The Gospel According To Darren

Sloppy Pockets

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I came across this blog entry on the "Sneaky Pete Mafia" website. Darren speaks about practice and preparation. One part that struck me was his feeling about using systems and how they affect your enjoyment of the game, as well as reflecting on the real skill you possess.


https://www.sneakypetemafia.com/practice-and-preparation-darren-appleton-part-1-of-2/


I see too many players and amateurs just racking balls, trying to run out, and getting lazy. Thats not going to improve your game. There’s also many players these days buying too much into aiming systems.


Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been sucked in too, and some systems are OK for certain shots (especially if you’re struggling) but 90% should be all feel and muscle memory. If your fundamentals are good you don’t need any aiming system.

With solid fundamentals and a good eye for the ball, the rest will come naturally. Once you’ve played most shots thousands of times, you know where to aim. Aiming systems take the fun and skill out of the game in my opinion. Feel and vision are more important and more fun — all the best players play on feel and vision.

I'd love to add a few useful systems to help me out with the 10% of the shots I really struggle with, but these things are really just useful aiming "tricks". The real aiming for the vast majority of shots is done subconsciously. Any time I'm shooting really well, I'm not thinking about fractions, parallel lines, contact points, overlaps, shadows, balls edges, light reflections, other dimensions, pivots, swerve, throw, deflection, etc. I'm just seeing the angle, getting down on the shot line, staring down the shot, and using my will power and a straight stroke to put the ball in the hole. And I'm enjoying the hell out of it. Above all else, pool should be fun. Obsessing over endless minute details might possibly raise my game by a ball, but it would surely suck the life out of the game for me to the point where I might not want to play anymore.


Fundamentals, fundamentals, and fundamentals. You hardly ever hear a Brit talk about cue sports without them saying it all comes down to fundamentals, and Daz is no exception. I'm tired of reading that certain folks have no right to weigh in on aiming systems until they can actually use them, and yet these same posters will say they only miss when using these systems because of their poor fundamentals (all the while referring others to YT videos of the grand success of the various system originators... who invariably have perfect fundamentals). Maybe these very vocal proponents should first master cueing the ball properly before they expound on the necessity of using an aiming system. Maybe all that really matters is stance and stroke, but they will never know because they simply can't execute properly.


Good article at any rate. Darren writes really well, a lot better than I suspected from reading his FB entries and his occasional AZB post, and the snips of info that he so eloquently expresses should be looked at as nuggets of pure gold.
 

JB Cases

www.jbcases.com
Gold Member
Silver Member
But when Darren was endorsing the SEE system, and he may still be wearing the patch, his words on the TAR stream about weren't "pure gold"?

I agree that fundamentals are crucial. I don't agree with Daz that solid fundamentals negate learning to aim. They are two separate issues.

In snooker they seem to talk about lining up and aiming a LOT. Just because they don't use systems like CTE doesn't mean they don't have a various amount of them. The one that seems prevalent is fractional overlap, 1/4-1/2-3/4 and 1/8th.

For every time a Brit says it's all about fundamentals I have to point to the Filipinos who display all kinds of funky stroking and yet they manage to do very well. These guys act like no one else can play and yet they don't win everything either.

But I agree in principle that if a person "buys into" any aiming method then they definitely ought to work on their stroke because what good is being aimed properly if you can't execute.

If I take a rank beginner and put them on the marked aiming line then their success rate for making the ball will be dismal. Someone with a straight stroke and steady nerves will have a near perfect success.

Someone in the middle with a decent but inconsistent stroke will have more misses than they should.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Vd0yHk8LMw
 

Neil

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Your argument sounds good until one actually thinks about it for a second. You claim that using aiming systems takes all the fun out of the game. That can be true. Usually is during the training process. Exactly the same as the training process with proper fundamentals. There is no difference.

Once learned, aiming systems are used subconsciously just like the fundamentals are. And, where it's great to know exactly what ones fundamentals are step by step so that when something goes awry it is easily fixed, the same holds for aiming systems. One should know the steps to get to the shot line so that on those shots one isn't used to shooting, the can more consciously use the steps to aim.

If you are constantly thinking about the steps to an aiming system or your fundamentals, your focus is out of whack and your overall game will suffer.

