Question about aiming

ChrisinNC

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Quick note: If you're aiming at the contact point you will always hit the ball too full.

randyg
Randy, I’ve never understood why some players line the tip of their cue up to the contact point on a cut shot. The best advice I ever received from a better player when I was young was to give up that habit.

On a sharper cut, I like to lay the cue stick down from the cue ball to the outside edge of the object ball (opposite the intended pocket) and check out the tangent line to the pocket to guesstimate the severity of the cut in relation to a 90 degree maximum edge to edge cut. This helps to determine how sharply I need to cut the ball, or if it’s even feasible to attempt the shot.
 
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livemusic

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Randy, I’ve never understood why lesser skilled players line the tip of their cue up to the contact point on a cut shot. The best advice I ever received from a better player when I was young was to give up that habit.

On a sharper cut, I like to lay the cue stick down from the cue ball to the outside edge of the object ball (opposite the intended pocket) and check out the tangent line to the pocket to guesstimate the severity of the cut in relation to a 90 degree maximum edge to edge cut. This helps to determine how sharply I need to cut the ball, or if it’s even feasible to attempt the shot.

Why? What is 'incorrect' about this? FWIW, I saw a female pro do this recently on a youtube match. I assume you mean when someone gets down on the object ball as if it is the cue ball and they are going to shoot it directly into the pocket... and that point where they would strike the object ball to accomplish that is the contact point for the 'real' upcoming shot.
 

ChrisinNC

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Why? What is 'incorrect' about this? FWIW, I saw a female pro do this recently on a youtube match. I assume you mean when someone gets down on the object ball as if it is the cue ball and they are going to shoot it directly into the pocket... and that point where they would strike the object ball to accomplish that is the contact point for the 'real' upcoming shot.
Yes, that is what I mean. Absolutely nothing wrong with walking around and viewing the shot from contact point of the object ball to the pocket. But actually cueing the tip to the contact point on the object ball to the pocket I view as an unnecessary time consuming habit in one’s routine. I guess if it works for someone, that’s fine, but you rarely see a pro player do it..
 

Jimmorrison

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
To the original question, most high level players aim the same way you do, referring to the OP. They just don’t have to get behind the object ball anymore. They’ve done it so many times, they already know what they would see, if they walked over there. Look at what they do with shots that aren’t routine to them. Combination shots, caroms, touchy safes, etc. Now they are often all over the shot. Lining it up with their cue, stalking shot lines, etc. They just don’t need to on what is for them, a routine shot.
 

bbb

AzB Gold Member
Gold Member
Silver Member
I have not read all the replies but for many amateurs Misses are not due to aiming but due to a faulty stroke
Inconsistency with your stroke hitting the Q ball not where you thought you did will cause many Misses

work on your stroke and you’re aiming will get better:)(y)
 

sparkle84

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
If you stick around long enough you'll look back on this and realize that aiming is one of the easiest parts of this game.
 

hang-the-9

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Often it's not the aiming that is the issue, it's the time from trying to hit the cueball to sending it to the aiming point that is the issue. You can find the contact point easily, the difficult part is getting the cueball there. That is what takes years of practice unless you can shot like a robot without any type of motion in your arm or body past perfectly straight. Even then you will need to learn to adjust for spin and various distances based on the shaft you are using. You need to line up properly behind the cueball for the shot, so your arm and body are even and not causing any odd motions to throw off the tip during contact, need to adjust for the spin and speed and distance you are hitting, then adjust for possible throw of bad contact due to how dirty or clean the balls are and how slick the cloth is, never mind playing position and having that in your head as well.

Everything is learned from prior shots you take and make or miss, eventually you have a nice database of shots so you know with a specific shaft, over distance, with this much spin, you need to aim "here" and line up like so.
 

Dan White

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
It just seems mind-blowing that pros, shot after shot after shot, sink these 'hard' shots, and usually, smack in the center of the hole. How! HOW CAN THEY DO THIS WITHOUT HAVING A PRECISE AIMING SYSTEM? CLOSE WON'T CUT IT!
Well, yes, of course pro's do everything better than the rest of us but you don't have to be pro level to be expert at pocketing balls. One thing to consider is that the pocket is typically at least double the diameter of the ball, so there is room for error as in your skeet shooting example. Also, I think you are underestimating the power of the human brain. We all approach the shot a little differently (called a "pre shot routine") but when we are down on the shot getting ready to start the stroke there is one common thing shared by all good players. By seeing the cue ball, object ball and pocket in the field of view you create a "shot picture" that your brain has seen before and was a successful shot. It is at this point that you subconsciously understand whether you are aiming correctly or not.

