How to Shoot with a Bridge Stick
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Hello again, today we're going to talk about a very valuable tool that may come into use for you particularly if you play on a larger table with hard to reach shots. The mechanical bridge, now I know a lot of you probably know this as the cheater stick, the granny stick, crutch or any number of other negative connotations. However, it’s really a very valuable tool if you take the time to practice with it and use it properly. Let's take a look at the techniques.
So, here we have a shot on the 1 ball. If I attempt to stretch out I'm way off balance, my hands well forward of my body and I still have no ability to really hit the cue ball with any reliability. It would be crazy to try and shoot this shot that way. However, with the help of mechanical bridge I can shoot a much more reliable and effective shot. One of the first things I want to cover with the mechanical bridge Itself is a common area I see with most players is they'll have a tendency to want to hold the bridge up like this (off the table) tilting the bridgehead unnecessarily. You want to lay this flat on the table, one hand on the bridge to be able to pull it up off the table if the cue ball comes flying back at you. This doesn't happen very often but just in case it’s a good idea. Next, we'll look at the grip. For the support under (the cue) use your thumb… with the index and middle finger on the top. Like a dart. Then find the center of the cue ball, notice my forearm is up, my elbow is parallel to the table. My chin is over the cue and I'm going to lean over as much as possible to get the best possible look of shot line. After a few warm-up strokes and once I feel that I'm ready, shoot the shot.
A great way to practice utilizing a bridge stick is a drill similar to what I've set up here. Just five balls in a straight line, cue ball set up a short distance away at a slight angle which will help condition you to not only pocket the ball but to actually play for a position. I'm shooting these in order from one through five, but if that's too much of a challenge you can just set up three balls but you want to get accustomed to utilize that mechanical bridge for numerous shots if necessary.
Setting Up On The Rail
Now, my cue ball is well within reach. I do not have to use the mechanical bridge but I’m going to use it just for the sake of becoming familiar with it. Again, the setup is the exact same. I'm a little closer to the rail so I can't lay the bridge flat on the table but I can set it up laying it flat against the rail. Ok, there you have it. As you can see, making multiple balls utilize the mechanical bridge can be quite a challenge but this is a great way to get comfortable with this invaluable tool.
Til next time, I'm JP Roberts with Ozone Billiards!