Phenolic tips are the newest technological innovation in pool cues. Traditional pool cues are tipped with leather, which can deteriorate over time as the result of repeated impact with the cue ball. Phenolic cue tips are not only more resistant to damage, but also better-suited for the forces created during impact, resulting in higher velocity off the cue. In fact, some phenolic cue tips are illegal in tournament play because of the advantages they offer over traditional leather-tipped cues.
Keep your weight behind the shot. Phenolic tips are much harder than leather tips, so take full advantage of the extra power they can provide. Keep your right elbow directly above the cue during the shot and drive forward through the ball.
Use the cue on breaks. The extra velocity of a cue ball from a phenolic tip translates to increased power in the collision of the break, delivering maximum impetus to each ball on the table. You can switch to a different cue after the break, but for straight power, the phenolic tip will give you an advantage.
Use phenolic tips for jump shots. Jump shots also benefit from the extra hardness of the tip and the extra velocity. While you may switch to a softer tip for most shots, be sure to use the phenolic tip for jump shots.
Make direct contact. Because phenolic tips are harder, they are more likely to slip off the ball on an off-center shot. Dead-center shots are the safest bet.
Take extra care on spin shots. Cues with softer leather tips tend to grab the ball when you strike the ball off-center, whereas a phenolic tip can lead to a shank. Don't try to apply too much backspin or side spin with a phenolic tip or you could end up with a disaster.