# A reality check on aiming systems of all kinds

#### AtLarge

##### AzB Gold Member
Gold Member
Silver Member
Average is about 600 speed if the ratings are between 400 and 800. The current highest rating is about 829 I think and the lowest I have seen is like 360. If we use those ratings with no other data since clearly Mike Page would be be able to give an accurate world average, then 595 is the center which would mean 600 is slightly above average. It's hard for me to think of myself as just average but the ratings are what they are.

Posted by Mike Page on New Year's Day, 2021:

Amongst 788 people with 3,000 or more games, average rating is 612 and standard deviation is 100
Amongst 6400 people with 1,000 or more games, average rating is 555 and standard deviation is 99
Amongst 16,000 people with 500 or more games, average rating is 526 and standard deviation is 102
Amongst 41,000 people with 200 or more games, average rating is 493 and standard deviation is 108
Amongst 68,000 people with 100 or more games, average rating is 474 and standard deviation is 114

Sure we can say 200 games is what we consider "established," and so the average rating is 493. But we recognize this is a little arbitrary and depends on who is getting games into the system, etc.

#### JB Cases

##### www.jbcases.com
Silver Member
Posted by Mike Page on New Year's Day, 2021:
Dude, you are like a comic book character that is all-seeing and all-knowing when it comes to stats and numbers comments. If I ever want to to know the right answer to anything numbers related I just need to post and if it's wrong you show up.

#### Low500

##### AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Really? So, the center of the cueball is NOT an objectively recognizable reference? The edge of the cueball is not an objectively recognizable reference? The center of the object ball is not an objectively recognizable reference? The edge of the object ball is not an objectively recognizable reference? Yes, all of those things are objective. What isn't strictly objective? The quarters of the object ball. The line that would slice the object ball halves in half. What is the result of these lines not being strictly objective? Well it means that IF the shooter does not pick them up correctly when TRYING CONSCIOUSLY to do so then the correct shot line is not produced. So the user has to practice until they can "see" that line in conjunction with the OBJECTIVE references and when they can then the correct shot lines are produced.

Perceptions are not subconscious. They are frames of reference created by physical stimulus. They can be something like my perception is that Daft Johanson is an asshole based on my interactions with him on the BAZ Billiard forum. And my perception might have been in the past that Daft Johanson was a cool guy who was just not in agreement with me about some terms based on my in-person experiences with him. In other words the perception of a person's character changes with the input.

When it comes to aiming in pool then perception is how a person takes in the very real objects in front of him and decides how to move his body in response to the specific situation. That activity can range from noting where the balls are and simply getting down on a line that seems right or it can be deliberately choosing a body position based on specific reference points.

This would be fairly easy to test by the way. You find players who have never heard of aiming systems and test them on a variety of shots and players who say they use specific aiming methods including Ghost Ball. You set up a player who is perfectly positioned for the shot addressing the cueball. The table is marked with a very specific grid system and an overhead camera. For each of the test shots you have the perfect player as a control image. Then you let the test players get into shooting position for each of the test shots. When the test players are compared to the control players the position of their cues should overlay exactly regardless of what method they used to get there.

Thus you should be able to determine whether "just feel it" aimers are as consistent as aiming system aimers and which of the aiming systems produce more consistent results. Not talking about form and fundamentals here. Just whether or not a players GETS TO the shot line correctly or not. The shot line is not known to the player, not marked out in any way. They only get the table, the balls and the pockets to use as references in any way they choose to do so. I am pretty sure that in the case of CTE vs Ghostball the results will show that CTE use indeed puts the shooter on the correct shot line considerably more consistently and accurately.

Perception can be trained. That's the whole premise of Sherlock Holmes' detective prowess. To look VERY CLOSELY at all of the details and be knowledgeable enough to understand what those details mean. Ghost Ball aiming is a method of training one to use the position of the balls to make a choice about where to lay the cue down. It is just not the best way to go about it because it requires a pretty hefty feat of imagination to do that. And that feat gets harder depending on how full the shot is. Still, it is not an invalid concept and of course for diagramming purposes to communicate ball direction, contact dynamics, throw, tangents and so on it is accurate and invaluable. However when you ask a person to point to the spot on the table where the ghost ball center should be they will get it wrong A LOT.

