Holding visual focus

The_JV

'AZB_Combat Certified'
So since I've started spending some time in this section of the forum, I've been entertaining tinkering with my game. Not that I'm expecting some type of epiphany that's going to jump me a 100 fargo points or anything. ...but if I can gain a touch more consistency, why the hell not.

I started off with a more deliberate pause at the end of my back stroke. That transistioned into lengthing my bridge hand. I've been making a concious effort to ensure my grip doesn't deviate. Then after watching all the ripping on aiming systems (which I'm not going to fully adopt) I decided to dig into Poolology. I only scratched the surface of it thus far, but what it did do was open my eyes to what I'm really focusing on during the shot (pun intended).

I've seen the countless threads on "what ball last", CB or OB. I've always said that I'm a OB last kind of guy. However, I'm actually more of a dart back and forth really fast kind of guy...lol. With checks between the OB and pocket mixed in. When trying to prove the validity of the Poolology system I forced myself not to check my shot line from OB to pocket. I wanted only the system to manage the potting of the ball, and not have my HAMB subconcious potentially correct any misalignment.

I found holding visual focus on a single aspect quite awkward, but I managed to it of course. However what it enabled me to do is revisit the whole "which ball last" and strickly focus on the OB last. ...and when I mean focus solely focus, I mean during the last few practice strokes of the shot my eyes literally look at nothing but the OB. I'm fully 100% commited to my stroke alignment and CB strike point. It's an ongoing battle breaking out of my dart back and forth habit but so far so good.

Of course I'm blaming my misses on this new method, and I don't think it a stretch to cast some of the blame in that direction.

I'm posting this because I'm curious if others are like myself, and just 'think' they're a "this ball last" player or actually dart back/forth rapidly and just end up on one when they pull the trigger.

Try stretching out your hard focus a few practice strokes before pulling the trigger and see how you fair. I honestly don't know how I'd make a ball if I followed the CB last concept.

I really don't want to start yet another debate on which ball last. I really don't care about that. What I'm curious about is whether or not other players truly do hold their focus for a prolonged period (several seconds) before shooting.
 
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bbb

AzB Gold Member
Gold Member
Silver Member
going back and forth during warm up strokes is not uncommon
but a very common eye pattern is to focus on your target at the set position and keep it there from backswing to finish
(my eye pattern )
people with long pauses ie buddy hall focus on the the object ball at the pause
 

cookie man

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Object ball last is my goal. I think a pause on the backstroke really helps with that, at least for me. When i pause my eyes just seem to come up and lock on the OB.
 

Dan White

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
So since I've started spending some time in this section of the forum, I've been entertaining tinkering with my game. Not that I'm expecting some type of epiphany that's going to jump me a 100 fargo points or anything. ...but if I can gain a touch more consistency, why the hell not.

I started off with a more deliberate pause at the end of my back stroke. That transistioned into lengthing my bridge hand. I've been making a concious effort to ensure my grip doesn't deviate. Then after watching all the ripping on aiming systems (which I'm not going to fully adopt) I decided to dig into Poolology. I only scratched the surface of it thus far, but what it did do was open my eyes to what I'm really focusing on during the shot (pun intended).

I've seen the countless threads on "what ball last", CB or OB. I've always said that I'm a OB last kind of guy. However, I'm actually more of a dart back and forth really fast kind of guy...lol. With checks between the OB and pocket mixed in. When trying to prove the validity of the Poolology system I forced myself not to check my shot line from OB to pocket. I wanted only the system to manage the potting of the ball, and not have my HAMB subconcious potentially correct any misalignment.

I found holding visual focus on a single aspect quite awkward, but I managed to it of course. However what it enabled me to do is revisit the whole "which ball last" and strickly focus on the OB last. ...and when I mean focus solely focus, I mean during the last few practice strokes of the shot my eyes literally look at nothing but the OB. I'm fully 100% commited to my stroke alignment and CB strike point. It's an ongoing battle breaking out of my dart back and forth habit but so far so good.

