A reality check on aiming systems of all kinds

JC

Coos Cues
Gold Member
Place an object ball on the spot. Place the cue ball in the jaws of a pocket in the kitchen. Now move the cue ball forward directly toward the spotted object ball until you can get a comfortable bridge.

This is a half ball shot from maximum distance for such. You know what this is and where to aim it. You know the exact aiming spot is the edge of the object ball. We all know this. The one cut shot no one ever argues isn't 100% objective.

Shoot it 25 times. How many times did you miss? Be honest at least with yourself. Did you miss because you didn't know where to aim? Of course you didn't. You missed because you failed to deliver the cue ball to where you intended it to travel.

If you missed more than 2-3 times you don't need an aiming system, you need practice on your fundamentals. A lot of practice.

When you almost never miss this shot you may be ready to talk about aiming systems. Until then you're wasting your time looking for the magic star dust.

Good luck!
 

JoeyInCali

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Heck, I set up a shot easier than that . Cue ball on the head spot and object ball straight to the furthest corner 2.5 diamonds away from the pocket. Shoot them both to the pocket with a follow.
I shot hundreds and hundreds of this to where I finally fixed my lazy elbow and bad follow through.
NIels Feijen has a great workout here too.
Absolutely great workout .
 

Straightpool_99

I see dead balls
Silver Member
Place an object ball on the spot. Place the cue ball in the jaws of a pocket in the kitchen. Now move the cue ball forward directly toward the spotted object ball until you can get a comfortable bridge.

This is a half ball shot from maximum distance for such. You know what this is and where to aim it. You know the exact aiming spot is the edge of the object ball. We all know this. The one cut shot no one ever argues isn't 100% objective.

Shoot it 25 times. How many times did you miss? Be honest at least with yourself. Did you miss because you didn't know where to aim? Of course you didn't. You missed because you failed to deliver the cue ball to where you intended it to travel.

If you missed more than 2-3 times you don't need an aiming system, you need practice on your fundamentals. A lot of practice.

When you almost never miss this shot you may be ready to talk about aiming systems. Until then you're wasting your time looking for the magic star dust.

Good luck!
This posts epiotomizes the expression "pearls for swine" and the thread will undoubtedly develop in the same fashion as anything going through a porcines digestive system, but the attempt should never the less be applauded.

Many players can't make a straight in shot under pressure, and if they do, they often have unwanted spin on the cueball. You're telling me their problem is aiming? Nah...When you can make a straight in shot consistently with the cueball stopping perfectly, the cueball following or coming back perfectly straight ,then we can talk about how their problem is aiming.
 

JC

Coos Cues
Gold Member
This posts epiotomizes the expression "pearls for swine" and the thread will undoubtedly develop in the same fashion as anything going through a porcines digestive system, but the attempt should never the less be applauded.

Many players can't make a straight in shot under pressure, and if they do, they often have unwanted spin on the cueball. You're telling me their problem is aiming? Nah...When you can make a straight in shot consistently with the cueball stopping perfectly, the cueball following or coming back perfectly straight ,then we can talk about how their problem is aiming.
Pretty much sums it up. The saying is "pearls before swine" BTW.
 

Greg M

Active member
My thoughts exactly. If you can trust your fundamentals and shot accuracy from experience, especially under pressure, you don't need any aiming system. I never did.
 

iusedtoberich

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I can only speak to Geno's Perfect Aim system, (which I personally do not think is an aiming system, but rather an eye alignment system). When you fool around with your eye placement, it can change a crooked stroke, or a misaligned stroke, to a perfectly straight and aligned stroke. So I don't necessarily agree that you can separate aiming from a straight stroke. Unless by aiming one means purely "this is a half ball hit". But if you bring eye alignment into it, it is intertwined with a straight stroke. IMO:)
 
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JC

Coos Cues
Gold Member
My thoughts exactly. If you can trust your fundamentals and shot accuracy from experience, especially under pressure, you don't need any aiming system. I never did.
I'm not saying at that point an aiming system can't be useful, just that you need to be honest with yourself as to whether or not you are at that point.
 

Poolmanis

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I agree with OP most of part. But we are human. We gonna miss some even with perfect fundamentals.
I would say I agree that if shot is medium distance then you should be able to make half ball hit 80-98% of time to be worried about aiming.

If you can´t, put more effort to stroke mechanics until you can.
And both sides. Right and left cut.

