As I stated in the intro, we will start with the basics. The stance, grip of the cue, aiming and cue action are the  basics, but most important parts of playing any of the cue sport games. As you are generally competing on a singular basis there is only you who can help you when something may go wrong.

As a person is beginning at the different games the percentage of physical ability to mental ability is around 90% physical. After years, (and I mean years) of solid practice and competitive play the players among the world’s best will have a mental to physical ratio of approximately 70-80% mental. I will explain all of this as we progress through these lessons.
Today I will begin with the stance. Unless you have a solid and correct stance, you will not be able to align the other key areas, such as aiming and cueing. If a player with an incorrect stance and cue action plays enough they will become reasonably proficient at the games. But, at times of pressure in a match that imperfection will just assist them to fail.

What we are going to set up in the stance is a rock solid tri-pod. Once correct and remembered by a player, it will be something the player will be able to check back on in times of trouble and correct. This means if you are not playing well and say just missing by a little, you can have a quick check list of things to search for and maybe correct a slight fault that will allow you get back on track. Correct alignment is the key. Most, if not all people can see the line the cue ball has to take to hit an object ball to pocket it. This is called the ‘line of aim’. Remember this, as it is very important.

Let’s assume you are a right-handed player, (mirror this for those lefties), and you place your cue on the line of aim. Before you bend over to chin the cue look straight down on your cue and make sure the cue is passing over the instep of your right foot. This will ensure two very important things: 1) that the cue arm is close to the body, and.. 2) that your head will be straight when chinning the cue.

The toe of your right foot should be turned slightly right of square and the knee should be locked straight. This is one side of the tri-pod. This will help anchor you for stability. The left foot should be half a step forward and to the left with the toe pointed in the direction or line of the shot. The distance between the feet of the stance is governed by your height and comfort to allow you to chin the cue. The knee of the left leg does bend, allowing your body balance to be forward over the bent left leg and your body weight to be felt on the left foot. This is the second side of the tri-pod. Your weight forward will allow for the correct follow through of shots.

Once your feet are in their correct position you now bend from the waist straight down over the cue with the chin sitting centre touching the cue. Your bridge arm will stretch out as straight as possible and your bridge hand will grip the cloth with the pads of the fingers and the heel of your hand. This is the third leg of the tri-pod.
Now in facing the shot and aligning the cue, the right foot, the cue, the cueing arm and the head are all on perfect line. The head is directly above the cue in line with aim.

Coming next time:    The Stance … conclusion

by Edward Charlton
Professional Player
(now retired)