To answer your question, you are not missing out on some secret aiming thing that everybody else knows about!
 

peteypooldude

I see Edges
Silver Member
Quick note: If you're aiming at the contact point you will always hit the ball too full.

randyg
I wish I had Vegas 2011 back. I missed an opportunity to get you to help me with stroke delivery. I have always regretted it. I agree about too full especially cutting a ball as the CB tends to drag the OB a tad. I love systems and I’ve learned every one I’ve ever came in contact with. Almost all are great but without a straight stroke and smooth delivery Along with table time... it means very little
 

boogieman

It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that ping.
This is a really complicated game to get beyond C player! Wow, there is a lot to pool. I don't know as much as most on here. As I attempt to learn more to get better, here's one thing that bugs me. An aiming system. Or the lack thereof.

Over my life of shooting pool casually here and there, somewhere along the way, I began lining up any shot (that is not easy) behind the ball-pocket line. I'd pick out the perceived cue ball contact point for the ball to go into the hole. Then I would keep my eye on that spot and walk back and shoot the shot, never taking my eyes off that contact point. That makes sense, it's intuitive and it works. After having watched countless youtube matches, most pros do not do this. I see pro women do it some. Especially some Asian ladies of late. I assume they are being taught this.

Now, pros have shot a million shots. I assume that their 'eye' gets trained and they don't have to think about much, it just happens. But for one to get there, how?

In a nutshell, here's the issue. Close isn't good enough. I'm a pretty good wing shot with a shotgun. Think skeet shooter. Learning to do that and also having pretty good hand-eye coordination, you can down the target on a consistent basis but there is a bit of a fudge factor built in because a shotgun throws hundreds of bb's, creating a 'shot pattern' going toward the target. If one of those hundreds strikes the clay target, it breaks, it's a hit. With pool, a rattle isn't good enough. And coming close is a big part of keeping one at a C level.

So, can somebody tell me do pros have some kind of aiming system that creates monster players or do they just have some kind of super human hand-eye coordination? And maybe we could/should actually include upper B to A level amateurs with the pros in this group of players that pot most shots.

Another thing to confuse the issue... over the past few months, I decided to try something and that is to just get down on any shot and just 'guess' at what I'd think to be how much of the ball to 'take off' with the cue ball. In my mind, on each shot, just intuitively guess at "that looks about right" and pull the trigger. Intuitively (without lining up anything other than allowing my 'eye' to envision the shot), I can either make most any shot or come close. Coming close once in a great while is to be expected even with a pro but do it often and you're stuck at C level.

It just seems mind-blowing that pros, shot after shot after shot, sink these 'hard' shots, and usually, smack in the center of the hole. How! HOW CAN THEY DO THIS WITHOUT HAVING A PRECISE AIMING SYSTEM? CLOSE WON'T CUT IT!

Pool just seems so strange in that you are not behind the cue ball / object ball sight line unless it's straight in... so, how can you possibly get PRECISE with aiming? Then again, golf is kind of that way in that once you take your stance, you are not behind the shot, you are on top of it. Hmmm... ???

I know there is tons to pool other than this but this seems hugely important.

Lastly, doing what I have done in the past, fixating on the precise perceived contact point and trying to hit that exact spot with the cue ball IS a system. But doesn't seem good enough.

Thanks for your thoughts.
This probably isn't what you want to hear, and I'm nowhere close to pro so consider that, but I look at the ball, find the line that will put it in the pocket and keep that point in my "mind's eye". I then go to the CB, while usually looking at that point, and shoot it into the point in a way that makes it go in. I don't use fractions or anything like that, I just understand how spheres work and what point of the CB sphere needs to hit that point of the OB sphere to make the shot. Things like collision induced throw and negating it or getting thinner hits with outside are just programmed into my game from thousands of hours and shots. I always pay attention to how the spheres behave as this is how I learn.

I rely on this "subconscious computer" to get leave, account for throw, still make the shot with a hopping cue ball for position etc.

I don't think it's inherently wrong to play this way, but it takes a LOT of data and experimentation to get the calculations to become automatic.