Of course I'm blaming my misses on this new method, and I don't think it a stretch to cast some of the blame in that direction.

I'm posting this because I'm curious if others are like myself, and just 'think' they're a "this ball last" player or actually dart back/forth rapidly and just end up on one when they pull the trigger.

Try stretching out your hard focus a few practice strokes before pulling the trigger and see how you fair. I honestly don't know how I'd make a ball if I followed the CB last concept.

I really don't want to start yet another debate on which ball last. I really don't care about that. What I'm curious about is whether or not other players truly do hold their focus for a prolonged period (several seconds) before shooting.
Yeah, slowing down the eye movements is very good. Look up "quiet eye."
 

The_JV

'AZB_Combat Certified'
going back and forth during warm up strokes is not uncommon
but a very common eye pattern is to focus on your target at the set position and keep it there from backswing to finish
(my eye pattern )
people with long pauses ie buddy hall focus on the the object ball at the pause
Object ball last is my goal. I think a pause on the backstroke really helps with that, at least for me. When i pause my eyes just seem to come up and lock on the OB.
Right on... thanks for chiming in.

Have either of you attempted to hold your OB focus for a few practice strokes as well as the final follow through...? No CB checks at all during that time.
 

Dan White

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Right on... thanks for chiming in.

Have either of you attempted to hold your OB focus for a few practice strokes as well as the final follow through...? No CB checks at all during that time.
I was taught by a BCA instructor long ago never to stroke the cue unless you are looking at the contact point on the cb. Look at the ob only when the tip is at the cb and you want to check alignment. Basically do one thing at a time. Either stroke while looking at your cb contact point OR align while looking at the ob, but not both at the same time.
 

The_JV

'AZB_Combat Certified'
Yeah, slowing down the eye movements is very good. Look up "quiet eye."
My potting percentage is pretty good, so it always seems a bit counter intuitive to me to tinker with stuff. I've always preached that my fundamentals are 'this' and my mechanics are 'that' so I thought I'd take it to extremes and put my money where my mouth is.

I understand what you're saying, but right now I wouldn't call it "quiet eye". More like "shut up eyes, we're doing this"...lol
 

The_JV

'AZB_Combat Certified'
Have either of you attempted to hold your OB focus for a few practice strokes as well as the final follow through...? No CB checks at all during that time.
I was taught by a BCA instructor long ago never to stroke the cue unless you are looking at the contact point on the cb. Look at the ob only when the tip is at the cb and you want to check alignment. Basically do one thing at a time. Either stroke while looking at your cb contact point OR align while looking at the ob, but not both at the same time.
I think I'm overstating it when I say "practice strokes". How about we call it 'feathering'....

The idea is your 'aim' is already set at this point and you're solely focusing on the OB. Adjustments have already been made and now you're relying on your stroke to deliver the shot as you have already designed. If your mechanics are solid then this shouldn't be much of a problem. For me it just feels awkward.

So you are a CB last player then...? If you're not to stroke the cue without focus on the CB then at best you transistion to the OB after contact....?..., yes?
 

Dan White

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I think I'm overstating it when I say "practice strokes". How about we call it 'feathering'....

The idea is your 'aim' is already set at this point and you're solely focusing on the OB. Adjustments have already been made and now you're relying on your stroke to deliver the shot as you have already designed. If your mechanics are solid then this shouldn't be much of a problem. For me it just feels awkward.

So you are a CB last player then...? If you're not to stroke the cue without focus on the CB then at best you transistion to the OB after contact....?..., yes?
2 things:
1. The term "Quiet eye" is a thing. Studies were done on why slowing down and focusing on one or the other is a good thing for the brain.
2. After getting ready to make the shot then, yes, you look at the ob last and then execute the stroke. Sorry about the confusion.
 