Anyways it is not so simple. If your aiming picture is weak. It is one part that creates crooked stroke. That why I think focus to aiming line leads more straighter stroke. Watching ball edges etc. tends to lead eyes of from line and hand follows.
That is reason I think people should shoot angled shots too when practicing stroke mechanics. Like half ball shot. To get rid of habit to steer while they cut the ball.
 

BilliardsAbout

BondFanEvents.com
Silver Member
Place an object ball on the spot. Place the cue ball in the jaws of a pocket in the kitchen. Now move the cue ball forward directly toward the spotted object ball until you can get a comfortable bridge.

This is a half ball shot from maximum distance for such. You know what this is and where to aim it. You know the exact aiming spot is the edge of the object ball. We all know this. The one cut shot no one ever argues isn't 100% objective.

Shoot it 25 times. How many times did you miss? Be honest at least with yourself. Did you miss because you didn't know where to aim? Of course you didn't. You missed because you failed to deliver the cue ball to where you intended it to travel.

If you missed more than 2-3 times you don't need an aiming system, you need practice on your fundamentals. A lot of practice.

When you almost never miss this shot you may be ready to talk about aiming systems. Until then you're wasting your time looking for the magic star dust.

Good luck!
You need an aiming system if you keep moving your head/eyes so that you see the half-ball hit incorrectly. Stance, pre-shot, moving into position is part of the aiming package the way I teach it.

I don't like fraction aiming for most players--you may need an aiming system if you have to set up a half-ball shot to make your point here. ;) Think about it, setup a non-half-ball hit then tell the amateur his fundamentals, not his aim, are responsible for missing 4 times in 25 shots.

:)
 

JC

Coos Cues
Gold Member
You need an aiming system if you keep moving your head/eyes so that you see the half-ball hit incorrectly. Stance, pre-shot, moving into position is part of the aiming package the way I teach it.

I don't like fraction aiming for most players--you may need an aiming system if you have to set up a half-ball shot to make your point here. ;) Think about it, setup a non-half-ball hit then tell the amateur his fundamentals, not his aim, are responsible for missing 4 times in 25 shots.

:)
Another shot like the one Joey described? Straight in? How the hell are you going to make cut shots if you can't make straight in shots?

You can move into position all you like and pre shot routine your opponent to boredom but if your arm motion is jinky where the rubber hits the road you will not consistently hit the object ball where you intend to and you will either make the ball within the pocket's margin of error or miss.

This is another thing we need to assess on every successful shot. Did we hit that pocket where we intended to or was it "good enough" this time but not the next.
 
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Imac007

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
How the hell are you going to make cut shots if you can't make straight in shots?
This is the one true test. As Dr. Dave’s graphs show, a half ball shot, being a supposed “known angle” fails as a straight cueing test. A center ball soft stun shot (center ball) on the line from significantly closer is subject to about 5½° of throw in laboratory clean conditions. To put that in non math terms. An object ball a standard shaft length away from the pocket shot, shot half ball with soft stun will deviate, because of cut induced throw, from the ghost ball line position, by over a ball’s width with very clean balls. Regardless of speed or height of contact the straight in shot does not experience throw effects when stroked accurately.

Another test to use is to reduce the stroke to physical execution. Take a single ball. Align it center ball into pocket center, close your eyes, stroke the shot staying down. Open your eyes and see where the tip is pointed, exactly. The Niels Feijen straight cueing video is more for advanced players. The progression should start with a single ball, then shorter straight ins aiming for 10 out of 10’s. We learn from our errors but mastery learning is striving for error free baby steps towards the next level. Actual competitive games give you plenty of times to fail. Practice should groove competence first, then push towards mastery.
 
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JoeyInCali

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
This is the setup I mentioned.
You really have to get the PSR set to pocket the two balls consistently.
Rear foot placed on the line, down with the chest, shoulder, chin, grip and elbow on the line.
 

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JB Cases

www.jbcases.com
Silver Member
Place an object ball on the spot. Place the cue ball in the jaws of a pocket in the kitchen. Now move the cue ball forward directly toward the spotted object ball until you can get a comfortable bridge.

This is a half ball shot from maximum distance for such. You know what this is and where to aim it. You know the exact aiming spot is the edge of the object ball. We all know this. The one cut shot no one ever argues isn't 100% objective.