To further complicate things, when an OB is close to the pocket, or even on some longer shots I don't necessarily HAVE TO aim, rather I focus on the CB position after the shot and almost get into a parallel aiming thing where I can aim just based on where the ball is. Example, the OB is 3' from the end rail and 2' from the side rail, I just know how the spheres have to connect to get the OB to move over 2' in a 3' distance. It's odd and probably uses pieces from a half dozen aiming systems and feel, but for the most part it works. I wouldn't recommend a beginner start this way, but it works with enough shots to learn it. When I learn a new aiming system (or parts of one) I incorporate that into my game, but it's a mishmash of random crap that works for me. To me, the ultimate objective proof of how I hit the ball is 1: The OB drops or ends where I want it in safety play, 2: The CB ends up where I wanted it to or at least in the same line give or take a bit, depending on how pinpoint it must be. I'd call this "playing by feel" even though it takes several aiming systems and feel and mashes them up.
 

boogieman

It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that ping.
Does what I described in the OP seem to be the same as ghost ball? To me, from what I have read, it does. As I said, I get behind the ball-pocket line and pick what I see as the contact point. I keep that precise spot in my eye and go back and take my stance. Then I envision where the cue ball, on its curved surface, will strike that contact point. I match those up in my mind's eye and shoot. Is that ghost ball?

So, you guys are saying that pros really don't rely on an aiming system? If they just get down a shot (even after shooting a million shots) and don't have to line anything up and shoot and make 98% of their attempts (an arbitrary percentage I am using, I have no idea but it's way up there)... and have VERY few rattles... that is amazing. I suppose I should be even more amazed by watching Ronnie O'Sullivan shoot those 147's on snooker tables.
It really seems like a variant of ghost ball to me. Remember while us mere mortals don't, pros often play 8+ hours a day, almost every day. Honestly if you could play 4 hours a day in competitive or super focused practice, you or I could climb to that level eventually. As @The_JV said, practice is an aiming method. The strange part is, it starts becoming subconscious and you don't think about aiming much.

EDIT: I wonder if the first thing you should do with a new player is to blindfold them and hand them a CB and OB and just have them rub them together until they understand what they are holding. Or put them in a velor bag that cinches around their hands preventing them from seeing the balls. Kind of like cutting with scissors or turning a bolt/nut in an inaccessible place you can't see. You gotta just picture what's going on by feel. Once you do this you may understand pool balls and give up on imagining them as 2D objects. It might appear woo woo, but if it puts the new player outside of their normal thought patterns, even that might give them a new understanding, respect, and way of looking at such a simple game. It's kind of like on the Simpsons when Marge learns to bowl, they eat their food off the lane. 😂
 
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Scott Lee

AzB Gold Member
Gold Member
Silver Member
Invest some money- buy two books- Championship pool and Play Great Pool. Start with that. When you have done all the drills, and really understood what the books are telling you- you should have a basis for: Stance, Aiming, pre- Shot Routine, and Executing the shots themselves. You MUST video yourself when at the table- and review every video to see where you are not doing things as the books instruct and where you are doing things correctly.

If, after 6 months of video, practice, drills, and reviews, you still are not happy with your progress- then invest in a good qualified instructor. There are no shortcuts to getting the right fundamentals.
Why wait 6 months? Great books, but they cannot answer questions, nor can they respond that you're doing something correctly or incorrectly. Get the instruction first (from a qualified instructor who uses video analysis), then utilize the books. Play Great Pool is a book that I recommend to all players.

Scott Lee
2019 PBIA Instructor of the Year
Director, SPF National Pool School Tour
 

pw98

Registered
This is a really complicated game to get beyond C player! Wow, there is a lot to pool. I don't know as much as most on here. As I attempt to learn more to get better, here's one thing that bugs me. An aiming system. Or the lack thereof.

So, can somebody tell me do pros have some kind of aiming system that creates monster players or do they just have some kind of super human hand-eye coordination? And maybe we could/should actually include upper B to A level amateurs with the pros in this group of players that pot most shots.
The main difference between normal B and upper B/A level has more to do with cue ball control and planning than pocketing. 6 ball and less runs generally dont have much as far as congestion. To run out 6 balls with BIH it normally does not take much as far as good planning. When you add the 7th ball a shot starts occuring often that actually requires fairly precise cueball control, which requires very good planning..

