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Playing pool requires that you learn the different types of pool games, terminologies used, and the expertise to play well. If you are not keen on the things mentioned above, this game might come out as a task. Matter of fact, you may end up breaking some of the laws of pool tournaments like misusing the cue stick.
So, can you use the back of the pool stick? The answer is no. Using the butt of a cue is considered a foul strike in pool games. While you may get away with it in random home-based pool games, striking the ball with the stick’s end, length or any other side is not allowed in tournaments. Other than that, only the top of the stick is designed for that purpose, which makes it the best side for striking.
This article will highlight why you cannot use the butt of a cue when playing pool, how to use a cue stick properly, tips for using a cue stick and other related questions.
Why You Cannot Use the Butt of a Cue
For starters, according to pool league rules 2019-2020, the shot must be legal stroke when playing pool. A legal shot is a force that propels the cue balls forward. Cue balls are only propelled forward when the cue strikes the ball using the tip. Therefore, should you hit the ball using any other side, it is not considered a forward propel and the referee can call it foul.
Secondly, using any other side of the cue other than the top will not get the ball to where you want it to go. The tip of a poll stick is specifically designed for that purpose.
Other than that, using the end of the poll stick has some benefits. If your stick’s end has a rubber pad, striking using that end, tends to propel the ball at a lower speed masse, which gives you a greater chance to pot in the break. The downside to this is that not everyone can use the butt of the stick. As such, for a fair game, using the end of the cue is banned wholesomely.
How to use a Cue Stick Correctly
Now that we know using the butt of a cue stick is a foul shot, how do we use the stick in a correct way?
Before we can look at how to handle a cue stick, we need to know how to choose one. When selecting a cue, it is important to pay attention to its weight. The average weight of sticks is 16- 22 ounces.
If you are an amateur in pool games, we recommend you go for more massive cues. This is because, when learning how to strike the balls, heavier cues help you to keep your arms straight without using much force to move the balls. On the other hand, for experts or gurus, we recommend lighter cues. They apply great spin power on the cue balls.
Now that you have the right cue, here is a guide on how to handle it properly
Step 1: Using your most comfortable hand, grasp the cue to your waist level. The cue and your body should be in a straight line. There should also be a distance of about 5 inches between you and the tape on the cue’s rear. To confirm you are holding the cue correctly, your right hand, and cue should make a 90-degree angle.
Step 2: While holding the stick with your dominant hand, lower your body towards the table, focus and imagine firing a shot. Relax your legs and body for better performance.
Step 3: Place the other hand, 6-8 inches away from the cue balls on the table. Place the hand on the table so that it makes a cradle or an open bridge, which will allow you to balance the stick and make a perfect hit on the balls.
Step 4: In the position in step 3, lean forward and mentally target the cue ball. Make sure that the cue ball and the object ball are in a direct line. The object ball is the ball you are aiming for while the cue ball will is the one used to hit the object ball. As you mentally aim for the cue ball, go for the ball’s center, it helps to propel the ball to the intended direction.
Step 5: With the cue in position, slide it forward while aiming steadily and strike the cue ball. In case you are not sure about your shot, you can move the cue back and forward as you try to get the right balance for your short. Only strike after you are confident, the bridge is perfect, your body is firm, and the two balls are in a direct line
Tips on having the Perfect Shot
- Having followed the above procedure, keep your body low to the table until you are done taking your shot
- The grip on the cue should not be too firm (as done by beginners). If you hold the stick too tightly, it tends to change the intended direction of the cue ball
- When creating an open bridge use the index and second finger
What is a legal shot?
According to the rules and guidelines, for a shot to be considered legal, the first object the cue ball contacts must be the object ball. Should the cue ball contact any other item, then it should be simultaneous with the object ball. After contact, the object ball should be pocketed. Both the cue and object ball must contact a cushion or any part of the rail for it to be a legal shot
What is the need to create a bridge?
As you are starting to learn pool games, you must know how to make a suitable bridge. A bridge helps to restrain the shaft’s vibration, which then ensures the tip of the stick does not deflect off the target.
Also, it is through a bridge that you can balance your cue stick. Other than that, there are different types of bridges, depending on the situation. As such, if you cannot execute one, you might try the other. The bridges include; the open bridge, closed bridge, Rail Bridge and elevated bridge.