Does a Firmer Grip Maximize or Diminish Feel and Touch for the Cueball?

buckshotshoey

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Buck what I found out as I kept improving was this.
As I started winning more, I was getting playtime on the weekends, after the knock out rounds.
Wellllllll, I found this situation quite different.
On the weekends in pro events, it was full of spectators and the humidity went up allot.
I couldn't imagine playing in Houston with a wrap less cue, on a rainy day with my sweaty palms and expect to hold the cue without slippage.
Like you mentioned, we're all different. But Varner growing up in the Midwest, like yourself he knows about humidity. In CO it's quite different.
High humidity is a problem for me on the bridge hand. I go to a glove then. I should wear one all the time for consistency though. Both of my playing cues are leather..... one is the Predator leather lux, the other is lizard. Dont use a wrapless anymore. Used to. Not sure why I mentioned it. My preference would be wrapless over Linen wrap though
 
Last edited:

CJ Wiley

ESPN WORLD OPEN CHAMPION
Gold Member
Silver Member
On Youtube somewhere, there's close-up video of Bustamente's hand during a break shot, and it's remarkable how loose it is before, during, and after impacting the cue ball.

Here's one video in slow motion, but it's not a close-up.
To break as hard as Bustamante (we were both clocked 32 mph at the Bicycle Club in LA) you would have to firm up at impact or the cue would potentially fly out of your hand. People have said my grip looks loose, but it's not. I ask Buddy Hall about his grip and he said it was firm, but didn't look that way. That's why I ask Francisco directly what his grip pressure was and he said he firmed up at impact, but there are certain shots when he "throws" his cue at the cue ball, but that's an exception.

Remember, there's lots of grip pressures between loose and tight, I would not recommend a tight grip and if you are using a firmer grip it's vital to have the correct wrist motion, it's like Hammering a nail, same motion, and the opposite of what many players try to do (with less than stellar results!).
 

HawaiianEye

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
To break as hard as Bustamante (we were both clocked 32 mph at the Bicycle Club in LA) you would have to firm up at impact or the cue would potentially fly out of your hand. People have said my grip looks loose, but it's not. I ask Buddy Hall about his grip and he said it was firm, but didn't look that way. That's why I ask Francisco directly what his grip pressure was and he said he firmed up at impact, but there are certain shots when he "throws" his cue at the cue ball, but that's an exception.

Remember, there's lots of grip pressures between loose and tight, I would not recommend a tight grip and if you are using a firmer grip it's vital to have the correct wrist motion, it's like Hammering a nail, same motion, and the opposite of what many players try to do (with less than stellar results!).

Speaking of a light grip and a “thrower”, watch John Schmidt. He even says in an interview that he “throws” the cue.

I could never play using his technique.
 

CJ Wiley

ESPN WORLD OPEN CHAMPION
Gold Member
Silver Member
I've played pool both ways. They both have merit.

The firm grip did feel more safe and secure and I felt like I had more control over the exact point at which the cue struck the cueball. On the other hand, I struggled a bit with stroke smoothness, especially in the back to forward transition. I found myself jerking my stroke more often, bypassing position marks more than I'd like. When shooting really tough shots under big pressure, I felt the firm grip gave a lot of confidence.

I started playing more snooker and I had to make a change, because my speed control was a bit off on the long rolling shots. I changed back to an orthodox grip which was much looser than the previous grip. My snooker results improved and my pool results seemed to get worse. I think my speed control is better at a wider range than with the death grip. On the other hand some pressure shots seem more difficult and wobbly, though the results are not as different, the feel is much different. I think, on the whole my accuracy may be better with a looser grip, I make many tough long shots with regularity and my breaks seem to be better. But when the big pressure shot, which may not be as objectively difficult, comes up, I feel a lot less secure. If I played only pool, I'd have to think long and hard about the grip, because I think I may be a more stable player with the firm grip. Since I also play other cue games, I'm better served by the softer grip, so I don't think I'm going back.
I'd say you have more of a concern with tempo than grip pressure, especially when you have trouble with speed control.

