# SAM - Stick Aiming Method

#### DrCue'sProtege

##### AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I searched the Forums for this and couldn't find anything.

Can somebody explain to me what this is, or how it works? Seems like I have heard it in the past but if so it has eluded my memory function.

r/DCP

#### AtLarge

##### AzB Gold Member
Gold Member
Silver Member
I searched the Forums for this and couldn't find anything.

Can somebody explain to me what this is, or how it works? Seems like I have heard it in the past but if so it has eluded my memory function.

r/DCP

I see you got a response to this question in the Ask The Instructor Forum, so I'm posting a link to it here: https://forums.azbilliards.com/showthread.php?t=514077

#### dr_dave

##### Instructional Author
Gold Member
Silver Member
I searched the Forums for this and couldn't find anything.

Can somebody explain to me what this is, or how it works? Seems like I have heard it in the past but if so it has eluded my memory function.

r/DCP
FYI, SAM is described in detail here:

SAM aiming system

Regards,
Dave

#### BC21

##### https://www.playpoolbetter.com
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Yep....SAM is the same thing as the "5 lines" fractional quarters system. Stan Shuffett has a great YouTube lesson on it. It's 100% guesswork/estimation until you've hit a few thousand balls and can easily recognize when a shot is a 2 or 3 or somewhere in-between.

For anyone interested in fractional aiming, there are far better methods available that can decrease or eliminate the guesswork on most shots. Using the method Bob Jewett posted here https://forums.azbilliards.com/showthread.php?t=515850 can help with estimating the shot angle, which can then be used to estimate the appropriate fractional aim. There are other methods that can be used to estimate the angle as well. Or the system in the Poolology book can be used, where there's no need to estimate the shot angle, and where the guesswork of traditional fractional aiming is no longer a problem.

#### dr_dave

##### Instructional Author
Gold Member
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Yep....SAM is the same thing as the "5 lines" fractional quarters system. Stan Shuffett has a great YouTube lesson on it. It's 100% guesswork/estimation until you've hit a few thousand balls and can easily recognize when a shot is a 2 or 3 or somewhere in-between.

For anyone interested in fractional aiming, there are far better methods available that can decrease or eliminate the guesswork on most shots. Using the method Bob Jewett posted here https://forums.azbilliards.com/showthread.php?t=515850 can help with estimating the shot angle, which can then be used to estimate the appropriate fractional aim. There are other methods that can be used to estimate the angle as well. Or the system in the Poolology book can be used, where there's no need to estimate the shot angle, and where the guesswork of traditional fractional aiming is no longer a problem.
Or one can learn to aim like most top players do:

DAM

I think most "aiming systems" limit development of one's aiming skills. The brain needs visualization practice and feedback to develop good aiming ability. The only way to do this is to practice the visualization and feedback, and not rely on a artificial (and often inadequate) "aiming system" crutch, IMO.

Regards,
Dave

#### goettlicher

##### AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
S.A.M (Stick Aiming Method) was designed and named by the Cue Tech Pool School in the 90"s.

randyg

#### BC21

##### https://www.playpoolbetter.com
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Silver Member
Or one can learn to aim like most top players do:

DAM

I think most "aiming systems" limit development of one's aiming skills. The brain needs visualization practice and feedback to develop good aiming ability. The only way to do this is to practice the visualization and feedback, and not rely on a artificial (and often inadequate) "aiming system" crutch, IMO.

Regards,
Dave

According to an old article in Biliards Digest, most top players learned via ghostball, contact points, or fractional aiming. And many top players say they don't really know how they aim, they just do it. Regardless, it involves a lot of repetition, a lot of trial and error, before the brain is able to recognize most shots, before the "aim line" becomes something you can consistently pinpoint.

I agree with the whole "crutch" statement. But at the same time, a crutch can be a very effective tool to use in order to assist and speed up any learning/development process. Training wheels are a crutch. A blackjack strategy card is a crutch. The peace sign you use to help visualize a 30° angle is a crutch. The rough method of using your hand and fingers to estimate a shot angle is a crutch. My point is, after one gains a certain amount of experience, these crutch devices tend to fall by the wayside. An experienced player should no longer have to hold a peace sign over the balls in order to visualize where the cb will go. It's just something he or she will be able to visualize. But that awesome crutch or training method helped to develop that visualization skill at a quicker pace than using trial and error feedback. Similar crutch methods can also be used to help with aiming, instead of relying on trial and error feedback.

