How to play better billiards (tips and a trick)

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Do you want to be better at any game of pool?
Here are 10 tips from the experts (and one trick.)

If “Better Billiards Now!” is your motto, let’s start by reviewing our first three tips. These are from Fran Crimi, master instructor with the Billiard Congress of America. She says:

1. Keep your head straight.
Many players tilt their heads to favor their dominant eye. If you tilt your head, you’re looking at a sideways view of the shot.

2. Secure your bridge hand.
When you’re down on a shot, push your fingertips lightly into the cloth to assure that your bridge hand will not budge as your pool cue comes through.

3. Finish what you started.
It is vitally important that you stay with each shot all the way to the end! Stay firmly planted until the object ball is in the pocket.

That last rule is also good for life in general. Now back to more pool tips:

4. Keep your grip relaxed during the entire stroke.

5. Keep your cue still and eyes quiet when checking your cue alignment and aim.

6. Join a league! The is nothing like friendly competition to help you improve your skills.

7. DO NOT drop your elbow during the stroke into the ball.

8. Stay down on the shot! Don’t move your head or body during the stroke, and use the right speed for the shot.

9. Aim as though there is a second cue ball several inches ahead of the actual cue ball. Strive for an extra lengthy follow through motion.

Our tenth and final tip requires some detail in explanation.

10. Always chalk up and use a light chalk coating.

Most players do not chalk up nearly enough times during play, and, for the amateur, what is worse is that beginners believe they chalk their cuestick far more often then they actually do. In contrast, the pro chalks their cue often and always. The added time the tip adheres to the cue ball is worth the effort. The pro achieves added contact time with the ball itself and extra spin and speed, to whatever effect they desire. The top professional chalks before each and every shot.

Proper chalking will also help you to improve your break. Lightly apply chalk before the break stroke; the added friction of chalk forces the tip to adhere to the ball longer, (but you want the cue ball to rebound faster on the break—a thin, hard tip helps also.)

AND finally, as we promised, here’s a trick you can use when you break: (we can’t say that this works every time, but we’ve seen it done…)

A. Post the white cue ball along the head string (the imaginary line two diamonds in, the closest a ball may be placed to the rack on the break) about three inches from either long rail.

B. Maintain a fairly level cue stick. Strike the cue ball a bit below dead center. Aim to hit a ball on the second row clean.

C. The cue ball MAY kick off the side rail, after the balls have scattered apart from the 8 ball, and drive the black 8 ball into a center pocket!

We can’t confirm that the “trick” will work for you, but following the tips from the experts above, if practiced, will improve your shooting, whatever you game is.

We’d like to give credit where credit is due:
Here are the URLs of the sources for this article. We encourage you to visit them for more information on how to improve your pool game:

and don’t forget about our “Get-A-Cue” leagues….

Jester’s Billiards, the BEST sports bar for Sports – billiards, darts and craft beers in Gilbert, Mesa, Tempe, Chandler, Scottsdale and Phoenix! Look for us at the intersection of the main streets of Gilbert and Baseline Roads, in the Encore Plaza in Gilbert, Arizona.