The_JV

'AZB_Combat Certified'
2 things:
1. The term "Quiet eye" is a thing. Studies were done on why slowing down and focusing on one or the other is a good thing for the brain.
2. After getting ready to make the shot then, yes, you look at the ob last and then execute the stroke. Sorry about the confusion.
I wasn't the doubting the 'Quiet eye' thing. Just commenting on how my mental state initially was anything but quiet when trying to employ the technique....lol

Intend to dial back my overly lengthy OB focus once I grow more accustomed to the strict focus concept. Taking things to extremes and the dialing it back has always been a good method for me to establish new habits.
 

BC21

Poolology
Gold Member
Silver Member
Like most players, I look at the ob last. Exceptions are on a break shot where a lot of speed is being used, and on certain jump shots or masse shots where striking the cb accurately to avoid an obstructing ball is more important than exactly where you hit the targeted ob.

As far as prolonged focus on the ob..... to each their own, but try to be consistent.

I step up and visualize the shot, determing the aim line and where the cb will go. I then step into/onto that aim line and address the cb, looking back and forth between the cb and ob to ensure my stroke is aligned on the line also. Maybe sometimes I focus on the ob longer than usual. But basically I pull the trigger when I feel like I'm tuned into the shot, whether I looked at the ob for half a second or a full 5 seconds.

I think more consistency is better. Because doing it like I do will often lead to missing a simple shot here and there. The shots I miss aren't missed because I don't know where to aim. They are missed because I tend to rush the process, robbing my mind of the time needed to validate my shot alignment.

I've started playing more lately, more than I've played in a long while. Playing two very strong players for practice, I've been noticing how well I play when I give equal focus and attention to each shot. That's a habit I have to develop. Rushing or taking any shot for granted can bite you in the ass quicker than anything else.
 

BC21

Poolology
Gold Member
Silver Member
I was taught by a BCA instructor long ago never to stroke the cue unless you are looking at the contact point on the cb. Look at the ob only when the tip is at the cb and you want to check alignment. Basically do one thing at a time. Either stroke while looking at your cb contact point OR align while looking at the ob, but not both at the same time.

Seems that many pro players don't follow this advice. Most look at the ob last, probably for the same reason a lot of players do.... because the cb is directly in front of you, fixed in place, and during the alignment process (getting your stance and your cue in line for the shot) you are lining up through a certain point on the cb to a certain target on or near the ob, similar to looking through a camera's sights when the camera is stationary, on a tripod or whatever.

The camera, like the cb, is fixed. We position our eyes and our body so that we can look through the camera sights to focus on a distant object. We are not focusing on the camera or the camera sights. We are looking through a specific point on the camera, focusing on the distant object, ensuring it looks lined up within the sights, then we snap the pic.
 
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chefjeff

Nazis are back.
Silver Member
I wasn't the doubting the 'Quiet eye' thing. Just commenting on how my mental state initially was anything but quiet when trying to employ the technique....lol

Intend to dial back my overly lengthy OB focus once I grow more accustomed to the strict focus concept. Taking things to extremes and the dialing it back has always been a good method for me to establish new habits.

You seem to learn in a similar manner as I do. I, too, take shit to its extreme then back off a bit. It gives perspective and balance.

Remember the 6 Steps of the Pool Shot thread? In the Set-up step, I list the ingredients including eye movements. Note that once I begin the Set-up, I reduce my eye movements to just a "quiet" few. I was very anal establishing these ingredients. It took a long time to get it so simple....lol.


Jeff Livingston
 

Boxcar

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
When preparing to pocket an object ball, two things will always be true; the cue ball will not be moving and the object ball will not be moving: they will be sitting very still.
 

Dan White

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Seems that many pro players don't follow this advice. Most look at the ob last, probably for the same reason a lot of players do.... because the cb is directly in front of you, fixed in place, and during the alignment process (getting your stance and your cue in line for the shot) you are lining up through a certain point on the cb to a certain target on or near the ob, similar to looking through a camera's sights when the camera is stationary, on a tripod or whatever.

