How to Play Pool Like a Pro (with Pictures) - wikiHow (2024)

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parts

1Keeping Proper Form

2Striking the Ball

3Perfecting Your Aim

4Choosing a Good Pool Cue

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Last Updated: September 26, 2022Approved

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To play pool like a pro, you need a good pool cue, a fluid stroke and precise aim. Whether you're a casual pool player or you want to become accomplished, this article will give you the basic toolkit that you need to become better at billiards.

Part 1

Part 1 of 4:

Keeping Proper Form

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  1. 1

    Check your hand position.

    • Hold the thick end of the cue in your dominant hand with your palm facing upward. Find the spot on the wrap where the cue evenly balances. Grip your cue about 1" behind that spot.
    • Make a circle with the thumb and index finger of your non-dominant hand. Put the cue through the circle and rest it on the top of your middle finger, behind the knuckle. Spread out your "pinky", ring and middle finger tips to create a tripod-like support.
    • Place the ridge of your hand should on the table. Lift the other side of your hand a bit higher.
  2. How to Play Pool Like a Pro (with Pictures) - wikiHow (5)

    2

    Assume the proper stance.

    • Place the foot that is on the same side as your non-dominant hand in front.
    • Position your other foot about 2 feet (60 cm) behind the front foot.
    • Turn your body slightly away from the table so that it doesn't interfere with the shot.
    • Position yourself close to the table but not too close to it. You want to lean into the shots a bit for more control.
    • Proper form requires the cue stick to be directly below your chin during a stroke. If you compare the form of a professional pool player with that of a novice pool player, the professional player will always keep their head down also known as "being down on the ball" with the cue directly below his or her chin during the stroke.
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Part 2

Part 2 of 4:

Striking the Ball

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  1. How to Play Pool Like a Pro (with Pictures) - wikiHow (7)

    1

    Chalk the cue tip before every shot as though you're brushing the chalk on with a paintbrush. Avoid twisting the chalk on top of the cue.

  2. How to Play Pool Like a Pro (with Pictures) - wikiHow (8)

    2

    Hold your cue parallel to the table for maximum control.

  3. How to Play Pool Like a Pro (with Pictures) - wikiHow (9)

    3

    Accelerate gradually as you approach the ball. Imagine that you are moving your arm through the water in a swimming pool instead of hitting the ball with a quick strike. A longer stroke imparts more momentum to the ball.

  4. How to Play Pool Like a Pro (with Pictures) - wikiHow (10)

    4

    Keep your follow-through straight and relaxed. The cue should continue on its course and almost hit the table ahead of the ball's starting position. Your cue shouldn't slow down until the tip has actually hit the ball.

  5. 5

    Stay down after the shot. This position allows you to analyze the angle of the ball and the direction of every other ball that it strikes. It also ensures that you don't cause the shot to deviate by accidentally introducing a jumpy motion.

  6. How to Play Pool Like a Pro (with Pictures) - wikiHow (12)

    6

    Practice your stroke without actually striking balls until it feels comfortable.

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Part 3

Part 3 of 4:

Perfecting Your Aim

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  1. How to Play Pool Like a Pro (with Pictures) - wikiHow (14)

    1

    Imagine an invisible ball next to the ball that you want to sink into the pocket.

  2. How to Play Pool Like a Pro (with Pictures) - wikiHow (15)

    2

    Place your cue above the target. Angle the cue so that it creates a parallel line from right above the cue ball to the target.

  3. How to Play Pool Like a Pro (with Pictures) - wikiHow (16)

    3

    Back your cue up and place the tip on the table where the center of the invisible ball (the one you imagined next to the real ball) would be. Maintain the angle that you just made when you lined up the ball and the pocket.

  4. How to Play Pool Like a Pro (with Pictures) - wikiHow (17)

    4

    Keep the cue tip on the table. Pull the rest of the cue around to the right or left until the cue is positioned over the white ball. You now have the angle at which you need to hit the white ball to sink the other ball.

  5. How to Play Pool Like a Pro (with Pictures) - wikiHow (18)

    5

    Set your shot up at the angle you just calculated. Strike the center of the white ball so that it makes contact with the other ball.

  6. How to Play Pool Like a Pro (with Pictures) - wikiHow (19)

    6

    Start playing with your non-dominant hand all the time until a little after the time you become ambidextrous. It will make you less likely to win the current game but more likely to win future games. Sometimes in pool, you get a shot that would be an awkward angle with your dominant hand, but your non-dominant hand will gain skill faster for those awkward shots if you play with your non-dominant hand all the time than if you just do it for those shots. In fact, skill transfers somewhat from one task to another task to your non-dominant hand will gain skill for pool faster if you you do everything with your non-dominant hand than if you just play pool with your non-dominant hand like in other activities.

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Part 4

Part 4 of 4:

Choosing a Good Pool Cue

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  1. How to Play Pool Like a Pro (with Pictures) - wikiHow (21)

    1

    Feel the wrap or butt of the cue.

