System .v.s. Experience

The_JV

Local_Pro
So I've been lurking around the aiming forum for a short while now. Most of the time just skimming comments, because generally speaking I don't subscribe to any 'system'. That said, I do find it mildly interesting to see how people opt to approach the game. More often than not, after reading a couple of pages I usually find myself wondering how I managed to become a decent player considering 'how wrong' I've always done it....lol. I also then start to wonder if the posters of these systems actually have any real success on the table.

Now I'm not throwing down a gauntlet, or have any intention of betting thousands. What I am curious about is, is what members would prefer to walk into a match armed with. A system or experience...?

Now I realize that generally the correct application of a system requires 'experience' with using it. ...so it's not like you're hitting the table with zero time under your belt. However, how long does it take to become decent at a system...?..., a year..? I'd say if it takes longer than that, then it's not much of a system...lol

So it's big match day. Would you rather be the guy who's been playing for a couple of years using a system (of your choice), or the guy with nothing but HAMB under his belt. The length of time the HAMB player has been playing the game is merely the time it takes to reach the HAMB threshold in the literal sense.

After rereading the above, I figured that even though this is the 'aiming' forum, I should add that I'm only considering the "aiming" aspect of the game here. Obviously there are aspects to the game wherein an aiming system isn't going to provide you a leg up on flat out experience at the table.

I also wanted to simplify this with a poll, but couldn't find an option to do so.
 
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cookie man

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
So I've been lurking around the aiming forum for a short while now. Most of the time just skimming comments, because generally speaking I don't subscribe to any 'system'. That said, I do find it mildly interesting to see how people opt to approach the game. More often than not, after reading a couple of pages I usually find myself wondering how I managed to become a decent player considering 'how wrong' I've always done it....lol. I also then start to wonder if the posters of these systems actually have any real success on the table.

Now I'm not throwing down a gauntlet, or have any intention of betting thousands. What I am curious about is, is what members would prefer to walk into a match armed with. A system or experience...?

Now I realize that generally the correct application of a system requires 'experience' with using it. ...so it's not like you're hitting the table with zero time under your belt. However, how long does it take to become decent at a system...?..., a year..? I'd say if it takes longer than that, then it's not much of a system...lol

So it's big match day. Would you rather be the guy who's been playing for a couple of years using a system (of your choice), or the guy with nothing but HAMB under his belt. The length of time the HAMB player has been playing the game is merely the time it takes to reach the HAMB threshold in the literal sense.

After rereading the above, I figured that even though this is the 'aiming' forum, I should add that I'm only considering the "aiming" aspect of the game here. Obviously there are aspects to the game wherein an aiming system isn't going to provide you a leg up on flat out experience at the table.

I also wanted to simplify this with a poll, but couldn't find an option to do so.
If a person is just using experience and nothing else then i would highly recommend trying contact point aiming. That was the first step in my journey and i still remember the effectiveness of using them
 

The_JV

Local_Pro
If a person is just using experience and nothing else then i would highly recommend trying contact point aiming. That was the first step in my journey and i still remember the effectiveness of using them
Right on...

However, would you rather only have a couple years of this 'contact point' aiming system over HAMB if it came down to a match that really counted...? That was the intent of the thread. To see how much faith system users have in their systems.

I really didn't want to get into the preceived validity of systems. Only if the membership saw a distinct advantage of short experience with a system as better than long experience without one, (HAMB).
 

BC21

Poolology
Gold Member
Silver Member
You answered your own question with....

"I realize that generally the correct application of a system requires 'experience' with using it. ...so it's not like you're hitting the table with zero time under your belt."

How long do you suppose the HAMB method takes? Lol. Let's say a newby starts off using traditional aiming methods like guesswork fractions or estimated contact points or imaginary ghostballs. The player joins a local pool league and plays about 2 or 3 hours per week. Every now and then he or she might put in an hour or two of practice time working on pocketing balls and trying to figure out how to use english or make the cb draw back. And that's only if there's a poolhall in their town or in a nearby town.

Typically their "experience" involves league night and playing in bars on weekends. Throughout their learning process, the player is consciously working on stance, bridge, stroke, etc....developing fundamentals in accordance with what feels right and maybe also copying what better players look to be doing. This is the typical beginning for most pool players.

