As that old saying goes, practice makes perfect— right? Yeah… but also no. You kinda have to perfect your practice techniques in order to perfect your game day techniques.
Basically what we’re saying is that if you’re practicing pool wrong, then your practice won’t get you anywhere near perfect— capeesh?
The problem is a lot of beginners tend to jump the gun and skip perfecting the basics, and go straight into the more advanced stuff (you know— like draw and combo shots, run-out patterns, cue ball spin techniques, etc).
To get good at anything, you have to practice the fundamentals. Trust us— when you master the basics, you’ll get much closer to mastering the entire game itself.
Let’s jump in.
Get a Grip
A common mistake beginners make is gripping the cue way too tightly. Sure, it might seem that the tighter your grip is, the better. That, friends… is incorrect.
Holding the cue too tightly can result in the butt of the cue becoming raised too high, which makes it harder to make a straight and accurate shot.
You should be practicing your skills with a light and loose grip, instead. It shouldn’t even touch the palm of your hand— keep your grip just strong enough to pick up the cue off the table.
It’ll take time to strike that perfect balance between control and lightness of grip, but once you find it, stick with it.
Work on that Pendulum Swing
Now that you’ve got a good grip on the cue, it’s time to talk about working on that pendulum swing.
You’re going to learn very quickly that it’s important to align your body with your aiming line. This is made difficult when your shooting arm isn’t still.
A lot of beginners move their upper arm way too much when shooting. The best solution to this common problem is to view the upper and lower parts of your shooting arm as a pendulum.
Your upper arm should always remain still and even when you’re shooting. Your lower arm, on the other hand, is the one swinging back and forth when you’re shooting.
Your backswing should always be slow and steady. And when holding that cue, you better make sure that shooting hand is directly under your elbow.
Your lower arm is allowed to swing past your elbow when you make an impact with the cue ball—however, it should never stop short of the elbow.
Practice Your Bridges
You may or may not know this, but your bridge is absolutely one of the most important techniques that’ll make or break your game.
Yes, you can perfect your grip, your stance, your alignment— but if you have an inconsistent and/or shaky bridge, none of that other stuff even matters.
The two basic types of bridges for most shots boil down to the 1) “open bridge” or 2) “closed bridge.”
The open bridge is going to be the best bet for beginning players, whereas the closed bridge is only to be crossed by advanced players who are experienced in shooting harder shots with more spin.