If you’re into watching cue sports on TV, then you may have seen some of your favourite players wearing a glove and wondered why they do. In this article, I’ll explain exactly what gloves are for when playing billiards as well as the pros and cons.
Gloves in Snooker and Pool
Some players wear a glove on their bridge hand when playing pool or snooker because it provides a smoother surface compared to the hand and prevents the cue from sticking to the player’s skin if their hands become sweaty. Billiards gloves are usually made from Lycra which is stretchable and lightweight.
|Advantages of Gloves||Disadvantages of Gloves|
|Prevents the cue sticking to sweaty hands||Can cause the cue to move too quickly|
|Reduces the need to clean and wax the cue||May restrict movement|
|Provides a consistent and smooth surface||Reduces the players ability to feel the cue|
Advantages of Wearing a Glove
Some players wear a glove when playing pool because it allows the cue to move through the bridge hand much more smoothly. This is useful for players who find their hands are sweaty and they keep needing to wash them to avoid their cue from sticking to their hand otherwise.
Overcomes Sweaty Hands
The main reason why billiards players wear a glove on their bridge hand is to prevent sweat from affecting the way the cue moves. The glove provides the cue with a consistent surface which is free from sweat, allowing it to move predictably. When your bridge hand is sweaty, the cue can stick to it and lead to inaccurate shots.
Reduces the Need for Cue Maintenance
When you use a glove, you won’t need to clean your cue and wax it as often. As long as you keep the glove clean, then the build-up of dirt on your cue will be pretty low. If you don’t wear a glove, then the sweat and oils from your hand will build up on the surface and need to be cleaned in order to prevent it from feeling sticky and grabby.
Provides the Player with Consistency
Not only does the glove provide the player with a more consistent surface on the bridge hand, it also helps when switching from different types of cues. The glove tends to allow the cue to glide consistently regardless of the material e.g. carbon fiber and wood, making it easy to switch between them.
This also applies to playing with well-maintained and dirtier cues, as the glove again reduces the difference in feeling between the two.
Disadvantages of Wearing a Glove
You’ll notice that some pool and snooker players at the professional level do not wear a glove on their bridge hand, so why is this?
The main disadvantage of wearing a glove when playing billiards is that it can cause the cue to move too quickly through the bridge hand making the player feel like they have less control over the cue.
The Cue Can Slide Too Quickly
Although wearing gloves tends to minimise the friction differences between smoother and grabbier cues, or cues of different materials, it can still make the cue “too smooth”. This can be the case when using carbon fiber or fiberglass cues, or very well-maintained cues. Wearing a glove can cause it to slide a bit too quickly and potentially make the player need to readjust their technique.
This means you generally need to be more accurate as any small alterations/ errors will be exaggerated more. This is generally something that players who wear gloves will get used to over time though.
Can Restrict Movement
Some players find that wearing a glove can restrict hand movement, in particular the thumb. Choosing a good-quality glove that fits correctly will minimise this issue but some players still find that they are uncomfortable to play with and interfere with the natural bridging position.
Reduces the Feeling of the Shot
Players who don’t like wearing gloves often comment that gloves reduce the level of feeling in the shot, and again this relates to the speed control. Since the cue is not physically touching your hand, you can’t feel the shot in the same way as you would if you weren’t wearing a glove and this can be a concern for some players.
Types of Billiard Gloves
There are two main types of billiard gloves:
These are rarely used for playing billiards as they can lead to a loss of sensitivity to the cue and make it more very quickly leading to a lack of control. Some players may use a full-handed glove is they find that they get very sweaty all over their hands.
These are the most common type used to play billiards. They cover the thumb, index and middle finger, but leave the ring and little finger exposed. This allows the player more freedom compared to a full-handed glove but still gives them the benefit of a smoother shot. Some three-fingered gloves will have a cut-out at the tip of each finger or just the middle finger.
Here are images of the two variants of the three-finger gloves. Both images link to Amazon so you can check the current prices.
Chalking as an Alternative to Gloves
If you don’t like how gloves feel but you are having trouble with your cue sticking to your hands when they are sweaty, then you can also apply chalk to your hand. You can use regular cue chalk to do this at a push, however it’s much better to use chalk specifically designed for the skin.
|Prevents the cue sticking to sweaty hands||Can be messy and leave marks on the cloth|
|Removes the need for gloves which can cause the cue to move too quickly||Needs to be reapplied when your hands start to get sweaty again|
Here’s a link to some chalk designed for hands on Amazon.
Image links to Amazon
Best Gloves for Billiards
The best gloves for billiards are the three-finger type gloves which provide a consistent and smooth surface for cueing, but avoid covering the entire hand which can reduce the level of feeling in the shot. They should be smooth, thin and lightweight, but capable of wicking sweat. Here are some top picks.
CUESOUL Billiard Glove
- Good value for money
Kamui Billiard Glove
- Quick-drying fabric
- Smooth and stretchable
- Anti-slip palm supports
Roaming Quick-Dry Billiard Glove
- Good value for money
- Breathable fabric
- Non-slip pad
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are the answers to some more commonly asked questions about wearing gloves in cue sports.
Do professional pool players wear a glove?
Pool gloves are often used by professional players to provide them with a smoother cueing action and to reduce the effect of sweat on the hands.
Do professional snooker players wear gloves?
Some professional snooker players wear gloves but not as many as in pool. This is because some players do not like the way gloves feel and that they cause the cue to move too quickly on the bridge hand.
Should I Wear a Glove for Playing Billiards?
If you find that your hands are getting sweaty when playing pool or snooker and this is causing the cue to stick, then it is a good idea to try wearing a glove. However, if you are not having this issue then wearing a glove is likely to be unnecessary and may restrict your movement and feel uncomfortable to play with.