If you tell someone to point to where the quarter of the object ball is and they use the edge and the center as objective reference points then their accuracy is going to pretty good out of the gate and will only get better the more they focus on training their eyes to perceive that part of the ball. So no, perceptions in CTE aiming are not subconscious choices. They are deliberate choices that are based on OBJECTIVE references. To the point that one CTE user in a remote location can tell another CTE user what the right perceptions are for most shots faced in much the same way that a chess player can call out the move to another chess player remotely. Can't do that with Ghost Ball.

And when the remote CTE user calls out the perception and the shooter uses that perception without question and the shot line is found and used successfully with the overcut position built-in then in my opinion the objectivity in the system is clear. The proof is on the table Pat. Yes, I understand that your default position is that a person is either deliberately lying when they claim to be using a system consciously or that they are so self-deluded and clueless that they don't even know that they are not making conscious choices despite their claims that they are. I get it that this is your position and you are wrong. You have never been right on this subject and you will never be right no matter how often you want to repeat this false premise.
John, let's discuss something here. Tell me if you do this as well....
Stan trained me with Pro One at his studio since I was already pretty decent with the Basic CTE w/manual pivot.
I have found that on some shots...usually the long distance ones or the long distance ones with the O.B. frozen on the long rail, that I have a higher percentage of pocketed balls (especially when using extreme draw to dodge that side pocket when getting way back down table to a short rail for position), that the Bustamante style pivoting (page 321 in the book) is better...for ME that is, than the standard Pro One.
That may be a visual thing because of my age, or it could be a tiny glitch in my stroke, or even the rubber in cheap table rails. I really don't care about "the why"...….as the SpiderMan says, "pool is an outcome based game and I could give a flip less about the "why". If it works, that's all that matters".
The question for you is...do you alternate between Basic CTE W/ the manual pivot, Pro One, and Disguised Pivoting, throughout an attempted run...?
I do not think I am unique into encountering this..there must be others.
It's good to have all those tools within the CTE system instead of being stuck with that "nose behind the shotline and looking for some fraction or invisible ghost ball" when the cash is on the line and the railbirds are yelling and shouting at you stuff about "don't dog now, fool".
(yes, they'll do that in a heartbeat down here in the south. They don't sit there quietly and politely..they use every means to shark you and trip you up) and if you woof at them you could get sucker punched in the head. But I digress.....
I like alternating between all the CTE tools, but that "Bustamante Shift", as I call it, works terrific on long distance work.

#### Mirza

##### AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
No offense taken really. Just poking you a little. Here's what I didn't mention. After that 46 in a row I thought, "damn...I'm going to record this and hit 50, or a hundred! All I gotta do is pay attention and stroke the ball each time." So I set my camera up and shoot 9 and then miss. Then I shoot 17 and miss. Then I shoot 7 and miss. Then I turn the camera off and delete the footage and go start a load of clothes. When certain thoughts or expectations get in your head it can sometimes turn you off as easily as flipping a switch.

140 in a row by a 12 year old girl:

##### AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
CTE aside, have you ever thought they were using a half ball hit or another fractional ball method to make those shots?
Sure, they most certainly could be doing that. Ever wonder why they put there bridge hand left of where most people would, Busti farther left then Efrin, but both still left of most people.

##### AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
It doesn’t take into consideration table variables.
Can you tell me an aiming system that does?

##### BondFanEvents.com
Silver Member
My point wasn't about aiming per se, it was about mechanics. Of course these skills develop simultaneously in the progression of a pool player but way too often, the rule rather than the exception, people have soon played enough to know exactly where to aim yet their mechanics let them down as fundamental problems hold them back.

So I should be able to set up a more ambiguous shot and have about the same success if my theory is correct right?

Can you suggest a good shot for illustration purposes? Back cuts are tough to aim for many. In this case aiming deficiencies may multiply the problems of bad fundamentals but can't be overcome with aiming alone.
You've already suggested a great shot, with no challenge in aiming, to hone mechanics. For many players, though, aim knowledge and aim systems can turn their game around fast.

#### Bob Jewett

##### AZB Osmium Member
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140 in a row by a 12 year old girl:
Yes, but she doesn't actually have to aim. It would be interesting to see her do the 140 where each cue ball starts at a different place on the headstring and in random order of position.

#### JC

##### Coos Cues
Posted by Mike Page on New Year's Day, 2021:
Fargorate hasn't been around long enough to give your more average players enough games in which is why the players with so many more games are higher. These are the pool is my life types.

Given a few more years average rating will be around 525 tops and probably even less and 600 will continue to be a relatively skilled amateur.

