Center CB
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Center CB - 08-09-2018, 07:26 AM

I read Nick Varner's article (August 2018 Billiards Digest) about Johnny Archer telling him that most of his misses were due to mishitting the cue ball. Now if one of the greatest players in the history of the game makes that statement, you can be assured it applies to us that play this great game on a much lower level than he. So I decided to test my stroke with the usual methods that have been used for decades by all of the instructors out there. What I discovered was that what appears to me to be center cb, is in actuality not true center. Now I should mention that I am a senior with not 20-20, wear glasses to read, (but not to shoot) and have had some eye issues in the past. But I digress. Having said all that, I find that I consistently cue so very slightly to the left of center. When I purposely adjust my tip to what "appears" to me to be slightly right of center, it is in actuality right on center. So my question is this. Should I try to find a different stance, head position, bridge or whatever else is causing this illusion, or should I just keep my stance, head position, etc. and just cue to the slight right of center, (for my eyes) and be pretty confident that I will be at center cue ball. I play at a 5 level in the APA and feel that I could be much higher if I could eliminate some routine shots that I have been missing.
  
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08-09-2018, 08:52 AM

I absolutely agree...almost ALL of my misses are due failure to hit the CB where I needed or meant to. The drill of stroking the CB down table, and having it hit your tip on the return is invaluable to verifying Center CB and verifying your stroke. I do it every day and have for many years. I'm also an adherent to CB-last when pulling the trigger on my shots. I can shoot either way, but CB last holds up for me longer and my success rate on both making the shot and CB control is WAY higher that way.


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08-09-2018, 09:30 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Art Amato View Post
I read Nick Varner's article (August 2018 Billiards Digest) about Johnny Archer telling him that most of his misses were due to mishitting the cue ball. Now if one of the greatest players in the history of the game makes that statement, you can be assured it applies to us that play this great game on a much lower level than he. So I decided to test my stroke with the usual methods that have been used for decades by all of the instructors out there. What I discovered was that what appears to me to be center cb, is in actuality not true center. Now I should mention that I am a senior with not 20-20, wear glasses to read, (but not to shoot) and have had some eye issues in the past. But I digress. Having said all that, I find that I consistently cue so very slightly to the left of center. When I purposely adjust my tip to what "appears" to me to be slightly right of center, it is in actuality right on center. So my question is this. Should I try to find a different stance, head position, bridge or whatever else is causing this illusion, or should I just keep my stance, head position, etc. and just cue to the slight right of center, (for my eyes) and be pretty confident that I will be at center cue ball. I play at a 5 level in the APA and feel that I could be much higher if I could eliminate some routine shots that I have been missing.
Adjust your head until what looks like center is actually center. If you adjust the tip, it is a band aid and you will still be inconsistent with placement.

Good post and hope you get it worked out.
  
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08-09-2018, 10:30 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Art Amato View Post
... Now I should mention that I am a senior with not 20-20, wear glasses to read, (but not to shoot) and have had some eye issues in the past. But I digress. Having said all that, I find that I consistently cue so very slightly to the left of center. When I purposely adjust my tip to what "appears" to me to be slightly right of center, it is in actuality right on center. So my question is this. Should I try to find a different stance, head position, bridge or whatever else is causing this illusion, or should I just keep my stance, head position, etc. and just cue to the slight right of center, ...
If you have played for 40 or 50 years with that stance and view, I think it will take you a long time to fix it and a lot of effort. You have to decide whether the possibly large effort is going to be worth it or should you just improve your problem shots by practicing them.

Have you tried practicing the routine shots that you miss?

(But beyond that, we have no idea whether you have other major problems in your fundamentals. For example, we have no way of knowing if you have the relatively common problem of moving your bridge hand during the stroke on shots where you don't feel right about the aim. Maybe your slight misalignment is not the real issue.)


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08-10-2018, 04:58 AM

The up-table-back-to-tip is helpful IMHO if your table is perfect. I would never ask someone to drill this way at their local hall where the rail looks like Hawaii waves for surfing.

One technique that has helped my students--since you know now that you sometimes address left of center, do this:

1. Assume your full stance
2. Check on tip-to-cue ball before practice stroking, shifting eyes to the object ball or anything else
3. Say to yourself (aloud helps greatly as you first drill this method) "on" or "off"
4. If you're off, stand up again, go back to assuming the stance again, repeat

Players who are disciplined to this every time find that they get onto center ball very consistently, VERY fast. I've seen the "slightly off" problem all but disappear in a single lesson.


