One technique for aiming is using an imaginary ball beside the object ball that lines up directly towards the pocket. Refer to Figure 4 below. The imaginary ghost ball is represented by a solid circle. Now all you have to do is aim at the center of the imaginary ball as if you are doing a straight-in shot with the imaginary ghost ball.
Figure 4: Ghost Ball Technique
It takes a while before you can feel comfortable with your sense of aim but if you spend enough time practicing it you will slowly learn to aim even without using an imaginary ball.
Cue Stick Aiming Technique
Another technique for aiming is by the use of your cue stick. Refer to Figure 5 below.
First, you need to determine the line of the path of your object ball to the pocket and point your cue stick in that direction.
Measure the diameter of the object ball. A pool ball has a diameter of 2 and 1/4 inches.
Place the tip of your cue stick at half the diameter (1 and 1/8 inch) from the object ball along the line of the path of your object ball to the pocket. This is your aim point.
Margin for Error
Depending on the size of the pocket opening (which varies between different types of tables), you normally have an allowed margin for error. Just remember that the closer the object ball is to the pocket, the larger is your margin for error and the farther away the object ball is from the pocket, the smaller your margin for error will be. However, it is always a good idea to strive for a perfect shot right in the middle of the pocket so you won’t have to worry about your margin for error regardless of the size of the pocket opening.
Start by practicing the techniques you have just learned above – The Ghostball Aiming and the Cue Stick Aiming technique. Setup your cue ball and object ball at different angles and keep shooting until you have a good grasp of the techniques described in this article. Repetition is key. Keep aiming and shooting until it becomes second nature to you.
Below are 2 specific Aiming Drills that you can execute to improve your Ghostball and Cue Stick aiming technique.
- Shotmaking Drill
- Long Shot Pocketing Drill