For the first time, my friend took me to play this beautiful game I observed that everyone was rubbing a small cube on top of their pool sticks. I stood there wondering why do you chalk a pool cue.
I played the game and played it miserably bad and thought that chalking it like everybody else would make me a better player but that did not work either because I was a noob back then.
If you observe all the balls on the pool table then one thing is common among all of them. They are all very shiny and manufacturers try to make them as frictionless as possible. So if you are trying to move a frictionless ball in a particular direction then it is very necessary that the object which is trying to move the ball should have high friction.
The object desired to have high friction is the pool cue tip. Tip makers try to make them rough. But if you could add more friction on top of tip it would help to make the shot even easier. So while shaping the pool cue tips, tips’ are scuffed that makes holes in them and make the surface even rougher.
So now in addition to the friction provided by tip the manufacturers, more friction is added by the tip shaping spikes. The third thing we can do to add more friction on top of the tip is by putting rough powder on top of it which is called a cube or chalk.
So when you play the shot, if we observe it at very slow speed via the help of high-speed cameras it shows that as soon as the cue hits the cue ball there is a cloud of chalk around that point blown off from the cue tip. This impact helps to grip the cue tip on to the ball and helps in making the cue ball move towards the desired direction on the pool table.
In addition, another benefit we get is that the empty spaces on the tip that were compressed on the impact are now empty again and they can be filled again with the chalk powder. Now the tip can last longer and helps more with the shot grip next time.
Because cue tips get compressed with each shot, the gaps on the tip become smaller and the tip moves towards getting frictionless. Therefore, it becomes necessary to chalk the tip again to make it full of friction again for the next shop.
The recommended way of way of chalking the pool tip is the same as shaping it with sandpaper. I have written a guide on how to shape the tip with sandpaper, you need to follow the same process while chalking the pool tip. Chalking the tip the same way as shaping the tip helps in maintaining the shape of the cue tip which gets deformed gradually with each shot.
SO WHAT IS THE BEST CHALK?
The best chalk is the one that would last longer not only on the pool cue tip but also on the cube itself. I can assure you one thing that there if you chalk you tip each time you play a shot then all chalks are equals. This is backed by a series of experiments conducted that proved that chalking before each shot reduces the chance of center hit miscue to almost 0. However, if you forget to chalk the tip then the average miscue hit was more than 10.
So the best chalk is the one which can last for a long amount of time in terms of usage.
CONCLUSION: WHY DO YOU CHALK A POOL CUE
Chalking help improves the grip between the cue ball and the cue tip. That means your chances of miscuing the shot get very less if you chalk the tip properly. For shots that are outside the miscue limit of the cue ball a chalked cue helps in getting more English on to the cue ball.