Simply put for 3 balls runs all the lanes are open so it doesnt require good routes or cueball control, and with just adequte shooting one can get out.
For 6 ball runs the lanes are still open allowing alternative routes but decent routes are required, and just adequte shooting will generally not get one out.
For 7+ ball runs the lanes are closing so very often there is only one good way to run out (especally earlier in the rack) so falling out of line is more fatal, just adquete shooting alone will definitely not get one out.
 

mikemosconi

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Why wait 6 months? Great books, but they cannot answer questions, nor can they respond that you're doing something correctly or incorrectly. Get the instruction first (from a qualified instructor who uses video analysis), then utilize the books. Play Great Pool is a book that I recommend to all players.

Scott Lee
2019 PBIA Instructor of the Year
Director, SPF National Pool School Tour
Well, your advice is obviously the best route to take. I was just trying to perhaps save the guy some $$ in case he gets it from the books and self video and self video analysis- OR, if a good qualified instructor was not available in his area ( consider Covid now too please) - so maybe in 6 months of solid self help he gets it- maybe not - going with a great in person instructor right from the Get Go is always the best route- no argument here.
 

mikemosconi

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
The main difference between normal B and upper B/A level has more to do with cue ball control and planning than pocketing. 6 ball and less runs generally dont have much as far as congestion. To run out 6 balls with BIH it normally does not take much as far as good planning. When you add the 7th ball a shot starts occuring often that actually requires fairly precise cueball control, which requires very good planning..

Simply put for 3 balls runs all the lanes are open so it doesnt require good routes or cueball control, and with just adequte shooting one can get out.
For 6 ball runs the lanes are still open allowing alternative routes but decent routes are required, and just adequte shooting will generally not get one out.
For 7+ ball runs the lanes are closing so very often there is only one good way to run out (especally earlier in the rack) so falling out of line is more fatal, just adquete shooting alone will definitely not get one out.
Agree with you to some extent, but I think that not having a very, very consistent straight stroke that travels correctly through the cue ball is the biggest factor in someone not having either the cue ball control or ball pocketing ability that are some of the biggest factors in moving from a B to an A+ player. Most B players who spend the hours playing and practicing but just can't seem to get to that next level need to go back to some basics in their shot approach and stroke execution - watch the Mark Wilson videos to see how even great pros often return to him to refine their mechanics- great golfers also frequently return to great instructors to refine their swings - they both realize that their stroke/swing defines their consistency.
 
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Tennesseejoe

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Learning to stroke straight and consistent comes before developing an aiming system. Shooting straight in shots both short and long will give the tool to develop an aiming system. My 2 cents....
 
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Bob Jewett

AZB Osmium Member
Staff member
Gold Member
Silver Member
Learning to stroke straight and consistent comes before developing an aiming system. Shooting straight in shots both short and long will give the tool to develop an aiming system. My 2 cents....
I think that's true with the small change of "comes before" to "should come before". I think most players never get the fundamentals right. They set up any which way and their arm comes through however it may feel like and even though they were lined up to the left of correct, they miss on the right and they learn the wrong thing on that shot. They will eventually mostly get the balls into the holes but the process will be much slower than it needs to be.
 

Tennesseejoe

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I think that's true with the small change of "comes before" to "should come before". I think most players never get the fundamentals right. They set up any which way and their arm comes through however it may feel like and even though they were lined up to the left of correct, they miss on the right and they learn the wrong thing on that shot. They will eventually mostly get the balls into the holes but the process will be much slower than it needs to be.
Thanks for your addition...I put a "MUST come before" in my original but thought someone would 2nd guess me so I took it out...lol...thank for the 2nd guess
 

Guy Manges

Registered
Does what I described in the OP seem to be the same as ghost ball? To me, from what I have read, it does. As I said, I get behind the ball-pocket line and pick what I see as the contact point. I keep that precise spot in my eye and go back and take my stance. Then I envision where the cue ball, on its curved surface, will strike that contact point. I match those up in my mind's eye and shoot. Is that ghost ball?

So, you guys are saying that pros really don't rely on an aiming system? If they just get down a shot (even after shooting a million shots) and don't have to line anything up and shoot and make 98% of their attempts (an arbitrary percentage I am using, I have no idea but it's way up there)... and have VERY few rattles... that is amazing. I suppose I should be even more amazed by watching Ronnie O'Sullivan shoot those 147's on snooker tables.
I think to aim in pool , Aim with your eyes human, Aim with your mind pool.
 

Guy Manges

Registered
I think there is maybe a million human aiming systems, If we reread each one over and over we will in time see that they are all the same in order to pocket a ball. STROKE I don't mean to have one... But I do mean to find one... Yes on eye sight, Yes on rhythm, Yes on square to the table, PRACTICE...
 
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