fcsnooker - Top Quality Snooker Coaching and Instruction in association with Mr Frank Callan - Basic Level -
"The Bridge

All top players have a bridge with which they take a firm grip of the cloth and provide a channel through which they send the cue on a straight line.

Without a good bridge, you are doomed. You are a no-hoper. An unsteady bridge will ruin everything. If there is any movement, say with the thumb, any shot can and will go wrong.

I believe that more players should be concerned with getting the bridge hand firmed up, before considering other more advanced areas of the game.

As a starting point, place your hand flat on the table. Then draw up all the fingers in a crab-like manner before cocking the thumb in such a way that you are able to form a 'V' between your thumb and the top knuckle of your forefinger.

Emphasize the firmness of the bridge by pressing the forefinger into the cloth.

Anyone who wants to realize just how important the bridge is, need only try this simple experiment.

Bridge along the baulk line making sure that the cue covers the baulk line itself so that it is no longer visible from above. Now lower the thumb and notice what happens. The cue goes off line.

If that should happen while you are playing a shot, it is one way of putting accidental side on the cue ball.

Take a look at the strength of the bridges displayed above and to the right. All fingers are pressed into the cloth and wood, with particular emphasis placed on the forefinger, the one that is the real basis of the bridge.

Players used to be criticised in the old days for the marks left on the cloth as a result of the pressure placed by their fingers, but this didn't bother them and it shouldn't bother you.

However, don't drag your bridge hand back, particularly against the nap of the cloth. There is no advantage in this and it will create so many furrows that the table will look like a ploughed field and could also rough up the nap sufficiently to make slow shots more hazardous.

When your shot is completed, just lift your hand from the table.

I believe that players pressing the first finger into the cloth in the manner demonstrated above, will find firmness along the left-hand side of the body. The fact that the left side is so firm seems to make the right hand even freer to get rhythm into the cue action.

The reverse is true for left-handed players.

For screw shots the great Joe Davis adapted his bridge by turning the hand over on to its side just by lifting the left of the palm. But this is not the only way and today most players today simply lower the whole hand and still maintain a good 'V' in the bridge. It is up to you which method suits you better.

For a very deep screw shot Joe would use the loop bridge, which very few players use today. The real reason he used it even if he was not aware of the fact, was that he was inclined to lift the cue when striking the cue ball.

This came about because he had the flourish so many billiards players have of lifting the cue when playing a forcing shot - sometimes even striking the light shade with the tip of the cue.

The loop bridge counteracted this by stopping the cue coming up. Young players today appear reluctant to use the loop bridge, but my advice is to try it out. It is very useful when the cue ball is tight to the cushion as shown top left.

A solid, firm bridge is essential to become a decent player.

fcsnooker - The Frank Callan Suite - 282 Ribbleton Lane, Ribbleton, Preston, Lancashire, England - PR1 5EB - tel. + 44 (0) 1772 702211 - info@fcsnooker.co.uk

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fcsnooker - The Frank Callan Suite - 282 Ribbleton Lane, Ribbleton, Preston, Lancashire, England - PR1 5EB - tel. + 44 (01772) 702211 - info@fcsnooker.co.uk
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