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08-10-2018, 06:09 AM

Thanks guys. Great answers for me to experiment with. I especially like Nine Ball 6970 answer when he mentioned the band aid not holding up and trying different head positions to acquire true center. That seemed to be the most logical method to work on. I certainly will work on that method and let you know how it worked out. I'm not shooting in leagues at the present time, so it's something that I can bring to my practice table and work on it on a daily basis in my rec room. I have all the time in the world. Will get back to you and let you guys know what worked for me. Thanks again.
  
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08-10-2018, 10:00 AM

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Originally Posted by BilliardsAbout View Post
The up-table-back-to-tip is helpful IMHO if your table is perfect. I would never ask someone to drill this way at their local hall where the rail looks like Hawaii waves for surfing.
I agree with your post, but I've rarely run into a table that rolls or banks that bad that you can't do this drill--at least side to side if not end to end. If someone is playing on a table that rolls off or banks that bad, then they need to move to another table--or another pool room. I can play with a little roll off or a dead spot or two on the rails, but a full ball's movement is counter-productive to my enjoyment and development. I've seen some bad bar boxes in bars that don't care or have anyone playing on them, but never have I seen a pool room that had nothing but tables that played that bad.


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08-10-2018, 11:32 AM

Good thread. See... this is why I take issue with the whole concept of "finding your vision center."

You can change your head position and you can change your stance but over time, your cue will always start to gravitate back towards your dominant eye. Why? because that eye is the eye that picks up the information first -- and if it's a severely dominant eye, then it will really want to overpower the recessive eye. I'm talking about the physical dominant eye. The one that doesn't change.

The problem is that just because an eye may be dominant, the line of sight it sees may not be accurate.

So the player is left with two choices: They can try to change their head and stance positions, or learn the variance of what your dominant eye gives you and adjust accordingly.

As a player with a severely dominant eye, I have learned to understand the variance and I made the necessary adjustments in my aim a long time ago, and I'm happy to report that I'm not a bad ball-pocketer at all. I've even won a few pretty tough matches in my time.

Oh, and as an aside, most stances could use some work, so as Bob Jewett pointed out, we don't know if the OPs issue is with his stance, even without the dominant eye issue.


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08-10-2018, 12:08 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Art Amato View Post
Thanks guys. Great answers for me to experiment with. I especially like Nine Ball 6970 answer when he mentioned the band aid not holding up and trying different head positions to acquire true center. That seemed to be the most logical method to work on. I certainly will work on that method and let you know how it worked out. I'm not shooting in leagues at the present time, so it's something that I can bring to my practice table and work on it on a daily basis in my rec room. I have all the time in the world. Will get back to you and let you guys know what worked for me. Thanks again.
Specificity is required. One can place the cue down off-center than move the head about until it looks to be centered while in the stance--not that I'm assuming that's what anyone meant on this thread.

Set up a cue ball and object ball perfectly straight on or use the diamonds along a rail and adjust the head in the stance until center "is" center--then bring that to the table--but understand the tendency will be to come down off to the left at times, your opportunity to call "off", stand up and again attempt to get down centered.

Since you are sometimes off-center, sometimes centered, it follows that sometimes your head/eye alignment is good, so we are affirming the right head position and forcing the body to "find it" again when we're off.

--Pros in all stick-and-ball sports re-assume their stance if they're not correct and "feeling it" when settled into the stance.


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08-10-2018, 12:11 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by FranCrimi View Post
Good thread. See... this is why I take issue with the whole concept of "finding your vision center."

You can change your head position and you can change your stance but over time, your cue will always start to gravitate back towards your dominant eye. Why? because that eye is the eye that picks up the information first -- and if it's a severely dominant eye, then it will really want to overpower the recessive eye. I'm talking about the physical dominant eye. The one that doesn't change.

The problem is that just because an eye may be dominant, the line of sight it sees may not be accurate.

So the player is left with two choices: They can try to change their head and stance positions, or learn the variance of what your dominant eye gives you and adjust accordingly.

As a player with a severely dominant eye, I have learned to understand the variance and I made the necessary adjustments in my aim a long time ago, and I'm happy to report that I'm not a bad ball-pocketer at all. I've even won a few pretty tough matches in my time.

Oh, and as an aside, most stances could use some work, so as Bob Jewett pointed out, we don't know if the OPs issue is with his stance, even without the dominant eye issue.
If I remember right, Joe Tucker advocates a similar method while teaching how to use his Third Eye Trainer--adjust aim instead of shuffling the stance and adjusting the head. A player learns the amount/degree of compensation and goes with that.


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08-11-2018, 08:44 AM

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Originally Posted by Bob Jewett View Post
If you have played for 40 or 50 years with that stance and view, I think it will take you a long time to fix it and a lot of effort. You have to decide whether the possibly large effort is going to be worth it or should you just improve your problem shots by practicing them.

Have you tried practicing the routine shots that you miss?

