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Open or Closed Hand Bridge


Open or Closed Hand Bridge

I've been taking billiards more seriously as of late, and I'm re-learning from the ground up by revisiting grips and stances.

I learned to play billiards by using an open hand bridge only; no closed hand bridge. I found that the closed bridge was uncomfortable, but I think that I could get used to it after a some time if it truly is a better way. The reason that I ask about closed hand bridge vs. open hand bridge is that I see a majority of the pro players using a closed bridge, I've heard that it gives more support for the cue, and I assume that this is why they use the closed hand bridge.

Will getting comfortable with a closed hand bridge be better for me in the long run, and should I practice a lot with the closed bridge and just use open for shots its needed? Is it even worth it? What do you guys use generally?

Thank you for your help.

Open or Closed Hand Bridge

Replies & Comments

  1. straightshooterkellystick on 5/16/2007 8:09:46 PM

    I would say open is the preference unless there is a good reason not to. Reason being is you have uninterupted sighting down your stick. It is easy to be very solid with your bridge hand and stable and it's just.. well easy. Plus the sighting is no small matter.

    However for shots that require top spin or english or perhaps a harder stroke the open bridge is subject to allowing the cue stick to move out of the slot you make with an open bridge. So to me the open bridge is preferable and is the first choice but when you need more cue stick stability you need a closed bridge. Like for top spin you could see where the stick might just lift off with an open bridge. Ditto for right and left. So you need both bridges in your arsenal and need to understand your personal abilities with each to apply the best bridge for the given shot you are shooting. This might change over time.

  2. straightshooterPlumb on 5/19/2007 8:27:39 AM

    I think it's a matter of preference more than anything else. Even if you don't use a closed bridge down on the table you still need one for rail shots.

    I do think closed bridges can encourage a sloppy cue action if you're not careful. The cue can't skid off nearly as easily as it can if you're using an open bridge. If you're not careful you'll start aiming with just the tip end of the cue rather than the whole length. Lotsa cue wobble and rocking is never a good idea but you can get away with it more if you're using a closed bridge. Eventually it'll catch up with you though. There's no supplement for a smooth straight cue action and an open bridge is a good test of whether or not you're achieving it.

    Either way its a good idea to incorporate both bridges into your game. As already said, a closed bridge can be very handy for those big screw or top spin shots.

  3. straightshooterstraightshooter on 7/18/2007 3:50:22 PM

    Kellystick - thanks for the detailed reply. Do you really aim by looking straight down the cue stick though? I guess now I'm learning to be proficient with both the closed hand bridge and the open hand bridge.

  4. straightshooterbilliardsforum on 7/18/2007 3:56:58 PM

    I really find the closed bridge is superior for control. I only revert to an open bridge when I need to shoot over another ball, shoot from a rail, or shoot with the cue jacked way up.

    Like you, I started playing with only the open bridge, noticed that many professionals used the closed bridge, and decided to try it.

    I found it really awkward and uncomfortable when I first used it, and thus, my performance was affected negatively. After a while though, it felt more natural and comfortable, and I can execute without thinking. As always, when I'm needing to use a significant amount of English or if I am needing to produce a harder hit on the cue ball, I definitely use the closed bridge.

    As kellystcik and plumb maintain, you will really need to be proficient at both, if you are as serious as you say.

  5. straightshooterkellystick on 7/26/2007 1:28:46 PM

    How else would you aim? Would you shoot a rifle by holding it at your hip and aiming? No you sight down your cue just like you would sight down the barrel of a rifle to shoot "accurately". Watch the pros and watch how close most of them have their chin to the stick when shooting, most of the time. There are some shots where a higher vantage point feels better to me. This is typically when the CB and OB are closer to each other. Then I will often opt for a more birds eye view. Frequently in order to zone in on the shot it can be useful to move your sighting up and down until you get the right angle. Particularly on the close CB to OB shots. But for accuracy and in particular long shots sight down the stick like a rifle.

  6. straightshooterFenwick on 12/16/2007 7:37:24 PM

    I agree with everything writhen above. I have started shooting with a former Snooker player and have a few additions but they are only when the Cue ball is on the rail. 1 is when you cover the cue making the peace sigh using your first and middle fingers and your thumb is at about 30 to 60 degrees along the side of the table rather lose. It works fine if the bumper is flush to the table. Another version is the peace sigh but with the thumb tucked under your fingers adding support for the Cue. The last is I think a pure Snooker table bridge where you use the peace sigh but force your hand into a 90 degree bend with your thumb facing almost horizontal on the side of the table. I can't do the last one because my hand does not have that much flexibility now and my hand cramps up trying it.

  7. straightshooterHannibal on 1/13/2008 1:06:03 PM

    You need both. If you don't your game is not complete and never will be. The open bridge and closed bridge are tools just like you cue is a tool. Use it at the correct time and you will get the best outcome. I feel a closed bridge should be used whenever possible to provide maximum cue control. The exception being when your bridge hand is on the rail or as @billiardsforum stated when you need to elevate your bridge to get over a ball.

    I have also noticed that most people who use a open bridge (not all) have a very poor follow through and tend to poke at the ball. I found that once I switched to a closed bridge I had more confidence in my stroke and with time my game really improved.

    Also I don't think its a matter of what your comfortable with. It's all about muscle memory. If you start with the proper fundamentals in time your body will become comfortable with the technique. Force yourself to do it right in the beginning and with time it will become second nature. There are no shortcuts to good form and technique.

  8. straightshootertedmauro on 1/15/2008 8:17:31 PM

    I have found that the open bridge makes it extremely difficult to send the cue ball the length of the table, strike an object ball and then draw the cue ball all the way back. The closed bridge works great with the snappy stroke and massive follow through that is required for this shot. I say the closed bridge is best for most shots. Shooting over balls, jump shots and slow safeties can be effective with the open bridge for me.

  9. straightshooterguest on 12/10/2013 9:15:30 AM

    But it's not a rifle... You wouldn't look at a dart while you throw it, you look at where you want it to go, same thing with a spear, this is why if you look at professional snooker and billiards players they're looking at the object ball (not the cue or cue ball) when they strike the cue ball. You do NOT have to aim down the line of the cue like sighting a gun

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Open or Closed Hand Bridge

  • Title: Open or Closed Hand Bridge
  • Author:
  • Published: 5/14/2007 6:16:05 PM