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AIMING BY HALVES - A Fractional Technique - 04-08-2012, 07:36 AM

All the possible cut angles for a left or right cut are created by aiming the CB’s center somewhere between the OB’s center (straight shot) and 1 radius off the OB’s outside edge (very thin cut). Call this the “Aim Range”.

The Aim Range is wide by pool shooting standards, and reducing its size can make finding the precise aim needed for a particular shot much easier. Aiming By Halves is a simple, systematic way to reduce the size of the Aim Range in steps until the correct aim is easy to find within it.

Aiming By Halves does not replace aiming by feel – in fact, each step in Aiming By Halves relies on your ability to estimate whether (but not by how much) you’re aiming too thick or too thin for the shot. This estimating ability (commonly called “feel”) is learned by practice and experience - Aiming By Halves helps to learn that and to apply it consistently.

The “ADCs” of Aiming By Halves:

1. Aim CB center at center of Aim Range (start = CB center at OB edge)

2. Decide whether the actual shot is thicker or thinner

3. Cut the Aim Range in half, leaving only the chosen (thicker or thinner) half

Repeat ADC until:
- you’re sure of the aim, or
- you can’t decide whether the shot is thicker or thinner.

Then shoot.

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Last edited by Patrick Johnson; 04-08-2012 at 10:47 AM.
  

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04-08-2012, 07:38 AM

This is gonna be a good thread.

I'm always willing to learn from a scientific approach.
  
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04-08-2012, 07:45 AM

The Aiming By Halves FAQ
[I'm updating this FAQ as I hear good new questions. Keep 'em coming!]


Q: Isn’t this already a common way to aim – adjusting a little this way or that until it “feels” right?

A: Yes. Aiming By Halves just organizes the technique so it’s systematic, quicker and easier to learn and do - and harder to forget.


Q: I need an aiming system because I don’t have confidence in my “estimating” ability. How does Aiming By Halves help me with that?

A: Deciding whether a shot is thicker or thinner (than the current aim) is much easier than estimating how much thicker or thinner it should be. Aiming By Halves takes over the job of determining how much adjustment is needed and only requires the shooter to decide whether the aim should be thicker or thinner.

Also, by organizing and making the estimating task more visible/clear rather than denying the need for it, Aiming By Halves builds the shooter’s confidence in his estimating ability.


Q: Isn’t “estimating” just another word for “feel”?

A: Yes, and vice verse. “Feel” can be learned – Aiming By Halves helps with that.


Q: Why is it OK to shoot if I can’t decide whether the shot is thicker or thinner than the current aim?

A: Because (1) the current aim might be just right – stranger things have happened , and (2) if you miss you’ll know more about that shot the next time – a big part of what Aiming By Halves does is systematically train your ability to make these estimations.


Q: Does Aiming By Halves work the same way for shots thinner than half ball as for shots thicker than half ball? How is the half of the Aim Range that's off the edge of the OB (in empty space) used?

A: See my post about aiming shots thinner than half ball. Basically, the technique is the same (uses points on the OB, not in space beside it) but uses the CB's edge rather than its center to aim at the center of the Aim Range.


Q: Does Aiming By Halves include compensation for the effects of CB spin?

A: No. Aiming By Halves assumes you'll be hitting centerball on the CB. Add aim adjustments needed for CB spin after finding the centerball aim using Aiming By Halves.


Q: Is Aiming By Halves for everybody?

A: Probably not. Some players seem to need to believe that estimation (“feel”) isn’t required to aim pool shots - Aiming By Halves is very open and direct about the need for estimation, so it may not be right for them. However, it’s possible that Aiming By Halves could “cure” the “need to believe” for some.

Also, some players can visualize the OB contact point more easily than others. Fractional techniques such as Aiming By Halves may not be as helpful to them (although it might be a good "crosscheck" technique for anybody).


Q: Is Aiming By Halves just for beginners?

A: Aiming systems usually become less conscious as the player gets better at using them, but if they're based on sound principles they may remain valuable in practice or as aiming "crosschecks" or "refreshers". Aiming By Halves is an "open source" system whose principles can be easily seen and evaluated by anybody, so it may have lasting value to its users even after they've "internalized" its steps - I hope so.


Q: How Accurate is Aiming By Halves?

A: No system does all the aiming for you, but fractional systems get you closer so you can more easily complete the job. Here's how close Aiming By Halves gets you:

To narrow the Aim Range enough to make a majority of shots within 30 inches of the pocket by simply aiming at the center of the Aim Range (without any further adjustment) takes three "halving" steps - thicker or thinner than half ball plus two more. One more "halving" step is enough to make all shots within 30 inches and a majority of shots within 60 inches.

Q: But a majority of shots isn't enough. How are the rest made?

