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How To Use A Mechanical Bridge When Playing Pool
First, let's start by explaining what a mechanical bridge is. Many times there are shots that cannot be reached no matter how much you lean across the table! That's where a bridge comes in handy. The mechanical bridge, also called rake, crutch or rest, is an accessory of the billiard sports table and consists of a stick with a bridge head mounted at its end to support the shaft of the cue stick replacing the hand bridge during shots difficult to reach. The stick or handle of the mechanical bridge is very similar in shape to the cue stick. The bridge head has notches or grooves, usually at various heights, in which the cue shaft can rest. The contour of the bridge head should be smooth in order not to mar the cue shaft or rip the threads of the table-cloth when being used.
Many amateurs are hesitant to use the bridge mainly because they don't know the proper way to do so. Going through the following steps will take away that worry and help your game in the long run. Taking care not to hit any surrounding balls, carefully place the bridge on the table approximately 5 inches away from the cue ball. Now place the cue in the slot (usually 3 or 4 available) that will allow you to strike the cue ball as level as possible and at the location you desire. Once you have found the slot you would like to use, place the bridge flat on the table if you can and hold it down with one hand.
Now, grasp your cue toward the end, leaving the tip to be supported by the bridge. Strike the cue ball with a straight, even stroke and immediately lift the bridge off the table. You have now completed a successful bridge shot. As with the rest of the game, this will take some time to get used to. Parctice different shots and angels and become comfortable using the bridge. It will be an important part of your game as you develop. Many aficionados and most professionals employ the bridge whenever the intended shot so requires. Some players, especially current or former snooker players, use a screw-on cue butt extension instead of or in addition to the mechanical bridge. It is suggested that once you have the basic game down pat, that you begin to experiment with additional equipment such as this. The sooner you become familiar with it, the more proficient you will become and you will progress as a player.
Practice with the mechanical bridge until you feel you are comfortable enough to apply it to your every-day game playing. You will learn that the time spent on practicing with the techniques and angles will not have been time wasted, but will aid your game immensely. .
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