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View Full Version : Why there is no "sure-fire" aiming system



nhp
07-20-2003, 08:27 AM
I'm sure most of you have heard of and probably have used many different aiming systems to experiment. Amatuer players probably think that there is a 100% accurate aiming system for pool, and if they can learn it, they will never miss. So they go and rent some pool videos, read books on aiming, and ask every house pro they know about aiming systems. They learn a couple, and find that they do not work nearly as good as the people who taught them described them to work as. There is a reason why the systems some times work perfectly, and on other shots, are not even close. There are two hits in pool that can make a huge difference in how the object balls react. There is a clean hit, and a "push", which, in effect, makes more of a *dunk* sound then the *clack* sound of your cuetip hitting the cueball. Although a push hit is not applying accidental sidespin on the cueball, it is still an off-center hit nonetheless. The cause of this type of hit can be attributed to various factors, such as slowing your stroke down right before you hit the cueball, applying a downward stroke, which is the same type of stroke used when killing the cueball with inside english, allowing the grip of your cue to smack into the meaty part of your palm on the moment of or right before contact with the cueball, and getting up prematurely on a shot. Shooting like this consistently you will notice you are understroking balls often, which naturally causes you to adjust to this by hitting the balls harder, which causes you to overstroke balls. This also makes you feel that you must hit the cueball hard to make a draw shot 3 diamonds away to come back a foot, when, with a good stroke, you merely have to tap the cueball for the desired reaction. Even more importantly, it causes the object ball to react differently when it is contacted by the cueball. Rather than getting a sidespin "squirt" effect, the object ball seems to "turn", (which is the same thing as "bending" an object ball for those of you who know what that is) often causing most cut shots to miss as if you hit it way too thick. What makes the pros so consistent is that, they hit the cueball clean very consistently. Most pros do not use aiming systems, but mostly feel. That is how you play well, by feel. Feel is what gets you into dead-punch. There is no mechanical system to shoot excellent pool. The reason why systems cannot work 100% correct is because you must get a "feel" to hit the balls cleanly. Once you have accquired that feel, you will realize that you don't really need an aiming system to make balls, except for maybe really tough shots. /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif

bluewolf
07-20-2003, 09:36 AM
I tried some of the aiming systems. Now I am getting better at those long hard ones by looking at the angle,making sure I hit the right place on the cueball and hit sort of hard to minimize those nasty things like throw and swerve. Usually use centerball anyway, but guess when I get better, will have to use more english.

Dont know exactly what you mean by feel. Just look at the angle and get down and shoot? Or do the real good players not even have to look at the angle, they just know where to hit the object ball?

Laura

rackmup
07-20-2003, 10:17 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote nhp:</font><hr> Why there is no "sure-fire" aiming system <hr /></blockquote>

I disagree. I have an aiming system that isn't a secret known only by touring professionals, successful road players or highly regarded billiards instructors.

I'll give you time to get a pen and paper to write down a few notes to take with you to the pool room for your own reassurance that this system really works.

Ready? Here it is:

One must first aim the cueball correctly at the intended object ball as to strike it with the proper speed and on the appropriate line to ensure that it falls into the intended pocket.

One must also factor in the table conditions, the atmospheric pressure and the alignment of the planets to further ensure the cueball rolls to a spot on the table bed to allow for a predetermined shot on the next object ball.

If these objectives are adhered to, runout after runout can be accomplished with the greatest of ease.

By following these simplistic guidelines, the only thing left to chance is the break shot. It is this simple fact that should force us to abandon any so-called "aiming system" believed to be the "end-all-be-all-holy-grail" and focus on the break shot. Failure to pocket a ball on the break gives your opponent the opoportunity to utilize my simplistic methods against you.

One shouldn't assume there is no definitive method of pocketing a ball on the break. If you are of the belief that pocketing a ball on the break is left to luck and luck alone, the following information will take you from your current level of mediocrity to one of unsurpassed talent.

This information is available in my new book:

"Crash the Rack and Smash your Opponent in only 3 Minutes per Day"

It is available for $59.95 (10% discount for CCB Regulars) by mailing cash, money order or certified funds to:

Martha "the Velveteen Widow" Stewart/Rackmup Publications
PO Box 14:1
Mansfield, Texas 76063

Act now as this publication is available in limited numbers.

If you don't believe me, just read what the Pros had to say after reading my book:

<font color="red"> "Using Ken's aiming system has convinced me there is no doubt that he doesn't know a
thing about aiming systems." </font color>Fran Crimi

<font color="red"> "Using Ken's suggestions, I'm confident he doesn't and never will know "The Color of Money." </font color>Keith McCready

<font color="red"> "Ken's book has ruined any credibility my aiming system has." </font color>Hal Houle

Regards,

Ken (author, pool player &amp; target of profanity from CCB'ers everywhere.)

TomBrooklyn
07-20-2003, 02:47 PM
&gt; Donít know exactly what you mean by feel.

