10 Best Pool Tips for Beginners & Bonus Tips to Avoid

  • By: Rob
  • Date: May 12, 2022
  • Time to read: 9 min.
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Pool is an awesome game that can be played with friends and by yourself, but if you’re new to the game it can seem confusing. Don’t be discouraged, though! Here are 10 great tips to help you go from novice to master in no time!

Using these billiard tricks and tips will take your game to the next level in no time!

Keep reading for some things to avoid and ways to improve and skyrocket your game to the next level!

happy shooting!

Free Bonus Billiard Tips

If you want some extra guidance on how to level up your game in no time at all I have created this completely free guide on some drills and shots to help improve your game.

This guide will walk you through some safety shots, cue ball control, cue ball positioning. If you are looking for the best way to improve your game the fastest and easiest then this free ebook is it!

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  • Cue ball control
  • Positional play
  • Safety play
  • Practice drills

Tips for Playing Pool for Beginners

I’m sure you have heard it a million times before, not only with pool but with pretty much everything – Practice makes perfect – This is annoyingly said to people who want to get better at something. As annoying as it is, it’s the sad truth! Practice really is the key to getting better, but you need more than just practice to get better, you need instruction too. Without the correct path to take, practice to get better, will take much much longer. Practice with instruction is the key – mixing in some good solid advice and guidance will help you get better faster.

There are other things you can do too, aside from following these tips for playing pool better, and that is to practice with a training cue ball.

If you bring the practice, ill bring the guidance, and together we will master this sport.

Get a Grip

Your first pool tip is to grip the pool cue correctly. Your grip on your pool cue can be the difference between success and failure in billiards. Many people instinctually grip the cue tightly, but you actually want to grip the cue loosely.

You just need to cradle the cue, have the butt of the cue rest on your fingertips with only the slightest grip to keep it from falling.

This will feel strange at first but it will become more natural the more you play with the correct grip. This will lead to better control of the cue ball believe it or not.

I wrote a great article on how to hold a pool cue that you can check out for more information.

Master that Stance

You want to make sure you’re standing strong and steady. This will help your shot accuracy and will keep you upright if someone bumps into you. Keep your front foot about a shoulder-width in front of your back foot, and balance equally between the two.

This is a great billiard tip that I see so many people getting it wrong – balance and stability is key.

Align Your Body

To properly align your body, your cue, eyes, head, and stroking arm should all be lined up straight towards the ball you’re aiming for.

Too many times I see people aiming for a ball and sighting down the side of the cue, rather than directly above the cue looking straight down. Aiming in this way will not give you the most accurate shot – line of sight is a key tip for beginners to use.

Sighting is important and having a “vision-centered” view will help with accuracy, 

Find the Line

The aiming line, that is. Before each shot, you should know which ball you’re aiming for and which pocket you’re trying to sink it in. To aim properly, focus on the center of your target pocket and imagine a line extending from that point to the center of your target ball. This is your aiming line.

As an extra tip, consider the tangent line – the direction of the cue ball after it has made contact. The tangent line of the cue ball is manipulated using english, draw and other techniques. Considering where to place cue ball, and aim for that, will help make your next shot easier.

Practice Your Strokes

To shoot like a professional, your stroke should begin with a slow and smooth back-swing. Regardless of how much power you plan to use during your shot, your back-swing should always be slow and smooth. When hitting your shot, move forward in a straight line. There should be absolutely no side-to-side motion.

Feathering, which is what this is called in snooker, will help you get a “feel” for the shot you are about to play.

A bonus tip I would say at this point, empty any thoughts from your head, you should have already worked out which ball to aim for and how you will take the shot, so when “feathering”, just relax into the shot, don’t think about it too much, this will distract you. 

Elbows Up

When shooting, don’t drop your elbow. This means that when your cue is all the way back in the back-swing with your elbow bent and raised above your shoulder, your shoulder and elbow should stay raised during your shot. 

In other words, when you shoot you should only be moving your forearm and not the entire arm. This is true for a lot of sports, technique is the key.

Find the Right Bridge

When taking the shot the cue will glide through your hand, which is rested on the pool table – this is your bridge.

There are several different ways to make bridge with your hand, and not all will work for you. Try a few out and get comfortable with the one you like the best.

Imagine a Ghost Ball

A ghost ball is an imaginary ball that helps you aim your shots effectively. The basic technique is to look at the target ball and place an imaginary ball next to it (they should be touching) at the ideal angle to sink the ball. Then you aim your cue ball for that point on the target ball.

Visualizing a ghost ball before a shot is a really good tip for beginners to help understand where you need to hit the ball to make the pot.

Beginner pool tip to improve imagine a ghost ball

Remember Chalk

You might wonder why chalk your cue, what does chalk even do in pool? Most people just chalk up without thinking about it.  Doing so helps you to grip and make strong contact with the cue ball.

Most people chalk up before every shot, doing so will reduce miscues but creating better friction between the cue tip and the cue ball.  There is a little technique on chalking a pool cue with some dos and don’ts so before to read up on them in my how to chalk a cue article.

looking for a great piece of chalk then check out my best pool cue chalk where i picked out my favorites.

Keep Calm

Being calm and confident— no matter how your game is going— is crucial. Getting worked up won’t do you any good, and you’ll probably play worse because of it. Remember you’re new at this, and you’ll get better the more you practice.

This billiard tip is one of the most important – you will make mistakes and bad shots but its all part of learning the game – just relax and enjoy it and embrace the mistakes

Things to avoid when playing pool

Let me list a few things I see players doing that will have a negative impact on their game.

Gripping and holding the cue
I already mentioned sighting and gripping the cue correctly – but more often than not people do this incorrectly. People say, pool is about fractions, so if you are slightly off then you will most likely miss the shot – so hold the cue correctly and aim straight and true.

Don’t get emotional 
If you want to improve your game then you need to control your emotions – I see people getting frustrated and worked up all too often when they miss a shot (I’m definitely guilty of this). Staying relaxed and focused is the only way to play billiards.

Don’t choose a bad cue
If you can, choose a good cue. You don’t want a bent cue, you don’t want a cue with a warn-out old cue tip and you want to keep your cue chalked.

Don’t do this in the pool hall
Pool rooms have some unwritten rules that you should avoid, which I feel are worth mentioning here too. 

Avoid chalking your cue over the table, people don’t want to be cleaning your chalk from the felt.

Don’t leave your beer on the pool table rail. It’s easily knocked off and will mess up the cloth and possibly damage the table bed.

In Summary

Pool is a great game and there are a lot of ways to get good if you’re new to it. Just remember to practice everything correctly to prevent learning any bad habits!

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Rob is an avid player and fan of all cue sports, particularly 8-ball, and snooker. He has competed in a few local 8-ball tournaments and although he is not a professional, he can compete with the best of them.