Can grip pressure affect the cue ball during tip contact?

The short answer is: No … unless you have a “death grip” with really bony hands. A tight grip can be a problem when doing cue testing with a machine, but grip tightness during tip contact is a non-issue with human players.

HSV A.34 shows the hand grip during a firm stroke, striking the cue ball at the bottom of the pendulum swing. It is not totally clear from the video, but the hand flexes well after the cue ball is gone, as the hand accelerates the cue after it is slowed by the ball. Some additional video, with recorded data showing the post-hit acceleration, can be found here: stroke acceleration. Also shown on that page is that most people reach maximum stroke speed close to tip contact. With the acceleration being zero (at maximum speed), there is no force being exerted by the grip hand at all at impact. Also, the cue tip is in contact with the cue ball for such a short period of time (see tip contact time), and the hand flesh is so flexible compared to the cue tip, the grip cannot have any significant influence during tip contact. After impact, the grip hand does not generate much force until the cue slows and the hand moves forward enough (due to its momentum) to create enough skin flex. Again, the CB is long gone by the time this happens.

Also, any force that the grip hand might be exerting on the cue during contact would be too small to have any meaningful effect anyway compared to the extremely large force between the cue tip and CB. And many (if not most people) are exerting very little force with the grip right before contact anyway since the cue has already reached the desired speed at contact with the ball. That is clear in the acceleration plots in the various resources on the stroke acceleration resource page.

NV B.96 – Grip and bridge technique and advice (at the 2:32 point in part 2) shows how the bridge hand can also have no significant effect. The bridge hand flesh doesn’t yield until a transverse elastic wave travels from the tip to the bridge after cue tip impact … or during, if the bridge is within about 6 inches of the tip (for more info, see shaft endmass and stiffness effects). But even if the bridge is close to the tip (which usually isn’t the case), it takes time for the fingers to flex and generate force, and it takes time for that force to be “felt” by the tip. The CB will be long gone by the time this happens.

Bottom line: The CB is long gone before any “flesh effects” can be “felt” by the tip.

See also: grip technique advice.

from Patrick Johnson:

Stroke and grip can’t increase tip/ball contact time; the tip “bounces off” the CB on impact and your fleshy hand can’t stop it no matter how tight your grip or how much your stroke is accelerating.

Even if you could increase tip/ball contact time this way, the effect on CB spin would be tiny.

Can you get more cue ball speed with a tighter grip?

Theoretically, a really tight grip could effectively add mass to the cue, but this effect is very small since a typical tip is so much stiffer than the flesh contacting the cue in the grip hand. But if you could deliver the cue to the ball accurately and with power, a really tight grip could theoretically result in slightly faster cue ball speed. However, a tighter grip usually results in less cue speed (and less accuracy) for most people. Also, see the section at the top of the page.

Now, tightening the grip during the stroke, as some people do on the break and other power shots, might result in slightly more power by activating slight wrist flick and maybe slightly more elbow flex (due to extra biceps contraction), both of which could add a little power (more cue speed into the CB).

from Bob Jewett (in AZB post)

The main effect on the hit of a tighter grip — assuming you can achieve the same tip offset and stick speed at impact — will be that the effective mass of the stick will be slightly greater. As I recall, it was about 1% for a typical grip due to the softness of the flesh of the hand, which keeps the majority of the weight of the hand from really participating in the collision.

(During the time of tip-ball contact, the hand doesn’t have time to “wind up” to provide significant additional force on the cue stick. In contrast, as the tip compresses for about half a millisecond (0.0005 seconds) it is hard enough that the tip-ball force builds to around 100 pounds. That is from a compression of about 1-2 millimeters. Most of the compression of the stick is in the tip rather than in the ferrule, shaft, joint and butt, but those other parts of the cue also compress during tip-ball contact.)

So, let’s suppose that by gripping really tightly you could get the hand to increase the effective weight of the cue by 3% instead of the normal 1% for a normal grip. Instead of that death grip, you could get the same result by adding 2% extra weight to the stick or about 0.4 ounces.

You could also get the same result by increasing the speed of the stick by about 1% with your normal grip, because speed is more effective than stick weight, percentage wise, for getting more spin and speed on the cue ball.

from Spiderman (concerning whether grip tension has any effect):

Not on the cue, it doesn’t. But it has a big difference on how you play.

I think it’s been both theorized and verified that the impulse force during the brief contact far overshadows anything you can do by accelerating/influencing the cue during contact. There was a long thread on this last week.

On the other hand, from a shooter’s perspective, a loose grip encourages you to let the cue travel naturally in line without swoop or wobble, and keeps you from shoving it off-line with a poor stroke. Almost everything will work better with the loose grip, but it isn’t because of anything that happens during contact. It’s because it makes everything before contact work in better harmony. It helps your “real” stroke follow the exact path of your warm-up strokes rather than being a somewhat-independent event.

If you could keep the cue flowing perfectly in line with a tight grip, it would work just fine, but most people can’t do that – they will unintentionally pull it off-line. A tight grip also seems to sometimes manifest itself in a really bad habit where you try to “take something off” your stroke just before contact, and the decelerating cue condition is very prone to missing your intended tip-contact point. People who “take something off” are much more likely to miscue when trying to play the edges of the cueball. Next time you miscue during a low soft draw, ask yourself whether you tried to pull your stroke just before contact. That is far less likely with a loose grip.

There are times when a tight grip is appropriate – for example, a nip draw to avoid a foul – but loose seems best for normal strokes.

For years I’ve had problems with tight grip and eye control (where I look during warm-up and delivery). I’m still working on both, and the more I work on it the better I shoot.

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