You said "both have merit" like there's two levels of grip pressure, and I'd say there's 20+ degrees of pressure. There's also the wrist action, when the wrist action is correct, the player can hold the cue firmer which is a advantage in some respects. Wade Crane (Billy Johnson) had one of the best breaks in history and he told me it was because of his firm grip and he felt like he snapped his wrist. I can do that too, the other night I made a 7 rail bank here in Orlando Florida at a friend's house......try that sometime with a loose grip and you'll see what I mean.

I'd like to talk to Ronnie O'Sullivan about his snooker grip sometime, he appears to "Pinch" the cue with his right index finger, something I also do that is great for precision and Ronnie is certainly precise!
 

Salamander

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Gripping anything tightly/firmly equates to tension, imo. Tension creates restrictions by opposing muscle groups. Try playing Tennis, Golf, or Baseball with a tight grip and see how far you get.

I must admit that my favorite player Buddy Hall seems to have a death grip on the cue. I would love to hear his explanation of what is really going on. I suspect his grip is not as tight as it seems.

For me, the lighter the grip, the more power you can generate via cue speed (racket speed, bat speed, etc...
 

CJ Wiley

ESPN WORLD OPEN CHAMPION
Gold Member
Silver Member
Think of it this way.... using a looser grip enhances wrist action... a tighter grip diminishes wrist action because the wrist muscles are tense. That may be why you are sensing different ball action with same arm speed.

I myself like a lighter grip. Remember all the benefits of a slip stroke being taught? I didn't like a slip stoke much. I have had an entirely different experience with leather then Island Drive wrote above. I now exclusively use leather wrap or wrap less cues. I can use the same light grip with no slip. But my hands dont sweat.
Gripping anything tightly/firmly equates to tension, imo. Tension creates restrictions by opposing muscle groups. Try playing Tennis, Golf, or Baseball with a tight grip and see how far you get.

I must admit that my favorite player Buddy Hall seems to have a death grip on the cue. I would love to hear his explanation of what is really going on. I suspect his grip is not as tight as it seems.

For me, the lighter the grip, the more power you can generate via cue speed (racket speed, bat speed, etc...
Tension is bad?!?
I play golf, tennis and baseball at a high level and never gripped a bat, racquet, or golf club lightly. At the end of the day, it has a lot to do with personality and aggressiveness - timid people probably gravitate towards a loose grip, that's not a bad thing, it's what works for them.

The Game is the Teacher
 

HawaiianEye

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I keep the cue touching the web between my forefinger and my thumb on all my shots, no matter how tight I am gripping the cue. That gives me the best “feel” from the impact with the cue ball and it lets me judge how hard I am actually hitting the cue ball vs how hard I was intending on hitting it.

I am never just cradling the cue on my fingers and “throwing” it at the cue ball.
 

Salamander

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Tension is bad?!?
I play golf, tennis and baseball at a high level and never gripped a bat, racquet, or golf club lightly. At the end of the day, it has a lot to do with personality and aggressiveness - timid people probably gravitate towards a loose grip, that's not a bad thing, it's what works for them.

The Game is the Teacher
That's not what I am saying at all. I would not call Bustimante or Reyes timid, and they both hold the cue losely/lightly. The have what I consider a power game but with lightness, finesse, and touch. There is nothing timid about their games. I think you confuse my idea of a loose/light grip as barely holding on to the cue, that would be incorrect. I interpret a firm or tight grip as a grip that locks up the forearm muscles, which in turn causes rigidity and a stiff stroke. But, to each their own, if it works for you awesome.
 

buckshotshoey

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
That's not what I am saying at all. I would not call Bustimante or Reyes timid, and they both hold the cue losely/lightly. The have what I consider a power game but with lightness, finesse, and touch. There is nothing timid about their games. I think you confuse my idea of a loose/light grip as barely holding on to the cue, that would be incorrect. I interpret a firm or tight grip as a grip that locks up the forearm muscles, which in turn causes rigidity and a stiff stroke. But, to each their own, if it works for you awesome.
Guess that's what I was trying to say, but you said it better.
 

