The Bridge Arm
The bridge arm is a separate section of our stance/posture. There is no perfect bridge arm postures to follow, however, some have been proven to work slightly better than others. Before we get to the hand itself, lets discuss the arm.
The area of a arm that touches the cloth and gives us balance and stability is from the elbow, right down to the hand. Therefore its important that we place our arm on the table that optimises balance and stability and in turn, should prevent much movement whilst on the shot. The best positions for the arm is bent at the elbow, with the forearm facing slightly towards the cue ball as illustrated below.
We can sometimes see players with very straight bridge arms, which is fine for some shots, but unfortunately, when playing other shots that require power or deep screw, the weaknesses of this method appear in the balance of the player. Another problem we see often with players, is that sometimes the player will change their bridge arm position to suit the shot….i.e. a screw shot…..the player will raise his arm from the bed of the cloth slightly to strike down on the cue ball more. The problem with this is, if our arm raises off the bed of the table, our balance is compromised and additionally seeing as its a deep screw we’re playing, we need as much stability as possible.
I would just like to say that we should not change our bridge arm posture. Every shot (except rail shots), should be played with the same posture…..same stance/same bridge arm. For screw shots, we lower the palm of our bridge ever so slightly and/or we raise the cueing arm slightly to strike low. The bridge arm should not change.
Now lets take a look at the bridge hand itself. We need to place our hand firmly on the table, fingers apart (some prefer wider than others), take a comfortable position and raise our thumb and create a close, v shape for our cue to sit snug into. We don’t want a V that is too loose, otherwise the cue could slip or not go through the V in straight line. We want a nice strong, snug V where our cue will go through it in the straightest line possible.
Distance from the bridge V to the cue ball is also important. In order to get beautiful control of the cue ball, i recommend that a distance of 10-12″ is ideal. If our distance is too short, the cue action can become stabby and our control over the cue ball itself becomes poor. If our distance is too long between the V and the white ball, our cue might not push through in a straight line and we might miss the shot. Most professionals use a distance of 12″. This gives the player an optimum position where the player can deliver a straight cue action and have lovely control over the spin of the cue ball.
So now if we review what we’ve learnt so far…..the warm up routine will begin to give you a straight cue action, the stance and bridge arm will give us stability and balance and the bridge hand will give us optimum control of the cue in order to hit a straight show and generate the spin that is required in snooker. If these simple steps are mastered, then we should begin to see improvements in how straight we are hitting the ball. After this we can move onto the cue action.