I'd say the beginner described above hits about 500 shots per week, but let's say they play twice as many hours as I've described, and they're hitting 1000 shots per week. Of those 1000, they miss more than half. It's trial and error, missing more shots than they make, until eventually they develop a more consistent stroke and a more skillful eye or feel for pocketing balls.

The HAMB method is at work, though it really doesn't take a million balls. If so, it would take this player nearly 20 years to reach that mark. What it takes is missing and making a ton of shots until you start making more than you're missing, and that's when you begin to improve, through repetition, by being able to repeat successful shots instead of repeating missed shots. Maybe that point occurs at 50,000 balls for some people and 200,000 balls for others. From what I've seen locally with some league players over the last few decades, 10 to 20 years is still not sufficient for the HAMB method, unless the player really dedicates the time to hit several hundred balls per day.

What a good system can do is reduce the guesswork and the trial and error that is inherently part of the HAMB learning method, and this can help an aspiring player improve much quicker without having to hit thousands of misses.

We develop consistent aiming skills by repeating known shots that we can make. Repeating missed shots due to poor estimations, poor guesswork, unknown aim lines, etc...prolongs the development process. We learn through repetition. And learning is much more effective and efficient if we're repeating what we know is correct rather than relying on trial and error.
 
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chefjeff

Nazis are back.
Silver Member
I did the HAMB before adopting an aiming system with proper numbering. I tried all sorts of things during the million balls, but nothing formal.

It took me another 20,000 or so balls hit before I could use the system with confidence. My percent made is up significantly.

Unless you never miss there are ways to improve ball potting, and a player had better keep finding those to compete effectively, imho. My next million hits will tell.


Jeff Livingston
 

The_JV

Local_Pro
Ok cool guys.... All the additional comments are totally welcome, but I have yet to read an answer to the actual question.

One more time..., and I'll try to make it clearer.

Short experience with the aid of an aiming system, or no aiming system and just HAMB. Which of those two options would you opt for if the match you were about to walk into really mattered. (<--- what matters to you is subjective and relative, so let you imagination set your personal bar)
 

The_JV

Local_Pro
I did the HAMB before adopting an aiming system with proper numbering. I tried all sorts of things during the million balls, but nothing formal.

It took me another 20,000 or so balls hit before I could use the system with confidence. My percent made is up significantly.

Unless you never miss there are ways to improve ball potting, and a player had better keep finding those to compete effectively, imho. My next million hits will tell.


Jeff Livingston
Ok so you had a foundation in HAMB and then introduced a system. I'm a little fuzzy on whether or not you managed any gains once you became confident in the system.

Regardless... and I don't know if this is a realistic request, but imagine you didn't have HAMB under your belt prior to the system. Do you think the results of play only with the system would have made you a better player, compared to only the HAMB version of yourself..?
 

BC21

Poolology
Gold Member
Silver Member
Ok cool guys.... All the additional comments are totally welcome, but I have yet to read an answer to the actual question.

One more time..., and I'll try to make it clearer.

Short experience with the aid of an aiming system, or no aiming system and just HAMB. Which of those two options would you opt for if the match you were about to walk into really mattered. (<--- what matters to you is subjective and relative, so let you imagination set your personal bar)

What you don't seem to be realizing is the fact that we aren't robots. No system player steps into any match equipped only with the system. Everything that a player learns through his or her experience at the table becomes embedded into the aiming process.

Anyway, there is no good answer to your question because the question is sort of meaningless. It is the skill level of your opponent that makes a difference, not whether or not they learned through HAMB or through any particular aiming system. Because both learning methods require experience.

I can show you players with 20yrs of HAMB that can't run a rack of 8ball or 9ball. And I can show you players that have experience using systems that can run multiple racks back to back. So, when stepping into a match with another player, the method they used to become a proficient shot maker is irrelevant when it comes to deciding whether or not you're willing to play them.
 
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Bob Jewett

AZB Osmium Member
Silver Member
... I really didn't want to get into the perceived validity of systems. ...
I understand your reluctance to open that barrel of worms, but the actual validity of the system can make a difference. As an example....