I use CTE or 90/90 on every shot, and I don't give aiming any more thought than you do without an aiming system. In fact, there is a good chance I think about aiming even less than you do when shooting.
 

Patrick Johnson

Fish of the Day
Silver Member
I'd love to add a few useful systems to help me out with the 10% of the shots I really struggle with, but these things are really just useful aiming "tricks". The real aiming for the vast majority of shots is done subconsciously.
I think the real aiming is done subconsciously for all shots. Systems are just aids for your subconscious aiming "supercomputer" - they get you in the ballpark. For the vast majority of shots, anybody who's experienced at aiming can get in the same ballpark (or closer) with a quick glance at the layout - from there it's all feel (subconscious practiced estimation) no matter how you started.

System users confuse their acquired aiming confidence with "system exactness". This doesn't mean their systems are useless; just that they're not "exact".

pj
chgo
 

(((Satori)))

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I think the real aiming is done subconsciously for all shots. Systems are just aids for your subconscious aiming "supercomputer" - they get you in the ballpark. For the vast majority of shots, anybody who's experienced at aiming can get in the same ballpark (or closer) with a quick glance at the layout - from there it's all feel (subconscious practiced estimation) no matter how you started.

System users confuse their acquired aiming confidence with "system exactness". This doesn't mean their systems are useless; just that they're not "exact".

pj
chgo

Great post!


It's good to hear Darrens opinion on how to play also... Thanks SloppyPockets.
 

JoeyInCali

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I agree with him somewhat.
Just look here. A lot more energy is spent on aiming systems than mechanics and knowledge.
 

Sloppy Pockets

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I think the real aiming is done subconsciously for all shots. Systems are just aids for your subconscious aiming "supercomputer" - they get you in the ballpark. For the vast majority of shots, anybody who's experienced at aiming can get in the same ballpark (or closer) with a quick glance at the layout - from there it's all feel (subconscious practiced estimation) no matter how you started.

System users confuse their acquired aiming confidence with "system exactness". This doesn't mean their systems are useless; just that they're not "exact".

pj
chgo

I was being gracious.

There are whole subsets of shots that don't really require any sort of aiming in a strict sense. Dead combos, balls sitting in the jaws, straight-in shots, etc. Many shots that come up in play are so easy that you are only concerned with playing the white because the pot is a given. It often comes down to how much you can cheat the pocket rather than how carefully you need to aim.

BTW I never said folks don't need to aim, just that it's one of the easiest things about a very difficult game. For the troublesome shots I know an assortment of tricks that help me pocket the ball, but for the most part I just see the shot line, where the CB will arrive at contact with the OB, and try my best to stroke it straight to that spot. I usually know as soon as I hit the ball whether I hit it correctly or not. If I didn't already know where to aim, how could I know that I'm off before the CB even reaches the OB?
 

Sloppy Pockets

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
But when Darren was endorsing the SEE system, and he may still be wearing the patch, his words on the TAR stream about weren't "pure gold"?

As he says, he was sucked in, too.

I agree that fundamentals are crucial. I don't agree with Daz that solid fundamentals negate learning to aim. They are two separate issues.

He never said you don't need to learn how to aim, just that you don't need an aiming system. He also said it (aiming) comes naturally if you have solid fundamentals. I mostly agree with that statement, but I'm a bit lacking in my fundamentals like most of the rest of us bangers here, so I'm not qualified to claim that it is a definitively true statement.

But I agree in principle that if a person "buys into" any aiming method then they definitely ought to work on their stroke because what good is being aimed properly if you can't execute.

