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View Full Version : Made the switch to dominant-eye aiming and WOW!



BurloakB
06-15-2006, 01:15 AM
After 20+ years of chinning the cue, I now realize that I've been denying what is so obviously my dominant eye. I've always reminded myself to keep my cue centered, (binocular aiming), but have always been a little weak to the pocket on anything over 7 feet... especially difficult cut shots.

Now I know most people have some degree of difficuly with shots like that, but it's always been my one consistent nemesis. This is something that my regular opponents have figured out and they safety me with distance. Pretty glaring flaw and very hard to deny.

Several months ago I started working on my stroke with the aid of a mirror and video playback. I used this technique many moons ago to work on my stroke, stance and alignment. Really helped me refine and my mechanics are now sound as a pound.

Anyway, I immediately noticed that whenever I raised myself well off the cue, (12" or so), I would automatically align the cue directly under my right eye. When playing straight pool I take a more upright stance and usually shoot lights out, so this was an interesting revelation. Since I usually play a lot of 9ball, 8ball and snooker, I got to thinking it was epiphany time.

So I started playing with my cue under my right eye, rubbing the side of my jaw like Strickland and Reyes. Holy crap!, I started dropping everything I shot at, and making near 90 degree feather cuts from 8+ feet away. I'm no longer fearful of those long difficult shots, in fact I look forward to the challenge of potting those seemingly impossible shots.

I have to say, it only took me about a half hour to adjust, which is not bad after a lifetime of doing things another way. I believe the fact that I learned to shoot a rifle and bow while keeping both eyes open helped make the transition a little more natural. I still use both eyes to aim, but my left has taken on more of the depth perception and speed control role.

I've concluded that what plagued me in the past was the following. When I addressed my shots in mid-air, from the standing position, I was using my dominant right eye to sight the contact point and cueball path. When I dropped down into my stance, I was switching back to binocular aiming. This meant the cue was shifting ever so minutely. The reason this really only bothered me on long shots is that the misalignment takes on more importance the greater the distance. A tiny amount becomes a half inch from 8 feet away. However, with shots under 5 feet, I didn't miss very often, unless the cueball was right on top of the OB.

So I guess I've always been aiming with my dominant eye, just wasn't centering my cue under the favored eye. It's kind of like finding out you've always skied with the left ski turned inward.

I know this is a very controversial subject, and though I've always been on the skeptical side, I've also always kept an open mind.

For anyone that passes dominant eye aiming off as silly, including instructors, I urge you to give it an honest re-consideration. You have nothing to lose by trying, only by not trying.

I'm truly one of the converted, and have been playing in the zone for months on end now. Everyone should give it a try if they struggle with distance or have good days and bad days. My regular opponents now struggle to take a game from me, I like it better that way. /ccboard/images/graemlins/cool.gif

Fran Crimi
06-15-2006, 05:21 AM
Thanks for posting your story. I think this is a very important post. I think it shows that you can still be somewhat successful by forcing yourself to aim with your chin centered over the cue, which can be deceiving. The real success comes when you allow yourself to trust your dominant eye.

Fran

chas1022
06-15-2006, 09:36 AM
Thats a great post. I review my basics all the time trying to sure them up. I have to try this myself and see what it does. I have always shot with my chin under the cue also.Thanks for sharing that.

Scott Lee
06-15-2006, 10:42 AM
BurloakB...I believe the difference in your shooting comes more from changing your stance to a higher perspective, than what you perceive to be a "dominant eye" thing.
Many players 'see' the shot better from higher over the cue (I'm one of them). No matter how you set up with your eyes, unless you're actually closing one eye, you're still using binocular vision to see the shot...that is just the natural way your eyes work. jmo Regardless, congratulations on making a change to something that works better for you!

Scott Lee

dardusm
06-15-2006, 12:47 PM
Interesting. When I was younger, I videotaped myself playing. I was shocked to see my head tilted when shooting. I never had any idea that my head tilted. I guess that I adjusted to put my dominate eye over the cue without ever knowing it. I keep my chin just above the cue. The interesting thing is that I am left eye dominant but shoot right handed. So now I just keep my left eye over the cue and staightened my head.

Darryl

BurloakB
06-15-2006, 02:00 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Scott Lee:</font><hr> BurloakB...I believe the difference in your shooting comes more from changing your stance to a higher perspective, than what you perceive to be a "dominant eye" thing.
Many players 'see' the shot better from higher over the cue (I'm one of them). No matter how you set up with your eyes, unless you're actually closing one eye, you're still using binocular vision to see the shot...that is just the natural way your eyes work. jmo Regardless, congratulations on making a change to something that works better for you!