The book I learned from at the start was Mosconi's "Winning Pocket Billiards". There is some good info in there but there is also a vile little clunker. If an object ball is frozen to the cushion, Willie says to hit the ball and the cushion at the same time. That's the wrong way to play the shot. It will not pocket many frozen ball shots unless they are close to the pocket or the pockets are gigantic. This has been clearly demonstrated many, many times.

So, I learned that system and had a reasonable amount of success with it. Presumably I was making subconscious adjustments to hit the rail first, since that's the only way without outside english to make the shot. The problem came when the shot was important, and I really concentrated to implement the system.

My problem was that my eyesight and stroke were accurate enough to do the system exactly when the pressure was on. I would hit the ball and rail together, the object ball would throw into the cushion, rattle in the pocket and leave my opponent a hanger. It only took me 15 years to figure out that Willie (or rather, his ghost writer), had lied to me.

In this case, learning a system was bad.
 

Low500

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
If a person is just using experience and nothing else then i would highly recommend trying contact point aiming. That was the first step in my journey and i still remember the effectiveness of using them
Mister Cookieman, sir.
Being an old man as I am, I've tried many of them. Fractions (ala Mosconi and his "math" stuff in his mediocre books), ghost ball (the biggest lie and failure of all time...NOBODY can see an invisible ball)….and contact points.
Luther Lassiter's line drawn on the ferrule was the best, but it would lead to inconsistencies when rotating the line slightly to apply English.
It doesn't matter which system is employed, a player is still going to need experience to be effective. Nobody is going to pick up a cue for the first time, start using my favorite (CTE) and become a threat in a few weeks or months......gotta' have that experience.
The naysayers around this place never consider that aspect of playing the game with the CTE system. All they know how to do is bitch, whine, and gripe about "how CTE won't make you a better player no matter what you do because it is illogical"....it isn't "scientific".....it doesn't conform to "what Mister so and so says". Dumb closed minded thinking, in my opinion.
I don't like Brian Crist's Poolology thing one bit...the arithmetic is something I don't like to fool with, but it works.
I've sat 10 feet away from Crist and watched him play under some pressure and he isn't a complete dummy. He can make a ball and execute some good position and patterns and he will beat you, if you get careless...(his ego is something to behold, but that is beside the point). His system absolutely does work for him....but I still think you gotta' have some experience to make it work consistently, just like with ALL systems.
The whiners and gripers around this joint have never ever listened to any of us CTE users when we say...."YOU GOTTA' HAVE A CONSISTENT STROKE"....."YOU GOTTA' HAVE A CONSISTENT STROKE". They can't seem to get that through their bigoted, biased heads. And that consistent stroke comes from experience at PRACTICING a consistent stroke.
Those who've studied under Stan Shuffett know , (being the exacting taskmaster he is), that he won't let you get away with studying under him and not listening to what he teaches about stroke.
Having said all of that...the bottom line is that it takes a combination of experience AND a deadly aiming system to move that playing level up a notch or two and allow natural talent to take over. The bigots here will never buy into that, however.
Just watch what the usual crew has to say about what I've just posted here.
 

Bob Jewett

AZB Osmium Member
Silver Member
But to answer the actual question...

I think of any system (aiming, kicking, banking) as a framework for your experience. Playing while using the system has several benefits and perhaps the largest is that it makes you pay attention to the shot. I also think that robotically playing the system is going to get you in trouble as in my experience above. When you actually pull the trigger, you need to be relying on feel as much as the system. That's because no system is accurate enough to make every ball every time. The balls might be sticky, the rails might be slippery, the cloth might be worn and slow.

I think you are better off with both -- system and experience -- but experience must take priority.
 

BC21

Poolology
Gold Member
Silver Member
Ok so you had a foundation in HAMB and then introduced a system. I'm a little fuzzy on whether or not you managed any gains once you became confident in the system.

Regardless... and I don't know if this is a realistic request, but imagine you didn't have HAMB under your belt prior to the system. Do you think the results of play only with the system would have made you a better player, compared to only the HAMB version of yourself..?

You seem to be under the impression that a player who learns to aim strictly through an aiming system will not be as strong as the player who relies solely on HAMB.

The only real difference between the two is how long the learning process takes. If player A learned from a system in a fraction of the time that player B learned via HAMB, what makes you believe their end results, their current skill levels, will be any different?