Then maybe you should take your own advice and fix that stroke. Shortly before your match with Lou you made a few posts on a thread about Tor Lowry's stroke building drill. You said it was pretty strong, and that you could see improvement in your stroke after only a couple hundred balls hit into a pocket. I advised you to stay the course and do the whole 3000 strokes in a row. Instead, you went to Stan to brush up more on CTE. Which struck me funny, seeing how one-hole is a lot more about getting close to the pocket than it is about splitting the pocket. If you fixed that wonky stroke, you would have had a lot more control of your rock, and you might be $20K richer than you are right now, while enjoying the same marketing benefits for your cases.:smile:


Someone in the middle with a decent but inconsistent stroke will have more misses than they should.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Vd0yHk8LMw

Yikes! I was afraid of what might happen if I clicked on that link. Looks like my worst fears were justified. ;)
 

JoeyInCali

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
John will not admit his stroke cost him that match as much as his mental state.
He's always argued, the cue ball is gone before his veers off the stroking line.
Very solid fundamentals give you confidence. With confidence, you wouldn't be jumping as much.
Imo, he needs to retool his fundamentals before worrying about anything else.
A pivoting system is the last thing he needs imo.
Get down on that stroking like and trace it with the right stroke.
 

Pidge

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I think the real aiming is done subconsciously for all shots. Systems are just aids for your subconscious aiming "supercomputer" - they get you in the ballpark. For the vast majority of shots, anybody who's experienced at aiming can get in the same ballpark (or closer) with a quick glance at the layout - from there it's all feel (subconscious practiced estimation) no matter how you started.

System users confuse their acquired aiming confidence with "system exactness". This doesn't mean their systems are useless; just that they're not "exact".

pj
chgo
I think aiming systems are just a way to stop your self from over thinking the shot. They provide a person with a set out routine to follow so people can't second guess themselves.

All a person has to do who struggles with aim is follow a set routine and focus on anything but aiming. How you're breathing, grip pressure... Anything but aiming and they will aim the shot correctly.

I would still like to see a person using a popular aiming system have some sort of lazer on their cue and once down someone measure where its pointing, then have a machine hit the cue ball at this point. I honestly feel aiming system users fidget when down because their subconscious is telling them the shot isn't quite right. A wiggle of the bridge, a slight weight shift to move the butt a fraction... They all adjust the cues alignment. Like you said, they get you in the ball park and some take years to get you in the ball park. The gain doesn't outweigh wasted time that could be spent working on fundamentals.
 

SpiderWebComm

HelpImBeingOppressed
Silver Member
I think aiming systems are just a way to stop your self from over thinking the shot. They provide a person with a set out routine to follow so people can't second guess themselves.

All a person has to do who struggles with aim is follow a set routine and focus on anything but aiming. How you're breathing, grip pressure... Anything but aiming and they will aim the shot correctly.

I would still like to see a person using a popular aiming system have some sort of lazer on their cue and once down someone measure where its pointing, then have a machine hit the cue ball at this point. I honestly feel aiming system users fidget when down because their subconscious is telling them the shot isn't quite right. A wiggle of the bridge, a slight weight shift to move the butt a fraction... They all adjust the cues alignment. Like you said, they get you in the ball park and some take years to get you in the ball park. The gain doesn't outweigh wasted time that could be spent working on fundamentals.

Patrick Johnson said what he did in the post but has also posted numerous times that he uses contact point aiming as his primary method of aiming and ADJUSTS with (an undefinable action, FEEL) to get it perfect from there. (yet he still hits shots into the rail with the best of them)
 

Pidge

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Patrick Johnson said what he did in the post but has also posted numerous times that he uses contact point aiming as his primary method of aiming and ADJUSTS with (an undefinable action, FEEL) to get it perfect from there. (yet he still hits shots into the rail with the best of them)
We all slop balls in from time to time. Contact point aiming is very much a guide. A player can't accurately judge the CP2CP line whilst sighting through centre ball except for very thick to straight in shots. The more angle you have the harder it is because you are trying to see an invisible line from an offset position. The same applies if you sight down the CP2CP line... You can't accurately judge the line of aim through centre ball. So with a system like that there will always be adjustments that need to be made, usually not when down but rather as you get down.

Btw, isn't feel, or FEEL as you call it just memory and visualisation? If someone says they aim by feel they aim from past shots that were similar. If someone says they judge speed by feel they visualise the shot before hand... Right?
 

