How to Hold a Pool Stick the Right Way Every Time

Knowing how to hold a pool stick properly is essential for both the casual player and the professional.

If you have tried picking up the sport and not found success, you should make sure your technique is correct first. The way you hold the pool cue and how you form a bridge may seem simple, but it takes time to perfect. Even your body position at the pool table matters.

If you work on your technique, you will most certainly see a positive impact on your billiards game. However, it takes work to get there.

To start, you must first choose the best pool cue. The type that you buy will determine how to hold a pool stick the right way.

Choosing the Right Pool Cue

pool cue

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Whether you use one of the house pool sticks or you invest in your own, you should choose one that will work best for you. There are several varieties on the market that vary in style, weight, and design. In reality, the simplest choice comes down to choosing an English or an American pool stick.


English pool cues are wider at the butt and continue to narrow all the way to the leather tip. The American variety similarly is wider at the butt, but it only narrows until partially down the shaft. This makes it so that the rest of the shaft down to the leather tip is the same size.


Though some may have strong opinions, you can choose either an American or English pool cue and play a great game.


When choosing the right weight for your pool stick, it’s a great idea to try it out and see how it feels. Ideally, the best pool stick will feel comfortable in your hands and easy to use.


If you can’t afford your own stick right now, pick the best of the ones at the pool hall. It should still have a good amount of leather on the tip. Unfortunately, most of your options will be warped, so choose the straightest one you can find.

How Technique Affects the Game

pool technique

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When playing a game of billiards, some people focus purely on how much force they can apply to the cue ball. While adding more force can definitely help make a good break, it isn’t the only factor involved. Learning how to hold a pool stick the right way makes a monumental difference.


First of all, how you stand at the pool table affects how you hold your pool stick. Standing upright as you shoot prevents you from seeing the cue ball properly. This may cause you to chip or even miss it.


Secondly, you should have the proper grip on your cue. While professionals have their own preference, the fundamentals are the same. Having the proper grip allows you to add as little or as much force as you need for the shot.


Lastly, you have to form a proper bridge. If you don’t, there is an increased risk of your stick angling in a different direction as you shoot. This can cause you to hit a different part of the cue ball then you were hoping and send it in the wrong direction.

If you want to play a better game, you need to learn how to hold a pool stick. This allows you to shoot more accurately and have more control over the stick. Once you have this, you can perform better and potentially earn some money at the pool hall!

How to Hold a Pool Stick Properly

cue handling

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You may be wondering when it means to learn how to hold a pool stick properly. If you only need to focus on your position, grip, and bridge, shouldn’t it be easy?

It depends on the person. Some people may have a hard time getting into the right position, while others learn much quicker. Either way, both slow and fast learners will need to put in hours of practice to see an improvement when they play.


This will require you to spend more time during your game consciously making sure your body and hands are in the right position. Once you get it down, these movements will come naturally to you, and you will play much faster.


There are three main aspects to learning how to hold a pool stick. You must learn how to properly position your body at the table, grip the pool stick, and form a bridge. While each is simple to learn, putting them together takes time and practice.

Position at the table


The first aspect of learning how to hold a pool stick is to position yourself at the pool table correctly. You may have seen others perform trick shots from behind their back, but this is not proper. It likely won’t win you any games either.

First, look at the cue ball and the ball you want to hit. Connect the dots so that your body, the cue ball, and the numbered ball are in a straight line in that order.


Next, approach the table with your pool cue at hip level, keeping that straight line in mind.


Finally, you should lower your upper body to the table. This gives you a great view of where your stick will hit the cue ball, making your shot more accurate.

If you think this looks too silly, just watch the professionals at the pool world championships. They lower themselves to the table and practice moving the cue multiple times before they take the shot. If you want to play pool the right way and win games, just watch the pros.

Grip on the pool stick


One of the easiest ways to know how to hold a pool stick is to go with what feels natural. However, there are a few pointers that you should consider.


First of all, you should hold the stick about an inch or two from the end. Some may be tempted to hold it further up, but you should only do so by only half a hand for more precise shots. Generally, a couple of inches is perfect.


Secondly, you will not succeed in learning how to hold a pool stick if you insist on holding it with a death grip. Some state that holding it tighter will allow them more impact, but you should only tighten your pool cue hand grip just before impact.


As you draw the pool cue back before you shoot, your hand should actually loosen up. Professional coach Barry Stark states that your back two fingers should “unfurl” as you draw the stick back and “close the grip” as you follow through with the swing. By unfurling your fingers, you allow your arm to swing from the elbow and draw the stick farther back than you could with a closed grip.


Other professionals prefer to unfurl their front fingers in the draw back, but this is up to personal preference. The part to remember while learning to hold a pool stick is to loosen your fingers in the swing.

Form a bridge


Forming a bridge with your other hand may be one of the most challenging parts of learning how to hold a pool stick. Your bridge helps you to keep the stick straight as you swing, which improves your accuracy.


There are two main types of bridges you can use: the open or the closed bridge. Depending on the type of pool cue you use, it will affect which bridge you can use. Some players have a strong opinion about the closed bridge vs. open bridge topic, but you should use the bridge that works best for you.

The open bridge is universal so that it will work with any pool cue. If you want to know how to form an open bridge, start by laying your hand palm down on the table.


Next, press the bottom half of your thumb against your index finger. These two fingers should make the shape of a V. When playing pool, you should always rest the pool cue within this V-shape.


The closed bridge only works if you use an American pool stick. This is because you form a loop with your index finger to guide the shaft, and American pool stick shafts stay the same size. English pool sticks continuously taper, and the extra space in the loop can misguide the stick.


To form a closed bridge, you should press your thumb against your middle finger instead of your index finger. Next, use your index finger to form a loop and place the shaft of the pool cue through the loop.


For both bridge types, you can bring the tips of your fingers closer to your palm to raise your knuckles. This allows you to shoot higher, which is ideal if you want to hit the middle of the top of the cue ball.

Learning How to Hold a Pool Stick Betters Your Game

Although the technical aspect of how to play pool seems tedious, it is well worth your while. If you want to shoot accurately, you need to learn how to hold a pool stick. It also makes the game much more fun as you discover how to play the way you want.

Just like other sports, learning the proper technique will help you to succeed. Even the casual player will find more enjoyment in the game.


How did you learn how to hold a pool stick? Tell us about your experience in the comments.


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