The camera, like the cb, is fixed. We position our eyes and our body so that we can look through the camera sights to focus on a distant object. We are not focusing on the camera or the camera sights. We are looking through a specific point on the camera, focusing on the distant object, ensuring it looks lined up within the sights, then we snap the pic.
I may not have explained it clearly. When looking at the ob you are doing so with the cb and shaft in your line of sight so that you can check alignment for the shot. It is not necessary to stroke the cue while doing this unless you have a habit of stroking askew or something. When ready to fire I do look at the ob last.
 

boogieman

It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that ping.
So since I've started spending some time in this section of the forum, I've been entertaining tinkering with my game. Not that I'm expecting some type of epiphany that's going to jump me a 100 fargo points or anything. ...but if I can gain a touch more consistency, why the hell not.

I started off with a more deliberate pause at the end of my back stroke. That transistioned into lengthing my bridge hand. I've been making a concious effort to ensure my grip doesn't deviate. Then after watching all the ripping on aiming systems (which I'm not going to fully adopt) I decided to dig into Poolology. I only scratched the surface of it thus far, but what it did do was open my eyes to what I'm really focusing on during the shot (pun intended).

I've seen the countless threads on "what ball last", CB or OB. I've always said that I'm a OB last kind of guy. However, I'm actually more of a dart back and forth really fast kind of guy...lol. With checks between the OB and pocket mixed in. When trying to prove the validity of the Poolology system I forced myself not to check my shot line from OB to pocket. I wanted only the system to manage the potting of the ball, and not have my HAMB subconcious potentially correct any misalignment.

I found holding visual focus on a single aspect quite awkward, but I managed to it of course. However what it enabled me to do is revisit the whole "which ball last" and strickly focus on the OB last. ...and when I mean focus solely focus, I mean during the last few practice strokes of the shot my eyes literally look at nothing but the OB. I'm fully 100% commited to my stroke alignment and CB strike point. It's an ongoing battle breaking out of my dart back and forth habit but so far so good.

Of course I'm blaming my misses on this new method, and I don't think it a stretch to cast some of the blame in that direction.

I'm posting this because I'm curious if others are like myself, and just 'think' they're a "this ball last" player or actually dart back/forth rapidly and just end up on one when they pull the trigger.

Try stretching out your hard focus a few practice strokes before pulling the trigger and see how you fair. I honestly don't know how I'd make a ball if I followed the CB last concept.

I really don't want to start yet another debate on which ball last. I really don't care about that. What I'm curious about is whether or not other players truly do hold their focus for a prolonged period (several seconds) before shooting.
My eyes are laser focused on where I'm hitting the OB. I look at OB and determine where to hit it while standing, then fall into the shot while still looking at OB, glance at CB to make sure I'm the correct distance away, then look only at OB. I'd say I glance at the CB for about 1/4-1/2 of a second. When you get down on the shot it should feel like you're almost dancing. No wasted movement and a smooth transition.
 

Imac007

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
So since I've started spending some time in this section of the forum, I've been entertaining tinkering with my game. Not that I'm expecting some type of epiphany that's going to jump me a 100 fargo points or anything. ...but if I can gain a touch more consistency, why the hell not.

I started off with a more deliberate pause at the end of my back stroke. That transistioned into lengthing my bridge hand. I've been making a concious effort to ensure my grip doesn't deviate. Then after watching all the ripping on aiming systems (which I'm not going to fully adopt) I decided to dig into Poolology. I only scratched the surface of it thus far, but what it did do was open my eyes to what I'm really focusing on during the shot (pun intended).

I've seen the countless threads on "what ball last", CB or OB. I've always said that I'm a OB last kind of guy. However, I'm actually more of a dart back and forth really fast kind of guy...lol. With checks between the OB and pocket mixed in. When trying to prove the validity of the Poolology system I forced myself not to check my shot line from OB to pocket. I wanted only the system to manage the potting of the ball, and not have my HAMB subconcious potentially correct any misalignment.