Shoot it 25 times. How many times did you miss? Be honest at least with yourself. Did you miss because you didn't know where to aim? Of course you didn't. You missed because you failed to deliver the cue ball to where you intended it to travel.

If you missed more than 2-3 times you don't need an aiming system, you need practice on your fundamentals. A lot of practice.

When you almost never miss this shot you may be ready to talk about aiming systems. Until then you're wasting your time looking for the magic star dust.

Good luck!
I don't know that this line is a true half ball hit but assuming that it is I fully agree with you that it would be a valid test of a person's visual acuity and their physical form. However the problem is how do you know whether you missed because of aiming wrong or because of a stroke error or some combination of both.

A few years ago we got one of the OB Cues stroke testers that fit on the end of the cue and which beep when the cue is NOT kept straight through contact with the ball. One of my employees could hit the cue ball dead center and never get a beep. My attempts sounded like a slot machine. So we set up a camera and recorded the stroke at the cue ball. Turns out that when I thought I was addressing the cueball at dead center I was actually slightly off. His were dead center.

We did another thing a year or so before that where we were discussing kicking and banking systems and we were playing with the spot on the wall method. He figured out the three rail spot on the wall which happened to be the corner of a door frame. He could aim at that spot and drain three railers regularly. I tried it and I was a diamond off. Then I found a different spot just to the right of his and started making the 3 railers. So this led to a discussion of why that might be. We didn't come up with any definitive reason but we agreed that we were not both using the same spot on the wall as a reference but that we were getting the same results.

Have you ever done the finger on the rail to show a beginner where to hit for a kick shot? How often have you experienced that they shoot the ball to the left or right of you finger? I have experienced this many times and they say but I am aiming right at your finger. I personally think that visual acuity and spatial awareness are highly unexplored topics in pool. We assume that we all see the same things the same way but it is my opinion that this cannot be true based on the differences in eyeball distance, the shape of the lenses, any other physical limitations such as cataracts and the like, and possibly even the way the brain processes visual information.

We have this tendency to think that aiming is a given and a result of just doing it enough. We tend to want to think that missing shots is ONLY a result of poor stroking technique. What we need are ways to test this which are reliable and verifiable and consistent.

I did a video years ago called Stroking on the Known Line. I set up a straight in shot with a chalk line, and it could be any shot with a marked line or a ghost ball template, plus a line, Gordy Vanderveer's Striking LIne Aiming templates are GREAT for this. I did this for the express purpose of testing my form without having to worry about aiming. And I missed several shots and made many of the shots sloppily. This was many years before the use of the OB stroking device and identifying my deficiency in getting to the actual center of the cueball. So today I can't say for certain if the misses with a KNOWN line were fully stroke error, because of visual issues or some combination of both. I WANT to say that it was fully stroke error but without setting up the experiment again coupled with close up slow motion video at ball address and perhaps video from the front and back of the shooter and also an overhead view I think it would be hard to fully identify the exact combination between aiming and stroking.

All that said..... One can get a fairly decent handle on their performance results using shot making tests. And if one adopts an aiming system and their pocketing success improves noticeably then it's fair to say that the aiming system has helped them to achieve those better results. And one can test themselves against those shotmaking tests to see if the improvement is lasting or not. It should be assumed, just as in your half-ball hit test, that a player can easily understand the results of the test before and after the adoption of any given aiming method.
 

JB Cases

www.jbcases.com
Silver Member
If you missed more than 2-3 times you don't need an aiming system, you need practice on your fundamentals. A lot of practice.

When you almost never miss this shot you may be ready to talk about aiming systems. Until then you're wasting your time looking for the magic star dust.

Good luck!
I will challenge everyone on this forum to do this very shot. Shots at distance with the object ball mid table are always harder than many other types of shots. Spot shots are not considered to be easy shots. So I would say that making a SNIDE AND RUDE comment like "looking for the magic star dust" is not only just your opinion but it is also factually wrong. It presupposes that an aiming system which might force the user into better alignment through the use of multiple objective references instead of one line can't be the catalyst that leads to improvement.

The fact is that no one, not any person who has ever been a part of this forum, no matter their academic credentials or experience, can speak for everyone playing and know what they see and feel. Anyone at any level can ABSOLUTELY talk about aiming systems and is free to try them if they want to.