Patrick Johnson

Fish of the Day
Silver Member
Btw, isn't feel, or FEEL as you call it just memory and visualisation? If someone says they aim by feel they aim from past shots that were similar. If someone says they judge speed by feel they visualise the shot before hand... Right?
Yes. Feel isn't "just guessing" as some system players mistakenly claim; it's what you said and what I call "practiced estimation" - and in fact, it's the foundation of every aiming method.

pj
chgo
 

JB Cases

www.jbcases.com
Gold Member
Silver Member
John will not admit his stroke cost him that match as much as his mental state.
He's always argued, the cue ball is gone before his veers off the stroking line.
Very solid fundamentals give you confidence. With confidence, you wouldn't be jumping as much.
Imo, he needs to retool his fundamentals before worrying about anything else.
A pivoting system is the last thing he needs imo.
Get down on that stroking like and trace it with the right stroke.

Are you unable to read?

I have said a ZILLION times my stoke sucked in that match.

You don't understand what a pivoting system is anyway. When you are addressing the cue ball you have to stroke straight, has NOTHING to do with the pivot in CTE.
 

JB Cases

www.jbcases.com
Gold Member
Silver Member
As he says, he was sucked in, too.

Funny, so he is right now and wrong then. If it was completely opposite what then?

Shane TEACHES an aiming system, is he wrong or is what he says pure gold?



He never said you don't need to learn how to aim, just that you don't need an aiming system. He also said it (aiming) comes naturally if you have solid fundamentals. I mostly agree with that statement, but I'm a bit lacking in my fundamentals like most of the rest of us bangers here, so I'm not qualified to claim that it is a definitively true statement.

He said that but so what? Darren can't speak for everyone just like I can't. If I played hard every day then I wouldn't "need" an aiming system either. I don't really "need" one now but I like to have the one I use because it is RELIABLE.



Then maybe you should take your own advice and fix that stroke. Shortly before your match with Lou you made a few posts on a thread about Tor Lowry's stroke building drill. You said it was pretty strong, and that you could see improvement in your stroke after only a couple hundred balls hit into a pocket. I advised you to stay the course and do the whole 3000 strokes in a row. Instead, you went to Stan to brush up more on CTE. Which struck me funny, seeing how one-hole is a lot more about getting close to the pocket than it is about splitting the pocket. If you fixed that wonky stroke, you would have had a lot more control of your rock, and you might be $20K richer than you are right now, while enjoying the same marketing benefits for your cases.:smile:

My stroke wasn't that bad before the match. I was pumped full of adrenaline and unaware that I was dogging the stroke so badly for most of the match. You have zero idea what I did for stroke drills. Going to Stan didn't mean I didn't do them.

My stroke does suck, partially because my body hurts more to get into the shooting position and partially because I have gotten out of practice.

But your premise is wrong because aiming is separate from shooting. A guy with the best stroke in the world will miss more than he should if he aims wrong without realizing it. And conversely the best aimer in the world will miss if he flinches on delivery.

No one who advocates aiming systems downplays the need to have solid fundamentals.


Yikes! I was afraid of what might happen if I clicked on that link. Looks like my worst fears were justified. ;)[/QUOTE]

You saw a guy describing what happens when shitty fundamentals meet a perfect aiming line and demonstrating it as well.
 

JB Cases

www.jbcases.com
Gold Member
Silver Member
John, you think you aim as sell as Darren?

Nope. There is nothing I do on the pool table that is anywhere close to Darren.

Does Darren aim better than Shane? Does Shane aim better than Darren?

The point is that when these pros say they use an aiming system or they endorse one then ALL the aiming system opponents dismiss it.

But when a pro says you don't need aiming systems then it's "the truth".
 

(((Satori)))

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Nope. There is nothing I do on the pool table that is anywhere close to Darren.

Does Darren aim better than Shane? Does Shane aim better than Darren?

The point is that when these pros say they use an aiming system or they endorse one then ALL the aiming system opponents dismiss it.

But when a pro says you don't need aiming systems then it's "the truth".

Good to hear.

For a second there it sounded as if you thought you only missed due to your stroke.



Anytime I have ever heard Darren asked how he aims he has always said that his aiming was done automatic but he would sometimes use his sponsors system for some rail shots.
 

BilliardsAbout

BondFanEvents.com
Silver Member
Feel and vision are more important and more fun — all the best players play on feel and vision.

And, what should people do who have been playing for thirty years or more poorly using feel and vision? Of course, they should get checked out by an instructor, but they can find aim systems a boon, too, right?
 
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