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View Full Version : Is an open bridge better than a closed bridge?



dr_dave
01-23-2005, 12:32 PM
I expected this to be a controversial topic when I first posted it, but nobody responded. That's why I thought I'd try again. I was hoping to hear from the experienced instructors out there. Here it is:

I think an open bridge is better for most players and most shots. It doesn't look as fancy as the wide variety of closed bridges people use, and it is a lot easier to learn (even for beginners), but I think that's why some people think it isn't any good. An open bridge:
<ul type="square"> provides unobscured view of the stick, for aiming and establishing the stroking direction.

is very stable, even at fairly large heights (with the heel of the hand on the table and the hand cupped).

keeps the stick centered and unrestricted in the V-shape through the entire stroke, even with significant shaft taper (this is not the case with all closed bridges).[/list]
Also, many great players trained in the snooker world (e.g., Allison Fisher and Karen Corr) use an open bridge for most of their shots. To me, this is fairly good evidence that an open bridge might be better. Accuracy is much more important in snooker than in pool (because of the huge table and small pockets), so they must be using an open bridge for a reason. Food for thought.

There are some shots (e.g., power shots, especially power follow) where a closed bridge might be more effective, but I think many people discount the open bridge without having valid reasons.

What do you guys think?

Cane
01-23-2005, 01:56 PM
Dave,

I see your points and they are all valid, but I do use both closed and open bridges. I use the closed bridge most times that I'm hitting below core center of the cue ball and an open bridge anytime I hit above core center. Reasons? I feel personally like I have more control over the cue with a close bridge on draw shots or on shots where I'm hitting well above strokes speed, like on a break shot. I'm just a lot more comfortable with an open bridge on above center hits. I can see the line of aim better with the open bridge on above center ball shots... I see it just as well on below center shots with the closed bridge, but my eyes just aren't comfortable with above center shots and a closed bridge.

Oddly enough, contrary to where you feel that the closed bridge is better, on the power follow, I use an open bridge on the power follow and it works very well for me. Not saying you're wrong, just saying that's what works for me. Now, anytime I hit a forced draw or have to draw the ball a long distance, I go to a closed bridge, because that's what works best for me.

As far as shaft taper interfering with the closed bridge, I don't have any problem with that. I don't use a long bridge, and I rarely, except on the break shot, get the taper out of my bridge, although, I've seen many who use a very long bridge length and can see how that would be a problem for them.

Later,
Bob

Fred Agnir
01-23-2005, 04:08 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote dr_dave:</font><hr> I expected this to be a controversial topic when I first posted it, but nobody responded. That's why I thought I'd try again. I was hoping to hear
<hr /></blockquote> It's another question that gets asked every other month or less. That along with Sport vs. Game, Men vs. Women, and where's my issue of Billiards Digest?

My canned answer available on the net:

I'll echo what others have written before. In the beginning phases, a
student might change from an open bridge to a closed bridge in pool to
aid in their progress in straight stroking. But once they get better
and figure how to stroke relatively straight, then many players will
revert back to or at least re-incorporate the open bridge. Not only
is the open bridge important in a game of pool, it often is the
*correct* bridge for certain shots. That is to say, in many
circumstances, the use of a proper open bridge is actually an
indicator of advancement in pool.


Fred

Stretch
01-23-2005, 04:51 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote dr_dave:</font><hr> I expected this to be a controversial topic when I first posted it, but nobody responded. That's why I thought I'd try again. I was hoping to hear from the experienced instructors out there. Here it is:

I think an open bridge is better for most players and most shots. It doesn't look as fancy as the wide variety of closed bridges people use, and it is a lot easier to learn (even for beginners), but I think that's why some people think it isn't any good. An open bridge:
<ul type="square"> provides unobscured view of the stick, for aiming and establishing the stroking direction.

is very stable, even at fairly large heights (with the heel of the hand on the table and the hand cupped).

keeps the stick centered and unrestricted in the V-shape through the entire stroke, even with significant shaft taper (this is not the case with all closed bridges).[/list]
Also, many great players trained in the snooker world (e.g., Allison Fisher and Karen Corr) use an open bridge for most of their shots. To me, this is fairly good evidence that an open bridge might be better. Accuracy is much more important in snooker than in pool (because of the huge table and small pockets), so they must be using an open bridge for a reason. Food for thought.

There are some shots (e.g., power shots, especially power follow) where a closed bridge might be more effective, but I think many people discount the open bridge without having valid reasons.

What do you guys think?
[/quot

I think people just do what they see. There is a place for a looped bridge, and there are places for an open bridge...off the the rail bridge, parralell to the rail bridge, spider bridge etc. I started learning pool by way of snooker myself and the open bridge is the first thing you learn. Your right in that this method is all about accuracy. Straight pool and other billiard games requires you to do more with the cue ball. English/side for instance. Now you need a looped bridge as a secure pivit point or your cue will jump on a hard shot with side or from the more extravigant shots haha. So there always has been room for a variety of bridges and it's back to what you see and what works best for you. I don't think there is any "controversy" over which one is best because as long as it forms a solid base over which you stroke the cue your going to get great cueball contact. I here even Earl is breaking with an open bridge now so i don't think there ever was a this way is better than that way debate.

One thing i will say though is that regardless of what type of bridge you use, it is always worth working on to improove in useing a variety of bridges.

Here's a neet bridge trick that you can try out. On some shots that you need to stretch to reach you can use a mechanical bridge and hold it just six or so inches from the head. Now you can comfortably get in your set position and use your normal cueing action without stretching for the shot. St.

dr_dave
01-24-2005, 10:24 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Stretch:</font><hr>Here's a neet bridge trick that you can try out. On some shots that you need to stretch to reach you can use a mechanical bridge and hold it just six or so inches from the head. Now you can comfortably get in your set position and use your normal cueing action without stretching for the shot.<hr /></blockquote>
That's a neat idea. Thanks for that along with your other comments. Also, thanks to the others that contributed to this thread. I guess this topic is not so controversial after all.

8b411
01-24-2005, 11:43 AM
As a beginner, I found that switching to an open bridge really improved the accuracy of my shots. I think it has something to do with tensing up before the shot, and having an extra finger pulling the cue in the wrong direction. What do you guys think?

bluey2king
01-24-2005, 12:19 PM
I agree with you. I was having trouble with draw shots at the pool hall and not at home, I switched to a open bridge and I draw much better. I think DrDave is right with unobstructed view and Like you said I was tensing up with my bridge hand causing me to hit higher than I thought I was.

GeraldG
01-24-2005, 12:36 PM
I was taught to use an open bridge for shots where you need an unobstructed view of the cueball and for soft to medium stroke shots. For strokes that require more power I was taught to use a closed bridge. However, Johnny Archer now uses an open bridge on his break shot sometimes. If he has a situation where he needs to control the cueball more, he'll break at about 70% or so with an open bridge. It's hard to imaging a normal shot on the table that would need 70% of Johnny Archer's break speed. I guess as long as your stroke is straight and you're not trying to "steer" the cue, then you could probablt do OK using an open bridge all the time. It's just such a thoroughly engrained habit for me now, to change back and forth from open to closed bridges depending upon the shot without even thinking about it.