Knowing the aim line without guessing the aim line leads to pocketing balls more consistently without relying on countless hours of hit and miss attempts first. You give your brain correct information at the start, immediately building shot recognition, without first having to miss a ton of balls before getting to that point where you start recognizing the aim lines.

I think the part of aiming that requires the most learning time is the feedback loop of miss miss miss, make, miss, miss, make, miss, etc... I don't believe it's the fastest way to develop aiming skills. But it is effective, and it works, eventually. However, if you had someone standing there at every shot, pointing, saying "aim here", you would make about every shot (if you have a good and consistent stroke). So instead of shooting 1000 shots using trial and error, missing as many as you make, I believe that shooting just 500 with a known aim line (no trial and error) would be much more effective and quicker at building and paving the synaptic connections needed for aiming skills.

In your DAM method, the first step is visualizing the line of aim. Of course, this is done from a standing position, part of the psr. You say good shooters with good focus who follow the DAM method will make every shot. That's great. But what about not so good shooters? Lack of experience has them stuck at that first step...visualizing the line of aim. Without adequate experience, visualizing the line of aim is not that easy or accurate. It requires a long process of trial and error, missed shots, analyzing feedback, both consciously and subconsciously, until you finally start making more shots than you're missing. And not until then do you finally start paving synaptic pathways related to aiming.

This is where a good "line of aim" system (like Poolology) can speed up aiming development for fractional aimers. You may say it's a crutch, as if that's a bad thing, but crutches are very useful, and they work.

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#### bbb

##### AzB Gold Member
Gold Member
Silver Member
i use overlap ie contact point to contact point
hit the object ball there it will go over there
or i use fractions
AIM there it will go there

#### dr_dave

##### Instructional Author
Gold Member
Silver Member
S.A.M (Stick Aiming Method) was designed and named by the Cue Tech Pool School in the 90"s.
Randy,

FYI, I just added a quote of your post to the SAM resource page.

Thanks,
Dave

#### Dan White

##### AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
According to an old article in Biliards Digest, most top players learned via ghostball, contact points, or fractional aiming. And many top players say they don't really know how they aim, they just do it. Regardless, it involves a lot of repetition, a lot of trial and error, before the brain is able to recognize most shots, before the "aim line" becomes something you can consistently pinpoint.

I agree with the whole "crutch" statement. But at the same time, a crutch can be a very effective tool to use in order to assist and speed up any learning/development process. Training wheels are a crutch. A blackjack strategy card is a crutch. The peace sign you use to help visualize a 30° angle is a crutch. The rough method of using your hand and fingers to estimate a shot angle is a crutch. My point is, after one gains a certain amount of experience, these crutch devices tend to fall by the wayside. An experienced player should no longer have to hold a peace sign over the balls in order to visualize where the cb will go. It's just something he or she will be able to visualize. But that awesome crutch or training method helped to develop that visualization skill at a quicker pace than using trial and error feedback. Similar crutch methods can also be used to help with aiming, instead of relying on trial and error feedback.

Knowing the aim line without guessing the aim line leads to pocketing balls more consistently without relying on countless hours of hit and miss attempts first. You give your brain correct information at the start, immediately building shot recognition, without first having to miss a ton of balls before getting to that point where you start recognizing the aim lines.

I think the part of aiming that requires the most learning time is the feedback loop of miss miss miss, make, miss, miss, make, miss, etc... I don't believe it's the fastest way to develop aiming skills. But it is effective, and it works, eventually. However, if you had someone standing there at every shot, pointing, saying "aim here", you would make about every shot (if you have a good and consistent stroke). So instead of shooting 1000 shots using trial and error, missing as many as you make, I believe that shooting just 500 with a known aim line (no trial and error) would be much more effective and quicker at building and paving the synaptic connections needed for aiming skills.

In your DAM method, the first step is visualizing the line of aim. Of course, this is done from a standing position, part of the psr. You say good shooters with good focus who follow the DAM method will make every shot. That's great. But what about not so good shooters? Lack of experience has them stuck at that first step...visualizing the line of aim. Without adequate experience, visualizing the line of aim is not that easy or accurate. It requires a long process of trial and error, missed shots, analyzing feedback, both consciously and subconsciously, until you finally start making more shots than you're missing. And not until then do you finally start paving synaptic pathways related to aiming.

