Many players, especially beginners, ask exactly where the grip should fall on the cue. Most of the books that address the topic fail to consider relevant facts such as the player’s height while misleading readers with some mumbo jumbo about the cue’s balance point. The truth is that the best spot varies from player to player and, for an individual, from shot to shot.

For most shots with a normal bridge length, about six to nine inches, the grip will probably land in the middle section of the cue’s wrap. To find its precise placement, put your tip about two inches from the cue ball and stop it there. Then move the back hand along the butt of the cue until the forearm is perpendicular to the floor from a side view. That is what I call the neutral position, the spot where the hand falls directly in line with the forearm just before it will move past it to hit the cue ball.

Because all shots do not employ the same setup we shall vary the grip position according to bridge length. For shots with a short bridge length, a snip-draw for example, the shooting hand will come toward the front of the wrap as shown in the first photo. Shots with a long bridge, such as the break, will move the hand toward the back of the cue as shown in the second photo. In any case the forearm should be perpendicular to the floor when the tip is about two inches from the cue ball to maintain consistent timing on all strokes.

Everything beautiful in this world—painting, music, sculpture—is made with fingers and it follows that pool, with all its delicate touch, should proceed with the same sensitivity. In order to move the game out of the arm and into the fingers we must practice the guidelines laid out here. The best place for that is in a mirror. While positioned next to or in front of a mirror, examine the grip from all possible angles. Look for consistently straight alignment through the forearm, wrist and hand while making sure to keep the elbow over the cue. Then, while standing alongside the mirror, practice with various bridge lengths and grip positions until the shooting arm falls naturally into a perpendicular alignment to the floor with the tip stopped two inches away from the cue ball. Note how a light, relaxed grip relates to a smooth, powerful stroke as you create more of your own art on the pool table.

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