Scott Lee <hr /></blockquote>
Scott,

Sorry, I have to disagree with you on this analysis.

I have to say, if stance height was the true issue, then aiming with my dominant eye wouldn't have any significant impact while I'm down low over the cue, but it has a huge impact. I still use my regular stance height, only the cue has shifted a couple inches to the right.

Fact of the matter is, when I was down low over the cue before, I could really sense where my chin was in relation to the shaft, and would shift if I sensed myself coming off center. When I'm higher off the cue, I'm strictly relying on my perception of sighting the cue, which I do while aligning directly under my right eye.

Just because both eyes are open does not mean it's true binocular aiming. When I aim a rifle or bow, the barrel or arrow is directly below my right eye. I'm using my right eye to aim while my left eye feeds me all the other pertinent information.

I guess I should have mentioned this in my first post but, truth be known, I have an astigmatism in my right eye. Growing up my right became the dominant eye as I needed to really work to make it function properly. All this focus on making my right eye function correctly has made my left eye take more of a backseat role. What I mean is when I really focus on something, my right eye does all the work and my left seems to be functioning more from the peripheral vision standpoint. It's not a vision thing, it's an eye muscle thing.

As a young child I had a reading disability and had to do eye exercises to correct my astigmatism. They worked in that I learned to see properly, but there was an obvious hiccup. Like anyone, if I let my eyes really relax, I see two shafts, it's just a matter of which shaft a player chooses to focus on.

I know there are others who have eye problems and have learned to live with it. Some might not even be aware that they have such a problem as there are varying degrees. But until you figure out how to correcly adjust to such a problem, you will always be a little off. If you have perfect vision, then by all means, center the cue. Someone who has a definite favored eye like myself, needs to address this issue head-on.

There has to be a reason why two of the greatest shots in the history of pool, (Reyes &amp; Strickland), use dominant eye aiming. Maybe they know something the rest of us have always denied or ignored. JMO

Voodoo Daddy
06-15-2006, 05:21 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Scott Lee:</font><hr> BurloakB...I believe the difference in your shooting comes more from changing your stance to a higher perspective, than what you perceive to be a "dominant eye" thing.
Many players 'see' the shot better from higher over the cue (I'm one of them). No matter how you set up with your eyes, unless you're actually closing one eye, you're still using binocular vision to see the shot...that is just the natural way your eyes work. jmo Regardless, congratulations on making a change to something that works better for you!

Scott Lee <hr /></blockquote>

Could it be the great Scott Lee is wrong? /ccboard/images/graemlins/smirk.gif

BurloakB
06-15-2006, 05:32 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote chas1022:</font><hr> Thats a great post. I review my basics all the time trying to sure them up. I have to try this myself and see what it does. I have always shot with my chin under the cue also.Thanks for sharing that. <hr /></blockquote>Thanks!

I highly recommend everyone give it an honest try, at least a half hours worth. It takes a few shots to adjust but when things kick in, look out!.

Just don't start with long tough cut shots, work on close straight in shots and then gradually up the difficulty. Also, don't try to run racks or worry about position at first, just place a ball on the table and shoot it in.

As you grow more comfortable with it and the confidence returns, you can start getting back to your game of choice.

The mistake a lot of people make is they try to adopt this change while playing someone and when the pressure mounts they revert back to their natural habits. It has to be one shot at a time and all by your lonesome. After a half hour, you should notice things starting to click, if not, might not be for you.

A thing that really helped me was I'd use my cue to help find the contact point on the OB. This can be hard to pinpoint at first when shifting the cue. Once my brain started to adjust to the slight difference it automatically "knew" from that moment on.

The thing to ask yourself, "Is there a particular shot that really gets me, everytime?". If that shot is any shot involving distance, this might be something to consider.

You have to be open-minded and willing to struggle short-term to make long-term growth. For me, it was well worth it.

BurloakB
06-15-2006, 05:39 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Voodoo Daddy:</font><hr> <blockquote><font class="small">Quote Scott Lee:</font><hr> BurloakB...I believe the difference in your shooting comes more from changing your stance to a higher perspective, than what you perceive to be a "dominant eye" thing.
Many players 'see' the shot better from higher over the cue (I'm one of them). No matter how you set up with your eyes, unless you're actually closing one eye, you're still using binocular vision to see the shot...that is just the natural way your eyes work. jmo Regardless, congratulations on making a change to something that works better for you!

