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8 Top Mistakes Pool Players Make and How to Fix Them

Pool is a great game for just about any age and ability level. It's fun, entertaining and simple to learn. And just like any other game or sport, it takes practice to achieve better results. From those just starting out to players with a bit more experience, everyone can stand to improve their game a little. 

Many of pool players' common mistakes are easy to fix. Correcting errors and working on specific skills can advance your gameplay significantly. Whether you need pool tips for beginners or advice to reach the next level, this look at the most common mistakes pool players make can help you improve. 

1. Neglecting to Chalk the Cue

Among the most common things pool players do wrong forgetting or neglecting to chalk the cue frequently is one of the top mistakes. The chalk provides better grip and the appropriate friction when the cue hits the ball. Those advantages can help you avoid miscues when the cue slips from the ball, causing a missed shot or an unintended crooked shot. 

Chalk It Up

While many pool beginners don't think chalking is necessary, chalking from the beginning can help you build good habits and improve your game right from the start. Many professionals chalk their cue after each shot — while this may seem excessive, it can make a huge difference. 

2. Raising or Lowering the Cue Stick Too Much

Keeping the pool cue level is another common lesson in how to play pool for beginners. Angling the cue stick up or down when taking your shot can often lead to a jumped ball or a crooked or curved shot instead of the desired straight shot into the pocket. 

Level Out Your Stance

Using a proper stance is crucial to keeping the cue stick as level as possible so you can sink that shot. 

3. Not Having the Proper Stance

Inexperienced pool players may not know how to find the correct stance for making a shot, which can be an essential skill for improving your accuracy in the game. Many people make the mistake of leaning too far away, scrunching their body up too close or standing at an awkward angle. All of these mistakes can lead to poor balance when making a shot. 

Find Your Balance

While there isn't necessarily a single correct stance, the following steps will help you establish a solid foundation:

  1. Stand with your weight evenly balanced between your feet and find a comfortable and stable spot. 

  2. With a balanced stance, bend your upper body towards the table.

  3. Keep your head straight down to make your shot. 

4. A Weak Bridge

In pool, the bridge is the hand the cue stick rests on while you make your shot. A strong, stable bridge is essential for making solid shots in the game. A weak bridge can cause the cue stick to move around and reduce the accuracy of your shots. 

Have a Stable Foundation

Want to know how to hit the cue ball accurately? Whenever possible, place the palm of your hand on the table for more stability. A more stable foundation will help you maintain balance and give you the best chance of a good shot at the ball. Rest your hand on the table about 6-8 inches behind the cue ball and form a bridge with your thumb and index fingers. 

5. Taking Your Eye Off the Cue Ball 

Losing focus on the ball you're about to hit is another common mistake. Even with a perfect stance and flawless balance, you're far less likely to have a successful shot if your eyes aren't on the ball. As a beginner, it can be challenging to know where to focus your attention — between the cue stick, cue ball, object ball and intended pocket, there's a lot going on. 

Follow the Line of Action

Most pool experts and instructors advise focusing on the cue and object balls. Switch your eyes rapidly back and forth until the moment you make your shot, where you should focus on the object ball. This skill can be challenging to develop, but you'll get there with practice — and improve your game in the process! 

6. Playing With the Wrong Cue Stick

If you're new to pool, the size and weight of the cue stick may not seem like a big deal — you might just grab whatever is available. However, cue sticks come in many different sizes and weights, each best for people of different ages, heights and abilities. For example, as a person grows taller, they generally need a longer cue stick. 

Try Your Different Options

With so many options, trying different pool cues is the best way to find the one that works for you. Take the time to find the best one to maximize your potential for the game. 

7. Holding or Gripping the Cue Stick Wrong

How you hold the cue stick can make all the difference in successfully making that shot and getting the ball in the pocket. Even pool tips for advanced players often begin with adjusting your cue stick grip. 

Be Firm but Gentle

Once you've found the right size cue stick for you, practice holding it with a gentle grip. With the tip resting on your bridge hand, use your other hand to gently but firmly grip the other end of the stick. You'll need practice to find a grip gentle enough to move the cue fluidly back and forth and firm enough to give you precise aim. 

8. Not Cleaning the Pool Table Regularly 

If it seems like a clean pool table wouldn't make much difference, you might be surprised by the effect. The felt on a pool table collects dust like the rest of your furniture, as well as chalk dust from chalking the cue sticks over or near the table. When these particles settle into the felt, they can affect how the balls move on the table. 

Dust and Protect the Felt

You can clean your table by using a table brush after every game and regularly vacuuming the felt to remove the chalk and dust. When you're not playing, a table cover will help further protect the surface for the best playing results. 

Pool Tables From Imperial

If you want to take your skills to the next level and enjoy playing pool whenever you want, consider adding a pool table to your rec room or family room. Imperial has a wide selection of pool tables and other game room furniture to let you experience the ultimate gaming luxury in your home. As a fourth-generation family business, we pride ourselves on our extensive experience in the industry and our impeccable customer service. 

Shop Imperial's selection of pool tables online to find your new pool table today! 

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