A: By making one more thicker/thinner judgment like the judgment that allowed you to "feel" whether the shot was thicker or thinner than half ball, 1/4 ball, etc. It isn't necessary to "halve" the Aim Range again at this level, just adjust as much as you "feel" is necessary.


Q: Is Aiming By Halves a proprietary system (owned by somebody)?

A: No. It’s not even a particularly new idea. Giving it a name and specific steps (making it a “system”) just makes it easier to understand and remember. But I'm willing to consider getting paid for it.


Q: Won't this turn into just another "aiming wars" thread?

A: I hope not, but just in case I'm already considering names for the "teams" (to get the jump on Joey). I think the "Halves" and the "Halve Nots" might be nice. Maybe some nice jersies too...

pj <- and cute cheerleaders
chgo

Last edited by Patrick Johnson; 04-08-2012 at 05:27 PM.
  
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04-08-2012, 07:52 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by TX Poolnut View Post
This is gonna be a good thread.

I'm always willing to learn from a scientific approach.
I think calling this simple technique "scientific" implies more sophistication than it has. It's really just a simple way to organize how most of us already go about aiming.

pj
chgo
  
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04-08-2012, 07:59 AM

How does this help you with a shot you have never practiced before that comes up in a game?

Wouldn't Aiming by Ghost Ball be better than this in that situation?

Or using another method which nearly eliminates the feel and guessing?

Wouldn't that be better than the trial and error method since you only get one chance when in a game?
  
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04-08-2012, 08:28 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by JB Cases View Post
How does this help you with a shot you have never practiced before that comes up in a game?
If you're so new to the game that you haven't already seen all the cut angles that come up, you can probably still estimate whether it's thicker or thinner for at least a step or two, which will dramatically reduce the Aim Range and the amount you may be off. Then you refine your knowledge of that shot by trial and error - like any other method. Aiming By Halves helps learn cut angles in a non-threatening, eyes-wide-open way.

Quote:
Wouldn't Aiming by Ghost Ball be better than this in that situation?
Ghost Ball is for players who can visualize the OB contact point. Aiming By Halves might be better (as a primary system) for those who can't (or can't yet).

Quote:
Or using another method which nearly eliminates the feel and guessing?
Sure, if you can find one (and learn it easily).

Quote:
Wouldn't that be better than the trial and error method since you only get one chance when in a game?
Trial and error are just other words for practice and experience, which all techniques require. Aiming By Halves organizes the learning process so it's quicker and easier (for those who like it). It doesn't pretend there is no trial and error, and therefore is able to address it directly and effectively.

But this thread isn't about what may be better or worse for a particular player - individuals can assess that for themselves. This is simply a description of this particular technique for those who might find it useful. I'm sure you can find descriptions of other techniques (maybe better for your needs) elsewhere on AzB.

pj
chgo

Last edited by Patrick Johnson; 04-08-2012 at 08:52 AM.
  
Let me help this thread to get some legs.....
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Let me help this thread to get some legs..... - 04-08-2012, 08:41 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick Johnson View Post
The Aiming By Halves FAQ

Q: Isn’t this already a common way to aim – adjusting a little this way or that until it “feels” right?

A: Yes. Aiming By Halves just organizes the technique so it’s systematic, quicker and easier to learn and do - and harder to forget.


Q: I need an aiming system because I don’t have confidence in my “estimating” ability. How does Aiming By Halves help me with that?

A: Deciding whether a shot is thicker or thinner (than the current aim) is much easier than estimating how much thicker or thinner it should be. Aiming By Halves takes over the job of determining how much adjustment is needed and only requires the shooter to decide whether the aim should be thicker or thinner.

Also, by organizing and making the estimating task more visible/clear rather than denying the need for it, Aiming By Halves builds the shooter’s confidence in his estimating ability.


Q: Isn’t “estimating” just another word for “feel”?

A: Yes, and vice verse. “Feel” can be learned – Aiming By Halves helps with that.


Q: Why is it OK to shoot if I can’t decide whether the shot is thicker or thinner than the current aim?

A: Because (1) the current aim might be just right – stranger things have happened , and (2) if you miss you’ll know more about that shot the next time –a big part of what Aiming By Halves does is systematically train your ability to make these estimations.


Q: Does Aiming By Halves include compensation for the effects of CB spin?

A: No. Aiming By Halves assumes you'll be hitting centerball on the CB. Add aim adjustments needed for CB spin after finding the centerball aim using Aiming By Halves.


Q: Is Aiming By Halves for everybody?

A: Probably not. Some players seem to need to believe that estimation (“feel”) isn’t required to aim pool shots - Aiming By Halves is very open and direct about the need for estimation, so it may not be right for them. However, it’s possible that Aiming By Halves could “cure” the “need to believe” for some.


Q: Is Aiming By Halves a proprietary system (owned by somebody)?