CJ Wiley

ESPN WORLD OPEN CHAMPION
Gold Member
Silver Member
That's not what I am saying at all. I would not call Bustimante or Reyes timid, and they both hold the cue losely/lightly. The have what I consider a power game but with lightness, finesse, and touch. There is nothing timid about their games. I think you confuse my idea of a loose/light grip as barely holding on to the cue, that would be incorrect. I interpret a firm or tight grip as a grip that locks up the forearm muscles, which in turn causes rigidity and a stiff stroke. But, to each their own, if it works for you awesome.
I didn't say their game was timid, I was talking about personality. I can't imagine Efren or Bustamante being physically aggressive. 🤣
From my experience, the grip matches player's personalities, this isn't something carved in stone, just an observation. I really hope to reach players that are more aggressive and have them experiment with a firmer grip, it may be something that will help them enjoy the game more. As far as "firm" being something that locks up muscles, that's not dealing with reality. I'm trained in several martial arts weapons, especially with swords and staffs, you have to hold firm or they'll fly out of your hand and make shish kabobs out of innocent bystanders.

The greatest players I've met held the cue firm, this may be something of interest to players.....or not, who knows if you don't try?!?
 

Bavafongoul

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I didn't say their game was timid, I was talking about personality. I can't imagine Efren or Bustamante being physically aggressive. 🤣
From my experience, the grip matches player's personalities, this isn't something carved in stone, just an observation. I really hope to reach players that are more aggressive and have them experiment with a firmer grip, it may be something that will help them enjoy the game more. As far as "firm" being something that locks up muscles, that's not dealing with reality. I'm trained in several martial arts weapons, especially with swords and staffs, you have to hold firm or they'll fly out of your hand and make shish kabobs out of innocent bystanders.

The greatest players I've met held the cue firm, this may be something of interest to players.....or not, who knows if you don't try?!?
The opposite of a firm grip is what? A loose grip seems to be the best answer. Firm versus loose seem to oppose
one another. The question was whether a firmer grip affected the feel and touch of the cue ball. Well, the only thing
allowed to touch the cue ball is the tip of your cue when you stroke it so touch of the cue ball translates into feel.

Okay, just gotta set the groundwork by going back to the original question. People are debating a loose grip vs. a
firm grip and that was never the question. It was always does a firm grip affect the tactile feeling in your fingers and
lower palm area where the cue butt is held. That is the very definition of feeling and the stroke velocity affects it too.
You derive a sensory feeling when you stroke the cue ball and how fast, i.e., hard, you hit the cue ball affects feeling.

Other things can also affect the feeling like was your stroke straight and true, where you struck the cue ball, did you
use stop, follow, draw, stun, center ball, or side spin English, the brand & type tip or how much leather remains, it the
tip shaped correctly or is it mushroomed, etc. As you can see, there are a variety of elements that can influence how a
player’s grip connects with the stroking of the cue ball. So when the tendons & muscles in your hand, wrist and forearm grip the cue butt firmly, the sensory connection becomes more immune to slight changes and deviations than when the
player uses a handshake grip without squeezing the cue butt. Grasp the butt with slight to less than medium pressure.

The best answer is to stick to the original question instead of meandering into discussion about loose grips which was never even brought up. The best answer is use whatever you think works best for you until you want to improve. At that
point, something has to change & often several changes needed. Always be open to change or accept the status quo.
 

Island Drive

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
someone posted up the Varner/Reyes match. 1994 US Open finals highlights on One Pocket . org. There are a few camera angles that ''tell''. If I remember correctly one of em was around the 9 min mark, Varner shooting, and of course there are quite a few of Efren.
 

CJ Wiley

ESPN WORLD OPEN CHAMPION
Gold Member
Silver Member
The opposite of a firm grip is what? A loose grip seems to be the best answer. Firm versus loose seem to oppose
one another. The question was whether a firmer grip affected the feel and touch of the cue ball. Well, the only thing
allowed to touch the cue ball is the tip of your cue when you stroke it so touch of the cue ball translates into feel.

Okay, just gotta set the groundwork by going back to the original question. People are debating a loose grip vs. a
firm grip and that was never the question. It was always does a firm grip affect the tactile feeling in your fingers and
lower palm area where the cue butt is held. That is the very definition of feeling and the stroke velocity affects it too.
You derive a sensory feeling when you stroke the cue ball and how fast, i.e., hard, you hit the cue ball affects feeling.