Amongst 788 people with 3,000 or more games, average rating is 612 and standard deviation is 100
Amongst 6400 people with 1,000 or more games, average rating is 555 and standard deviation is 99
Amongst 16,000 people with 500 or more games, average rating is 526 and standard deviation is 102
Amongst 41,000 people with 200 or more games, average rating is 493 and standard deviation is 108
Amongst 68,000 people with 100 or more games, average rating is 474 and standard deviation is 114

#### JB Cases

##### www.jbcases.com
Silver Member
140 in a row by a 12 year old girl:

Amazing. We have very little dedicated disciplined deep practice like this in America. I have seen Chinese girls doing the same type of drills for hours. Watch the three players. This video is an EXCELLENT guide to three different approaches to the shot and the resulting differences in results. The middle player stands back and looks at the shot in much the same way that well skilled aiming systems users do. NOT SAYING SHE IS USING ANY AIMING SYSTEM. Just saying that she was totally consistent in how she was looking at the shot and stepping into it. The other two were quite inconsistent in their approach and their results were reflective of that.

I just did an hour long video on this subject. After watching my video and this video I am fully clear that I am VERY inconsistent in how I approach shots. In other words it is my opinion that all inconsistencies, starting with how one is visually approaching the shot, work against stable results. Duh, right?

But here is the point. The player in the middle is clearly SUPER CONSISTENT in her approach. The other two PROBABLY feel that they are as well. But not seeing themselves in comparison they can't see the bird's eye view of just how consistent she is contrasted to them.

This video is probably the MOST important one in this thread.

That said, I will throw up on the forum my contribution so that people see my performance and perspective to analyze as they wish to.

#### Mirza

##### AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Yes, but she doesn't actually have to aim. It would be interesting to see her do the 140 where each cue ball starts at a different place on the headstring and in random order of position.
Well that is exactly what has been talked about, a spot shot with fixed aimpoint (like center-to-edge for example) and a question of how many one could do in a row to check his fundamentals (mostly they talked about stroke, but I think there is more to it, as for example vision/parallax/looking acros lines/stance etc.), so that is why I posted this link since BC21 said he has done 49 in a row with fixed aimpoint (CTE).

#### JB Cases

##### www.jbcases.com
Silver Member
Yes, but she doesn't actually have to aim. It would be interesting to see her do the 140 where each cue ball starts at a different place on the headstring and in random order of position.
How does she not have to aim? Is she doing this with her eyes closed from full stance? Of course she aims. If the aim is a half ball overlap then that's what she is aiming at.

#### Straightpool_99

Silver Member
Amazing. We have very little dedicated disciplined deep practice like this in America. I have seen Chinese girls doing the same type of drills for hours. Watch the three players. This video is an EXCELLENT guide to three different approaches to the shot and the resulting differences in results. The middle player stands back and looks at the shot in much the same way that well skilled aiming systems users do. NOT SAYING SHE IS USING ANY AIMING SYSTEM. Just saying that she was totally consistent in how she was looking at the shot and stepping into it. The other two were quite inconsistent in their approach and their results were reflective of that.

I just did an hour long video on this subject. After watching my video and this video I am fully clear that I am VERY inconsistent in how I approach shots. In other words it is my opinion that all inconsistencies, starting with how one is visually approaching the shot, work against stable results. Duh, right?

But here is the point. The player in the middle is clearly SUPER CONSISTENT in her approach. The other two PROBABLY feel that they are as well. But not seeing themselves in comparison they can't see the bird's eye view of just how consistent she is contrasted to them.

This video is probably the MOST important one in this thread.

That said, I will throw up on the forum my contribution so that people see my performance and perspective to analyze as they wish to.

You admitted that you're inconsistent, I'm not going to go into that. I want you to know, I'm not out to "arrest" you on your fundamental mistakes. However we feel about aiming and stuff, we're both just amateurs who are passionate about finding things out and helping people in the ways that we can. If you're serious about improving your game, I want you to look at this miss carefully.
You missed because you started your forward stroke prematurely. If your stroke was textbook 4 point contact, you might have made it anyway (though you may have missed even then) but since your stroke is anything but-, it caused a miss and will cause you many misses in the future. All that aiming and lining up can help you if you do it every time, but you'll never be consistent before you fix this issue. I suggest a stroke mantra. A phrase you say to time your stroke to EVERY time you shoot. It's either that or counting. I think the mantra is better. Just like your beloved CTE, it doesn't help if you don't do it every time.

At the moment you're like a shooter who spends a lot of time finding his ideal shooting position, measuring the wind perfecting his grip etc. Nothing wrong with that, but when the time comes to shoot, you close your eyes and jerk the trigger.

