As you read or have read instructions regarding how to aim I am sure you have noticed that whatever technique is being taught there is always a point when you are instructed to look at the object ball when stroking the actual shot “trusting” the tip position on the cue ball based on a “locked-in” straight stroke.
I shot this way for many years which did result in being a better than average league player and a tournament player who mostly fell short of the money. My knowledge of the game mathematically(geometry and physics) was far superior to most. I know what the balls do and how they react based on force, push, pull through english, ball contact, and rails but… something was missing! There are two other sports that I am pretty good at and they are golf and croquet. It dawned on me one day while playing these games that when stroking a croquet shot I look at the wicket to line-up the shot but when I actually shoot I watch the contact of the mallet through the ball for accuracy and with golf I line-up where I want the ball to go but of course I must watch the ball through the actual shot once again, for accuracy. In pool the angle at which you need to hit the object ball is known as your aiming point. The cue tip contacts the cue ball where you have determined the english needs to be and finally the “cue tip” contact is the result of a smooth, straight stroke. If you line-up your straight stroke with your object ball angle and then trust that your stroke will stay perfectly straight and that the cue tip contact will be exactly where it needs to be on the cue ball as you look at the object ball when stroking the actual shot you are leaving two-thirds of the shot to chance.
I came up with the following technique which moved me to the top of the leagues I play in and I not only began to cash-in in tournaments I began to win some.
- Find a method for lining-up the object ball angle that works best with your “minds eye” to determine your “aiming point”. The “ghost ball” method works best for me.
- Determine where you need the cue tip to contact the cue ball for your shot.
- Get over the cue ball and begin to stroke the stick to that spot on the cue ball. As you stroke it “watch” the tip as it comes back to your bridge and then to the cue ball until you “see” it is straight.
- Now look at the object ball and line-up your practice stroke with your aiming point but this time when you follow the tip backward and forward continue your “eyes” through the cue ball to your aiming point. Do “this” practice stroke until your “minds eye” says you are right.
- Now you are ready to “watch” your straight stroke and “watch” your cue tip contact the cue ball exactly where you want which will result in the cue ball traveling to where your “minds eye” has determined the aiming point is “leaving nothing to chance”.
In closing, as with any shot or any other technique the “minds eye” needs to be developed so you may miss some shots until it is developed but you do know with this technique that your stroke is straight and your tip contact is right because you have “watched” it for yourself.