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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.


The '70s peace sign can channel you
to a peaceful pocketing experience


…..IF YOU’RE NOT USING THE V-BRIDGE to shoot off the rail you may be missing the opportunity to pocket more successfully.

…..One of the most daunting situations for beginner and intermittent players is how to make a hand bridge when the cue ball is close, approximately 2 to 6 inches, to the rail and there is no room to place your hand on the table. The most frequent and significant error made by a player is when they try to use their regular, either the open or closed, hand bridge on top of the rail. Using that bridge formation causes the player to shoot down on the cue ball which can lead to unintentional english or side spin and may even cause a hop of the cue ball. It’s difficult enough to pocket an object ball when shooting off the rail without the added burden of inadvertent rotation. When you hit down on the cue ball even the smallest amount of an off center hit can be magnified resulting in a miss. This is especially true on longer shots. A solid bridge hand is your first defense against unplanned sideways movement that will adversely affect your aim. What’s great about the V-bridge is that it gives the player security on shots going straight ahead or on cut shots. The late great Wade Crane, a superior 9 ball and one pocket player, is pictured above using the
V-bridge for a cut shot down the rail. (Wade Crane received the 2011 ‘Lifetime Pool in Action’ award from the One Pocket Hall of Fame organization. Visit to learn more about Wade Crane and other great One Pocket pool players.)










.......(Visit Belinda on my Billis-isms page!)

…..To make this bridge, start by placing your cue stick directly on the rail. Do not put your hand or fingers under the cue stick at all. Make the peace sign with your index, middle fingers and thumb. Place the stick against the thumb and middle finger and curl your index finger over the cue. Notice that the middle finger and thumb form a straight line towards your shot. The configuration of the bridge keeps the cue stick in a vise which allows for a straight follow through. In pool and billiards, the bridge is what supports the cue shaft when taking a shot. It's important to have a good, solid bridge to ensure that the cue tip doesn't have any sideways movement that will adversely affect your aim.


.....Mike Lebron, “Spanish Mike” (Read a "Tale of a Shirmp"), shows another version of the v-bridge wherein his pinky and ring finger drape the edge of the rail for comfort. The ‘V’ part of the bridge remains as the heart of fortification for hand positioning.



…..JIM REMPE exhibits how to elevate the hand while still using the v-bridge. The cue stick is still placed on top of the rail. Jim continues to brace his middle finger and thumb against the shaft while the index finger loops over to form the V. Meanwhile he raises the back of his hand so that the fingers are still bracing the side of the stick. Then Jim elevates the butt of the cue stick so that he can strike the cue ball in the exact center for cue ball placement after the shot is complete. Remember, a good player’s objective is to guide the cue stick in a straight line. The middle finger and thumb are the building blocks to accomplishing this goal.
.....Whether shooting a ball directly ahead of you, cutting it down the rail or keeping solid on any type of break shot the v-bridge is the way to go. By allowing the cue stick to rest on top of the rail while guiding your shaft with your index, middle fingers and thumb you are channeling yourself to victory.

.....Pool Pointer Archives

.....1. Closed Half-Bridge
... .2. Look Before You Leap
.....3. Mechanically Inclined
.....4. Keep a Level Cue
.....5. Double or Nothing
.....6. Chalk It Up
.....7. V-Bridge It To Victory


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