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Fundamentals - Sighting - 10-14-2014, 07:07 AM

Before I start on this post I want to make it clear this not about aiming. Sighting and aiming are completely different subjects as far as I'm concerned.

Now, this will probably be my last thread I create on the fundamentals, as I believe I've covered the most important aspects in my previous fundamental threads, perhaps not in the correct order, but you can piece it all together :-)

Sighting refers to seeing things in the clearest way possible for the individual. Every snooker coach I've had, with the exception of Nic Barrow have always said it doesn't matter how your vision is placed when sighting, as long as you keep it consistent. The brain is a powerful tool in pool and maybe they were right, the brain will teach the eyes over time what centre ball is and what straight is from a distorted view and override the eyes. But, and its a big but, the learning curve is hugely reduced if you can get the vision in the right place to start with. Why do years of retraining when a 5 minute 'test' can get your vision in the right place? Good question, Pidge, I hear you say. So, what is this test? Follow me....

Ah, the vision 'test'. I've mentioned it a few times on here already but I'll try and explain in as much detail as I can now. What you need is a pool table and some tape. Tape that's about half an inch or thinner is perfect. Now, what you need to do is stick the tape on the table bed, about 12 inches away from the rail. Bring the tape back towards the rail keeping it as straight as possible and place it under the rail, then up the cushion and along the rail again keeping it nice and straight. The tape should be staggered due to the height increase onto the rail from the baize. This step is the important part in showing you how you see a straight line as straight, and just as importantly where you are lined up on the cue ball is in fact where you are lined up. So, if it looks like you are hitting centre ball you are in fact lined up to strike centre ball. All you have to rely on then is the rest of your fundamentals. So, this line of tape....you will notice as you move around the table and move the head the line stops looking straight. You need to stand in a way that this line looks dead straight. This is how you will need to stand behind the shot at hand when using what ever aiming method you choose. If you need to line centre to centre for a straight in, you stand as though the line is from centre to centre. Centre to edge...exactly the same. Now, place your cue along this line, or a spar shaft. Make sure its perfectly aligned and do what ever it takes to keep it still. I personally tape an old shaft to the rail when showing people this. Now you need to get down as though you're about to shoot. Does the shaft look straight along the tape with the tip aimed at the end of the tape? If not you need to move your head until it does. When it does, stop, take in the new head over the cue position and this is how your head needs to be over the cue on all shots.

Its as simple as that. Its easy, cheap and quick to determine your new sighting position. For those who are sure their stroke is reliable but can't stop adding unintentional side spin to the cue ball....do this test. You might be surprised at how far off your sighting position may be. For those who think they suck at aiming, do this test. Your misses should reduce and stop being because of sighting errors, which narrows down why you miss so you can work on other aspects. Regardless of the system you use to aim, if any, all I've come across require your sighting position to be correct. That super awesome aiming system will get a lot more super awesome if you get your sighting position into the correct place.

Just remember, remove the tape from the table before the next guy comes to play. You don't want him to fix his sighting issues!
  
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10-14-2014, 07:18 AM

great post
is this different from finding your "vision center?"
  
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10-14-2014, 07:23 AM

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Originally Posted by bbb View Post
great post
is this different from finding your "vision center?"
No. I refer to it as sighting position but vision centre is probably a better term for it. Both exactly the same. Just a different way of finding this ideal position than what most will recommend.

And thanks :-)
  
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10-14-2014, 07:36 AM

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Originally Posted by Pidge View Post
Now, what you need to do is stick the tape on the table bed, about 12 inches away from the rail. Bring the tape back towards the rail keeping it as straight as possible and place it under the rail, then up the cushion and along the rail again keeping it nice and straight. The tape should be staggered due to the height increase onto the rail from the baize. This step is the important part in showing you how you see a straight line as straight, and just as importantly where you are lined up on the cue ball is in fact where you are lined up.
My imagination is failing me; having a hard time visualizing where the tape goes on the table.

Wouldn't happen to have a drawing?

This? :
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Last edited by bdorman; 10-14-2014 at 07:56 AM.
  
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10-14-2014, 08:00 AM

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Originally Posted by bdorman View Post
My imagination is failing me; having a hard time visualizing where the tape goes on the table.

