The idea of this system is that the light in the room reflects off of the object ball. This is supposed to help you in determining the precise area where you will need to make contact with the cue ball. You should be able to identify this point by aiming the tip of your cut at the object ball, as though you were going to shoot it directly in to the pocket. The precise spot that you would hit the object ball with the cue to sink it, is the precise spot where you should look at the light's reflection. Picture the reflection, and save the spot in to your memory.
Next, you should move in to shooting position, while keeping your eye on that one spot. The idea of this system says that you should be able to use the reflection of the light to maintain your lock on this spot. You may be thinking that the light's reflection will change as you move in to position, and you are correct. The point is that you should become familiar with how much it will change over time, and use this as a point of reference.
This is a far-from-perfect aiming system, but it may be one that you'll hear of from time to time. We should also note that this particular system can not tell you how much English to use, how fast or hard your shot should be, or the deflection it should have.
- MrPhilHarmonic from Freehold, NJ on 4/11/2009 7:16:10 AM
I think the holy light system or method belongs under the heading of "myths and superstitions".
I have still heard players say they use this method. They are NOT good players! There is far too much variability across different pool rooms, and even from pool table to pool table.
The only reliable method I have found is the "ghost ball" aiming method (see the link for articles on this site), and even then, you have to adjust it constantly in allowing for the variable conditions e.g. the "throw" of the balls, the cloth, the speed of shot, the English, etc.
Do yourself a favor and learn the ghost ball technique. You'll have MUCH better success with it than with the Holy Light aiming technique.
- Deeb from California on 12/30/2009 8:47:45 PM
@cueball, this "holy light system" has worked very well with several new players until they establish their own aiming method. You are right, it's not perfect but what aiming system have you found that is perfect?
As to "lighting systems differ so much", I am talking about a home based setup so there is some consistancy but since each pool table is different in many respects it doesn't matter - it's all about the light reflection from the table you are playing on and does not claim any link between different tables any more than any other technique does.
- Phiroze from India on 1/3/2010 12:36:34 AM
Thanks for article on the Holy Light billiard aiming system. I have tried it and found that it works perfectly up to a half of a table only. Beyond this distance it does not work.
- MrPhilHarmonic from Freehold, NJ on 1/13/2010 7:23:59 AM
@deeb, It does no good having consistency at home (or on any pool table) when most tournament play takes place elsewhere.
If you want me to say something positive then I suggest you employ the "Ghost Ball" system for your aiming. You can find it in any good billiard instruction book (try books by Phil Cappelle or Robert Byrne for starters). This is the aiming system most pros use and once you get used to the effects of throw and understand how friction causes the ball to cling slightly, you will find this very effective.
A system that only works for "half the table" or "under certain lighting conditions" is not really a system at all in my book. The game is so difficult and under pressure you will need something totally reliable to help you as your confidence will shatter and leave you helpless without a good system to guide you.
Hope this is of help and as I said, use the "Ghost"!
- Ace from AL, United States on 2/21/2010 2:42:00 PM
If the light is hung in the center of the pool table according to standard specifications as it should be, the light system works very well. You do have to familiarize yourself with window lighting so as not to confuse it with the over head reflection.
- Tim Merritt from FL, United States on 3/2/2010 1:08:33 PM
I find it interesting that what works for some people does not always work well for others, which is why we all need to let people use whatever works for them without the need to judge who is adept at shooting or not. In other words some people are very good though they do not let anyone know just how good. They also don't advertise what method they use to shoot and aim. Most people will ask for help if they respect the source.
- Augiebear323 from Kansas City, KS on 12/1/2010 9:13:59 AM
I know an old Pro pool player that uses the "light" system for aiming all the time. He is old and gimpy and partially crippled up. This is one of the lessons that he uses when teaching billiards, but, if the student doesn't connect with it, then he goes a different way. Everyone knows that some systems work for some and not for others. I read somewhere that if you want to get to the best level you are able, just "think the ball into the pocket".
@phiroze, If the holy light system only works for half-table distances, just run half the table, then, using cue ball control, end up at the other end and run that out.