This is where a good "line of aim" system (like Poolology) can speed up aiming development for fractional aimers. You may say it's a crutch, as if that's a bad thing, but crutches are very useful, and they work.

Dave says that visualization and feedback are more important than aiming systems and I agree 100%. Turn off the music and really pay attention to what you are doing so that your brain can focus.

Poolology fits hand in glove with this visualization because it tells the player what the correct fractional aim is. It then becomes an exercise in seeing the fractional aim line and then being able to send the cue ball there. Poolology removes a variable, that of guessing the fractional hit. I think at some point in the training the player should stop using Poolology and just hit the balls to see how they are progressing.

I know I sound like a cheerleader on this forum, but I think Poolology is a revolutionary step, or maybe an evolutionary step, in how to learn the game of billiards. I'm a little surprised at the lack of recognition Poolology has been given by instructors on AZ. To me, it is like the invention of the bridge, or maybe the two piece cue, lol. Is it envy, lack of understanding the system, or am I just plain wrong? Why are instructors not incorporating Poolology in their recommended reading materials? I would recommend even just the "A" shots for new players.

#### dr_dave

##### Instructional Author
Gold Member
Silver Member
Or one can learn to aim like most top players do:

DAM

I think most "aiming systems" limit development of one's aiming skills. The brain needs visualization practice and feedback to develop good aiming ability. The only way to do this is to practice the visualization and feedback, and not rely on a artificial (and often inadequate) "aiming system" crutch, IMO.
According to an old article in Biliards Digest, most top players learned via ghostball, contact points, or fractional aiming. And many top players say they don't really know how they aim, they just do it. Regardless, it involves a lot of repetition, a lot of trial and error, before the brain is able to recognize most shots, before the "aim line" becomes something you can consistently pinpoint.

I agree with the whole "crutch" statement. But at the same time, a crutch can be a very effective tool to use in order to assist and speed up any learning/development process. Training wheels are a crutch. A blackjack strategy card is a crutch. The peace sign you use to help visualize a 30° angle is a crutch. The rough method of using your hand and fingers to estimate a shot angle is a crutch. My point is, after one gains a certain amount of experience, these crutch devices tend to fall by the wayside. An experienced player should no longer have to hold a peace sign over the balls in order to visualize where the cb will go. It's just something he or she will be able to visualize. But that awesome crutch or training method helped to develop that visualization skill at a quicker pace than using trial and error feedback. Similar crutch methods can also be used to help with aiming, instead of relying on trial and error feedback.

Knowing the aim line without guessing the aim line leads to pocketing balls more consistently without relying on countless hours of hit and miss attempts first. You give your brain correct information at the start, immediately building shot recognition, without first having to miss a ton of balls before getting to that point where you start recognizing the aim lines.

I think the part of aiming that requires the most learning time is the feedback loop of miss miss miss, make, miss, miss, make, miss, etc... I don't believe it's the fastest way to develop aiming skills. But it is effective, and it works, eventually. However, if you had someone standing there at every shot, pointing, saying "aim here", you would make about every shot (if you have a good and consistent stroke). So instead of shooting 1000 shots using trial and error, missing as many as you make, I believe that shooting just 500 with a known aim line (no trial and error) would be much more effective and quicker at building and paving the synaptic connections needed for aiming skills.

In your DAM method, the first step is visualizing the line of aim. Of course, this is done from a standing position, part of the psr. You say good shooters with good focus who follow the DAM method will make every shot. That's great. But what about not so good shooters? Lack of experience has them stuck at that first step...visualizing the line of aim. Without adequate experience, visualizing the line of aim is not that easy or accurate. It requires a long process of trial and error, missed shots, analyzing feedback, both consciously and subconsciously, until you finally start making more shots than you're missing. And not until then do you finally start paving synaptic pathways related to aiming.

This is where a good "line of aim" system (like Poolology) can speed up aiming development for fractional aimers. You may say it's a crutch, as if that's a bad thing, but crutches are very useful, and they work.
Brian,

Thank you for your well-though-out response, where you make some good points. In my experience, cut shot "aiming systems" like fractional-ball aiming, SAM, and CTE can most definitely initially help people who have a lot of trouble aiming, but I think ghost-ball aiming is a better teaching and learning approach that helps players develop faster. And for players who have trouble visualizing the ghost ball or "seeing the angle," the techniques demonstrated in this video can help:

NV D.9 – How to Aim Pool Shots – from Vol-II of the Billiard University instructional video series

These and other approaches that help supplement and speed learning of ghost-ball aiming are covered on How to Aim Pool Shots (HAPS). These approaches help one aim more effectively immediately, and they help one develop naturally toward how most players aim (including the pros). Using your analogy, I see these ghost-ball-based approaches more like "training wheels;" whereas, I see many of the limited-lines-of-aim systems (fractional-ball, SAM, CTE, etc.) more like "crutches" that help provide support but don't help as much with development (like "physical therapy").

