If you’ve ever attentively watched people shooting pool at a local bar or pool hall, chances are that you have seen various different ways to hold a cue. This is because there really is no one set or “correct” way you should hold a pool cue. It varies from player to player depending on skill level, technique, comfort level, dominant hand (left or right), style, arm length, height, and how they learned to hold a cue.

However, with that being said, despite there not being one right way to hold a cue, there are some things that new players should know. Even though this is a simple guide for beginner pool players, it may also help those who have been playing pool for a while.

How to Hold a Pool Cue

At the most rudimentary level, gripping a pool cue is all about what you do with each hand. Your dominant hand is to be used to hold the cue butt. This is also known as your grip hand. You should use your other hand as your bridge hand, which gives the cue proper stability and aim.

Both of your hands are equally important in different ways when it comes to playing the game. They need to work together in order to complete the objective of each shot you make when playing pool— i.e. to make the cue ball go exactly where you want it to with the appropriate level of power.

Sure, it’s possible to be a pretty decent pool player with a less-than-adequate bridge or grip. However, it’s nearly impossible to become a great pool player without the proper technique in both hands.

The Perfect Cue Grip

Figuring out what the perfect cue grip is for you will depend on what your preferred stance is, which in turn is dependent on your height and the length of your arms. Here are the basics of a good grip:

Your grip hand should ideally be relaxed and comfortable. There’s no need to strangle the cue.

Your grip should place your forearm perpendicular to the cue stick. This essentially means that when you’re getting ready to shoot, your wrist and forearm are positioned right over the cue and not at an angle.

Your grip should also allow your upper arm and forearm to be at a right angle. Think of the grip hand as the bottom of a pendulum that swings from the elbow.

The cue needs to be allowed to pivot up and down in the grip hand during the shot. This is why a loose grip is essential.

To accomplish proper grip, only the thumb and index finger of the grip hand should be securing the cue. The rest of the fingers should be loose, providing support but not interfering with the cue’s movement during a shot. Some players prefer to use their middle finger and thumb instead of their index finger. Either way works, as long as the rest of the fingers are relaxed and allowed to gently “cradle” the cue.

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