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For Those Not 'Seeing' the Balls Well
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LastTwo
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For Those Not 'Seeing' the Balls Well - 04-15-2005, 03:51 AM

**ATTENTION: Do not read this if you are playing good and not having any trouble with your aim, or if you are 'seeing' the balls well. This can screw you up. If it ain't broken, don't try to fix it**



Sometimes when I was having a bad day, I used to feel like I was shooting blindly. No matter how much I tried to focus on the shot, it felt like I was guessing. When I'm in stroke, everything feels right, there is no guessing, and I'm hitting everything with confidence, and most of the time, making the shot and getting position. What boggled my mind was how I could play so good one day, and play so bad the next. What was I doing differently? Why couldn't I see the shots well? I tried working on everything, from alignment, to making sure my dominant eye is over the shaft, but I could never find a way to change the way I looked at the balls, and just accepted that 'A bad day is a bad day' in pool. I figured out something so simple a long time ago, and I have never had a problem 'seeing' the shots ever since. When I play bad, it's always because of my mechanics. How do I know this? Because I can feel it. I feel a twist when I twist, I feel my body moving when I move, and I can feel it in the cue when I don't strike the cueball with the type of stroke I intended.

What I learned about aiming, is no matter what type of system you use, nothing will work if your eyes are not doing the right thing. I'm not talking about eye movement patterns or anything like that, I'm talking about what you are looking at as you get down into your shooting position. A person with good alignment and a straight stroke, should be able to get down on a shot, close his/her eyes, and fire it in every time. Think about it, if you line up wrong on a shot, and make an adjustment while you are down, everything is going to be out of line. You're not going to be able to deliver the cue on the path you intended. Many people twist or shift their body weight to compensate, and most of them miss because of that. In my opinion, this all stems from looking at the wrong place as you get down in your stance. In other words, people line up wrong because they look at the wrong thing as they fall into their stance.

What I do, is I put my shaft on the line of the shot while I'm standing up. Here is the key: As I'm getting down into my shooting position, I completely ignore EVERYTHING else except for the cueball and object ball. My cue is already in the right place, and all I am simply doing is aiming my body at the shot, conforming to the cue. I don't think it is good to line up your body first, and then the cue. Most of the time your body will be in the way, and you will be stroking around your body without even noticing it (it's hard to tell if your stroke is crooked when you are down on the shot). Place your cue in the right place, and mold your body to it. This will allow you to have complete focus on only the cueball and object ball, and you should be able to 'see' the balls alot better. Another key element that I think is important, is while you are taking your practice strokes, try to avoid looking at your shaft. Once you are down, make sure your tip is aimed at the intended spot on the cueball, and try to block it out. Teach yourself to "feel" if your stroke is crooked, rather than trying to see it. Correcting flaws in your stroke with feel instead of visualization is the fastest way to develop a good stroke. I'm sure that most of you know what I'm talking about, that when you are in dead punch, you feel your cue moving back and forth perfectly. It's kind of like your stroke hit the "sweet spot". This is muscle memory at it's finest.

Now when I am in a slump, or having a bad day, I know it's my mechanics, and it allows me to focus on something in particular, instead of being confused and wondering whether it's my aim or my mechanics. I know when I'm aiming correctly, but executing the shot correctly is totally different

If this helps anyone, let me know.
  
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04-15-2005, 04:31 AM

Excellent Post!!!
I can tell I'm in perfect alignment when I don't even look at the contact point on the OB. I align my cue, step up to the cue, look at the CB contact point (purposly block the OB from my periphial view) and fire with no practice shots (just to see if I'm in line),with practice shots when I'm playing. I'm able to do this with my eyes closed once I'm down on the shot, before starting the stroke.

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aiming and shooting - 04-15-2005, 05:02 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zims Rack
Excellent Post!!!
I can tell I'm in perfect alignment when I don't even look at the contact point on the OB. I align my cue, step up to the cue, look at the CB contact point (purposly block the OB from my periphial view) and fire with no practice shots (just to see if I'm in line),with practice shots when I'm playing. I'm able to do this with my eyes closed once I'm down on the shot, before starting the stroke.

Zim
So you look at the cue ball last before you stroke? I thought most teachers say you look at the OB last....
  