#### JB Cases

##### www.jbcases.com
Silver Member
You admitted that you're inconsistent, I'm not going to go into that. I want you to know, I'm not out to "arrest" you on your fundamental mistakes. However we feel about aiming and stuff, we're both just amateurs who are passionate about finding things out and helping people in the ways that we can. If you're serious about improving your game, I want you to look at this miss carefully.
You missed because you started your forward stroke prematurely. If your stroke was textbook 4 point contact, you might have made it anyway (though you may have missed even then) but since your stroke is anything but-, it caused a miss and will cause you many misses in the future. All that aiming and lining up can help you if you do it every time, but you'll never be consistent before you fix this issue. I suggest a stroke mantra. A phrase you say to time your stroke to EVERY time you shoot. It's either that or counting. I think the mantra is better. Just like your beloved CTE, it doesn't help if you don't do it every time.

At the moment you're like a shooter who spends a lot of time finding his ideal shooting position, measuring the wind perfecting his grip etc. Nothing wrong with that, but when the time comes to shoot, you close your eyes and jerk the trigger.
All that and more. It's heartbreaking to me to see myself be so uncomfortable. I don't honestly know if I will ever get to where I should be due to several physical issues I contend with. But I know this.....a couple months ago a really good coach had me more solid and stable and I was pocketing with much more ease. Watching the young lady be so consistent with her approach in contrast to the other players and watching myself on this video brought it home that I have slipped back into the bad habits.

#### JC

##### Coos Cues
Amazing. We have very little dedicated disciplined deep practice like this in America. I have seen Chinese girls doing the same type of drills for hours. Watch the three players. This video is an EXCELLENT guide to three different approaches to the shot and the resulting differences in results. The middle player stands back and looks at the shot in much the same way that well skilled aiming systems users do. NOT SAYING SHE IS USING ANY AIMING SYSTEM. Just saying that she was totally consistent in how she was looking at the shot and stepping into it. The other two were quite inconsistent in their approach and their results were reflective of that.

I just did an hour long video on this subject. After watching my video and this video I am fully clear that I am VERY inconsistent in how I approach shots. In other words it is my opinion that all inconsistencies, starting with how one is visually approaching the shot, work against stable results. Duh, right?

But here is the point. The player in the middle is clearly SUPER CONSISTENT in her approach. The other two PROBABLY feel that they are as well. But not seeing themselves in comparison they can't see the bird's eye view of just how consistent she is contrasted to them.

This video is probably the MOST important one in this thread.

That said, I will throw up on the forum my contribution so that people see my performance and perspective to analyze as they wish to.

Your video confirms post #1 in this thread. Not an attack but the truth.

It took some balls to post it up. Thank you.

#### BC21

##### https://www.playpoolbetter.com
Gold Member
Silver Member
The pro/amateur line is arbitrary and should not be used in any meaningful conversation. For the purpose of this discussion we should be using just the ratings that exist. The universe doesn't care about the label of professional but it does care that the 800 speed player can easily beat the 600 speed player in the exact same ratio that the 600 speed player can beat the 400 speed player.

I agree that the Fargo app is cool and think it can be a lot cooler when/if people are given more ways to parse the data.

The fargo website shows that common (average) league players have a ratings between 300 and 400. More solid league players start sliding into the 500's.

The average would only be halfway between the maximum rating and minimum rating (as you showed in another post) if there were only two players in the system, one rated at 800 and the other at 400. Then the average would be 600. But that's not how the math works when there are thousands of ratings to consider.

There are only a few hundred players in the world rated at 700 or higher. Probably several thousand rated between 600 and 700 and tens of thousands rated between 500 and 600. I would estimate 60 to 70% or so of the 213,000+ players in the Fargo system have ratings below 500. So the scale of ratings is bottom heavy, and a good average would be closer to something around 400 to 450.

In my local BCA league there are only 90 players. The highest rating is 681 and the lowest is 252 (a beginner I guess). We have 15 rated at 600 or higher. We have 22 with ratings between 500 and 599. The rest are below 500, and the average rating (all 90 players averaged together) comes out to 455. I think most leagues would come close to the same results.

So celebrate your 600+, it actually means you're doing a good job, well above average.

