep going and extend your arm forward while keeping the cue level. 

What is the 2 finger rule in pool?

how to hold cue stick

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The "two-finger rule" is a trick to help you aim better. Imagine a line from the middle of the cue ball (the white one) to the center of the ball you want to hit. 

When you're getting ready to shoot, touch the cue ball with just two fingers – usually your index finger and your thumb. That's how you aim more accurately and hit the ball where you want to.

Now you know how to hold a cue stick, it's time to pick up your pool stick and practice. Follow guidelines's Big Cat, and you can enjoy the game in the best way!

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Best pool cue for the money