View Full Version : Grip : Thumb position, straight or curled

04-08-2005, 04:57 AM
I have been experimenting with my grip and have found something that has really helped me. Normally I would have my thumb pointing straight down and cradle the cue in my grip hand. In the past I have switched between having space between the thumb and finger "V" and not having any space.

Recently I tried curling my thumb at the thumb's joint and pressing it against the fingernail of my first finger. This lets the cue rest in a cradle position with no choke hold on the cue. The cue doesn't twist out of line and I can let the cue do all the work. If you are gripping the cue in this position I describe, if you take some fast practice strokes, you would feel the cue's wrap slide in and out of the hole created in your grip. For good video of a similair grip to what I am talking about, watch Buddy Hall's Clock system instructional tape. I really like how I am hitting the balls with this grip and might make some tweeks here and there if it is needed as I practice my fundamentals in the future.

Not sure this grip can work for everyone, I just know it's working good for me. I also have a slightly unique middle finger on my grip hand. I had the tip of my middle finger cut off at the fingernail by getting it caught between the chain and sprocket of a riding lawnmower. Fingernail grew back but it doesn't look like a normal middle finger and my the feeling in the tip of that finger is a little dead.

I think one of the goals on getting a proper grip should be to get the feeling that you are in control of the cue, but the cue is doing all the work in the stroke. I think anyway you can hold the cue and accomplish this is a proper grip.

04-09-2005, 02:59 AM
It's this kind of experimentation that can lead to improvements in one's game. My guess is you're likely to find varying your grip slightly for different shots will work better than only using one fixed grip.

04-09-2005, 09:05 AM
"It's this kind of experimentation that can lead to improvements in one's game."

It can also become a source of craziness. I have seen a zillion guys who every time you see them have some new thing they are doing, I.E. they run up to you with, "I just discovered what I was doing wrong". They mess with this stuff and have a good night then the next times they play bad assume it is not working and are on to new discoveries. I knew one guy who used to come in with something different every time you saw him. One time he would have two fingers taped together and think he had discovered some amazing secret, the next time he has a new stroke or he is holding his head or feet different. In 25 years he has not stopped doing this stuff and he just can't play very well at all. It is all his crazy experimentation, if he would just play the game and not keep looking for crutches he might have been able to learn the game.

I think it is a lack of confidence or something, he can't trust himself with just playing the game and trying to be natural. By the way, this guy is a high roller he bets thousands. He could be playing $1000. a game one pocket and he will be walking over to the table by the window where you can see your reflection in the window and be checking the straightness of his stroke or the angle of his head. It is creepy watching him play sometimes. Just as a side note, this guy I'm talking about is not some dim witted idiot, he is a certified genius. He was a concert violinist, one of the top handicappers in the country and can talk on any subject. Pool may be the only thing in his life that has eluded him and he just can't figure it out with a pencil and paper like he can a race and it drives him nuts. Maybe it is a negative to be too smart sometimes.

I have to add, I have done the same thing myself. I once played with a glove on my stroking hand and really liked it.

04-09-2005, 11:49 AM
The only function of the grip is to hold the butt of the cue to keep it from hitting the floor. As long as it is relaxed and comfortable, it's a good grip.
No need to make the game any harder than it really is.
It's often best to avoid over thinking some things.
If you aim at the right place, and your stroke is straight and smooth, you will make the shot.

04-09-2005, 01:44 PM
Have the thumb as relaxed as possible which consistent pressure touching the cue.

The secret of speed control is as relaxed as possible while being consistent.

When I was a beginner I didn't know what grip to use, they all worked good. But when I became better some of the grips didn't work good anymore.

Right now I have a few grips that work. The first one is a full solid relaxed grip where the heel of the hand touches the cue more, this is good for hard shots where the heel of the hand stops the impact of the cue on draw shots. This grip also makes you set up the shot straighter.

The other grip I am experimenting with is a relaxed loose grip where I focus more on the pressure between the thumb and the forefinger. This grip is the best for speed control, but often my stroke is not straight enough because setting up the shot straight is harder. I also do a variation of this grip where I have more pressure against the side of the grip hand (towards the 4 fingers).

So for a straight stroke have as much skin touching the cue as possible while being relaxed.

For the best speed control have as little skin as possible touching the cue while being relaxed.

I don't have enough knowledge and experience to write an article yet, when I find the optimal grip I will take pictures and videos. The grip is the most difficult part of the physical part of pool! The grip is ALWAYS the reason why I play bad.

04-09-2005, 03:04 PM
That is the same thing with me. You should tell that "genius" guy to play some Virtual Pool 3 instead. That way he can learn to play pool! In real pool I have only had 2-3 practice sessions (in 10 years) where I have learned and improved!! That was when my stroke was good. The rest of the practice sessions were a complete WASTE.