Wouldn't happen to have a drawing?

This? :
Nailed it. Basically go from the foot spot, to the rail and over the middle diamond all the way to the edge of the table.
  
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10-14-2014, 08:10 AM

Another suggestion for finding the vision center is to place a cue stick on chalks, a towel or other support along the diagonal of the table for a long straight shot to the far corner with the cue ball and object ball carefully aligned as seen from both directions or with a laser or string. Then move your head over the shot until it looks straight.


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10-14-2014, 08:22 AM

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Originally Posted by Pidge View Post
Nailed it. Basically go from the foot spot, to the rail and over the middle diamond all the way to the edge of the table.
got it, thanks.

The problem is that if your vision alignment is naturally off, you'll line up the tapes in the wrong place but it will still look right to you (I think). Or, if you're all thumbs when it comes to laying tape.

Interesting though. I'll give it a try.

I find myself regularly taking Dr Dave's test: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=680o8EChP_o


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10-14-2014, 08:28 AM

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Originally Posted by bdorman View Post
got it, thanks.

The problem is that if your vision alignment is naturally off, you'll line up the tapes in the wrong place but it will still look right to you (I think). Or, if you're all thumbs when it comes to laying tape.

Interesting though. I'll give it a try.

I find myself regularly taking Dr Dave's test: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=680o8EChP_o
Yeah, if you aren't so delicate with your hands you may have to measure it out to make sure its straight. The issue I find with the laying a cue on chalk diagonally across the table is the same as it is with the tape... If your vision is naturally off, then you will place the cue naturally off straight, have it pointing naturally off centre cue ball and so on. Both work, and it may be a good idea to get another persons vision involved as a double check.
  
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10-14-2014, 08:47 AM

I Agree sighting and aiming are 100% different. I have mentioned it on here 100 times.
When you know how to use it life is much easier than other methods. I have tried every other method ever written and can teach any of them.

It's all visual, just eye movement, helps eliminate brain overload. Sometimes less is more.

Pocketing dead center, using the edges (cheating the pocket) safety play, position play, etc. is much easier when approached visually and using track lines.

We approach it differently than you describe but look for the same results. Using lasers from the start of sighting to the finish of aiming, it's very effective and a quick learn. The beauty of it is how well your feet fall into proper position more naturally. A 10 year old can learn this in 20 minutes or less, a straight stoke is another story

I can tell in a few strokes who is using their eyes, who is not, and who has no clue. The eye players are more natural and progress much quicker all the way around.
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10-14-2014, 08:56 AM

i think this link will help
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JNLGgfrNavg
ill delete it if its off track
  
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10-14-2014, 09:05 AM

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Originally Posted by bbb View Post
i think this link will help
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JNLGgfrNavg
ill delete it if its off track
That is spot on. The little staggered board Steve shows is exactly what you are aiming to do with the tape. If anyone has the means to make one of those is will serve you well for years. You can measure out the line perfectly.

With regards to the light spots...thats good if you are on a snooker table with spot lights and the ball is along the centre between short rail to short rail. For example, the white on the blue spot....aim for the centre of the centre pocket through centre cue ball and there will be a light spot directly above centre cue ball. It serves as a good check before a game.
  
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10-14-2014, 09:37 AM

I was always of the opinion that not enough players take the time to train their cue to follow their eye more accurately, so that when you look at a target you naturally point directly at it - not as easy as it sounds, and Iíve seen many fine players who only seem to come onto line at the point of impact. But if youíre not blessed with the ability innately you can certainly train yourself to improve.

My method was to use a mirror. Basically I used to set up a mirror at the other end of the kitchen table and stare at one eye or the other as the target and then cue directly at it. Once I felt I was cueing directly at the Ďtargetí eye Iíd close the other eye to gauge how straight my cue actually was. It's quite revealing. You may perceive your cue to be dead straight, but this simple test will often prove otherwise. Slightly adjusting your chin/cue relationship can usually fine tune your cue line to fit your perception. Then repeat ad infinitum until it's ingrained.

You can repeat the test by standing in front of any mirror and bringing your cue up to your chin without blinking. Your aim is to be spot on every time.

