Either you plan on starting to play pool or you have begun playing but you are not an expert yet, then this might be a good article for you.
In every game we play, there are always rules and practical tips to follow. Here we try to outline some of the top tactics and tips you can follow to get better at playing pool.
We cannot just go on playing whatever way we want. Beginners in the pool games often forget about the right mechanics and jump into advanced concepts in shots and try things like cue spin before getting the basics right.
So, by having consistency in playing and if you follow these practical tips, you would surely learn and get better in playing pool.
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Just like other games, pool requires mental training such as concentration and tactical thinking whether in attack or defense playing. Keeping your mind and body calm and in focus will help a lot. This game is not just about hitting balls and positioning your body well, it also needs your skills in decision making and patience. Practice pausing before every shot - thinking ahead. Also review your shots so far in your head - replay the good ones. Then visualize the next shot before you execute it.
Pool is really a mind game also!
Don’t grip too tight! That is the common mistake every player commits in each game. The tendency in holding the cue stick too tightly is it will raise the butt of the stick every time you shoot and the follow on from that is the increase in your chances of accidentally jumping the cue ball off the table.
It’s very important to know which is your dominant hand. Make this dominant hand as neutral as possible, your wrist and hand will naturally follow. Relax and hold it loose enough to have uniform tension all throughout the swing.
People always wonder where to grip the cue stick, usually, your hand should be perpendicular to the ground. In that way, you will have full opportunity for the full backswing and full follow through.
So, hold the cue lightly by resting your fingers or let the cue hang on your three or four fingertips making your thumb barely touch it. Make the right control.
This is also one of the most important tips in winning the game. With your light and loose cue grip, you can move to practice the pendulum swing.
First, avoid making too much body movement in shooting especially on your arms. Keep it even and still and focus your mind on hitting the ball.
Next, timing is a crucial point here. Think of your hanging forearm as the pendulum and cradle the cue stick lightly on your hand and swing it back and forth. Just like a real pendulum, the cue stick and your arm is weighted but swings back and forth freely.
Also, make sure you get to position your cue stick closer to the cue ball and your forearm should be perpendicular to your cue stick to achieve the pendulum swing.
Practice it with different length shots and you will be able to control the speed eventually.
This is the toughest thing to learn. But don’t worry, we will get you to learn better about hand bridges. First of all, this requires your consistency and control.
There are two basic bridges: open bridge and closed bridge.
The open bridge is the most commonly used for softer shots. While the closed bridge is used usually for advanced and professional players who shoot harder with more spin on the cue ball.
Few tips to remember:
Make your hand and arm steady
Rest the palm of your hand on the table
Place cue on “V” between your thumb and finger
Make a stable bridge
Smoothly stroke your cue
You can practice it by pressing your thumb against your index finger along the palm on the table. With that, you can slowly move your fingers inwardly until making a leveled position.
Next, place your hand on the top of your index finger to form a “V” and press it against your thumb. You can now place the cue on the “V” of your index finger and thumb.
The goal of the open bridge is to create a solid foundation with your hands to help guide your shots until you are able to do it consistently.
The first thing to do in mastering this bridge is, place your hand and move your thumb against the ring finger. Then, place your index finger on your thumb or middle finger, depending on your preference. Some players prefer to place their index finger between the thumb and middle finger. To make things easy to remember, note that the “V” you created on the open bridge is the same “V” you used on the closed bridge.
Make sure that when you are practicing for this bridge, your tip should get right up to the cue ball and take it slow in hitting it.
This is best when the cue ball is six inches or so from the rail. And then, lay your cue stick as flat as possible, put the thumb beside the cue stick, and the index finger over the shaft.
In handling this, you need to put your right palm on the side of the table with your fingers on the top of the rail. And point the thumb going up right next to the index finger.
To use the curve of the rail to get the cue stick leveled, put your palm beside the table.
Now, this is a great contribution to winning the game. This may seem easy but this would also require much practice and consistency.
Before anything else, make sure that you are comfortable especially on your arms and legs. Try not to be tense and just relax and breathe. Next, your feet should be steadily standing on the ground placing your front foot at least a shoulder away from the rear foot with a 45° angle. Never stand with your feet too close together or apart.
Also, your weight should be equally balanced on both feet and bridge hand making sure that you can easily bend and get up. When you are going to take a shot, step forward to your stance behind the cue ball to make a better alignment and keep you balanced. Your height and your build-up are important factors in determining the best stance for you.
If you want to bend your knee, make it the front to one to help you keep balanced and steady.
Body alignment means making your arm, head, eyes, and cue all lined up and properly balanced. This is an essential part of the game.
According to the pool experts, to practice your body alignment, you must follow these steps:
First, you must step into the shot from behind with your head low, leveled eyes, and focus on the aiming line.
Second, make sure you practice the losing grip to allow the pendulum swing smoothly going back and forth and making your forearm perpendicular to the cue.
Third, stay calm and observe which direction should the cue stick be pointing at and see if you are stroking a straight line.
You cannot simply win the game without mastering the aiming system accurately and precisely. In order to make this possible, you need to sight the object ball. When lining up the shot, imagine the cue ball being right behind the line where the pocket is located. The imaginary line goes back to the object ball to the point where you will make contact for the cue ball.
To make a sight to the contact point, straighten yourself up to aim for the cue ball, get down, and be ready to take the shot.
This refers to the steps you make before taking the actual shot.
In developing this, you have to repeatedly do it with consistency. Try to walk around the table, practice positioning your stance, and measure or determine how you will aim the shot behind the cue ball.
Try to place the right cue stick behind the cue ball, check if your grip is relaxed enough, and stay focused to have a natural and smooth shot.
For your strokes, make a warm-up with your cue stick to make sure it is steady. Practice two to three wings to make sure your arm is not relaxed and free by swinging it back and forth. Then focus your eyes on the aiming line and striking ball.
Practice this for several times to prevent going faster and inconsistent in playing.
There are a lot of videos and shows you can watch and learn how the advanced pool players do this game. Each has its own tactics and tips, you might learn and apply those. Learn not just from those who play almost perfectly but also those who commit mistakes. You never know you might also be making the same mistakes, right?