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View Full Version : Your bridge: firm vs. loose



BillPorter
05-21-2002, 06:16 PM
After 40 years of playing pool, I'm still fiddling with the fundamentals. At times I use a rather loose bridge, but recently I've been trying a firm or tight bridge that doesn't allow the cue much wiggle room. Seems to help my shot making. Some great players use a loose bridge and some use a tight or firm bridge. Which do you use? Would you say that one type of bridge is better for shot making while another is better for maximizing the english, draw or follow you can put on whitey?

05-21-2002, 06:32 PM
Open except when breaking or using extreme draw. I have learned that the "V" formed using the open bridge acts likes the sights on a gun and must be aimed at the target. Draw the cue like the bow of a violin.

Ralph S.
05-21-2002, 08:41 PM
I prefer use of both types of bridges. I use the open bridge the most though.
Ralph S.

05-21-2002, 08:44 PM
a lot of players use an open bridge. so what would you call that?

Tom_In_Cincy
05-21-2002, 09:05 PM
Mostly OPEN. but I do use a closed firm bridge when faced with a having to use a lot of draw.

Alfie
05-22-2002, 04:43 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote: arnie:</font><hr> a lot of players use an open bridge. so what would you call that? <hr></blockquote>
hmmm...let's see now...an open bridge...firm or loose...

Let me research it and I'll get back to you.

Alfie
05-22-2002, 04:54 AM
Quote Bill-- "Some great players use a loose bridge and some use a tight or firm bridge. Which do you use?"

I use a very loose bridge, but remember that I'm no good. Does that matter? :-)

Quote Bill-- "Would you say that one type of bridge is better for shot making while another is better for maximizing the english, draw or follow you can put on whitey?"

No.

BillPorter
05-22-2002, 05:44 AM
I don't think I was very clear in my original post. I am not talking about open vs. closed bridges. I am talking about closed bridges only. Cue shaft running through the loop made by index finger and thumb and resting on the middle finger. Some good players (Earl S. comes to mind) form a loose, large loop with their closed brige while others close down snugly on the shaft. A good local player I was talking to the other day is a strong proponent of a snug closed bridge. Just wondered what some of you guys thought about this issue.

05-22-2002, 06:14 AM
I'm going to have to admit that I am surprised at the trend in using the open bridge. I'd say I use a closed bridge 75% of the time but that be because I shoot a lot of nine ball and am prone to move whitey a lot(yea I know I should resist.) The english and hard draw/follow works far better with a snug circle of flesh around the cue shaft. My open bridge usage comes naturally when the sutuation calls for it, just a habit burned into my play style. All in all I would have to say for 9-ball that a snug bridge is best(imo) and other slower games(8-ball, 1-hole, straight) it's a toss between snug closed and open, but more open the slower the game...sid

JimS
05-22-2002, 06:30 AM
The Pro from whom I took lessons advised me to use an open bridge whenever possible because it's easier to aim...no finger blocking the aim.

But, whenever I had to shoot firmly he was adamant in his advise to use a very snug closed bridge. Once, a year of so after the lessons, he saw me shooting and walked across the pool room to ask me why the hell he could see daylight through my closed bridge?!

Since the purpose of the closed bridge is to minimize unwanted movement of the cue when shooting hard it wouldn't make any sense to not use a snug closed bridge. A loose closed bridge defeats the purpose of the closed bridge.

Fred Agnir
05-22-2002, 06:39 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote: BillPorter:</font><hr> After 40 years of playing pool, I'm still fiddling with the fundamentals. At times I use a rather loose bridge, but recently I've been trying a firm or tight bridge that doesn't allow the cue much wiggle room. Seems to help my shot making. Some great players use a loose bridge and some use a tight or firm bridge. Which do you use? Would you say that one type of bridge is better for shot making while another is better for maximizing the english, draw or follow you can put on whitey? <hr></blockquote>

As one's shotmaking and straight stroking improves, the looseness of the bridge matters less and less. As a correlation, the re-introduction of the open-hand bridge is a sign of improvement. That is to say, I think the looseness of the bridge is a *result* of better shooting/stroking, not the cause.

Fred

Tom_In_Cincy
05-22-2002, 07:42 PM
Bill
My closed bridge is loose. Except for the long draw shots. Or when the shot calls for extreme english. And, then its just snug to give me feedback to remind me that this is a tough critical shot.
But, I usually use an open bridge.

Tom_In_Cincy
05-22-2002, 07:45 PM
Sid, (good to see ya posting again)
I play a lot of 9 ball and have found that I do use a closed bridge more than when I play 14.1

I have recently started to play more shape that allows me to use the speed of the shot and rails to get shape and lots of times, I use only enough english to generate the needed action off the rail.. which keeps me closer to center on most of my hits on the cue ball.

phil in sofla
05-25-2002, 02:37 PM
Since snooker players make all shots including hard draws (deep screws) with an open bridge, and many players using a closed loop bridge have big daylight at the top of their loop over the cue, it seems that gravity alone is sufficient to hold the cue along a groove of the fingers without being held down directly by a finger on top.

I think the key to the bridge is how stable and secure the BOTTOM of the bridge is, locked without movement to the table, rather than the top of the bridge, which appears to be almost optional.

That said, I've found that closing a loop over the cue when I'm jacked up close to a rail has made that kind of unusual stroking far more accurate for me than before, when I'd use an open bridge for that.