I have shown aiming systems to 450 speed players and seen them improve their ball pocketing almost immediately. I have shown Hal Houle's quarters system to APA 3s and 4s and watched them start making shots way above their skill level. Conversely I have shown aiming systems to some good players and had them give me a confused look and decide that they didn't want to bother with it EVEN IF they agreed that it might help them.

I think talking down to the readers in the form of telling them that IF they can't make a tough shot 22-23 times out of 25 then they are not ready to talk about aiming systems is counterproductive, snide, rude, dismissive, and nasty. I also think that it's entirely possible that a player can be really good at some shots and have mixed results on other shots.

This post you made is really just another swipe at aiming system users. You could have made it without the magic fairy dust put down but you chose not to because the whole point of the post was to tell aiming system users that they are chasing magic pills instead of putting in the work. It is JUST ANOTHER WAY to say that you believe that aiming is not relevant and comes naturally with proper stroking technique. Really shitty IMO to do this when in fact the discussion about aiming+technique is a worthy one to have and should not be framed in the super nasty way that you framed it.
 

JB Cases

www.jbcases.com
Silver Member
Place an object ball on the spot. Place the cue ball in the jaws of a pocket in the kitchen. Now move the cue ball forward directly toward the spotted object ball until you can get a comfortable bridge.

This is a half ball shot from maximum distance for such. You know what this is and where to aim it. You know the exact aiming spot is the edge of the object ball. We all know this. The one cut shot no one ever argues isn't 100% objective.

Shoot it 25 times. How many times did you miss? Be honest at least with yourself. Did you miss because you didn't know where to aim? Of course you didn't. You missed because you failed to deliver the cue ball to where you intended it to travel.

If you missed more than 2-3 times you don't need an aiming system, you need practice on your fundamentals. A lot of practice.

When you almost never miss this shot you may be ready to talk about aiming systems. Until then you're wasting your time looking for the magic star dust.

Good luck!
You and I are the same speed of player. By next Friday you post up your best results and I will do the same. I will upload mine by friday morning and make it private and when yours is up I will make mine public and post the link. I am curious to see the results.
 

JC

Coos Cues
Gold Member
You and I are the same speed of player. By next Friday you post up your best results and I will do the same. I will upload mine by friday morning and make it private and when yours is up I will make mine public and post the link. I am curious to see the results.
Your 'speed' takes into account everything. Aiming systems, funky stroke, safety play, decisions. All of it.

I actually have very little doubt I can win this particular contest with you. Just shot 21 of 25 off camera with a Friday night thank the lord buzz. But that's not my point. My fundamentals are weak. Yours are even weaker. Neither of us needs any "systems" other than to drill our bad habits away. Yet we both lack the will power to do so. Therefore we are stuck at mediocracy.

What you have that I don't is brass balls to bet ridiculous money that's basically dead. Props to you for that but that isn't feeding the bulldogs.
 

BC21

https://www.playpoolbetter.com
Gold Member
Silver Member
Place an object ball on the spot. Place the cue ball in the jaws of a pocket in the kitchen. Now move the cue ball forward directly toward the spotted object ball until you can get a comfortable bridge.

This is a half ball shot from maximum distance for such. You know what this is and where to aim it. You know the exact aiming spot is the edge of the object ball. We all know this. The one cut shot no one ever argues isn't 100% objective.

Shoot it 25 times. How many times did you miss? Be honest at least with yourself. Did you miss because you didn't know where to aim? Of course you didn't. You missed because you failed to deliver the cue ball to where you intended it to travel.

If you missed more than 2-3 times you don't need an aiming system, you need practice on your fundamentals. A lot of practice.

When you almost never miss this shot you may be ready to talk about aiming systems. Until then you're wasting your time looking for the magic star dust.

Good luck!

My advice for those who have purchased my book is similar. I tell them to set up a shot where the aim line is 100% known and shoot it 20 times or so. The results will show if there are stroke mechanic issues.

As far as the specific shot your're talking about, I made it 46 times in a row before missing, each time I aimed for a dead 1/2 ball shot. That tells me my stroke was pretty consistent for that 30 minutes.
 

JC

Coos Cues
Gold Member
My advice for those who have purchased my book is similar. I tell them to set up a shot where the aim line is 100% known and shoot it 20 times or so. The results will show if there are stroke mechanic issues.

As far as the specific shot your're talking about, I made it 46 times in a row before missing, each time I aimed for a dead 1/2 ball shot. That tells me my stroke was pretty consistent for that 30 minutes.
Yes Brian your stroke is quite solid. Am very interested in your book and will pick up a copy very soon. It seems like it's on par with my aiming thinking.

