From starting playing the game, for many years, I looked at the cue ball. I never had instruction and chose that method because I didn't feel confident putting the cue tip exactly where I wanted to otherwise.
Later, I took some proper instruction, started looking at the object ball last (except the break and awkward cueing), and my rate of improvement increased massively, like night and day.
I think the crux of it is that if you look at the OB last, you see where the cue ball contacts it, where the OB goes, and it all feeds into your memory banks. Look at the CB last, and you miss all that information.
So I'd recommend OB last, not because it makes the individual shot better, but because it improves your long-term learning.
What an interesting experiment! I can well believe that a lot of very good players wouldn't hit dead center, and have just practiced so much that they know how to make the shot, hitting 'their' spot on the cue ball. Similar to the 'sidearm' stroke Hoppe picked up as a child.Curiosity aroused, I tested over a dozen other players. I didn't tell them what I was testing until after a few shots, just set up a moderately tough shot on a nine foot Diamond and had them try it a few times. Out of all of the people tested from bangers through Shortstop or A plus players, only two hit the cue ball where they intended. Both were bangers that looked at the cue ball last, a question I asked after the testing. Everyone else at least thought they looked at the object ball last. Watching video of the pro's you can see many a person that advocates object ball last actually has their eyes move to the cue ball as their stick starts forward on the final stroke.
I always look at the object ball last, except when I don't! Very close to the peak of my skills I was looking mostly at the object ball last. Just as an experiment I looked at the cue ball last for three weeks. Zero change in my playing speed good or bad. I often looked wherever was comfortable or nowhere. I might look at a spot on the aim line between the cue and object ball, a spot on the line projected past the object ball, or wherever I was comfortable. I also sometimes just let my eyes relax and unfocus looking at nothing at all! Once lined up and committed I found zero difference in performance wherever I looked or if I didn't look at all.
I didn't read all of the posts so not sure if this question came up before but - I wonder what the results would be if a lower skilled level player tried that. Honestly, higher level players shouldn't have major issues on MOST shots when looking at the CB last but I bet the lower skill level players would.
For the record - I look at OB last unless on a rail or it's a jump shot. There might be other times I can't think of right now but those are the two main reason's I would look at CB last.
I didn't try to change what anybody was doing. I don't know how often one of the bangers played, the other one played a few times a year. It would have been interesting to experiment more but I didn't want to impose more than snagging people walking by my table at Buffalo's for a minute or two, most of whom I knew at least slightly.
As a youngster and into my thirties I felt more comfortable cutting to the left. After coming back to pool with a couple decade gap in between, I feel more comfortable cutting to the right. Eyesight or head position changes? May my slight miss hit help me cutting right and be a disadvantage cutting left? All questions I have no answer for. Not something I want to think about while playing but I really need to work on my fundamentals I believe.
"Trace" of Inside?What an interesting experiment! I can well believe that a lot of very good players wouldn't hit dead center, and have just practiced so much that they know how to make the shot, hitting 'their' spot on the cue ball. Similar to the 'sidearm' stroke Hoppe picked up as a child.
For me, when I changed my technique to look at the OB last, I also changed my stance a lot, so I would probably have lost any benefit from my years of looking at the CB last. But perhaps a small amount of regular practice looking at the CB last could give the best of both methods.
I remember Steve Davis explaining that when he was off form for a few months, he went back to fundamentals and found he'd started using a trace of side on all his shots. So I guess there's a place for regular checking!