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Pool Cue Aiming Tips


Pool Cue Aiming Tips

The most important aspect of aiming in billiards is to be sure the trajectory of your cue stick is on the same line as the correct path through the cue ball and through the ghost cue ball at the point of impact on the object ball..

As simple as this may sound it is very difficult to pocket balls especially on long shots. This is why most players, even good players, need to improve their cue stick alignment.

A good play should be able to pocket 50 ball in succession (long shots only).

I will guarantee, if you will work hard on cue stick alignment, your game can and will improve in a very short period of time.

Good luck and good shooting.

Pool Cue Aiming Tips

Replies & Comments

  1. sundownrFenwick on 11/22/2010 3:40:11 PM

    I know you're trying to help but it's not that simple. First not everyone uses the Gost ball for aiming. Some use CTE, Pro-one or edge to edge. Edge to edge can be a form of gost ball aiming.

    I had Scott Lee help me with fundamentals. Then I had Geno-Machino help me with his aiming method.

    Rather then shooting a shot 50 or 500 times I chose to do mother drills as a warm-up. When I have a problem shot I may practice it untill I make it 5 times in a row. Hitting thick or thin goes into my memory bank for future referances.

    One tip I got from a world class player, Willie Mosconi is clean the pockets with a damp towel before the game so you can see them better. Makes them look bigger. Then decide what part of the pocket you need to aim at.

  2. sundownrsundownr on 11/22/2010 4:59:02 PM

    Your right... it is not that simple but in over 50 years of playing billiards I have learned hard work does pay off.

    Another thing I have learned is great players have great eye sight and very good perception. Although it is only opinion I believe great billiard players are like great athletes in that they often are endowed with the necessary physical qualities (eye sight, coordination and perception) all which stand out vividly in great billiards play.

    My good friend Jimmy Moore was so exceptional in displaying these attributes I had a hard time believing he could not explain how he aimed. I ask him several times how he could run so many balls and his answer was always, "I can not explain it. I just look and then shoot". Given Jimmy gave me a straight answer I can not really account for his superior game. The man could simply pocket balls at will.

    Unfortunately I never had this ability. I am forced to think about alignment for each shot I take which is my standard excuse for not being a great billiard player.

    Bottom line... it is hard to beat natural ability.

  3. sundownrMitch Alsup on 11/22/2010 6:01:41 PM

    Aiming is about conceptualization, and not so much about execution. That is the process of determining what line to roll the CB down is one part (aim), actualy rolling the CB down that line is a different part (execution). It is my belief that separating the two problems leads to easier advancement.

    As to Aiming: I use a significantly modified Ghost ball method in order to aim.

    1. conceive of a ghost ball that is on a line between the OB and the pocket.
    2. modify the line between the OB and the pocket to deal with throw--call this new vantage point the "thrown pocket" and visualize it on the OB
    3. modify the line between the OB and the "thrown" pocket to deal with CB roll--backspinning cause the OB to begin rolling immediately, follow cause the OB to skid for a while before taking up natural roll.
    4. based on B and C, imaging a new ghost ball position, and aim there--then be sure you put the correct amount of side-spin and roll on the CB so the OB takes the predicted path.

    When I am "on my game" I do none of these calculations, I just conceive of the shot, get down and execute--letting the eye do the work. You can just see when its right, then just let the stroke cause it to be. When I'm not on my game, I do run though the calculations, and then concentrate on being deliberate on the stroke.

    As to the stroke: This is where I thing the OP was intending. Causing the CB to take the path intended (conceptualized) on all three things: 1) side-spin, 2) top-bottom spin, 3) the LINE. While I can agree that many lower ranked and novice players should basically practice regularized shots with varying degrees of difficulty from both a) distance and b) cut; you get to the point where this kind of practice does little good once you advance to APA-5-ish.