I found holding visual focus on a single aspect quite awkward, but I managed to it of course. However what it enabled me to do is revisit the whole "which ball last" and strickly focus on the OB last. ...and when I mean focus solely focus, I mean during the last few practice strokes of the shot my eyes literally look at nothing but the OB. I'm fully 100% commited to my stroke alignment and CB strike point. It's an ongoing battle breaking out of my dart back and forth habit but so far so good.

Of course I'm blaming my misses on this new method, and I don't think it a stretch to cast some of the blame in that direction.

I'm posting this because I'm curious if others are like myself, and just 'think' they're a "this ball last" player or actually dart back/forth rapidly and just end up on one when they pull the trigger.

Try stretching out your hard focus a few practice strokes before pulling the trigger and see how you fair. I honestly don't know how I'd make a ball if I followed the CB last concept.

I really don't want to start yet another debate on which ball last. I really don't care about that. What I'm curious about is whether or not other players truly do hold their focus for a prolonged period (several seconds) before shooting.
This post brought up a lot of information from research that I learned and makes sense.
A pool journal I keep told me the balls and pockets seem larger when I am in the zone.
Pro behaviors on key balls found them walking around, getting a closer look at the shot, finding lint or chalk on the ball paths.
Golf research, with pro golfers, found that putters perceived the ball and hole as smaller, when they missed.
Perception research found that when an object occupies more of the “attention window”, it appears larger.
A side effect of a perceived size increase was the emergence of details in the surface.
Things that make an object appear larger are:
- comparing it to something small
- getting closer to it
- making it a central focus by “taking a closer look” at it
- becoming more aware of surface details of the object
- stillness, giving eyes time to do comparisons and find the details

There is also a concept, functional intent, that seems relevant.
What was the intended outcome of this line of inquiry?
What function does “which ball” serve towards that intent?

The narrative says it wasn’t for an aiming purpose.
It also says that shot commitment isn’t an issue.
Alignment to the shot line and cb contact point are also off the table.

Is this a rhythm and timing, length of stroke, bridge or pause undefined functional intent?

For me, it goes beyond the aim, the what ball question, to my intent, at this point, would be to deliver the cue, straight on line.
The alignment test must pass the movement test.
The elbow hinge must align with where my hand is pointing the cue.
My bridge must also find that plane, confirmed by movement, to ensure straightness.
Focusing on which ball instead of cueing straightness, seems to lack shot outcome intention.

I go to other sports for potential insights.
Golf has enough parallels, that it is a favorite place I look.
Here is a YouTube video on intention, you might find useful.
 

The_JV

'AZB_Combat Certified'
For me, it goes beyond the aim, the what ball question, to my intent, at this point, would be to deliver the cue, straight on line.
The alignment test must pass the movement test.
The elbow hinge must align with where my hand is pointing the cue.
My bridge must also find that plane, confirmed by movement, to ensure straightness.
Focusing on which ball instead of cueing straightness, seems to lack shot outcome intention.
I find this section of your post and especially the bolded portion interesting after watching the video you suggested. Within the video the instructor comments on how we don't and shouldn't pay attention to the golf club, much like the ball we're throwing, or the cue when playing snooker. The intention is the end result, not the process we use to reach it.

So when I draw parallels to what I've been doing with ball focus it seems to follow the same premise. After initial aiming has been accomplished, I'm no longer paying any attention to my stroke/CB. I've also been fully confident in my mechanics, to the point that I feel I could set up my stroke, close my eyes, feather the cue a half dozen more times, and still hit the CB in the desired fashion. No intended trick/gimmick/boastful claim. I just have a solid mechanics and know when I'm locked in, I'll remain that way.

What I have been trying with this overly lengthy OB last focus is manifesting my faith into practical application. So far I haven't experienced much failure when doing so. No more than my typical miss rate. Which is what I would expect if what I claim about my mechanics holds water.

So rolling back to your comments... My focus in this experiment has been on the outcome, ei: OB contact point. My efforts have been to remove revisiting the rest of the equation, (Shot line, aim line, CB strike location, stance, mechanics, etc...). Maybe I'm miss-assigning the 'intention' and should be focusing on something else...?
 