(But beyond that, we have no idea whether you have other major problems in your fundamentals. For example, we have no way of knowing if you have the relatively common problem of moving your bridge hand during the stroke on shots where you don't feel right about the aim. Maybe your slight misalignment is not the real issue.)
This is good advice. I recently spent a second weekend with CJ Wiley. I think he was finally able to teach me how to step into the shot so my eyes are looking straight down the cue. I have looked at it left side first for 40 years. At first I could not make a ball. Nothing was where I thought. Now it is much better. I clearly think it is worth the investment in time to get set up correctly. The problem with my old method was it was not consistent. Since I didn't have a frame of reference every shot was different. If I had to lean or shoot over a ball I gave no thought to where my eyes were located.
As Bob says it it a long slow relearning process. Whether it is worthwhile is a personal decision. It is worth it to me but I "strive to be technically correct" in all areas of my life. Not sure it would be for everyone.

I would be curious to hear if others made such a switch and what they thought.
  
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08-11-2018, 12:34 PM

I thought I would give an update on my progress on finding center cue ball. I used the time tested method of up and down the table to test my method, looking for the slightest amount of side spin. As I said in my initial post, I would without fail have the slightest amount of left on the cb, which precluded the cb coming back to my tip. After hours of time given to correct this flaw. I am pleased to say that the advice given by
Nine Ball 6970 of trying a different head position, seems at the present time, to be the answer. Usually I would get down low on the shot and it felt very comfortable for me to do this. So what I did was to not change anything but the height of my head over the shot, keeping everything else the same. Sort of similar to the height used by the older players like Mosconi, Ray Martin, etc. more of an upright position. To my surprise, even though it felt terribly weird and uncomfortable, I found myself hitting center cb doing the up and down the table test. Did this for hours with no break down. I then shot some stop shots and follow shots at various distances and liked the results of that.

I must say it is going to take a lot of time to incorporate this elevated, more upright position in my game, but I am willing to give it a go. I just hope that what Fran Crimi said about gravitating back to my dominant eye doesn't happen over time. This is a major adjustment for me at this time of my pool playing career, but I have never been a person who was afraid of change. I will repost this in a year to let you know how it held up. I hope this thread will help others that have had this problem.
  
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08-11-2018, 08:14 PM

Since nobody has referenced Dr. Dave, it seems relevant here. There are photos for correct alignment.
http://billiards.colostate.edu/bd_ar...011/july11.pdf
Also Riley cues has an in cue extension that can be fitted on most cues. It is called SightRight. Without using a sight aid, consider finding the apex of the ball and the bottom contact spot on the table, a line between those two spots is the center. Notice how many pros address that bottom point on the ball prior to striking the cue ball. If that bottom spot doesn’t line up with the cue line the cue can’t go straight through the vertical ball center.

Beyond that is the issue of the bridge channel, the vee or loop, needing to be dead on line with the cueing action. Any slight off line positioning causes the tip to come across the ball face at contact. The tip might hit the cue ball where you intended but impart some english on the ball.

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08-11-2018, 09:11 PM

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Originally Posted by Imac007 View Post
Since nobody has referenced Dr. Dave, it seems relevant here. There are photos for correct alignment.
http://billiards.colostate.edu/bd_ar...011/july11.pdf
Also Riley cues has an in cue extension that can be fitted on most cues. It is called SightRight. Without using a sight aid, consider finding the apex of the ball and the bottom contact spot on the table, a line between those two spots is the center. Notice how many pros address that bottom point on the ball prior to striking the cue ball. If that bottom spot doesnít line up with the cue line the cue canít go straight through the vertical ball center.

Beyond that is the issue of the bridge channel, the vee or loop, needing to be dead on line with the cueing action. Any slight off line positioning causes the tip to come across the ball face at contact. The tip might hit the cue ball where you intended but impart some english on the ball.


If one peers through the shaft in the alignment and drop in.....

When trying to find the center of a pipe at work I just use my tape or whatever to go across its outer surface.....where it hits the pipe is itís center....

As the shaft comes down one can see the bottom of its radius and the top radius of the cb comes closer to it.....touch them then the hand hits table and your set.

Iíd add walking the stance in instead of coming to address from a side swoop. You can still walk it and come in from the side just do it farther back so one can walk forward a couple steps.....5-7í


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08-12-2018, 12:12 AM

I too like to vertically superimpose the shaft on the target line after stepping onto the shot line. By air stroking I align the bridge with the cue action. The cue runs nice and straight with a rocking action through the bridge once it is in line. Hovering above the cue line with a straight moving cue let’s us lower it into place. The elbow simply opens and closes. All that remains is for everything else to stay still through the actual shot.

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