Of course, it also helps dramatically to work on solid fundamentals, including a consistent and purposeful pre-shot routine (PSR). In my experience, aiming comes fairly naturally to most people, but fundamentals and a good PSR don't. Parts of a good PSR like "aiming while standing" and "dropping straight down with laser focus on the OB" can do wonders for improving how well somebody actually "aims."

Now, with things like CB control, aiming effectively using sidespin, and kick and bank shots, I am a big fan of "systems." These systems help a player become effective immediately, and one can become even more effective over time as one develops experience with the systems. I use these systems frequently when playing and I suspect I will continue to, even as my intuition and experience develop further.

Regards,
Dave

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#### dr_dave

##### Instructional Author
Gold Member
Silver Member
According to an old article in Biliards Digest, most top players learned via ghostball, contact points, or fractional aiming.
Is this the one you mean, from Pool&Billiard magazine:

How the Pros Aim

Regards,
Dave

Silver Member

#### Dan White

##### AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Brian,

And for players who have trouble visualizing the ghost ball or "seeing the angle," the techniques demonstrated in this video can help:

NV D.9 – How to Aim Pool Shots – from Vol-II of the Billiard University instructional video series

These and other approaches that help supplement and speed learning of ghost-ball aiming are covered on How to Aim Pool Shots (HAPS). These approaches help one aim more effectively immediately, and they help one develop naturally toward how most players aim (including the pros).

I think putting the tip at the ghost ball position and rotating the cue over the cue ball is a valid method for "knowing" the correct aim point, aside from the issue of throw, which is not compensated for in that method. For "normal" playing conditions Poolology accounts for throw and does not require the somewhat cumbersome procedure of using the cue to aim (some people feel silly doing this in public).

Are you familiar with Poolology, Dave?

#### dr_dave

##### Instructional Author
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Silver Member
I think putting the tip at the ghost ball position and rotating the cue over the cue ball is a valid method for "knowing" the correct aim point, aside from the issue of throw
Actually, if you always point the cue in the OB direction required to compensate for throw, then it works for any shot. With accurate "ghost-ball aiming," one uses the aim required to compensate for throw based on shot speed, sidespin spin, and top/bottom spin.

... using the cue to aim (some people feel silly doing this in public).
Again, this is the "training wheels" part that can be dispensed with eventually, as you learn from what the method naturally teaches you over time. An absolute novice might need to do it for almost every shot, but an intermediate player might only feel the need to do it on that occasional off-angle shot that just doesn't feel right. As far as feeling "silly," one shouldn't care if it works and helps you win.

Are you familiar with Poolology, Dave?
It has been a while since I looked at it, but I certainly am aware of the approach. As with most "aiming systems" out there, I think DAM is a better approach.

Regards,
Dave

#### Dan White

##### AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
It has been a while since I looked at it [Poolology], but I certainly am aware of the approach. As with most "aiming systems" out there, I think DAM is a better approach.

Sounds like you might not really understand what Poolology is about. Think of it as a more elegant and precise method to do what you might otherwise do with pointing the cue at the ghost ball position. The more you learn to "see" the shot the less you will need Poolology. It is mathematically correct and does not require voodoo to work. It works the first time you try it.

Give it another look!

#### dr_dave

##### Instructional Author
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It has been a while since I looked at it, but I certainly am aware of the approach. As with most "aiming systems" out there, I think DAM is a better approach.
Sounds like you might not really understand what Poolology is about. Think of it as a more elegant and precise method to do what you might otherwise do with pointing the cue at the ghost ball position.
I disagree. Placing the tip accurately at the necessary ghost-ball position (compensating for throw), and pivoting the cue can give you a better aiming line than estimating ball-hit-fraction based on CB and OB positions on the table, for a wide range of ball positions and cut angles (not just standard ball-hit fractions).

It is mathematically correct
That's not how I understood it. The ball-hit-fraction estimates will be perfect for some ball positions, but not for others. That's how "estimates" work.