You should not start experimenting with the stroke until AFTER your skill level is very high, otherwise every stroke and grip will work for you and you get confused when not knowing which one to use! When you keep changing the stroke it just gets worse because it takes a while to get used to it. But once you are used to it it will work okay, but it will not work optimal!

So the higher your cueball control skill gets the less "stroke styles" will work if you want to play at your highest level. Eventually there will be only 1 stroke that will work!!! This is the BEST and simple way for reaching your potential at pool.

04-09-2005, 03:27 PM
There are two places where I want no lateral play whatsoever: both my bridge hand and grip hand. I need them to be precisely on the cue if I want accuracy in all shot situations.

A poor grip really reveals itself in power stroke situations. When you need to hit the shot with a strong stroke, if there is too much play in your grip, or if the cue is too much in the fingers, you will be inconsistent.

I like my grip and wrist to be firm enough to control the cue, but relaxed enough to feel what's happening. There should be no slippage at all. I used to play with a slip stroke, and I came to the conclusion that it's totally inferior. There should be no looseness or gap that allows the cue to slide side to side. I like a small gap (about 1/8") between my web and cue (for various reasons), but I want firm control of the cue. My cue is held firmly between the knuckle and upper joint, with my thumb resting on my forefinger and pointing straight down to the ground. My grip pressure comes from pressing the cue with my thumb against the upper part of my forefinger. This allows complete wrist motion but still firmly grips the cue. My fingers are barely on the cue. I would say 90% of my grip pressure is just the thumb pressed sideways against the forefinger. This is a plenty firm grip which doesn't tense up the forearm and allows good shot feel.

The grip is important - don't let anyone tell you it's not.


04-09-2005, 04:08 PM
Do you maintain that grip at all times during the stroking as well as when you finally pull the trigger? I tend to hold the cue pretty loose all through out the process of the practice strokes and only tighten up at about the point I hit the cue ball.

04-09-2005, 04:43 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Popcorn:</font><hr> Do you maintain that grip at all times during the stroking as well as when you finally pull the trigger? I tend to hold the cue pretty loose all through out the process of the practice strokes and only tighten up at about the point I hit the cue ball. <hr /></blockquote>

It is not consistent if you change the pressure level. The beginning acceleration of the pre-strokes should be the same as the final stroke, in the final stroke you just continue to accelerate instead of decelerate it.

04-09-2005, 06:30 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Popcorn:</font><hr> Do you maintain that grip at all times during the stroking as well as when you finally pull the trigger? I tend to hold the cue pretty loose all through out the process of the practice strokes and only tighten up at about the point I hit the cue ball. <hr /></blockquote>

I keep it reasonably firm now while the whole time because it's one less thing to think about. I found that it hardly takes any pressure at all to keep the cue stable. For example, assuming you grip with your right hand, take your grip on the first two fingers of your left hand (side by side). I squeeze just enough to hold the two fingers together, to where you can't separate them.

My problem was before that I tended to relax the grip too much, then tighten it on the last stroke. I think this was jerking the tip around especially on shots struck with more power, where you tend to grip fimer.

The first grip I was taught was in the fingers, a cradle grip. I used this for many years successfully playing straight pool, but I always had a problem with break shots. That grip sure didn't hold up playing 9 ball where you sometimes have no alternative but to put some power to the ball.

Not only is it more accurate but I swear I can get more action on the cue ball with less power.


04-09-2005, 07:32 PM
Take a look at the grip section of this Web site address below. Similair to some of the suggestions in this thread.


04-10-2005, 02:10 AM
I use different grips for different shots. I didn't realize that until about two years ago. I never really payed much attention to my grip until I fell into a slump, and I got confused because sometimes when playing I would pause and check my grip, and it would be slightly different on certain shots, like draw shots or shots where I just have to cinch the cueball. I think the best thing one can do with the grip (which I agree is also very important) is to find something that's comfortable, and don't mess with it if it feels comfortable. Only mess with your grip if it feels wrong or "off", or is preventing you from cueing straight (you can easily tell if this is the case, the cue would be turning sideways in your hand on the forward stroke).

04-11-2005, 06:52 AM
Chris I don't like to give out to much info at one time but the fold between your thumb and forefinger is what propells the cue, all you have to do is [censored] your wrist slightly allowing the fold to become a part of your grip. I could hold the cue with just my thumb by bending the thumbnail portion.####

04-11-2005, 11:16 AM
Popcorn what usually happens when one changes a part of his game he doesn't spend the two weeks it takes to implement the change into his game before playing a game. As soon as he plays a game he starts making mistakes and soon his new idea has failed.

There was times when I refused to play people because something I was working on wasn't a permament part of my game. I had learned early on,the one step forward,two step backward part of changing your game.####