The_JV

'AZB_Combat Certified'
My eyes are laser focused on where I'm hitting the OB. I look at OB and determine where to hit it while standing, then fall into the shot while still looking at OB, glance at CB to make sure I'm the correct distance away, then look only at OB. I'd say I glance at the CB for about 1/4-1/2 of a second. When you get down on the shot it should feel like you're almost dancing. No wasted movement and a smooth transition.
Interesting... So when I address a shot I'll find the shot line, aim line, get down on the shot, adjust my grip for bridge distance much like you do. Then I'll apply any stroke adjustments for the desired CB spin. This amounts to bridge adjustment with matching back hand movement. I'll then check my initial aim against potential squirt/swerve, make aim adjustments to compensate. At this point I no longer need to worry about the CB and can switch focus to the OB. Sounds like a mouth full but it goes rather quickly in practice.

I don't draw parallels from pool to the whole zen-ish song/dance/subconcious zone thing some do here. When I'm in gear (zone) I'm very rehearsed and mechanical. Much like how a snooker pro still follows every aspect of their PSR but does so in quick rhythm.
 

boogieman

It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that ping.
A pool journal I keep told me the balls and pockets seem larger when I am in the zone.
Pro behaviors on key balls found them walking around, getting a closer look at the shot, finding lint or chalk on the ball paths.
The old adage, aim small, miss small. I remember either reading or watching Ishi: The last of his tribe.
Very interesting and at the same time bittersweet story about a Native American living/surviving and growing up after his remaining tribe died from disease. He ends up doing demonstrations for a museum. They feed him, cloth him, and give him a place to stay. It's an improvement from literally living in the mud, but you can't help to wonder if a truly free man liked trading his freedom in for a day job. He seems like he was a very interesting person.

In the book/movie they said he had a very hard time hitting regular archery targets, the ones with the rings and bullseye, yet he could easily shoot a bird from a branch or a rabbit. He basically said the target was too large. I think it's very similar to pool. When you get in the zone, you're insanely focused on the shot/aim and all aspects. If you're focused or in the zone enough, you can extend this focus beyond the shot at hand and focus it on leave and good lines for the next several shots. It's exhausting to force this style of play, usually works best when you're already in dead stroke or if you're in adrenaline mode or playing someone that you know will win if you miss. When you focus small, the pockets grow and there is no distance to the pocket, all balls play like hangers.

Once you start aiming small, picking dust from the table, it just gets you focused to the level you should always be focused while playing. Again, focus is exhausting and I'd guess one of the things that separate the pros from most of us is concentration/focus. We sometimes call it dead stroke, but you can almost force it with concentration and paying attention to the small stuff. @CJ Wiley had a recent youtube video about killer instinct and self hypnosis. When I'm playing well, I think I may be doing self hypnosis. I notice the feel of the cue, the balance, the feel of the cloth, the air currents on my skin, the sounds of the hits, the sound of my footsteps, the reflections on the balls, etc. This stuff seems like silly stuff to notice, but it's almost a tantric activity. Dead stroke is almost hypnosis or meditation in a way. You are playing in the moment and your head is clear from all doubt, you're experiencing the game instead of playing/forcing it.

Maybe I'm miss-assigning the 'intention' and should be focusing on something else...?

On clench shots, I find myself focusing only on the OB going into the pocket. On other shots, I find my focus is shifted anywhere from slightly to a lot on the cue ball's action after the shot. On a "gimmie" shot with natural leave, my focus shifts slightly to leave. On a shot where I must break a cluster or get pinpoint position, my focus shifts a lot more to the cue ball's behavior.

So... this might not be what you want to hear (or even correct lol) but I think our intention will vary depending on the shot. Frozen to a rail or jacked up over balls, our intention (and visual focus) shifts to the CB and avoiding fouling. Safety play, our intention should shift almost 100% to cueball leave and speed control.
 
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