I decided to turn on the camera and only shot 20 out of 25. Missed one ball twice in a row and another one three times in a row and potted the rest. Over cut every one.

I believe its a matter of some sort of innate concentration that's very hard to train if you don't have it genetically. Not impossible but hard.

Let me know if you made more than 20 by next friday JB and I will post tonight's video complete with pre and post sarcasm. Whiskey bottle in hand and boxer briefs in style. Or do better but maybe not. 80% seems to be my "speed" on this one. If you are better than that like Brian I'll have to get the better of you with some other skills. :D

Edit: For those who doubt this is a natural half ball hit, let your mind not be troubled. 46 in a row is pretty definitive!

My 80% was done without my corrective lens' which may correct road signs but don't do much for pool.
 

JB Cases

www.jbcases.com
Silver Member
Your 'speed' takes into account everything. Aiming systems, funky stroke, safety play, decisions. All of it.

I actually have very little doubt I can win this particular contest with you. Just shot 21 of 25 off camera with a Friday night thank the lord buzz. But that's not my point. My fundamentals are weak. Yours are even weaker. Neither of us needs any "systems" other than to drill our bad habits away. Yet we both lack the will power to do so. Therefore we are stuck at mediocracy.

What you have that I don't is brass balls to bet ridiculous money that's basically dead. Props to you for that but that isn't feeding the bulldogs.
I am only stuck because I am at a point in my life where pool is not and can not be high enough priority to devote the time to improve dramatically. Plus I am physically deteriorating to the point that my body will not cooperate.

If I chose to put in more than a few hours of practice every couple weeks then I have zero doubt that I would surpass you easily. As it is I still manage to maintain a rating that is the same as yours.

What you don't really want to believe is that having a good aiming system is a huge reason why I maintain that level despite the poor form.

Your position is that there is some level of player who is too pool ignorant or too uncoordinated to benefit from a good aiming system. I completely disagree and find it distasteful that you feel that those players you have so labeled are chasing magic bullets when they could use work on other areas. You automatically assume that they can't do both.

If I score better than you then does that mean I am right?

My point is that it's unbecoming to put down other players who are seeking knowledge. You look at me and make assumptions but you never ever ever give credit to the average players who show great form and give tons of credit to aiming systems as a strong pillar of their game.

Yeah I look like shit when I dog a shot but I also look like a hero when I come with shots that look super hard but which I used cte to aim at. You can't really know the power of having a great tool at your disposal even if you can't use it to it's fullest potential when you don't have that tool in your toolbox.

I have seen players improve measurably after learning a good aiming system. I have seen them have an increased love of the game and embark on deeper exploration of the game after learning a good aiming system. Not because they were seeking a magic potion but because they acquired a way to unlock a wider range of shots that they would have had to learn through brute force otherwise.

I have zero doubt that if we each took a 550 speed player and you made that player practice drills endlessly with no instruction on aiming other than ghost ball and I taught mine a good objective aiming system and had him do half the drills that in one year my player would rob yours.

I don't doubt this because I have seen it happen already with players around me.

At this point I am just a cheerleader to get people interested in looking into aiming systems. I am not, nor will I ever be any type of good example of how to play pool. I was given a gift by Hal Houle and he asked me to pass it on and I do when I can.

I didn't seek it out out but I saw the value right away in my results. And over the years I have had some really good matches where I can say with 100% clarity that the aiming system was a huge part of the victory.

But there is no way that I can get you to understand how that feels when we aren't using the same tools. In leatherwork the difference between a basic mallet and a high end well balanced one is clear and amazing. Great work can be and has been done with basic tools. But the person who is great with basic tools goes to another level with high end tools. A person who isn't great still gets benefit out of great tools just not as much as they could be getting if they worked on other parts of their leatherworking skills.

On leatherworking groups you can see the improvement of the people who invest in good tools and more importantly you can feel their excitement and pride in the results. They are clear that a $50 Barry King stamp won't help them to tool a line straight. But they know that every impression will be crisp and feel great when the tool is struck.

What we don't have is a bunch of knockers telling those who like to invest in high end tools and educational materials that they are just looking for magic bullets. We don't have people discouraging others from trying to improve.

We honor the teachers and are grateful to those who take the time to develop techniques and tools and to share them with everyone who is interested.
 
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