When you first put a new tip on your cue, there is a certain amount of "breaking in" that occurs, even with the harder tips. When hitting the cue ball at top speeds, a lot of pressure is focused in the tip material. This compresses the tip material and flattens the curve of the tip. Instead of a nickel shape, it looks like a silver dollar shape – flat and barely curved. This, of course, does not help you when applying spin to the cue ball. The flatter curve tends to make it quite easy to miscue.
Sometimes the flattening is caused because the tip material is too soft. This is quickly noticeable. After just a few strokes, the edges of the tip start spilling over the edge of the ferrule. The term for this is mushrooming. The tip must be dressed (reshaped) immediately; otherwise you increase the chances of a miscue.
Some tips will compress quickly simply because they are too cheap. Cost of tips is an excellent indicator of quality. The businesses that manufacture tips will often have several soft cue tips. There are a number of players who subscribe to the idea that the process of mushrooming and trimming the tip over a period of time results in an excellent quality tip with very good playing features.
The selection of your tip will depend on your personal preferences. There are tips that range across a variety of different hardness characteristics. There are single layer, multiple layer and of many different kinds of material. Prices can range for a few dollars to $50 each. Whichever one you select as your standard, make sure you understand ahead of time what will be required to maintain it in shooting conditions.
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