Scott Lee <hr /></blockquote>

Could it be the great Scott Lee is wrong? /ccboard/images/graemlins/smirk.gif <hr /></blockquote>
I wouldn't say Scott is wrong, it's just really hard for someone to understand if they've never struggled with their vision. When instructing, I feel it's very important to understand someone's vision situation when addressing the issue of aiming. They could be legally blind in one eye and you'd never know it.

cushioncrawler
06-15-2006, 05:57 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Scott Lee:</font><hr> BurloakB...I believe the difference in your shooting comes more from changing your stance to a higher perspective, than what you perceive to be a "dominant eye" thing.
Many players 'see' the shot better from higher over the cue (I'm one of them). No matter how you set up with your eyes, unless you're actually closing one eye, you're still using binocular vision to see the shot...that is just the natural way your eyes work. jmo Regardless, congratulations on making a change to something that works better for you!

Scott Lee <hr /></blockquote>

I agree with u (Scott) here -- the trouble with me iz that it iz difficult to cue accurately and consistently with my chin high off the cue -- on a 12' by 6' table.

I allso tryd pozitioning my dominant left eye further left (and right allso), but, unlike BurloakB, all i got woz a headache.

BurloakB
06-15-2006, 07:18 PM
I've created this rough image of how I aim. I am still "technically" using binocular aiming in that both eyes are being used, but there is definitely one eye being dominant. I feel that the reason I've always had incredible depth perception is the fact that my left eye skews to the right.

Also, notice that my head is turned slightly to the right. I've done this for more than twenty years and my head and neck feel more natural and relaxed this way. My feeling is that this was my bodies way of getting my dominant eye over top the cueing line.

I believe a lot of people who suffer neck pain do so because they are twisting their neck to the left so their face is looking straight head.

[img=http://img114.imageshack.us/img114/1415/domeye33bx.th.jpg] (http://img114.imageshack.us/my.php?image=domeye33bx.jpg)

Bumps
06-16-2006, 11:52 AM
Interesting post! I've made the switch to dominate eye myself, though I can't always remember to do it. Did it a few years ago and it has seemed to have made a difference and improved my pocketing ability.

JPB
06-16-2006, 02:03 PM
Also as I mentioned recently, there is a difference between your dominant eye and where your vision is centered. I only learned this recently. I knew I was right eye dominant, but didn't know where the center of my vision was. I learned it in the context of shooting, not shooting pool. There is a test you can do but you need two people. Anyway, some people have vision that is centered or more centered than others. SO if you are right eye dominant, your vision center could be anywhere from your eye to your nose. Mine is right on the dominant eye. I have not been practicing much pool, so I don't know how this discovery will translate. But shooting a pistol, the pistol needs to be in line with my right eye for me to shoot best. With a shotgun some people have problems because you mount the thing under the eye of your dominant hand. If you are not cross dominant, you still might have a problem if your vision is centered on your nose, being too binocular can hurt you. In pool a truly binocular player might have excellent luck with the cue on their chin. If your right eye is your master eye and your vision is lined up with the eye maybe not. Dunno how much this translates though. It is also hard to know using me as an experiment because there are so many other problems I have playing pool. I miss shots for any and all possible reasons. /ccboard/images/graemlins/smirk.gif

BurloakB
06-16-2006, 10:53 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote JPB:</font><hr> Also as I mentioned recently, there is a difference between your dominant eye and where your vision is centered. I only learned this recently. I knew I was right eye dominant, but didn't know where the center of my vision was. I learned it in the context of shooting, not shooting pool. There is a test you can do but you need two people. Anyway, some people have vision that is centered or more centered than others. SO if you are right eye dominant, your vision center could be anywhere from your eye to your nose. Mine is right on the dominant eye. I have not been practicing much pool, so I don't know how this discovery will translate. But shooting a pistol, the pistol needs to be in line with my right eye for me to shoot best. With a shotgun some people have problems because you mount the thing under the eye of your dominant hand. If you are not cross dominant, you still might have a problem if your vision is centered on your nose, being too binocular can hurt you. In pool a truly binocular player might have excellent luck with the cue on their chin. If your right eye is your master eye and your vision is lined up with the eye maybe not. Dunno how much this translates though. It is also hard to know using me as an experiment because there are so many other problems I have playing pool. I miss shots for any and all possible reasons. /ccboard/images/graemlins/smirk.gif <hr /></blockquote>

JPB - Great post!, and your thoughts translate well in relation to pool and aiming.

I am quite amazed at how many people pass eye dominance off as silliness, especially when I hear it coming from pool instructors. I feel they could be doing some poor student a real disservice.

caedos
06-19-2006, 10:36 AM
My experience in teaching alignment is that the dominance of vision to one eye or the other tends to skew straight-line perception towards that side of the head and if not directly under the eye then fairly close. The dominant eye IMHO is not the be-all end-all in alignment.

