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.....When 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 insrtuctional column is not only to inpart 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.



Keep a level cue

…..THE MOST IMPORTANT REASON for keeping your cue stick level is to cultivate more powerful positioning techniques. And maintaining a level cue stick when shooting pool does avoid some of the problems associated with hitting the cue ball incorrectly, such as bouncing the cue ball, unwanted english, and miscues.

…..If you are a beginner or intermediate, you may be struggling with keeping the cue level as you stroke the cue ball. Nevertheless it’s a barrier that you must over come in order to improve your game.

…..A key element is learning how to raise and lower both your open and closed hand bridges. I discuss how to formulate those bridges in other columns nevertheless here are a few tips. A mistake lots of players make is leaning or tilting up the thumb side of their hand bridge. Doing that tips up the back of the cue stick and stops one from raising or lowering your bridge fingers. Take a close look at the hand bridges of Tony and Belinda and see how flat the heel of their hand is on the table. Keeping the heel of your hand flat allows you to raise or lower your fingers by raising or lowering the “tent” shape part of your hand bridge. This allows the front end of your cue to go up or down the vertical axis of the cue ball without having to raise up the butt of your cue stick.

…..If you think of your bridge hand as a fulcrum, which is the part that supplies capability for action of the lever (your cue stick), you can imagine that moving your hand closer or further away from the cue ball in itself allows you to manipulate the vertical axis. Changing the distance your hand is away from your cue ball is an alternate way of going up and down the cue ball while staying level. If you come closer your tip is above center and if you drop your hand further back you approach the bottom of the cue ball.

…..Do not lift up on the cue stick when you pull back. A piece of advice that will help concerns placement of your backhand on the cue. When the stick is at rest, place your back hand at your hip as pictured by Johnny Archer at the US Open. Johnny is at the starting point of his swing and his backhand is right at his hip. If you put the back hand past your hip, on your back swing you have no where to go but up. That’s what causes the up and down motion prevalent in the .swing of beginner and intermediate players.

And even after you contact the cue ball, you must maintain that level approach during your follow through. Don’t shoot down into the table. Yes, if you follow through long enough you start to go down but you should maintain your approach to the cue ball at least through the width of it. Pictured below is Mike Sica before and after his follow through. You can see that even after the cue ball is gone his stick is still at the height of center ball.

…..You always want to have your cue as parallel to the table as you could possibly keep it. Though granted, there are times that this is not going to be possible because there are other balls in the way or because you are close to the rail. Observe in the photograph above how level Tony Rodriguez is able to stay even with some object balls in his way.



…..Look around your pool room some time and you’ll no doubt observe that the back of almost everybody’s cue is elevated, especially when the cue ball is near the rail. Only the more advanced, seasoned players will be level. The only reason I can think of for that is that it just plain feels good. Trying to keep the back of your cue down is an effort but stick with it if you want to improve your game.

.....Pool Pointer Archives

.....1. Closed Half-Bridge
... .2. Look Before You Leap
.....3. Mechanically Inclined
.....4. Keep a Level Cue


.....Tune in for more Pointer articles coming your way each month.