I am new to pool and have just went to a local bar today and watched my first tournament. I was surprised to see how "individualised" the sport is. I saw many bridges, stances, and head heights. I saw raw power shots and soft, delicate shots. I saw different sticks, different lengths, some brought there own chalk, etc.. Is there a correct stance, bridge, height of the head above the cue, etc.. to playing pool or is it really that open. Is it a try and see method or should I really concentrate on one bridge, stance,head height and get used to it.
Thank you, Jim

The reason you saw all those different approaches, Jim, is that no two bodies are identical. How you stand, including head placement, is a function of physical dimensions and body type; how you bridge has largely to do with comfort, although all pros utilize the familiar "loop" bridge.

The only real requirements of a pool stance are solidness, balance, and comfort. Any way you can accomplish all three (none is worth a hoot without the other two) should be fine. You should be planted solidly enough to resist a theoretical shove from the side. As for how high over the cue your head should be, the last two dominant players we had, Mosconi and Mizerak (nothing alike physically) both stood about eight inches over their cues. You'd think that getting down as low as you comfortably can would enhance your accuracy, yet there's a decided advantage to standing a bit more erect than that; it allows you to see the angles of your shot and your paths of cue-ball travel much better. So a good rule-of-thumb is, how low do you NEED to stand? Clearly accuracy has to come first - yet we both know that you have to do more with each shot than just sink a ball.

Once you've found, through trial-and-error as you suggest, a stance and head height that are comfortable and effective for you, then yes, you should stick with them faithfully, even on the easiest shots. You'll need that loop (professional) bridge if you're going to play seriously, but again, exactly where your thumb and index finger come together with your middle one has to do with your hand size, and what it takes for you to form a loop your cue can come through without either wobbling or being restricted in its movement forward.
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