IN POOL, YOUR BRIDGE hand will determine how well you can communicate to the cue ball where it needs to go. Developing your stroke is also important, but now we will focus on the bridge hand, that device which guides the stroke and helps keep it on line.
Some people simply have more dexterity than others and quickly learn to form sound and solid open-hand and closed-hand bridges. For others, making a sound bridge comes in varying degrees of difficulty and the time spent in developing the bridge hand is especially well worth it.
All of our hands are unique, and if you do not have the bendy double-jointed fingers of many of the pros, just try to maximize the potential that your fingers give you. If you simply cannot make a good closed-hand bridge no matter how hard you try, you can still be effective with a good open hand bridge.
Think of someone fluent in sign language. They easily change from one distinct symbol to the next as they communicate. When they transform from one symbol to the next, do they fidget with their fingers for a while as they form the next symbol? Not if they are fluent.
That is the idea with pool. It is ideal to be able to smoothly and easily lock your bridge hand into the chosen form for the present shot. Many top players will even form their bridge in the air and finalize it by squishing it onto the table, thus locking it in place right away.
Locking your bridge in ASAP will enable you to focus on your stroke and speed control, instead of diverting your attention between getting your bridge hand ready and preparing your stroke. This is chasing two birds with one stone if you will.
My friends tease me for forming bridge hands all the time when I am away from the table. I used to do this in school and use my pencil as a pool cue while perfecting my bridges. So this is one way to practice and improve your game, work on your bridge while driving (keep one hand on the wheel please), watching TV, etc… Because there are many bridges in pool, you can work on any of them at any time. What can I say, I am a pool nut.
Try not to keep moving your bridge fingers around once you are in your stance. Learn to get them into place right away and put enough pressure into the table to keep them locked there even and especially on your final delivery.
The more fluent you become with your bridge hand, the more accurate and consistent you will also become.
Copyright 2000 Max Eberle. All rights reserved.