Other things can also affect the feeling like was your stroke straight and true, where you struck the cue ball, did you
use stop, follow, draw, stun, center ball, or side spin English, the brand & type tip or how much leather remains, it the
tip shaped correctly or is it mushroomed, etc. As you can see, there are a variety of elements that can influence how a
player’s grip connects with the stroking of the cue ball. So when the tendons & muscles in your hand, wrist and forearm grip the cue butt firmly, the sensory connection becomes more immune to slight changes and deviations than when the
player uses a handshake grip without squeezing the cue butt. Grasp the butt with slight to less than medium pressure.

The best answer is to stick to the original question instead of meandering into discussion about loose grips which was never even brought up. The best answer is use whatever you think works best for you until you want to improve. At that
point, something has to change & often several changes needed. Always be open to change or accept the status quo.
Yes, I've always laughed at players that think there's only two grip pressures, firm and loose. Actually there are several, and while it's a good idea for most players to strive for consistent grip pressure, it's not possible to literally achieve. I know with a firm grip I can hit STUN SHOTS that players with looser grips can't make as consistently, with the amount of reaction on the cueball.....this is because the energy isn't transferred as purely, imagine bunting a baseball with a loose grip on a cold day......if you understand this analogy it will be an incentive to experiment with a firmer grip!

The Game is the Teacher
 

Island Drive

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I apply more grip to the handle as I strike the cue ball, as my swing speed increases. Like a graph
I'm always applying ''some'' grip on all shots when striking the cue ball.
As my swing speed decreases, my grip also lessens when I strike the cue ball.
It's never exactly the same on every cut shot.
If it's a simple straight in stop shot, distance will effect my grip as I get further away from the shot.
 
Last edited:

HueblerHustler7

AndrewActionG
Silver Member
Firmer grip here but have experimented, if I'm in dead stroke then I can lighten up on the back swing but firmer up towards the fallow through.
 

kling&allen

AzB Gold Member
Gold Member
I'd say you have more of a concern with tempo than grip pressure, especially when you have trouble with speed control.

You said "both have merit" like there's two levels of grip pressure, and I'd say there's 20+ degrees of pressure. There's also the wrist action, when the wrist action is correct, the player can hold the cue firmer which is a advantage in some respects. Wade Crane (Billy Johnson) had one of the best breaks in history and he told me it was because of his firm grip and he felt like he snapped his wrist. I can do that too, the other night I made a 7 rail bank here in Orlando Florida at a friend's house......try that sometime with a loose grip and you'll see what I mean.

I'd like to talk to Ronnie O'Sullivan about his snooker grip sometime, he appears to "Pinch" the cue with his right index finger, something I also do that is great for precision and Ronnie is certainly precise!

CJ--what's the point of shooting with a cocked wrist like SVB? His typical grip deviates from the standard 90 degree grip. Here's an example with SVB's fingers forward of his forearm at the pause before his backswing:

1621995937206.png


Here's the standard grip via Dr. Dave / Bob:

1621995989764.png
 

CJ Wiley

ESPN WORLD OPEN CHAMPION
Gold Member
Silver Member
CJ--what's the point of shooting with a cocked wrist like SVB? His typical grip deviates from the standard 90 degree grip. Here's an example with SVB's fingers forward of his forearm at the pause before his backswing:

View attachment 596479

Here's the standard grip via Dr. Dave / Bob:

View attachment 596480
Shane and I both pre-cock our wrists like the position you're in when hammering a nail (at the top) - we look different because Shane holds the cue much farther back than I do (he uses an extension) and stands further back from the cueball. The effect is the same, we get a tremendous wrist release with less effort. Dennis Orcollo and I talked about the grip in OK City and he holds the cue firmer than it appears, not on every shot, there are shots he "throws" his cue at it......there's two major themes of grip pressures, one is for "POPPING" the cue ball for draw, stun and shots that limit cueball movement and the other is an extension that's used to follow the cueball, especially when it's necessary to exaggerate the after-contact-reaction of the cueball.
 
Top