The mechanical bridge is one of the accessories in the billiards sports table which is comprised of a stick similar to the one in the cue stick and has a bridge head fixed on its end. The purpose of the bridge head is to support the shaft of the cue stick which replaces the normal hand bridge when trying to make shots that are difficult to reach.
The mechanical bridge head has notches which are normally of various heights where the cue and this is where the cue stick head rests. It is important to ensure that the notches on the mechanical bridge do not have dents which may end up damaging the cloth on the pool table or giving scratches to your cue stick too.
The mechanical bridge is often called the rake. It comes in very handy for beginner players who are not able to shoot pool as is supposed to with both hands. Truth is, professional players mostly opt for making the shot without the help of any other tool besides the jump cue stick. However, it is important to note that they too regardless of how well skilled they are in the game will not hesitate to use the mechanical bridge if they are not able to reach a specific shot.
While some call the mechanical bridge “the cheater’s tool”, it is important to put it in mind that it is a very valuable tool when it comes to the pool game. However, it only becomes easy to use when you take your time to do a lot of practice with it.
Being conversant with how to use the mechanical bridge in the right way is crucial for a successful game. Any player who is not in a position to shoot pool just as well with both hands or when the cue ball is too far can make good use of this tool.
The mechanical bridge thereby becomes of great use for those shots that are difficult to reach with the normal stroke. Using it may be uncomfortable at the beginning since by using it, you will be doing away with controls from the front end of your cue stick with your bridge hand. It however becomes easier with enough practice on how to appropriately use the mechanical bridge.
According to the rules of pool, it is compulsory that a player keeps one of his feet firmly planted on the ground. However; for balance and comfort, it is ideal that you have both of your feet planted on the ground. The mechanical bridge will help you achieve that and in turn enhance your chances of reaching every possible shot.
When using the mechanical bridge, place the head of the bridge around where you usually place your bridge hand on the pool table for a classic shot and ensure that it is firmly on the table. Hold the end of the mechanical bridge with the bridge hand on the pool table and ensure that it is firm. Make sure that your feet are apart by a distance similar to your shoulder’s width and square to shot. Then place the end of your break cue on the head of the mechanical bridge. Using the swinging hand and with the back of your hand facing upwards. Using your thumb, index finger and middle finger also known as the dart stance, lightly hold the cue stick so as to be in a position to control it. From there you can make your shot.
Be cautious when using a mechanical bridge that you haven’t used before. It is recommended that you check for any ragged edges on the mechanical bridge by running your finger across the groove where the cue will be resting. This is because a mechanical bridge that is damaged or has any form of scratches can put an irreparable gouge in the shaft of your cue.
When starting to practice with the mechanical bridge, hit only the middle of the cue ball. Once you have mastered that and become better at it, now you can move to the next level of practicing with it. From there, you can try hitting above and below center. It is important to note that depending on the type of bridge that you are using, this may either be a little bit difficult or too difficult. Better control is offered by mechanical bridges with lower grooves.
While some players insist on holding the mechanical bridge in the air as they hit the cue ball, it is highly recommended that you put it down. Holding it in the air is one of the ways to highly increasing the chances of the bridge moving in the process of trying to make a shot which is not what you want to happen.
Ensure that you keep the mechanical bridge flat against the table while using your bridge hand to hold it in place. A mechanical bridge normally offers the player a guide on the small side that allows an elevated bridge for instance to clear over an obstacle ball. The free hand normally holds the bridge down firmly and also helps clear the bridge away from moving balls when necessary.
It is important to remember the following key points when using the mechanical bridge:
- Make sure that you secure it with your left hand for the right handed people and keep it on the table and don’t let it wable since it may mess up your stroke.
- Ensure that you have a straight line with the fore arm so that you can have a straight follow through at the ball.
- Make sure that you keep your eye on the object ball and ensure that you follow through nicely and smoothly.
In conclusion, while some players shy away from using the mechanical bridge, it is evident that it is not just a valuable tool in the billiards game but it is also one of the ways in which beginner players can take advantage of so as to become better at the game. As much as it may be quite a task to use it at the beginning, it becomes easier with enough practice.