The second photo shows the hand in what I call the neutral position. We check this position, hand hanging straight down from a forearm that’s perpendicular to the floor, to confirm that we are gripping the butt of the cue in the proper place. At this point in the stroke the tip should be about two inches away from the cue ball so that when the hand, which is moving faster than the arm, passes the arm, the tip lands on the cue ball with maximum acceleration. In this moment, where the hand is about to pass the arm, we must apply a second, subtle release of grip tension to allow the cue to move forward with the desired, maximum acceleration. The natural reaction for many players at this point is to grasp the cue, an action that serves to kill the acceleration and possibly move the cue off line to cause a miss.