#### JB Cases

##### www.jbcases.com
Silver Member
Your video confirms post #1 in this thread. Not an attack but the truth.

It took some balls to post it up. Thank you.
No it doesn't. Not at all. Your premise is that I shouldn't even be using or pursuing an aiming system and I demonstrated that even with crappy form an aiming system helps to get to the shot line. I don't think you watched the whole thing.

Your comment about magic pills remains a denigration and is absolutely wrong.

What the video shows is that a person absolutely can see pocketing improvement by the adoption of an aiming system. Then if they improve their form then even better.

You might want to find the section where I go off the half-ball hit and show that the spot shot can be made consistently when there is not a dead nuts half-ball aim and hit to use as an objective guide.

In the end I made far more shots than I missed. Yes at large I said this specifically so that you could give me the actual stats

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#### JB Cases

##### www.jbcases.com
Silver Member
The fargo website shows that common (average) league players have a ratings between 300 and 400. More solid league players start sliding into the 500's.

The average would only be halfway between the maximum rating and minimum rating (as you showed in another post) if there were only two players in the system, one rated at 800 and the other at 400. Then the average would be 600. But that's not how the math works when there are thousands of ratings to consider.

There are only a few hundred players in the world rated at 700 or higher. Probably several thousand rated between 600 and 700 and tens of thousands rated between 500 and 600. I would estimate 60 to 70% or so of the 213,000+ players in the Fargo system have ratings below 500. So the scale of ratings is bottom heavy, and a good average would be closer to something around 400 to 450.

In my local BCA league there are only 90 players. The highest rating is 681 and the lowest is 252 (a beginner I guess). We have 15 rated at 600 or higher. We have 22 with ratings between 500 and 599. The rest are below 500, and the average rating (all 90 players averaged together) comes out to 455. I think most leagues would come close to the same results.

So celebrate your 600+, it actually means you're doing a good job, well above average.
Imagine if I really wanted to practice and wasn't fighting physical issues? I often wonder what things might have been like in the years when I would spend 4-8 hours a day practicing and playing if I had learned about objective aiming then. I am sitting here writing this and am in pain from the hour video I made earlier today.

As it was I would estimate that in the 90s, based on fargo ratings now, I was likely around a 650+. Now I just feel helpless and out of control of my body most of the time. Eyes are going, back is gone, we don't need to talk about the obvious mental issues.....

It sucks when you clearly know what to do, have done it in your life many times and now you just get frustrated at the unforced errors.

#### Low500

##### AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
No it doesn't. Not at all. Your premise is that I shouldn't even be using or pursuing an aiming system and I demonstrated that even with crappy form an aiming system helps to get to the shot line. I don't think you watched the whole thing.

Your comment about magic pills remains a denigration and is absolutely wrong.

What the video shows is that a person absolutely can see pocketing improvement by the adoption of an aiming system. Then if they improve their form then even better.

You might want to find the section where I go off the half-ball hit and show that the spot shot can be made consistently when there is not a dead nuts half-ball aim and hit to use as an objective guide.

In the end I made far more shots than I missed. Yes at large I said this specifically so that you could give me the actual stats
John Barton, you did a terrific job in that video getting across the idea that NOBODY who advocates an Aiming System as a tool to improve their game, believes any system is some kind of "magic bullet" which turns players into world beaters in a few weeks (as the knockers like to gripe about).
What you did and said in that video dealt with stone cold logic and analysis.
I commend you since you did not read it from a teleprompter or have a stooge whispering the words into your ear through a wire.
Very good work....

#### JB Cases

##### www.jbcases.com
Silver Member
And in fact I do credit Hal Houle and Stan and everyone working on objective aiming for keeping me interested in playing. That's one reason I can't stand the really shitty comments denigrating them and their students.

I didn't go looking for any magic system, objective aiming was gifted to me and I was blown away. Looking at me for validation of aiming systems is silly. Look at players coming up who are learning them along with dedication to proper form.

None of us can say whether there will come a time when most great players are openly using aiming systems and turning in world class results. What i can say for sure is that I have witnessed an explosion of interest and development in this area in the past 20 years.

It's like with jump cues. Some people still call them gimmicks but in fact the players who master that tool are using them effectively to win more. I wasn't really a person who used jump cues that much and my jump cue consisted of a dowel that I installed a pin into for my shaft. It wasn't until I saw an opportunity to sell jump cues that I started to learn how to use them and be able to effectively demonstrate how they expanded the range of possible shots. Now there are thousands of people who are expert in their use and hundreds of thousands who are decent.

Aiming systems are tools just like chalk, leather tips and jump cues. A good tool is beneficial even when not used to the full potential.