    Between APA-5 and APA-7 most players simply need to hit 100,000 shots with the kind of mental energy used in playing an opponent in tournament conditions. You know the shots CB->OB->pocket, and are working on the mental model of the kind of position you need for the next shot, and how to position the CB to get that shot. Near the end of this progression, you know how to get position, and have finally figured out why you want that position and not some other similar position.

    Once you get to APA-7, you need a different kind of practice on a fundamental level--you need to develop the mental model of your opponent to see his weaknesses, and be in a position to capitalize upon them. {not to mention simply performing 100,000 shots.} This is not CB->OB->pocket and CB-> perfect position. It goes beyond that to the point you are watching your opponent as hard as you are watching the table position. Watching for what rattles his mind, and figuring out how to leave him (safety) with a shot that he fundamentally does not like, and has higher than average potential to screw up. Your safety play comes up to the level of your regular game and you understand how delicate safety play needs to be.

    But back to the topic at hand. Understanding the line you want to roll the CB down, and how to roll the CB down that line is an interesting journey. Many novice to OK-ish players actually "hit" the CB with the cue tip! WRONG. What you want to do is to cause the cue tip to push through the CB and continue to the follow through point at near constant velocity (and on some shots accelerating velocity).

    When using significant offset from the center of the CB you must be increasingly "deliberate" as the off center distance increases. At the miscue limit you must be very deliberate with the cue tip as it impacts the CB. Any motion other than the intended motion is penalized with a mis-cue. However, once yu figure out the amount of deliberateness to apply, one can get significant (if not massive) spin (side or vertical) with very hard tips (like phenolic = jump of break tips). Then once you become deliberate on how the tip impacts the CB and performing the follow through; All of a sudden, you find that the cue shaft will have already attained the position advocated by the OP.

    Thus, I think that, while the OP is on the right track, he has the cart before the horse.

  4. sundownrFenwick on 11/23/2010 1:36:24 PM

    Looking for clarification.

    Mitch said:

    "As to Aiming: I use a significantly modified Ghost ball method in order to aim."

    So do I on some shots. I'll place the tip of my cue about a 1/4 inch from the contact point and swivel around to the hitting edge of the cue ball. GENE ALBRECHT showed me this one because I aim edge to edge on cut shots. He also taught me when your cutting right you use your right eye predominately. Left when cutting left. Are we on the same page?

    Mitch said:

    "But back to the topic at hand. Understanding the line you want to roll the CB down, and how to roll the CB down that line is an interesting journey. Many novice to OK-ish players actually "hit" the CB with the cue tip! WRONG. What you want to do is to cause the cue tip to push through the CB and continue to the follow through point at near constant velocity (and on some shots accelerating velocity)."

    I was taught to never push the cue ball. As it was explained to me it's the difference between a tight and loose grip. If the grip is tight you push. If your grip is loose on the back stroke and wrist action is added on the forward stroke you're hitting the ball and get more action even on light shots. Is this what you were saying?

    Last I do my thinking in the thinking position and shoot in the shooting position. When down at the table I don't pull the trigger until I see the exact point I want to hit.

  5. sundownrsundownr on 11/23/2010 5:45:10 PM

    Cue stick alignment, ghost balls and perception... those seem to be the subjects here.

    No player can play great billiards without great perception. That is a given to me. When I said work hard on alignment I should have added how to work on alignment... that is a player needs to keep refining their perception until they see (and remember) vividly how shots work.

    Like Mitch said he mentally goes through a reasonably complicated alignment procedure to get the results he desires... but in actual play he relies on memory to execute shots (automatic mode).

    As a long time billiard player I cannot argue this approach. It is as good as I have ever heard and demonstrates a very high level of understanding the fundamentals of shot making.

    To refine my original remarks I will modify my statements to "work hard on cue stick alignment with emphasis on perception. When you can pocket 50 long shots in succession then you will quickly realize your perception has improved."

    Have I covered everything you need to know about shot making... not by a long shot for sure and for certain.

    I am beginning to like this thread because it may teach us all something valuable.