A: No. It’s not even a particularly new idea. Giving it a name and specific steps (making it a “system”) just makes it easier to understand and remember. But I'm willing to consider getting paid for it.


Q: Won't this turn into just another "aiming wars" thread?

A: I hope not, but just in case I'm already considering names for the "teams" (to get the jump on Joey). I think the "Halves" and the "Halve Nots" might be nice. Maybe some nice jersies too...

pj
chgo
Everyone has to get in their digs on poor, old JoeyA.

(Good name suggestion though. Suggest Cafepress.com for shirt production as they will do one shirt for a reasonable price, unlike many other shirt printers and they have lots of styles of shirts to choose from). You can get a 35% discount TODAY by using discount code of BUNNY35.

When using Halves, how do you know when a shot looks "right"?


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04-08-2012, 08:44 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick Johnson View Post
If you're so new to the game that you haven't already seen all the cut angles that come up, you can probably still estimate whether it's thicker or thinner for at least a step or two, which will dramatically reduce the Aim Range and the amount you may be off. Then you refine your knowledge of that shot by trial and error - like any other method. Aiming By Halves also helps learn new cut angles in a non-threatening, eyes-wide-open way.


Ghost Ball is for players who can visualize the OB contact point. Aiming By Halves is for those who can't (or can't yet).


Sure, if you can find one (and learn it easily).


Trial and error are learned and reduced by practice and experience. Aiming By Halves organizes the learning process so it's quicker and easier (for those who like it). It doesn't pretend there is no trial and error, and therefore is able to address it directly and effectively.

But this thread isn't about what may be better or worse for a particular player - individuals can assess that for themselves. This is simply a description of this particular technique for those who might find it useful. I'm sure you can find descriptions of other techniques (maybe better for your needs) elsewhere on AzB.

pj
chgo
Excellent. Thank you.

The space that is off the ball in your diagram seems to be a large problem in estimating the exact distance. If I understand your directions correctly you want the student to estimate the same distance FROM the object ball's edge as it is from the center to the edge.

And a minor correction if I may? Isn't Ghost Ball a way of finding the contact point and not for people who "can find the contact point"? I thought the basic premise of GB was to imagine a ball in line with the existing ball and where those two meet is the contact point? Is this not how GB is primarily taught in most books covering amateur pool and billiards?

I do agree that starting with some aim point and fidgeting to a thicker/thinner aim can produce good results as I have seen at least one player I know do just that.

I wonder though what the time to mastery is for this trial and error method is? How many different shots must one take from different positions?

I highly recommend that if one does not have the time to learn the fidget method (my characterization of your Aiming by Halves technique) that one check out the alternative methods described here

www.billiardsthegame.com

I predict that for the person who wishes to learn a method by which he does not have to guess at the right line this will be a better alternative than the fidget till you get it method you advocate. Such alternative methods reduce feel (guessing) to the point of being insignificant. In fact once mastered they are almost automatic.
  
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04-08-2012, 08:45 AM

P.S. Nice diagrams.
  
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04-08-2012, 08:49 AM

As always, well-thought out and excellently presented. Once again, you've managed to find a new way of looking at an old problem. I really like the binary approach.

.....but am somewhat disappointed that no pivot is involved. (I guess you can't have everything. )

Jim
  
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04-08-2012, 08:55 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeyA View Post
When using Halves, how do you know when a shot looks "right"?
Practice and experience, like every other method. Halves just makes that process organized and transparent.

pj
chgo

Last edited by Patrick Johnson; 04-08-2012 at 05:34 PM.
  
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04-08-2012, 08:59 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jal View Post
As always, well-thought out and excellently presented. Once again, you've managed to find a new way of looking at an old problem. I really like the binary approach.
It's not new to programmers - it's the same principle as a common old search algorithm.

Quote:
.....but am somewhat disappointed that no pivot is involved. (I guess you can't have everything. )
Troublemaker.

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04-08-2012, 09:18 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by JB Cases View Post
The space that is off the ball in your diagram seems to be a large problem in estimating the exact distance.
As with all fractional methods, cuts thicker than half ball are a little easier with this system. For cuts thinner than half ball it's easiest to aim the CB's inside edge at points on the OB rather than aiming the CB's center at points in space. I'll post diagrams showing that when I get time.

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chgo

Last edited by Patrick Johnson; 04-08-2012 at 10:00 AM.
  
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04-08-2012, 09:46 AM

Trying to find the contact point with a binary search???

Cute - but utterly unusable in practice.

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04-08-2012, 09:56 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by SpiderWebComm View Post
Trying to find the contact point with a binary search???

Cute - but utterly unusable in practice.
If it's unusable for you I recommend you don't use it.

Thanks for recognizing its cuteness.

pj
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