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04-15-2005, 05:47 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by LastTwo
Teach yourself to "feel" if your stroke is crooked, rather than trying to see it. Correcting flaws in your stroke with feel instead of visualization is the fastest way to develop a good stroke.

If this helps anyone, let me know.

If this helps anyone, I HOPE it's all of the teachers and instructors out there (as well as players).

Why do all of the instructors, books on pool, dvd's, etc. get so highly involved in finite technical mechanics, lines and angles, physics and geometry?

Why not put some thought behind it and convert all of the above into "FEEL SENSATIONS" that can be ACTED out and FELT while shooting instead of THOUGHT out into a total state of confusion or paralysis through analysis?

When is that greatest teacher of all time going to come forth that teaches or writes a book called "HOW TO FEEL A POOL STROKE", or, "HOW TO FEEL YOUR WAY AROUND A RUNOUT", instead of all the other gobbledegook and drivel?

Last edited by drivermaker; 04-15-2005 at 06:07 AM.
  
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04-15-2005, 05:58 AM

I think this is a good post. I do use this to some extent on certain shots. I particular, shots that my stick is laying on the side of the table. Line up the stick, lay my first and second finger over the front of the stick very carefully making sure not to move it, and I'm set up. But at this point I'm still going to be looking at contact points and aiming in the normal way I do.


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04-15-2005, 06:20 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by wahcheck
So you look at the cue ball last before you stroke? I thought most teachers say you look at the OB last....
I do transfer line of sight between CB and OB, this is just a way I check my alignment, plus it builds my confidence up!

Zim


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04-15-2005, 06:25 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by drivermaker
Why not put some thought behind it and convert all of the above into "FEEL SENSATIONS" that can be ACTED out and FELT while shooting instead of THOUGHT out into a total state of confusion or paralysis through analysis?
Nobody could have said it better than what you just said.
  
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04-15-2005, 06:28 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by CaptainJR
I think this is a good post. I do use this to some extent on certain shots. I particular, shots that my stick is laying on the side of the table. Line up the stick, lay my first and second finger over the front of the stick very carefully making sure not to move it, and I'm set up. But at this point I'm still going to be looking at contact points and aiming in the normal way I do.
That is one way to do it, but I think it's a bit tedious. Gabe Owen is a prime example of a better method. He just rests his bridge hand on the table, and in a graceful motion he gets down over the cue. It really stands out how still he keeps his cue as he gets down into the shot.
  
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04-15-2005, 08:07 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by drivermaker
If this helps anyone, I HOPE it's all of the teachers and instructors out there (as well as players).

Why do all of the instructors, books on pool, dvd's, etc. get so highly involved in finite technical mechanics, lines and angles, physics and geometry?

Why not put some thought behind it and convert all of the above into "FEEL SENSATIONS" that can be ACTED out and FELT while shooting instead of THOUGHT out into a total state of confusion or paralysis through analysis?

When is that greatest teacher of all time going to come forth that teaches or writes a book called "HOW TO FEEL A POOL STROKE", or, "HOW TO FEEL YOUR WAY AROUND A RUNOUT", instead of all the other gobbledegook and drivel?
Why not both ways?

Playing by feel is fine, but by itself, limited. Same with knowledge.

Example: I was playing an amateur and he was going to shoot a shot that was blocked by another ball. I told him this and he shot it anyway and it hit the blocking ball. "Why," I asked, "did you shoot this even though you knew it was not possible to make the shot?" "Because I felt like it," he replied. Very interesting, I thought. Totally irrational for me, but just right for him.

Another example: Years ago, I was shooting a shot over and over, knowing that such and such should happen. Well it didn't happen. After a while I discovered that I wasn't "feeling" the shot and therefore couldn't execute it. So I left that shot and did what Driver suggest and worked exclusively on feeling another, easy shot. An "Ah ha" moment for me.

Now I have an ingredient in my shot called FEEL THE SHOT, which occurs a couple of ingredients before squeezing the trigger.

Problem solved by integration, not by "bumpersticker" beliefs.

