Billiard Gloves: What’s Their Purpose?


Do you remember the first time you saw someone playing pool with a 3-finger glove on? You probably asked yourself the same question I did: “Is this guy trying to make a fashion statement or is there a point to wearing that thing?” Truth be told, lots of pool players wear billiard gloves, some wouldn’t dare play without one. So, the question remains: Why do pool players wear gloves?

In most cases, pool players wear a glove to reduce the effects that a sweaty bridge hand has on their stroke. Gloves help reduce the friction between your cue and bridge hand by providing a smoother surface for your cue to glide through. This friction or “cue drag”, is typically caused by sweaty hands, high humidity, or playing with a cue that doesn’t have a smooth shaft.

Let’s look into how these issues can affect your game and how wearing a glove can help.

When is Wearing a Glove Beneficial?

Any time you find your cue sticking to your bridge hand, wearing a glove can help. This is especially true if you notice that it’s throwing off your shots.

Most all of us have suffered with this to some degree but for others this is a constant problem. For instance, those whose hands sweat when they play, or live in a humid area, probably experience cue drag more often. This is because the moisture on your hand, due to sweat or humidity, doesn’t allow the cue to glide as smoothly as it does on a dry hand.

Another factor that contributes to cue drag is the smoothness of your cue’s shaft. With most high-quality cues, shaft smoothness is usually not an issue. However, with a lot of cheaper cues, or ones made of fiberglass or graphite, it can be.

When playing with these cues it’s important to know they’re not going to provide the same smoothness of a good quality wood cue, so some amount of friction is to be expected. If you want to learn more about the differences between wood and fiberglass cues, check out our article Wood vs Fiberglass Pool Cues: Whats the Difference?

But regardless of the reason for your cue sticking, wearing a glove is a simple, cost-effective way to deal with this issue. By eliminating the effects of sweaty hands and compensating for a cue with a not so smooth shaft, wearing a glove can help improve your stroke and your game tremendously. A lot of players even find it difficult to play without one after using it for the first time due to how well it improves the smoothness of their stroke.

Are There Any Disadvantages to Wearing a Glove?

For me, playing with sweaty hands has always been an issue. That’s why anytime I play I always have a glove on. If I didn’t, playing pool just wouldn’t be that enjoyable.

However, wearing a glove is not for everyone. A lot of players don’t like wearing a glove because of how smooth it is compared to a bare hand. They simply like being able to feel the cue in their bridge hand and wearing a glove prevents that. Because the glove is so smooth, it tends to increase the speed of your stroke, especially if you’re shooting with an open bridge hand. This can cause you to hit the cue ball harder than you intended, which may not leave you set up properly for your next shot.

Also because of the frictionless surface gloves provide, even a small deviation in your stroke can affect the accuracy of your shot. Both of these issues, however, can easily be compensated for with a little bit of practice. But for many players who have played bare handed for a long time, taking the time to relearn their stroke just isn’t worth it.

Are There Any Alternatives?

If you’re struggling with cue drag but wearing a glove isn’t for you, there is another option. A lot of players who don’t like the feel of a glove will chalk their bridge hand and the shaft of their cue. This basically accomplishes the same thing as wearing a glove while maintaining the feel of not wearing one.

Using chalk or powder is a good alternative but it can be messy. This is especially true if you’re playing for a while and have to keep re-applying it. This typically isn’t an issue if you’re playing on your own table, but if you’re playing at a friend’s house or at a pool hall, they may not appreciate the amount of dust you leave behind on their table, especially if its new or has been recently re-felted.

If you want to use hand chalk but are concerned about the mess, consider buying a chalk bag like this one on Amazon. It even comes with a travel bag to help keep things neat and clean when not in use. This is a great alternative to wearing a glove and maintaining the feel of the cue in your hand.

Glove Recommendations

As I mentioned earlier, I always play with a glove. I also started using one very early on so adjusting to it wasn’t hard to do since I hadn’t spent a ton of time playing bare handed.

But for me, not having to worry about my cue dragging and throwing off my shot, regardless of hand sweat or humidity, is a huge benefit. If you’ve been struggling with your cue dragging and think a glove would be a good fit for you, then consider this one by Anser.

This is by far one of the most versatile gloves on the market. It fits on both the right and left hand and comes in a wide range of colors and sizes. This is a great glove for players of all skill levels and its super affordable. You can check it out here, on Amazon.

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