View Full Version : Bridge Hand-How hard do you grip the cloth?
04-27-2005, 10:30 AM
The Ledgendary Joe Davis (former 20 year world snooker Champion) stated in his book that he grips the cloth hard enough to see the whites on the tips of his fingernails.
I use an open bridge and have tried Joe's approach in practice,however,I find it difficult to maintain the discipline to do it with regularity come game time.It seems to put tension in my body that influnces how my shot goes and how I feel.It seems to adversley effect the result of my shot and makes everything seem like hard work.Is it nessecary to grip the cloth as to see the whites in ones fingernails or is a happy medium appropriate enough here?Am I just being a lazy slug by not taking Joe's reccomendations and will gripping the cloth with dedication after a period of time pay off and become a natural part of ones game?
How hard do you grip the cloth?If you are not seeing the whites on your fingernail tips,are you gripping hard enough?I understand a solid bridge is crucial,however,can feel be lost when mind focus is geared to the added tension applied to the bridge hand?
Any comments appreciated. RJ
04-27-2005, 11:39 AM
I always teach that the bridge should be stable and comfortable. I never heard of gripping the cloth.
It is easier to keep the hand still if it is relaxed.
Thumb and forefinger (open bridge)
The most important thing in the bridge is the pressure between the thumb and forefinger. You need to press the thumb to the side of the forefinger so that the part where the cue is sliding remains as still as possible. You need to press hard enough so that you can feel the bone.
Fingers touching cloth
All fingers need to be equally spread as wide as possible, this makes the bridge more stable and you get less movement. The most important thing is to have the heel of the hand touching the cloth, there should be equal pressure of the inside and outside parts of the heel.
Pressing fingers down on cloth
Pressing down is not important if you shoot soft, but if you shoot very hard you need to press down more or else the bridge will move.
You need to press the heel forwards so the cloth stretches in the direction of the cue traveling. You pull the cloth backwards with the fingers, while moving the heel forwards, this also stretches your skin of the hand.
The easiest way is to press down on the cloth with the same pressure as with the thumb pressing the forefinger. This makes the bridge hand more consistent.
04-27-2005, 11:47 AM
I read a post on one of the forums one time about preventing pain in your upper arm and shoulder of the bridge side by not putting too much weight on your bridge hand (the opposite, I guess, of what your are doing). I tried this one night and it definitely eliminated the pain. However, I felt like I wasn't as effective as my bridge felt kind of tentative. I'm 52 (and haven't been the kindest person to my body), so both of my shoulders/upper arms pretty much always have a little pain in them every day from playing. I have a hard time doing drills as setting up in the same position over and over again exacerbates the pain. I can't imagine what it would be like if I were pressing down so hard that my fingers turned white. Bottom line is, I don't think you need to do that on every shot. I think where it might be the most useful would be on shots where you have to raise your bridge to shoot over a ball or on rail shots; especially, though, on the high bridge. I know mine tends to wobble a little on these shots and it takes some concentration to hold it steady.
Never heard the term before but you can be snug on the cloth without extra weight on your arm. I think it should be snug. My finger tips easily turn white with a small amount grip pressure. It hardly seems little more than my regular bridge.
However having a firm bridge, both on the table and around the cue, isn't something I see all that often. If I can move someones cue at the ferrule easy,(closed bridge) their bridge isn't firm enough. If their hand rocks easy (either bridge) it isn't firm enough. You be the judge but you do need a little pressure.
That is very common with beginning to above average players. Usually, but of course not always, a better player has the base fairly snug on the table. Of course it's fairly common to see even them have a loose cue where the index, middle finger and thumb meet.
Another thing I see quite often (usually more so with the ladies), is shooting with their palm off the table. Here the only support is their fingers which I don't approve of unless necessary.
Another big fault, unless absolutely necessary is shooting with a high rail bridge, closed or open. If at all possible (which it usually is), play with the cue shaft resting on the rail. There are several ways to use your fingers to guide and keep the cue steady.
04-28-2005, 12:07 AM
I use an open bridge and have tried Joe's approach in practice,however,I find it difficult to maintain the discipline to do it with regularity come game time.It seems to put tension in my body that influnces how my shot goes and how I feel.It seems to adversley effect the result of my shot and makes everything seem like hard work.Is it nessecary to grip the cloth as to see the whites in ones fingernails
I think you've answered your own question.....tension, adverse effect, etc...even Martha Stewart would tell you
"them ain't good things"
I've got Joe's book around here someplace....what a player.
I think you need some weight on the bridge hand for stability....and to provide an "anchor" to hit against.
The posts have been getting pretty "technical" over here lately....it's damn near "paralysis by analysis"
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