I think the value of the closing of the top of the bridge to a snug fit depends on whether your stroke on that shot is controlled enough for the cue to stay on the base of the bridge from gravity alone. Some of us get more frisky on stroke mechanics on certain shots than others. Ideally, it would seem that your stroke should be controlled enough that the cue isn't leaving the base of your bridge, which would allow either the open bridge or the 'high' (non-snug fitting) looped bridge without making for stroke inaccuracies.

However, your stroke and mileage may vary.

BillPorter
05-26-2002, 05:53 AM
Phil, maybe you've hit on the answer. Maybe a loose or even open bridge is fine if your stroke mechanics are good. But if your stroke has a few kinks in it, maybe your shooting accuracy would improve with a snug, closed bridge.

Thanks to all the rest of you who took the time to reply! I appreciate it.

Sid_Vicious
05-26-2002, 09:54 AM
Bill...One important factor for beginning to intermediate players is that an open bridge pronounces the errors in the finish to the stroke. I'd say that anyone at almost any level might value from going to an open bridge when they notice their hits are drifting out of bounds, and notice where the shaft is upon the completion of the stroke. Open bridge'll show you if you are raising or dropping the elbow or twisting or.....well you get the idea.

It came to me this morning that the bridge for general use is really something which happens to flow into your game that day and on that shot. It is only my personal opinion mind you, but walking into a shot and choosing a bridge is individual to that shot, not even a conscious effort for choosing because your body already know how the stroke will go. Just move in, set up and let it happen. Like I said, going to an open bridge on purpose can show you what your mechanics during the end of the stroke are really doing, and THAT"S where you hit the ball. Just remember to freeze after the finish and check your form...sid

Vagabond
05-26-2002, 11:31 PM
Howdy Folks,
I have seen players with loose bridge sinking the balls and getting shape for the next shot.
I have seen the players with firm bridge sinking the balls and getting shape for the next shot.
I have seen players with no bridge potting the balls and getting position for the next shot.
I have seen the players with ``V`` bridge sending the balls into the hole and getting the cue ball in a 12 inch range to the next shot.
U change the bridge according to the situation.
Hustlers take advantage of the pevailing myths and dogma about the fundamentals of shooting the balls.Dogmatic players think that u can`t be a good player if u don`t have the bridge in a particular style.Hence some smart hustlers use a kind of bridge that might be considered as stuoid looking in the eyes of the socalled purists.Instead of blaming the hustlers as con,the dogmatic people should take some responsibility for their irrational and rigid beliefs.
Use the bridge u are comfortable with.Cheers
Vagabond

05-27-2002, 10:32 AM
I think when you build a bridge, you should examine what traffic will be traveling over it. Most bridges are pretty firm, I think. Actually bamboo bridges are pretty sturdy.

05-27-2002, 04:51 PM
The bridge doesnt have any influence on what the cue does when it hits the cueball, the only thing the bridge should do is to keep the cue from moving in your stroke to the cueball.
So actualy the most important thing of the bridge is that it is very smooth with litle resistance ( or at least very constant resistance without any stuttering )
This is why the open bridge is so good, the cue passes trough a very exact possition without any sidemovement and it has less resistance because your hands are dryer on the upside of the hand. ( with me anyways my hands on the inside are always a litle sweaty )
When the cueball is close anough to the rail and you have to play straight away from the rail you can even play without a bridge and just rest the cue in the cusion cloth, just watch out that you dont hit any other balls with your cue when you play with english...
What happens when you hit the ball on the side is that besides the cueball surface accelerating to the outside also the cuetip will accelerate to the outside, so with an open bridge the cue will jump up when using follow or will jump off the side of the bridge with english and follow.
You can feel this with draw shots, when i do a lot of very hard draw shots i even get a dent in my bridge finger from the impact of the cue.
So the only thing the closed bridge does is take away from the smoothness of the stroke and prevent the cue from moving when the shot is already made...

BillPorter
05-27-2002, 06:16 PM
You can always count on MrSmiley for a well thought out response. Thanks, Smiley...you obviously thought this one through! /ccboard/images/icons/smile.gif

Rod
05-28-2002, 01:58 AM
Bill, most of my game is played with a fairly snug closed bridge. A guess would be at least 70 % closed. I just feel more comfortable that way. If extreme english is used, it's definately closed and firm. I use an open bridge for very thin cut shots near a rail or when I need to reach for a shot. I guess it is a matter of what you are use to, but most important is it has a solid foundation. The only other thought is players that have their chin on the cue "might" benefit more from an open bridge. Reason being they have a better view of the c/b. I don't know that to be true, because I'm never anywhere near that low.

Jay M
05-28-2002, 03:54 AM
Heh, funny how this thread got hijacked. There is an article about the bridge hand in April's edition of Inside Pool. Here are my thoughts on both of the threads that got intertwined here.

Firm or Loose bridge- how tightly your fingers are clamped together isn't half as important as how solid the rest of your hand is. get down on a shot some time and have a buddy try to gently wiggle your bridge hand. If it moves, it's not solid. The more of your hand that's touching the table and the more weight you put on that hand (without discomfort) the better off you are.

Open vs Closed - At the highest levels, a closed bridge seems to be used for everything,except shooting over a ball or rail shots, by the vast majority of players that learned shooting pool. The players that started with snooker use an open bridge more often. Although I don't know the reason, I tend to guess that, as someone else observed here once, with a snooker cue, a closed bridge interferes with the aiming picture.

Jay M