Gripping the Cue Stick
How you hold the cue is critical to the efficiency of your shot. You should hold the cue (the thicker end, commonly called the “butt end” and “back end”) very loosely. It's not as important to have a forceful back hand as it is to have control — you want just enough pressure in your grip for maximum control of your shot.
Always remember to let your cue do the work for you rather than forcing shots by clamping down with your back hand. Try to visualize your back hand as a claw, whose purpose is merely to keep the cue from falling. Your arm is what moves the stick; your back hand just keeps it from falling down on the table. So, just move your arm through your backswing into your follow-through, allowing your back hand to go with it, and you'll develop consistency and control.
You will find that some cues have a wrap on the back end. The wrap is a material placed over the wood to assist the player's back-hand “feel” when gripping the cue; they also absorb moisture. They may be made of rubber, nylon, Irish linen, or leather, for example. Some players prefer the feel of bare wood or varnished wood. These materials will give your back hand the grip you need to keep the cue in place.
How do you know which material is ideal for you? Some players may prefer to feel the cue slide a little through their back hand as they stroke through the shot. Those players may choose Irish linen for its slickness and slippery feel. Other players may prefer the feel of being able to keep their back hand very loose without feeling the cue stick slip through during their stroke, so they may prefer a tackier wrap material, like leather, rubber, or varnished wood. You should try different cues with different wraps to see which one you prefer. Don't be surprised if your taste changes as you go along. You may want to experiment with different wraps as your game develops.