The bridge hand changes on certain shots, depending on where the cue ball is, and how difficult it is to place the bridge hand comfortably on the table.  Ideally, the bridge hand should be 6-10 inches from the cue ball.

Here are 10 different positions the bridge hand can be in at the table, and a bridge hand strength rating chart.

Different Bridge Hand Shots
1. Open bridge
2. Closed bridge
3. Open bridge off a rail
4. Closed bridge off a rail
5. Just off the rail
6. Frozen to the rail
7. Long off the rail
8. Down the long rail
9. Over the pocket
10. Over a ball

Bridge Strength Rating
1. Very weak
2. Weak
3. Firm
4. Strong
5. Very strong

Below I’ve rated certain shots 1 to 5 for strength along with which bridge hand should grip the table:

Power Shots – Hand Strength 5: It’s important the bridge hand is VERY strong on power shots.  Any movement whatsoever and you’ll likely miss the shot.

Cushion/Rail Shots – Hand Strength 4: It’s also important that the bridge hand is strong on cushion/rail shots so movement doesn’t cause you to miss.  When having the bridge close to the cue ball, you’ll have to shorten the backhand grip up the cue.

Hand on the Table – Hand Strength 3: As long as you have a stable, firm bridge hand with no movement, you should make these shots.  The further the ball is away, the strength of the hand on the shot goes up.  Anything less than 3 and you need to work on the strength of the bridge hand.

Key Points to Remember:
-Strong Bridge Hand
-Grip the Cloth Firmly
-No Movement
-Flexible Bridge Arm
-Train Muscle Memory

Take more time during your practice sessions to work on your bridge hand and arm to shape the fingers and build up the muscle memory for all situations.  The bridge hand/arm on certain shots can be the most important part of the shot, and practice will prepare you for the more unorthodox shots.  Watch a player with a bad bridge hand form when they’re playing a tougher shot.  Generally, you can tell they’re going to miss more than they’ll make, so keep working on your bridge!

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