I was learning how to play pool there were no books, no videos,
no instructors and no leagues to play in. The best way to learn
was to watch. I was privileged to see some of the greatest and
some of the not so great. My purpose for publishing my pointers
instructional column is not only to impart pool knowledge to my
viewers but to share with the public what these great players from
the 1980s and 1990s looked like. Through my trusty Canon, for a
moment in time they are immortalized. Some are still here and some
are gone and I still remember the joy of watching them play.
Making a comfortable hand bridge when near the rail
EXPERT pool players will agree that the inability to form the proper
hand bridge hampers beginners more than any other factor. Cicero
Murphy, a former World Champion, demonstrates one of the
most difficult bridges to make, what I call the "half-bridge".
So called because part of your hand is on the rail and the rest
of it is on the table bed. There are two types of half bridges,
the closed half-bridge is discussed in this article and the open
half-bridge will be shown in a future column.
.....In order to increase
your accuracy in shot making, your bridge should be planted solidly
on the table. After you've followed through completely you should
be no more than six or seven inches back from the cue tip. Because
the closed half-bridge is awkward to make, a lot of players would
rather keep their hand on the rail and extend their stroke to about
a foot. This puts a lot of play in the front of their cue stick
and causes them to accidentally hit the cue ball in the wrong place.
Remember, if your cue tip strikes the cue ball right or left of
center at a slow- to-moderate speed, you are applying spin, or
English, which must be compensated for when you contact the object
you think you're hitting the ball center but actually hit off-center,
that is, apply accidental english, you may not pocket the ball.
Be patient. If you don’t
feel comfortable on the shot, raise up, reorient yourself and get
back down on the shot.
to making this bridge is to drop your thumb and index finger almost
underneath your middle finger and slightly shift your finger tips
in toward your body. (A right-handed bridge shifts left and vice
versa for left-handed.) A close look at the side view of Lou Butera,
pictured on the left, making a closed half-bridge shows all of
these elements exhibited. Also, his left arm is slightly curved
to accommodate the shift of his fingertips.
both former World Champion, Ray Martin and WPBA player Sheryl
Cohen exhibit a relaxed and easy familiarity with the closed half-bridge.
An important aspect to note is that all four players approach the
cue ball with a level cue despite being near the rail. With practice
this closed half-bridge will become a comfortable part of your
........Check out Cool Cat as he deftly handles a different situation.
.....Pool Pointer Archives
.....1. Closed Half-Bridge
in for more Pointer articles coming
your way each month.