Here is a test that any fairly observant person can do on their own to find a good cue placement under their eyes while shooting: Standing at a corner of the table, center the cue over the line of cushion cloth where it is tucked into the top of the rail (ie: the green cloth ends and the brown rail begins), pointed down the long rail across the side pocket. Both hands should be planted on the rail so you can move around the cue without actually moving the cue. The back hand is the grip hand with the knuckles planted to the rail, and the front hand is a bridge hand such that the tip of the cue is at least two inches off of the rail. If you get into a shooting stance around this position without disturbing the cue set to the table you can move your head up, down, left, and right until you find the place that the cue looks like it's pointing straight down the rail/cloth line to the far end of the table. Hold your head there without moving your head or anything else, and only move your eyes to look as far down as you can to see where the cue is placed under your head. This is where you see a straight line. If your head is too far right, the tip will appear to be pointed too far left and vice versa. Up and down positions of the head are only a change in perspective of the field of the table, primarily effecting how we see angles and distances between balls and shots. The perceived line of travel, a line for the cue stick, and our line of vision all need to coordinate. These are in line vertically but not necessarily at the same height. Shooting accuracy depends on the left to right placement of the eyes in relation to these references, more so than up and down. Try shooting a shot when you are stretched sideways as opposed to forward. There are other ways of finding and training alignment, but this has been the easiest and most reliable single application I have found for immediate and repeatable correction of alignment perception.

Find where you see straight and don't worry about the dominant eye unless that's what actually works for you. McCready and Hoppe cues/cued to the outside of their heads. Jeanette Lee is angled across the eyes, Eva Laurence and Allison Fisher are centered, Earl Strickland is on or just outside the outer tear duct of his shooting side eye. Also, the position can change over time as vision changes with age, training, surgery, or injury.



Shoot straight! Shoot well!


Carl

Gayle in MD
06-19-2006, 11:05 AM
HI,
I've had the same experience as you. I have changed four things in the last two years which have improved my game greatly. Cue under dominate eye, extra strokes before I shoot, atleast five to seven, and sometimes even more than that, and a pause on my last back stroke, at the back of the stroke. These changes, along with Fran's secret little trick on how to keep your stroke straight, and/or, how to straighten it in a flash when it goes awry, have totally changed the accuracy of my shooting.

I think, also, that some people who don't have extreme doninate eye vision, may not be able to understand, or agree, that dominate eye aiming is worth investigation.

Kudos on your efforts, and the psoitive results! /ccboard/images/graemlins/laugh.gif

Gayle in Md.

Alfie
06-19-2006, 10:14 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Gayle in MD:</font><hr> These changes, along with Fran's secret little trick on how to keep your stroke straight, and/or, how to straighten it in a flash when it goes awry, have totally changed the accuracy of my shooting.<hr /></blockquote>What's the trick?

Fran Crimi
06-20-2006, 04:47 AM
I asked Gayle not to reveal what I showed her and she has been kind enough to keep it to herself. Just wondering... when is it your turn to contribute information rather than pick people's brains.....how many years has it been now, five?

SpiderMan
06-20-2006, 09:47 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote chas1022:</font><hr>I have always shot with my chin under the cue <hr /></blockquote>

Now THAT would be worth seeing!

SpiderMan

Alfie
06-20-2006, 10:45 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Fran Crimi:</font><hr> when is it your turn to contribute information rather than pick people's brains<hr /></blockquote>IMO, I have contributed as well as most have.

And I am proud of all the questions I have asked (as far as I can recall).

So, how much does the straight stroke secret cost?

TedKaufman
06-21-2006, 10:14 AM
I would agree that dominant eye aiming is the best method. It's the most natural and the most logical. However, that has not been the way I aimed most of my pool playing life. I used binocular aiming. That said, I always found it disconcerting when I would look at the cue shaft and saw it pointing off line.

After many years what I figured out is that the fundamental difference between binocular and dominant eye methods is that with binocular, you can only sight between the cueball and the object ball. Where the cue shaft appears to aim must be ignored. It's path is distorted.

With dominant eye aiming, the cuestick, cueball and object ball should be aligned visually. When they aren't, you know you are misaligned. So you can sight right down the cue shaft directly on your delivery path. This is why I feel it is a more natural, intuitive method.

I think both methods work just fine. Allison Fisher is a pretty sporty shotmaker from the binocular side. But throughout the history of pool--Mosconi to Sigel to Strickland to Reyes--a high percentage of the best shotmakers have been dominant eye shooters. Were I to teach a beginner, I would strongly suggest they try dominant eye shooting.

Scott Lee
06-21-2006, 07:42 PM
tap,tap,tap! Excellent post Carl...

Scott