Itís another issue altogether to maintain that alignment throughout your swing. When laser pens first came out I tried attaching one with rubber bands to the end of the cue to see if it wavered from side to side when sighted against a vertical line on the wall. Luckily Iíve naturally got a very straight cue action, but a lot of my friends who are 100 break snooker players themselves were all over the shop - much to their surprise.

Boro Nut
  
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10-14-2014, 10:19 AM

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Originally Posted by Boro Nut View Post
I was always of the opinion that not enough players take the time to train their cue to follow their eye more accurately, so that when you look at a target you naturally point directly at it - not as easy as it sounds, and Iíve seen many fine players who only seem to come onto line at the point of impact. But if youíre not blessed with the ability innately you can certainly train yourself to improve.

My method was to use a mirror. Basically I used to set up a mirror at the other end of the kitchen table and stare at one eye or the other as the target and then cue directly at it. Once I felt I was cueing directly at the Ďtargetí eye Iíd close the other eye to gauge how straight my cue actually was. It's quite revealing. You may perceive your cue to be dead straight, but this simple test will often prove otherwise. Slightly adjusting your chin/cue relationship can usually fine tune your cue line to fit your perception. Then repeat ad infinitum until it's ingrained.

You can repeat the test by standing in front of any mirror and bringing your cue up to your chin without blinking. Your aim is to be spot on every time.

Itís another issue altogether to maintain that alignment throughout your swing. When laser pens first came out I tried attaching one with rubber bands to the end of the cue to see if it wavered from side to side when sighted against a vertical line on the wall. Luckily Iíve naturally got a very straight cue action, but a lot of my friends who are 100 break snooker players themselves were all over the shop - much to their surprise.

Boro Nut
Ah the old kitchen table and mirror job! I remember breaking my fair share of mirrors as a kid because I poked them off the end of the table with my cue. Line up with the tip at the mirror straight on and it should look straight in the mirror image, if it doesn't adjust the head position whilst keeping the cue where it is until it looks straight. This is another really good way to check for sighting issues.
  
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10-14-2014, 11:06 AM

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Originally Posted by bbb View Post
i think this link will help
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JNLGgfrNavg
ill delete it if its off track

It's brilliant! I'm going to make one this weekend.

Many thanks.


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I care not for a man's religion whose dog and cat are not the better for it. --- Abraham Lincoln

Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers. --- Voltaire
  
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10-14-2014, 05:31 PM

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Originally Posted by Boro Nut View Post
I was always of the opinion that not enough players take the time to train their cue to follow their eye more accurately, so that when you look at a target you naturally point directly at it - not as easy as it sounds, and Iíve seen many fine players who only seem to come onto line at the point of impact. But if youíre not blessed with the ability innately you can certainly train yourself to improve.

My method was to use a mirror. Basically I used to set up a mirror at the other end of the kitchen table and stare at one eye or the other as the target and then cue directly at it. Once I felt I was cueing directly at the Ďtargetí eye Iíd close the other eye to gauge how straight my cue actually was. It's quite revealing. You may perceive your cue to be dead straight, but this simple test will often prove otherwise. Slightly adjusting your chin/cue relationship can usually fine tune your cue line to fit your perception. Then repeat ad infinitum until it's ingrained.

You can repeat the test by standing in front of any mirror and bringing your cue up to your chin without blinking. Your aim is to be spot on every time.

Itís another issue altogether to maintain that alignment throughout your swing. When laser pens first came out I tried attaching one with rubber bands to the end of the cue to see if it wavered from side to side when sighted against a vertical line on the wall. Luckily Iíve naturally got a very straight cue action, but a lot of my friends who are 100 break snooker players themselves were all over the shop - much to their surprise.

Boro Nut
Bolded...That is very true, many World Champions past and present do not swing perfectly straight until the delivery stroke, some are very exaggerated and easy to see, others not so much.
After many short strokes to the cue ball that last back stroke comes back off line, then is delivered straight.
I think its time to realize that many of the best players swing arm is flailing all over the place until contact, they are loosey goosey. not so rigiid as many think.
There is a whole lot more going on than is written in books, and conventional style of instruction, it's time for a change.
  
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