- Sixcues from Dallas, TX on 9/16/2011 9:05:31 PM
I agree with Tim and Deeb. People are different and each will see it in his or her own way. What works for some, others may have difficulty with. As a long-time pool player myself, I was taught and brought up with the "Ghost Ball" system, there is also the system of dividing the balls into sections and saying that the shot is a 1/2 ball hit, 1/4 ball hit, 1/8 ball hit etc..
The thing about the reflection aiming system is, that unless you are playing in the dark, there will always be lights over the pool table (regardless of what type of lights they are, fluorescent or the 3-4 bulb Lights) that will create reflections on the balls, and there is a way to use those reflections as a "real visual aid" to guide your aiming. If you have ever heard former Pro Pool Player C.J. Wiley explain his aiming system, I think you will find the reflection system so much easier.
I may be more than a little biased for the reflection system myself, since I currently have a book about it for sale on the internet titled Reflections on the "Cut Shot" that has helped not only myself become a better player, but has also helped many beginner and mid-level players become much better at making cut shots. The fun of playing pool is in the making of ball after ball, and whatever method works for you to achieve this, then I say use it, even if it is the Ghost Ball system that @cueball mentioned.
My reflection system is highly adaptable and will work with a large variety of lighting setups. As with any aiming system, you just need to train your eyes and mind to see it. I know that when I'm going into battle in a pool tournament or a friendly game for a dollar or two I want to be armed with as many weapons for making balls as I can, so, why not use the reflections too, since they are always going to be there anyway!
- George AZ from Tucson, AZ on 1/20/2012 1:39:03 PM
I know that there are a variety of aiming techniques out there and most of them are effective if you practice them enough to become comfortable with them.
An important part of my pre-shot routine is to look at the shot from behind the pocket and also from behind the cue ball. I teach my students to visualize a line from the center of the pocket that goes straight under the object ball. This results in the best perspective for where to strike the object ball. When trying to see the line going through the middle of the object ball, the feedback I get is that it isn't as good as seeing the line pass through the spot the object ball is sitting on.
One other aiming technique I teach is to imagine the pocket only a couple of inches away from your object ball. Some students have difficulty with visualization but for beginners this can really help, especially for long shots. It's surprising how well this can help zero in on the correct contact point.
Try it and see what you think.
- Ace from AL, United States on 8/18/2012 7:16:16 PM
I use the reflection system and if the light is in the center of the table as it should be in tournament play it will work at all times. It is easy to tell the difference between the light above the pool table and the light from windows or other light sources. The only other system I have ever used is just my own "instinct".
- Newshark from Philadelphia, PA on 11/20/2012 12:29:04 PM
I was in the pool hall practicing for league night when one of the older players (e.g. in his 70's) came over and began giving me advice. He showed me how to use the lights on the balls to make shots. I had heard of this before for playing bank shots. but never used the system. This gentleman picked up my cue and pocketed every ball on the table without even looking at a pocket. True story. This system works very well and i have started using it myself. You do have to watch your speed and english. but it is a good aiming system. Give it a try and you will be amazed.
- Garry from AL, United States on 2/28/2015 3:08:57 PM
I enjoy the comments on the Holy Light billiard aiming system.
I am an old pool shooter myself, though only a pool hall shooter, and I have seen some very good shooters across the state of Alabama.
I have always used a combination of the "Ghost Ball" aiming system and the "Holy Light" aiming system. We always called it "the light from above" aiming system. It works great if the light above the table is centered.
But the very best shooters I have ever seen have used sight and feel, and trusted their eye and judgment which they gained from experience.
- metguy from Waverly, IA on 4/4/2015 4:42:05 PM
I mean absolutely no disrespect but the "Ghost Ball" aiming system and 99% of any other aiming systems out there are just too difficult to fully advance your all around game. If I was to put a number on how much this holy light aiming system can improve your game, I'd say 15%. Ghost ball, 25%.
As it so happens, I have the best aiming system (invented and developed by me) that will absolutely leave you speechless. I'm not selling it, I seek nothing. If you absolutely want to play better, just ask me.
- hicreek from Hickory, NC on 3/9/2017 4:59:36 AM
@metguy, Can you post a copy of your aiming system?