What are the recommended “best practices” for the grip?

“Cradle” is probably a better word than “grip” because you really should not be gripping the cue with any pressure at all. The following videos cover all important technique elements of the “grip:”

The best advice is to not think about it too much and just make sure the grip and wrist stay as relaxed as possible during the entire stroke. Let the fingers do what they need to do to allow the cue to pivot in the grip. The fingers should be gently wrapped around the cue, and the grip should be closed (but not tight) with no “slop” between the cue and the hand.

Here’s a good article (also Snooker oriented) that covers it fairly well: www.fcsnooker.co.uk/coaching/basics/the_grip/the_grip.htm

See also: light grip vs. tight grip.

from Patrick Johnson (in relation to the “V” grip):

[Here’s] the starting place for the way I (and I’m sure many others) teach the grip. Gripping the cue between the thumb and index finger this way, with the other three fingers held off the cue, does a couple of things:

1. It grips the cue at only two points on opposite sides of the handle (like having a horizontal hinge pin through the handle to form a “pivot point”) so the cue can pivot freely during the pendulum stroke without interference from the rest of the fingers on the grip hand.

2. It puts the hand in the proper “hanging straight and loose” position so the wrist joint pivots easily along the same line as the cue and shot line without “steering” the stroke offline.

But pointing the thumb and index finger down is only the starting position – the grip is used this way at first to illustrate the hand position and how the cue should pivot between the thumb and index finger, but it’s not the finished grip.

The next step is to allow the index finger to wrap lightly around to cradle the bottom of the cue so that less “pinching” pressure is used (unless needed for harder shots) – the thumb remains more or less straight down on its side of the cue, curling inward only enough to complete the loop with the index finger. The remaining three fingers are kept off the cue for some more time until the feeling of cradling the cue lightly with only the thumb and forefinger comes naturally.

Finally, the remaining three fingers are allowed to relax comfortably against the cue and even curl lightly around it, but without applying any grip pressure. All grip pressure comes only from the “pinching” of the thumb and forefinger against the sides of the cue. When done correctly, this grip develops calluses on the insides of the thumb and forefinger on opposite sides of the cue where it pivots against them.

The “v” in this method is simply the inverted “v” formed between the thumb and forefinger, made more visible by the gap left between it and the top of the cue because of the loose grip.

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