Big Red's Instructional #2: The importance of Proper Bridging

Hello everyone, I hope these past two weeks have treated you well. Today we will be looking at the subject of bridging, something that is often overlooked in the process of building proper fundamentals. This is one of the most common areas where you will see a difference between amateurs and professionals; in this article I would like to help our readers understand those differences.
To start, the open bridge and its technical variations is the most important bridge to learn and master and it should be used nearly 70% of the time.
Topic #1 Open Bridge
The open bridge is the easiest bridge to execute, any accomplished player usually has a fairly strong open bridge hand position. A perfect example of this would be former World Champion Darren Appleton.The open bridge should be used almost always when hitting a shot lightly, it is a mistake to use a closed bridge in these situations.
The open bridge is also the best to sight the cue ball with, because it is not as high as a closed bridge. There are basically only two times when it is recommend to use a closed bridge. On shots where you feel like your cue will come off your hand because of the speed of the shot, and when you are trying to play a stiff draw shot where you are trying to really dig into the cue ball.
what not to doA common error for amateurs when playing a shot with an open bridge is the tendency to lift the back of either side of your palm off the bed of the table. Some players will try to raise the back of their hand in order to gain height on the cue ball, however this causes instability in the bridge. Raising one side of the bridge to contact center ball is also a big mistake. Instead, raise the middle of your hand to create the height when going forward and flatten your hand out to reach the bottom of the cue ball when drawing, this allows you to never sacrifice stability.
Topic # 2 Bridge Length
With the help of the open bridge, your sighting should be better and your stroke more free flowing, allowing for more success with the following methods. Assuming that a player is not reaching for shot and that the cue ball is accessible without using a bridge from the rail, I would like our readers to consider the following:
1.When shooting a slow speed shot your bridge should be the closest to the cue ball, approximately three inches away.
Flat bridgeShort Open Bridge
2. When shooting a medium speed shot your bridge should be a medium distance from the cue ball, approximately six inches away.
medium real
3. When shooting a high speed shot your bridge should be about three more inches back for a total of approximately nine inches away from the cue ball.
Closed Bridge
Note: These are only approximate distances, small variations of these distances are completely acceptable relative to the players stroke length. The reason why we should have different distances from the cue ball is because we should be putting different backstroke lengths on different shots. For example, on a light shot your backstroke length could be about one and a half inches so your bridge length would be about three inches.
This Week I am off to Qatar for the World 9 Ball Championships and based on my availability I will be writing daily reports with all of the results from the Canadian contingent as well as expressing my thoughts on the organization, equipment, level of play etc. at this years event. You will be able to see all the info at straight-pool When I get back we will discuss closed bridge and bridging off the rail.

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