The basics of pool

To start off well in pool, it's important to master the basics. First, familiarize yourself with the equipment, then learn about the gestures and positions to adopt. In pool, the finger placement to properly guide the cue, known as a bridge, is a crucial element, one of the first things you generally learn. Also, don't overlook the position of your legs or arms. Then, you just need to execute the right move to reach your target.

Discover all the keys to mastering the basics of pool with this tutorial featuring Florian Kohler, also known as Venom, holder of several world records in artistic pool.

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The pool table:

The table is the surface on which you can play pool. It consists of a frame, a slate, and a playing surface. Traditionally, the frame is made of wood, the slate is mineral, and the playing surface is felt. In order to offer the possibility of playing outdoors freely and to move the pool table, Hyphen, the outdoor pool table by Cornilleau, consists of a stainless steel frame, a synthetic solid laminate slate, and a playing surface made of a waterproof material. An American pool table like Hyphen has six pockets, while a French pool table has none. There are several sizes of American pool tables. For each one, the length is equal to twice the width. It is generally between 2.10m and 2.80m. The playing surface of Hyphen measures 2.20m in length, a size that is very common elsewhere.

The pool cue:

The pool cue is an essential tool for playing. It is characterized by two main parts: the butt and the shaft. They unscrew to save space in the case. The ferrule and the tip are located at the end of the shaft. The role of the ferrule is to ensure rigidity between the wood of the shaft and the tip. The tip, on the other hand, provides good impact quality on the ball.

Discover the Cornilleau "Composite" cue, made of fiberglass.

The balls:

Different sizes and colors of balls exist depending on the pool games. The white ball is designated as the cue ball or the striking ball. The other balls are target balls. French pool is played with 3 balls: one red ball and two white balls, one of which is marked with a dot. American pool consists of 16 balls: one white and fifteen numbered balls from 1 to 15. Finally, English pool is played with 16 balls including one white, one black, seven red, and seven yellow.

Buy your set of American pool balls

Buy your set of English pool balls

The blue or chalk:

Commonly called "the blue" or "chalk", this block of limestone is placed on the tip. It prevents the tip from slipping on the balls and thus maintains precision. Don't hesitate to apply it regularly: it tends to wear off quickly. Gently place it in the center of the tip and move outward. By following this advice, you will avoid damaging your pool cue, and it will last longer! Cornilleau pool tables come with gray chalk, matching the felt.

Buy your pack of two pool cue chalks

The triangle and the diamond:

The triangle is the most commonly used tool for racking the balls. It allows you to start a game of the most widespread pool variant, the game of 8-ball, as well as other games like 10-ball or 14.1 continuous. The diamond is used to rack the balls for starting a game of 9-ball.


Finger position: the different types of bridge

The closed bridge

Positioning your fingers well is crucial in pool, as it allows you to precisely guide the tip of the cue and be accurate in your shot.

The closed bridge, extremely common among players of all levels, involves creating a sort of very solid tripod with the middle and ring fingers, or even the little finger, while resting the palm of the hand on the table and creating an opening between the thumb, index, and middle fingers. This opening should be tight enough to guide the cue correctly.

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The open bridge

To perform an open bridge, you first need to place your hand flat on the table and slightly raise the angle of your fingers. The thumb, also raised, allows the cue to slide between this finger and the base of the index finger.

The revised open bridge

When the ball is glued to the cushion, or at least too close to place your bridge on the cloth, it is possible to perform it on the cushion. We advise you to use a slightly revised open bridge when the ball is in close proximity to the cushion. To compensate for the impossibility of placing your palm as a very stable anchor point, spread your fingers further apart to rest on the end of the table.

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The closed bridge

When the ball is slightly further away from the cushion, we advise you to opt for a closed bridge. Here, you should pass the cue between the index and the middle finger, with the thumb guiding the cue below the hand.

The leg position

Ensure the stability of your position and opt for a natural posture that feels comfortable for you. It's important to feel at ease when striking the ball with the cue for a successful shot. Place one foot slightly forward and tilt the second one backward. Then, bend the knee of the front leg to be at the level of the pool table.

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The arm position

Slightly bend the elbow of your front arm to be flexible in your approach. The cue should be almost parallel to the playing surface. Thus, the forearm behind the cue should be perpendicular to the cue.

The right stroke for a good cue shot

To perform the most precise stroke possible, it is important that the back hand is well positioned but also that it does not grip the cue too tightly. It is truly the first two or three fingers that hold it and not the entire hand. Your stroke should be light, wide, which will allow you to be both precise and to succeed in putting power and spin in your shot.

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