I was practicing one day about 6 years ago at my normal jaunt and I had to use a rake (I like to call it a bridge, so hence-forth bridge means the rake, not the bridge you make with your hand when shooting).
I grabbed the bridge, got down on my stance and shot (and made) the ball in front of me. As I walk around the table for my next shot, my friend Robbie (and a local favorite in the pool room) comes flying from the other side of the room, "Melinda, Melinda!"
He said, "I don't normally interfere in people's practice session, but I noticed how you were using the bridge and I learned a long time ago from..." (of course now I forgot the person's name).... "to use the bridge with your elbow to the side, not like you were using. "
I replied, "oh okay."
I went on my merry way and didn't have to use a bridge again during that practice session, but when I did the next time, I positioned my elbow up and to the side, instead of my elbow being straight down.
You all may already know this. Heck it's probably in every pool book and I just don't recall, but I had to share this in case others are unaware like I was.
I have seen every snooker-backgrounded player use a bridge this way, yet I never did! In A Mind for Tennis, the guy talks about learning from imitating and watching, yet I saw so many pros use the bridge that way and never did.
When I started to use the bridge in that position from then on, I felt more comfortable, more solid, more secure.
I hope you see a difference, too.
I admit there is never true right and wrong in pool - there are OPTIONS. But I beg you to try using a bridge with your elbow to the side (if you aren't already) and notice how much more stability you have. At first it might feel awkward, but only after a few shots (or strokes), you will notice you do have much more control.