I have previously outlined how to set your bridge hand and I have also mentioned the bridge hand and it’s importance in relation to the stance and cueing. It is the third leg of the tripod of the stance. With your body weight forward over your bent front knee onto your bridge hand, you have to support your forward body weight by comfortably setting your bridge arm straight from your shoulder to your bridge hand as is possible, depending on the position of the cue ball or any other balls. Having set your stance with your back leg straight (braced against any movement backwards) and your straight bridging arm (propping on your bridging hand) these two anchor points will assist greatly in holding you steady against any forward or backward movement, particularly when using power shots.

During the course of a game you will not always be able to comfortably place your bridge hand in a position to cue at the cue ball, due to cushions, other balls or even distance. We will look at these positions in this lesson.

When you have ample room to be able to place your hand on the table it is recommended that your hand is no more than 25cm (10”) from the cue ball. If it is further away it will be very difficult to guarantee striking the cue ball where you intend to. Always remember that once you set your bridge hand up to 25cm to the cue ball your cue hand grip should drop to the cue butt straight down from the elbow. So, if you have to shorten your bridge hand distance you will need to shorten your grip on the cue.

Let’s look at a couple of positions when the cue ball is close to or even touching a cushion.

Close to a cushion – cue ball about 15cm (6”) away:
Keep in mind that some cushion rails are wider than others, so just be alert to distances. Place your fingers, (spread), on the cushion rail with the cue to slide under your index finger and between your middle finger. Gently close your fingers on the shaft to ensure accurate aiming. The thumb can run under the fingers and along the edge of the shaft of the cue to serve as a guide. This is a very good grip for locking the cue when playing a power shot from the cushion. Always keep your cue as horizontal as possible.

Touching a cushion – cue ball frozen to the cushion:
First thing to remember is if the cue ball is hard up against a cushion you will not be able to have your normal bridge hand distance from the cue ball. You will be forced to have your bridge hand fingers on the outside edge of the cushion rail. To gain maximum distance, and depending on the rail width, you may have to drop your little finger off the edge, just balancing on the 3 other fingers. Make sure you maintain your stance to have forward over your bent front leg and straight bridge arm. You will need to shorten your cue hold on the butt of the cue so as to keep your grip on the cue directly below your elbow or on these rare occasions just slightly forward of vertical. Try not to use too much power, but use plenty of chalk on the tip. One extra point, do not lift your back hand to raise the butt of the cue and keep the shot as smooth as possible.

You will find yourself in these positions more often than you may want, so practice from these positions regularly and they will become second nature and less intimidating.