Regards,
Dave

PS: BTW, the DAM approach does not require the "pivot cue with the tip at the ghost ball" technique, which is recommended for those having trouble "seeing the angle" and visualizing the ghost ball or the amount of required CB-OB overlap.

#### Dan White

##### AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I disagree. Placing the tip accurately at the necessary ghost-ball position (compensating for throw), and pivoting the cue can give you a better aiming line than estimating ball-hit-fraction based on CB and OB positions on the table, for a wide range of ball positions and cut angles (not just standard ball-hit fractions).

That's not how I understood it. The ball-hit-fraction estimates will be perfect for some ball positions, but not for others. That's how "estimates" work.

Regards,
Dave

PS: BTW, the DAM approach does not require the "pivot cue with the tip at the ghost ball" technique, which is recommended for those having trouble "seeing the angle" and visualizing the ghost ball or the amount of required CB-OB overlap.

Couple of reactions:

1. The math underpinning Poolology is sound. In order for that math to be useable in a realisitic way at the table, however, Brian made some simplifications. These simplifications mean that some shot recommendations like "1/2 ball" or "3/4 ball" hit will be more accurate than others depending on where the two balls are on the table. In any case, the pocket width allows for these errors to result in a pocketed ball. Remember, also, that the idea is that Poolology will give you a starting point that shortens the learning curve. If you progress to the point where you are hitting one pocket facing or the other or bobbling the ball, you are at the point where you no longer need Poolology. You are far enough along the learning curve where HAMB becomes the best method.

2. I'm not convinced we're on the same page about what Poolology actually is. The DAM method is really just HAMB but with the advice to be sure and have a consistent routine. Don't just HAMB willy nilly. This method requires you to see the "required" shot line, as you mention a few times. Well, that's kind of the point of Poolology. It shows you the shot line, which is no trivial thing for new players. In fact, Poolology would work very nicely with DAM.

3. The stick aiming method using the ghost ball is not perfect, either. Of course you can overcut to compensate for throw but there are two things I don't like about it. One is that the tip often moves about as you pivot from the shot line to the aim line over the cue ball. The other is that you cannot perform a normal pre shot routine while pivoting with the cue. With Poolology it is simple math and does not interfere with the PSR.

4. There are areas of the table called "C" shots in Poolology that are a bit tricky until you really learn the system well. These might more easily be visualized with the stick pivot method. In any case, these are less common shots, like shooting a cut shot down the length of the table. I wouldn't recommend beginners recon with those shots anyway.

Hopefully Brian will chime in and correct me if I've said anything wrong.

Oh, on another subject, can you check out this thread and possibly comment?

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#### BC21

##### https://www.playpoolbetter.com
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Silver Member
Couple of reactions:

1. The math underpinning Poolology is sound. In order for that math to be useable in a realisitic way at the table, however, Brian made some simplifications. These simplifications mean that some shot recommendations like "1/2 ball" or "3/4 ball" hit will be more accurate than others depending on where the two balls are on the table. In any case, the pocket width allows for these errors to result in a pocketed ball. Remember, also, that the idea is that Poolology will give you a starting point that shortens the learning curve. If you progress to the point where you are hitting one pocket facing or the other or bobbling the ball, you are at the point where you no longer need Poolology. You are far enough along the learning curve where HAMB becomes the best method.

2. I'm not convinced we're on the same page about what Poolology actually is. The DAM method is really just HAMB but with the advice to be sure and have a consistent routine. Don't just HAMB willy nilly. This method requires you to see the "required" shot line, as you mention a few times. Well, that's kind of the point of Poolology. It shows you the shot line, which is no trivial thing for new players. In fact, Poolology would work very nicely with DAM.

3. The stick aiming method using the ghost ball is not perfect, either. Of course you can overcut to compensate for throw but there are two things I don't like about it. One is that the tip often moves about as you pivot from the shot line to the aim line over the cue ball. The other is that you cannot perform a normal pre shot routine while pivoting with the cue. With Poolology it is simple math and does not interfere with the PSR.

4. There are areas of the table called "C" shots in Poolology that are a bit tricky until you really learn the system well. These might more easily be visualized with the stick pivot method. In any case, these are less common shots, like shooting a cut shot down the length of the table. I wouldn't recommend beginners recon with those shots anyway.

Hopefully Brian will chime in and correct me if I've said anything wrong.

Oh, on another subject, can you check out this thread and possibly comment?