You see, a huge secret of the classic stroke, as demonstrated step-by-step here at About.com, is this… when you need and have room for a complete stroke back and through, grip lighter than you've dreamed possible.
Try it, you'll like it and can easily mimic a pro pool stroke. Get in your stance with your usual grip force on the cue stick, then squeeze the stick with half as much pressure, then half again, to get to a mere quarter of your usual grip strength.
You're likely still far from the pro grip. My stick would fall to the table with any lighter grip force applied! On a scale of 1 to 10 grip strength, 10 being whitened or bloodied knuckles around the cue, I use "1" for most shots, 1½ or a bit more for certain spin shots. I use less than 1 to smash certain kinds of open breaks!
The amateur controls the stick, but the pro releases the stick instead, to get more spin, power, straight movement, and touch. A superlight grip will bring you magic, too, even without super hand eye coordination.
You can force a football over a defender's head or a golf ball to curve through the air, but great billiards avoids forced, clenched muscles. My stroke is laser straight as I avoid a pool paradox that the more a player forces a straight stroke the more the cue wobbles instead. Let the stick fly instead, and it tends to fly straight.
Recall Sir Issac Newton's principle of inertia. A cue stick set to straight motion goes straight forever unless an outside force interferes. Ignoring cue ball impact, outside force is almost always a tight grip--forcing a twisting motion.
You need not practice 10,000 hours to feel inertia compel a straight stroke. Simply switch to using a superlight grip. Let the stick roll along your fingers if it wants or vice versa.
You can feel how releasing inertia produces a super-straight stroke using my fun drill to "drill in" straight arrow shots. Aim and stroke an imaginary long cross corner shot (with no balls on the pool table) but let the stick fly from your hands into the pocket! Arguably bad for a cue tip but the pocket liner can take it…
I can throw my stick cross corner like Robin Hood, five times into the same tip sized chalk mark. I use a superlight grip because one won't even reach the pocket with the amateur's "death clench" tight grip.
Never again seek leverage with the cue, the disease of all hard grippers! A friend can confirm if you hoist your cue's butt for leverage in the stance (most players do).
Weak players lift their cue still higher with their practice strokes! Hold your cue stick low and loose to stroke center ball-even if you fear you'll strike below center instead of center-and watch the improved results.
As added benefit, a lighter grip enhances endurance. Hours of pro grip competition and my stroking arm doesn't hurt!
Here's another exercise teaching a superlight grip. Place the cue ball squarely behind an object ball about a diamond away. Draw straight backwards off the object ball. And I mean straight back with some serious zip on the cue ball. Use the pro secret grip and you can suck the rock back 10 of 10 times striking the cue ball much higher than you think and much softer than you think. Draw is easy with the pro grip!
**Still want to clench something for peace of mind? Tuck the elbow a bit on long draw strokes, which helps snap the stroke. Focus on combining the tight elbow at stroke time with the loose grip.
In a soon coming article, we'll add pro speed control to what you've been learning about stance and stroke.