Basic question,

TheBasics

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Howdy All;

Most likely been asked a few times in the past but, I'll ask it again;

Which ball do you look at last, Cue ball or Object ball? Also, why?

Thanks for your thoughts.

hank
 

Samiel

Sea Player
Silver Member
In general, the object ball. Why? So when you've completed the shot, you know whether or not you hit the object ball where and how you wanted to. If you're practicing or don't trust where you're hitting the cue ball, that's when I would look at the cue ball last. It might be worth it to look at the cue ball last in a few types of shots... the break short, frozen on a rail shot, jacked up over a ball shot, or power draw shots. All IMHO of course.
 

gregcantrall

Center Ball
Silver Member
I experienced success looking at the object ball last as directed by Mosconi for years. After a break from the game upon returning I experienced greater success watching the cue tip strike the cue ball as done by Willie Hoppe. My focus is on striking the cue ball exactly as I have calculated to be the target and angle of attack. When done properly I see the action and spin of the cue ball as it leaves the tip. My focus stays with the cue ball through contact with the object ball. When well focused I see the same of the object ball. I know if I have struck the cue ball as planned long before it reaches the object ball.
 

AtLarge

AzB Gold Member
Gold Member
Silver Member
"Cue ball last vs. object ball last" has been the subject of many threads on AzB over the years. Here's one from 4 years ago:
https://forums.azbilliards.com/showthread.php?t=453555.

The majority (but by no means all) of the top pool players on most shots are looking at the object ball (or a point near the object ball) at the moment the cue tip contacts the cue ball. On certain "special" shots -- like break shots, jump shots, shots where you are jacked up over another ball, and shots with the cue ball against a cushion -- the percentage of people looking at the cue ball last would be higher than it is on other shots. And, because of peripheral vision, some people are essentially seeing both the cue ball and the object ball on certain shots.

Here's a poll on the subject from 6 years ago. The split for AzB respondents (numbering 220) was 85/15 in favor of OB last: http://forums.azbilliards.com/showthread.php?t=394030
 

ShootingArts

Smorg is giving St Peter the 7!
Gold Member
Silver Member
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.

Hu
 

Pin

Registered
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.
 

Greg M

Active member
I look at the contact point on the object ball last. What I'm looking at mostly is the line to the object ball and the line from the object ball to the pocket.
 

ShootingArts

Smorg is giving St Peter the 7!
Gold Member
Silver Member
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.


I like your reply, especially your well thought out reasons as to why you do what you do!

Years ago I discovered if I was out of practice I hit the cue ball about an eighth inch high or a bit less and about half that left of where I intended. This error didn't move around, it was extremely consistent.

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.

Once I told the best players what I was testing they had no trouble hitting exactly where intended. Interesting. I think I need more practice hitting the cue ball, I will worry about the object ball later!

Just a little rambling about some things your post reminded me of!

Hu
 

Biloxi Boy

Man With A Golden Arm
Object ball, because it is where one intends for the cue ball to go. After "set up", the fate of the cue ball strike is in one's hands, arm, body . . . practice, and experience. The object ball portion is primarily left to one's eyes and only secondarily to one's hands, arm . . . The connection between body, learning, and vision is first conciously learned and later occurs unconsciously within one's brain.
 

Pin

Registered
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.
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!
 

Chili Palmer

funking idiot
Silver Member
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.

Hu


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.
 

ShootingArts

Smorg is giving St Peter the 7!
Gold Member
Silver Member
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.

Hu
 

Chili Palmer

funking idiot
Silver Member
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.

Hu

My son just started playing recently and he's a pretty decent shot for what little time he has put in, if I think about it I'll setup some shots and see what happens.

And that's interesting on the English thing. I've always preferred outside versus inside but I'm pretty sure that's a normal thing.
 

boogieman

It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that ping.
What do I look at last? ...I guess nothing, but more specifically, an imagined backside point on OB to pocket is what I look at last. In other words, I don't think I'm actually looking at anything that physically exists. Some X-ray visualization trickery but it works. I'm not shooting at a pinpoint on the CB nearest me, I'm shooting through the ball at the pinpoint on the backside that connects into the area of the pocket I want, with all the pesky things like CIT, and deflection figured in. We're dealing with 3D spheres so you have to get your head wrapped around this cruel sport however you can! 😅 Even with this backside point thing, I still know the physical attributes such as size of the balls, so I know where they will contact on the front side, how they will rub on carom shots etc.

I cant picture anyway to learn leave with the cueball other than to look at what it's striking and stay down for observing what it does after it strikes where it was supposed to. I find the act of observing the cueball's actions after contact as important as anything for understanding the game.

EDIT: The real trick is understanding that you don't really want to aim while down if you've properly aimed while standing and fell down into the shot correctly. If you fall on the shot correctly and then aim while you're down, you're going to do one of those cross eyed feeling misses, like you didn't fully decide what shot to take. Better to get up, throw some chalk on and get your aim right standing up.
 
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9andout

Gunnin' for a 2 pack!!
Gold Member
Silver Member
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!
"Trace" of Inside? 😂
 

gregcantrall

Center Ball
Silver Member
In my opinion it’s the absolute accurate strike on the cue ball that leads to the next level.
In my pursuit of the best of my abilities, I will echo Oscar Dominguez. When asked if he looked at cue ball last, he replied “why would I look anywhere else.”
Baseball hitting was one of my best skills. I still remember seeing the laces and rotation on the ball as I struck it with the bat on my longest ball in a game. I strive for that kind of FOCUS. When doing it right that focus follows the cue ball and I see the rotation of the object ball upon collision.

Harold Worst is voted GOAT by his peers. He was close with Willie Hoppe voted player of the century by Billiards Digest. Willie taught cue ball last.

John Higgins has been voted GOAT by his peers. John telegraphs his vision with his eye brows. It looks pretty clear to me that his focus is on the white when he strikes it.

The mechanics are so critical but when mechanics are optimal….the focus can be addressed. The pre shot steps involve going from the flood light to the spot light. So the precise point of impact on the object ball is found while standing. The stride into stance involves me putting the cue onto the line then setting the stance to it. I am confident that point will remain stationary so focus moves to the trajectory of the cue ball.

Numbers can be deceptive. Majority is not …uh always……
I document most of my study regarding this in my thread Experiments in. Experiments in
 

TheBasics

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Howdy All;

Thanks for the responses. Lots of food for thought.

The reason I brought this up was due to the Covid bit I haven't had the opportunity
to hit a ball for over a year. That changed on 05/10/21. However, what I found was
I could barely hit the broad side of a barn with a road map and a half-hours head start.
Went back to square 1 and started working my way to completing a shot. Took my time
and after a few hours I'd got the PSR back into better shape but was still having a rough
go of dropping balls into pockets.
So, what to do?? I was doing the standard look at the OB last and all I was seeing was
the OB rolling away and not into the pocket. hummm, Started keeping my eye on the CB
and the OB started going into the pocket. humm. Then I just relaxed and allowed my eyes
to move as they wanted, Ya know it's amazing how fast you can shift your vision from one
thing to another. I could focus on the CB and as the tip contacted it my vision jumped the
OB within an instant. This had me thinking I was seeing OB last, well I was but I also saw
the tip hit the CB the instant before. Now I just need to return to the "Quiet Mind" aspect
to get it all dialed in ... until the next pandemic gets in the way. chucklein'

Thanks again for the thoughts and surmises. Please don't stop here lots of controversy to
keep on going.

hank
 
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