    • Choose a larger wrap if you have large hands and a smaller wrap if you have small hands. The most important point is to find a wrap that feels good in your hands.
    • If your hands sweat, choose a cue wrapped in Irish linen for absorption. Otherwise, choose a leather wrap or a cue with no wrap.
  2. How to Play Pool Like a Pro (with Pictures) - wikiHow (22)

    2

    Check the shaft. Most shafts have a diameter of 12mm to 13mm. While 13mm is the most commonly selected size, a smaller shaft can make the bridge position more comfortable for people with smaller hands.

  3. How to Play Pool Like a Pro (with Pictures) - wikiHow (23)

    3

    Measure the pro taper. The shaft maintains its diameter for 10" to 15" before it starts to taper toward the cue. A shorter taper gives you a firmer hit.

  4. How to Play Pool Like a Pro (with Pictures) - wikiHow (24)

    4

    Know the cue weight. Most players choose a weight between 19 and 20 ounces.

  5. How to Play Pool Like a Pro (with Pictures) - wikiHow (25)

    5

    Check cue length. Most cues are 57" or 58" long, but you can special order different lengths.

  6. How to Play Pool Like a Pro (with Pictures) - wikiHow (26)

    6

    Pick your cue tip. Cue tips are made of leather and generally rated medium to hard. A tip that will wear well gives you better control of the ball.

  7. How to Play Pool Like a Pro (with Pictures) - wikiHow (27)

    7

    Make sure no parts are loose. Any loose parts will absorb the energy from your shots and will hamper your ability to strike the ball well.

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Community Q&A

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  • Question

    Is a flat cue tip better than a round cue tip?

    How to Play Pool Like a Pro (with Pictures) - wikiHow (28)

    Community Answer

    A slightly rounded cue tip is better. You will have better control over the cue ball.

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  • Question

    How do I set up for my next shot?

    How to Play Pool Like a Pro (with Pictures) - wikiHow (29)

    Community Answer

    This has to do mainly with learning how to position the cue ball. There are countless "cue ball control" or "pool positioning" videos online that can start to help you with this. The main elements of positioning begin with what ball you are aiming for next, the speed at which you hit, the right English/spin you need, and using rails to place the cue ball in the desired position so that you can easily make your next shot. After some practice and studying/application, you should begin to understand and execute positioning for your next shot.

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    Thank you for your feedback.
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  • Question

    My space is an issue, so can I use small sticks?

    How to Play Pool Like a Pro (with Pictures) - wikiHow (30)

    Community Answer

    Of course! Cues don't come in only one size. The smallest you may get is a 54".

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    Thank you for your feedback.
    If wikiHow has helped you, please consider a small contribution to support us in helping more readers like you. We’re committed to providing the world with free how-to resources, and even $1 helps us in our mission.Support wikiHow

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      Tips

      • Don't defeat yourself. Technique is important, but your main job is to stay calm and mentally focused.

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      • Find an instructor and work out your basic technique. Sound advice at early stage can help you avoid the frustration and enjoy the game more. In addition, you'll avoid having to correct bad habits developed over your pool career.

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      Tips from our Readers How to Play Pool Like a Pro (with Pictures) - wikiHow (31)

      The advice in this section is based on the lived experiences of wikiHow readers like you. If you have a helpful tip you’d like to share on wikiHow, please submit it in the field below.

      • It's more efficient to do drills than to just randomly shoot around in your spare time. Practicing your fundamentals may not be as fun as banging balls around on the table, but it's a better use of your time if you're serious about getting good!
      • Every poolhall has regulars who live for the opportunity to teach newer players. Don't feel shy about approaching someone who looks like they know what they're doing and asking for advice (so long as they aren't in the middle of a game).
      • It's important to have a slow, steady backswing. As seasoned players will say, "stroke it, don't poke it." You should swing through the cue ball like it's not even there.
      • Remember, pool is just a game. If you're not having fun, take a step back, relax, and remember you're doing this to enjoy yourself.

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      Warnings

      • Many house cues are damaged or warped due to cheap materials and excessive use.

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      • Avoid betting with strangers. Strangers may "hustle" you by appearing to be bad pool players. However, after they place a bet with you, they suddenly develop excellent pool skills so that you lose the bet.

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      Things You'll Need

      • Pool cue
      • Pool table
      • Billiard balls
      • Chalk

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      About This Article

      wikiHow is a “wiki,” similar to Wikipedia, which means that many of our articles are co-written by multiple authors. To create this article, 74 people, some anonymous, worked to edit and improve it over time. This article has been viewed 1,633,710 times.

      168 votes - 93%

      Co-authors: 74

      Updated: September 26, 2022

      Views:1,633,710

      Categories: Featured Articles | Cue Sports

      Article SummaryX

      If you want to play pool like a pro, make sure you’re holding the cue parallel to the table for better control. Before taking your shot, practice your stroke a few times before actually hitting the cue ball. When you do strike the ball, accelerate gradually to give you more control and momentum. After your shot, stay down so that you can see the angle and direction it took and make adjustments next time. If you want to learn how to choose a good pool cue and chalk the end of it, keep reading the article!

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