Jeff Livingston
  
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04-15-2005, 08:13 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by chefjeff

Example: I was playing an amateur and he was going to shoot a shot that was blocked by another ball. I told him this and he shot it anyway and it hit the blocking ball. "Why," I asked, "did you shoot this even though you knew it was not possible to make the shot?" "Because I felt like it," he replied. Very interesting, I thought.

Jeff Livingston

In this case, I think he was just feeling "stupid" when he tried it.
  
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04-15-2005, 08:45 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by drivermaker
In this case, I think he was just feeling "stupid" when he tried it.
Not taking this guys side, but I've noticed that many players that are shooting a shot with an OB blocking the path, they don't see that it's in the way. All they see is room for the CB to get past the "blocking" ball and near the OB, they don't realize the balls are round and they will contact each other while passing. They just see past the "blocking" ball! Isn't this the craziest thing, we (players) know that the CB wont get past the ball without "working" the CB.

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04-15-2005, 11:53 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by drivermaker
If this helps anyone, I HOPE it's all of the teachers and instructors out there (as well as players).

Why do all of the instructors, books on pool, dvd's, etc. get so highly involved in finite technical mechanics, lines and angles, physics and geometry?

Why not put some thought behind it and convert all of the above into "FEEL SENSATIONS" that can be ACTED out and FELT while shooting instead of THOUGHT out into a total state of confusion or paralysis through analysis?

When is that greatest teacher of all time going to come forth that teaches or writes a book called "HOW TO FEEL A POOL STROKE", or, "HOW TO FEEL YOUR WAY AROUND A RUNOUT", instead of all the other gobbledegook and drivel?
I thought "The Pleasures of Small Motions" (I think that's the title) did a good job of talking about how the focus should be on feel--on the body itself--first and foremost.
  
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04-15-2005, 01:33 PM

i learned something very similar to the first post and it really brought my consistentcy up. Lining up properly in the setup makes all the difference in the world, and to visualize it..........i want to get my cue lined up so its in the right direction for the shot and then adjust my body around it. One thing thats crucial for me though is.....i put my cue in my bridge hand and i have it out BESIDE my body as i lower into my stance. There for awhile i was putting my cue in my bridge, but i was doing it up in the air in front of me like ive seen some pros do........what would happen is i would then go down in my stance and i wasnt lined up. By lining it up with the cue beside me i know my cue and my arm clear my body. This completely stopped my inconsistency problems and let me get on to learning more pool and techniques and strategy, because now my mechanics for the most part are nailed down.
  
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04-15-2005, 03:16 PM

Great Post.

I have had those days where ball pocketing seemed impossible. Where i would guess at just about every shot, even slightly off angle shots. And it all breaks down to alignment. Generally i can recover and work myself into a proper shooting position. The problem is i don't know what that position is. I know how to work myself back into the position and i have been in dead stroke running racks before, but i don't have a position that i just KNOW. And when i am in dead stroke i know that i can't observe what position i am in without losing my 'Dead Stroke'. Like DM says 'paralysis through analysis'.
I kinda wanna take a lesson for someone to kinda put me into a stance or at least observe my stance and let me know what it is. Something like a feet 22 inches apart, feet 38 degree to the table, shoulder position and such. But i feel that this analysis could do damage as well. I have been making some pretty big steps towards ball pocketing consistency lately, but thats still the area i feel i struggle with the most.

Off Topic a little.
here is something i do when i have a really tough shot in fron of me or when im not seeing balls. I don't usually use an aiming method, but this helps. I make a point to stop myself no matter how confident i feel. I walk up to the ball and look at where the contact point is, then i look at a spot on the table a half balls width away. Then while staring at that 1 spot i try to visualize the ghost ball. Then i walk around to the other side, over the pocket i am shooting towards, and try to visualize the ghost ball on the opposite side of the OB. After i do all this i decide where i am going to address the Cueball (high, low, no sides on the tough ones.) and walk around to the cueball and try to visualize again while i am down in the stance. Then i stand up, put all the aiming systems and methods out of my mind get down and shoot the ball. I think this is more of a mental help, just building up enough confidence, but it works great for me and i have nearly stopped missing those long tough critical balls. I still miss the long tough not so critical ones though.


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04-15-2005, 10:00 PM

This is a great thread for us unnatural grinders.
  
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