Stance: What to Do with Your Feet
How you stand depends on a few different things, such as your body type, your height, and the position of your head over your cue stick. While your arm is your aiming device for your cue stick, your legs and feet are your aiming device for your arm. So, ultimately, if you're standing crooked, your arm will want to go crooked as well. We know what that means … so will your cue stick.
The old saying that “if it feels comfortable, it's probably right” is a pool player's trap! Standing correctly might not necessarily mean feeling comfortable — at first — but don't despair, you're not doomed to a pool-playing life of discomfort. You'll get used to it. In fact, your comfort will actually increase over time as you become used to being properly balanced.
Since your stance is so important to your shot making, it would be a great idea to take a lesson from a certified instructor to help get your body properly aligned. Check out the Billiard Congress of America's website for a list of certified instructors in your area.
There are at least three key factors regarding your stance that you should pay attention to. First, the lower shooting arm should hang straight down from your elbow when the cue tip hits the cue ball. Use this as a guideline to help you determine where to place your back hand on the cue stick.
If your back hand is too far back on the cue, then you'll have a very short backstroke with an unusually long follow-through; and if your back hand is too far up on the cue, as in “choked up,” you'll have too much backstroke and not enough follow-through.
Since there are no hard and fast rules about how you are allowed to stand during a game, other than you must have one foot on the floor at all times, you can get a little creative when the table doesn't accommodate a classic-style stance. You may find yourself putting one knee up on the table at certain times. That's perfectly fine. Just make sure that your right knee is under your right arm (if you're right-handed). This will help keep you properly aligned.
Next, position your right foot under your right hand (if you are right-handed) when you strike. Then position your left foot shoulder-width out and slightly in front of the right one, say about 6 inches to 1 foot in front.
And third, keep your bridge hand (the hand on the table holding the tip of the cue) and your back hand in a straight line with the path you intend the cue ball to travel. This is to ensure that your stick is aimed straight at the target and not coming in at an angle.
Correct body alignment is critical to your stroke.
Incorrect body alignment is most commonly seen in inexperienced players.