The Fractional aiming system refers to a type of aiming where the object ball is divided into “slices” or fractions and aiming the ghostball at the different “slices”. The fractional aiming theory is the basis behind the initial aiming process taught to snooker players in Europe. Most professional players also use this technique or a variation of this technique.
Imagine the dark area(s) as the ghost ball overlapping the object ball.
The illustration below will hopefully give more clarity to what this system is all about. Typically, when using the fractional aiming system you divide the object ball into different fractions or slices as shown below.
The illustration above (Figure 2) shows the object ball being sliced into 8 equal parts. The slices represent where the imaginary ghost ball will overlap with the object ball. To clearly illustrate this concept, see the diagrams below.
The picture above (Figure 3) show 9 different aiming points. The first one is a full ball hit which is basically the straight-in shot. The next 8 fractional aiming points represents the aim areas for cutting an object ball to the left. The fractional aim points are 1/8 – this means that only 1/8ths of the object ball are showing and the rest are being overlapped (or covered) by your imaginary ghostball. Next, you have 1/4, 3/8, 1/2, 5/8, 3/4, 7/8 and then a VERY THIN HIT where you are barely hitting the object ball.
Below is a diagram showing how to use the fractional aiming points to cut an object ball to the right.
Again, the picture above represents the fractional aim points for cutting an object ball to the right. So, dividing the object ball into 8 equal slices will produce 17 different aim points – i.e. 1 for a full ball hit plus 8 points for cutting the object ball to the right and another 8 points for cutting the object ball to the left (1+8+8 = 17).
However, if you look at the “Phases of the moon” animation above, you will notice that there are gaps in between the different fractions or slices. For example, there are points in between the 1/8th ball hit and the 1/4th ball hit. See illustration below.
The illustration above shows two gaps between the 1/4 and 1/8th hits – it could very well be a lot more to handle the infinite number of shot angles. The gaps tells you that this is not an exact aiming system – no aiming system really is. The point of the fractional aiming system is to give you reference points that you can recognize and use as a basis for aiming. To handle the gaps in between the angles, all you can do is recognize for example that the shot requires a 1/8th ball hit but a little thinner (or thicker). Only experience (from thousands of hours playing on the pool table) will allow you to recognize a shot angle and associate it with the correct fractional aim point. For example, you might see a shot angle and your instinct will tell you that, “Tha’ts a 1/4th ball hit” or “That angle is too thin for a 1/4th hit BUT it’s to thick for a 1/8 ball hit” – in this case, you instinctively adjust your aim.
At the very least, you can slice the object ball into 3 equal parts. However, it is best to slice the object ball even further for better aiming accuracy. The example I have shown is dividing the object ball into 8 different slices and the different aim point it produces will cover many of the different aiming angles. If you can visualize thinner slices then it is theoritically the better option. For example, dividing the object ball into 16 equal slices will give you 33 different aiming points. Again, 1 for a full ball hit, 16 for cutting the object ball to the right and another 16 for cutting the ball to the left (1+16+16 = 33).
Start by practicing the fractional aiming technique your have just learned above. Setup your cue ball and object ball at different angles and keep shooting until you have a good grasp of the fractional aiming technique described in this article.
Below are 2 specific Aiming Drills that you can execute to improve your fractional aiming technique.