Let's say I teach you in 10 minutes exactly how to do a certain task, and then you practice it for two weeks until it becomes automatic and feels natural. Meanwhile, the kid down the street puts in countless hours trying to learn how to do the same thing I taught you. Finally, through enough trial and error, he figures it out then practices for two weeks until it becomes automatic and feels natural. Do you honestly think that kid will be better at preforming this task than you simply because it took him longer to learn it?
 
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The_JV

Local_Pro
But to answer the actual question...

I think of any system (aiming, kicking, banking) as a framework for your experience. Playing while using the system has several benefits and perhaps the largest is that it makes you pay attention to the shot. I also think that robotically playing the system is going to get you in trouble as in my experience above. When you actually pull the trigger, you need to be relying on feel as much as the system. That's because no system is accurate enough to make every ball every time. The balls might be sticky, the rails might be slippery, the cloth might be worn and slow.
Thank you for directing a post at the actual question. Not focusing on you here Bob, but I really didn't think it was all that difficult. Either you're a system believer or not. I figured a couple years of playing with a system should make you damn good at it's methods, or again, it's not much of a system. Personally, I'll take HAMB over any system.
 

cookie man

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Ok cool guys.... All the additional comments are totally welcome, but I have yet to read an answer to the actual question.

One more time..., and I'll try to make it clearer.

Short experience with the aid of an aiming system, or no aiming system and just HAMB. Which of those two options would you opt for if the match you were about to walk into really mattered. (<--- what matters to you is subjective and relative, so let you imagination set your personal bar)
Short experience with the aid of an aiming system, and it's not even close. Just wish my pool journey would have started this way instead of using hamb only for 20 years.
 

The_JV

Local_Pro
You seem to be under the impression that a player who learns to aim strictly through an aiming system will not be as strong as the player who relies solely on HAMB.
No, I'm not... Although you seem to be under the impression that the original question monumental undiscoverable truth.

It really easy. I'll boil it down even further if it helps.... Set up a shot. Any shot... who has the better chance of potting the ball? The guy who's only been playing long enough to become proficient in the aiming system of his choice, or the guy who's been swatting at a million balls...?

Take everything else out of the equation.
 

The_JV

Local_Pro
Short experience with the aid of an aiming system, and it's not even close. Just wish my pool journey would have started this way instead of using hamb only for 20 years.
Thank you, thank you, thank you....

I appreciate the direct reply.
 

The_JV

Local_Pro
Did you learn any systems or have any instruction when you were beginning to play?
Curious as to why and what if any experience you have with any particular aiming system.
Back when I was cutting my teeth in my snooker days. The 'ghost ball' was the system of choice of those who I tried to emulate. When I hit my 20's (nearly 30yrs ago) I switched 95% pool I found potting so easy that I really didn't adhere to my snooker 'system' but held on to my mechanical fundamentals. Fair to say that holding on to my PSR and mechanics allowed me to land on the ghost ball line without really considering it. The sharp contact point I needed in snooker became a general area in pool

Since my 20's, as my "sea of experience" has grown, I've merely been riding the occassional ripple of aiming proficiency I once had in my youth. Most times when I'm between ripples, I'm still good enough to not look bad.
 

BC21

Poolology
Gold Member
Silver Member
No, I'm not... Although you seem to be under the impression that the original question monumental undiscoverable truth.

It really easy. I'll boil it down even further if it helps.... Set up a shot. Any shot... who has the better chance of potting the ball? The guy who's only been playing long enough to become proficient in the aiming system of his choice, or the guy who's been swatting at a million balls...?

Take everything else out of the equation.

Either player. I wouldn't presume the "proficient" aiming system player would be any better or worse than the million ball swatter. That's why I believe your question has no bearing on reality, and therefore can't really be answered in a logical manner.

Just because someone has hit a million balls is surely no guarantee that they are any better than the millions of other players out there who've hit a million balls over the last 20 years of playing here and there. The reason why is simple. We can do the same thing a millions of times throughout a lifetime and never really get good at it, unless at some point we started doing it correctly more times than not. Until then we'll just be repeating the same thing and getting intermittent or haphazard results.
 
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