  6. sundownrFenwick on 11/23/2010 6:33:26 PM

    @sundownr, you said:

    "Cue stick alignment, ghost balls and perception ? those seem to be the subjects here."

    Well not entirely ghost ball but that's a starting point. As I said I use edge to edge which is a form of ghost ball aiming.

    ...and:

    "No player can play great billiards without great perception. That is a given to me. When I said work hard on alignment I should have added how to work on alignment that is a player needs to keep refining their perception until they see (and remember) vividly how shots work."

    Are you referring to depth perception or visualization?

    ...and:

    "To refine my original remarks I will modify my statements to work hard on cue stick alignment with emphasis on perception. When you can pocket 50 long shots in succession then you will quickly realize your perception has improved."

    That's what Scott Lee teaches. Same bridge length, same follow through length, and same finish point with exceptions. One also needs to have ones head in the same location for every shot. That was taught to me by GENE ALBRECHT.

    This is the first aiming thread I've enjoyed joining.

  7. sundownrsundownr on 11/24/2010 9:10:55 AM

    Fenwick

    I am referring to overall perception of which depth perception is a very important part. To my way of understanding visualizing small angles starts with good depth perception. This is where cue stick alignment comes in. If your shot perception is off, even a little, then correct stick alignment is hard to achieve. This is why I believe working on cue stick alignment improves perception and thus leads to better shot making. The end result has to be remembering (memory) how a shot works best for you.

    sundownr

  8. sundownrMitch Alsup on 11/24/2010 1:39:28 PM

    I am of the opinion that if you have a system that works, don;t change it. That is, I don't care how one aims if it works well for them.

    When your bridge position is at the correct distance, one can aim straight through the CB down the intended line, and then pivot the back hand to apply english. The CB will still roll down the aimed line, even though the cue stick is not aimed down that line. This is generally known as "back hand english". Finding the correct bridge distance is the key to BHE. The correct distance will "null" the squirt of off-center hit on the CB.

    @fenwick:

    I was taught to never push the cue ball. As it was explained to me it's the difference between a tight and loose grip. If the grip is tight you push. If your grip is loose on the back stroke and wrist action is added on the forward stroke you're hitting the ball and get more action even on light shots. Is this what you were saying?

    I am not trying to push through the cue tip through the CB, I am trying to describe a process whereby the cue tip is accurately positioned as it traverses the contact point and does so without slowing down. Its something I can see, but not describe very well.

    I do agree with the notion of a light grip on the cue. And when applying top and bottom spin, I think that most of the spin should come from wrist motion through the center of and on line with the impacting of the cue tip with the CB. The forward arm motion does not change velocity with the application of light to heavy english. That is, to get good draw, one impacts the CB lower than center, while the arm smoothly swings forward, and the wrist snaps forward timed with the CB impact.

    A lot of the lesser players tend to strike the CB more like one would strike a baseball with a baseball bat. At the moment before contact the club is "released" into the ball and then we see what happens a second after. Such is not a good strategy with billiards, as you want to control the entirety of the moment of contact. The control of the moment of contact need a deliberate delivery of the tip to the CB.

  9. sundownrsundownr on 11/24/2010 2:45:48 PM

    Right on and well said.

  10. sundownrsophie hart on 11/27/2010 4:50:29 AM

    If your stroke is off, or you don't feel confident with it, safety should be your key strategy until you get your game on.

    Play safe with patience, many players want to make a ball every time they get to the table. But it is much wiser to think of playing safe with allocating the appropriate momentum to the cue ball.

    Also I find that you can focus better once you are safe.

  11. sundownrFenwick on 11/27/2010 8:12:59 PM

    @sophie hart, No offence but what does this have to do with a aiming thread. You recently mentioned you've only been playing for 6 months.

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Pool Cue Aiming Tips

  • Title: Pool Cue Aiming Tips
  • Author: (Jim Osborne)
  • Published: 11/22/2010 11:13:19 AM