<font color="blue"> One cannot know exactly what is meant by feel from reading about it anymore than one could know exactly what some kind of food tastes like from reading about it. One can get an idea, but actually tasting it will provide the experience. </font color>

&gt; Just look at the angle and get down and shoot?

<font color="blue"> Yes. </font color>

&gt; Do the real good players not even have to look at the angle, they just know where to hit the object ball?

<font color="blue"> Sometimes. On some shots if the OB is on the head or foot spot or near a rail or some other place I can reference it to the pocket, I don't have to look at the pocket or the angle CB-OB-POCKET to know where to hit the OB.

I imagine the better the player, the more places the OB can be on the table that they can probably know exactly what direction it has to go in without even looking at the pocket. From trial and error, their right and left brain work together to comprehend and do the calculation without conscious thought. For example, the OB may be 11 1/2 inches from the side rail and 9/16 of the way between the 2nd and 3rd diamond. They don't measure it with a ruler. They just know where it his and where to hit it from experience. Lots of experience.

<font color="brown"> Aren't there any shots, maybe some close to the pocket shots, that you can make without thinking about where to hit the OB using the ghost ball or some other system, you just know where to hit it? That's feel.
</font color>
=TomBk </font color>

bluewolf
07-20-2003, 03:36 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote TomBrooklyn:</font><hr>
Aren't there any shots, maybe some close to the pocket shots, that you can make without thinking about where to hit the OB using the ghost ball or some other system, you just know where to hit it? That's feel.
=TomBk <hr /></blockquote>

Yeah sure. Those are the shots that I have shot so many times that my brain knows the angles, so I now know the angle without thinking about it.

Sure, there are a few feel shots, but most of them are due to hitting it so many times, the angle is memorized.In those cases, I do not have to look at the angle. That is how is seems to me. To me that is putting things in your cpu,not feel.

Laura

Steve Lipsky
07-20-2003, 05:55 PM
I've always wondered what was the purpose behind an aiming system.

If you are good enough to hit the precise spot on the object ball that your aiming system tells you is "right", why aren't you good enough to hit the precise spot on the object ball that will simply make it go?

I think there is a fundamental issue involved in the goal of using a system, and the goal of pocketing a ball. It would seem that, using a system, the idea is to hit where the aiming system tells you. Using no system, the idea is to pocket the ball. While both will theoretically achieve the same result, I would much rather take my best shot at trying to pocket the ball - as opposed to trying to hit the aiming system spot.

When I get down on any shot (easy or hard), my aim either feels right or it doesn't. Note that this is not the same as playing by "feel"; I'm really not guessing at anything. I can get down on a ball, aim slightly wrong, and my brain will immediately tell me that this won't work. When I am right, I know it, and I shoot. It would seem to me that this would be the case regardless of skill level, as long as you are a decent pocketer.

If I miss a tough shot, I want it to be because I aimed wrong (or didn't compensate enough for english, etc...), and not because I used a system incorrectly.

In all fairness, I do not know any aiming systems, so I am kind of prejudging them. I do admit that.

- Steve

nhp
07-20-2003, 07:13 PM
Steve, when you get down on a shot, and your brain tells you that you are aiming incorrectly, that is feel. When an experienced player misses a tough shot, there obviously was no warning signal that they were aiming incorrectly, which is why they took the shot. Chances are they hit the cueball wrong.

NH_Steve
07-20-2003, 07:26 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote bluewolf:</font><hr>
Yeah sure. Those are the shots that I have shot so many times that my brain knows the angles, so I now know the angle without thinking about it.

Sure, there are a few feel shots, but most of them are due to hitting it so many times, the angle is memorized.In those cases, I do not have to look at the angle. That is how is seems to me. To me that is putting things in your cpu,not feel.

Laura <hr /></blockquote>Yeah, but the human 'cpu' isn't just about the math and geometry, it is also about the subtle muscle memory that is a big part of accuracy and an even bigger part of position. 'Feel' to me is a lot more than just the memory of an angle -- it's the whole 'gestalt' of the shot -- that's how you feel confident in the shot &amp; have a sense for both the cue ball and object ball action.

As a matter of fact, as I've gotten a little bit older &amp; my eyesight isn't quite as sharp, I actually rely on 'feel' to 'see' the shot. It might sound strange, but think of a gunslinger, shooting from the hip -- they don't sight down the barrel of the gun, they feel the shot. Or maybe like Tommy, the pinball wizard, by the Who...

I guess you could call it my 'Tommy' system /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif Anyway, it actually takes a little strain off your eyeballs, and at the same time helps bring the rest of your body into decent alignment for the shot. If any of you shooters have trouble with your eyes, I strongly recommend you give it a try -- you will be surprised.

bluewolf
07-20-2003, 08:09 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote NH_Steve:</font><hr> <hr /></blockquote>Yeah, but the human 'cpu' isn't just about the math and geometry, it is also about the subtle muscle memory that is a big part of accuracy and an even bigger part of position. 'Feel' to me is a lot more than just the memory of an angle -- it's the whole 'gestalt' of the shot -- that's how you feel confident in the shot &amp; have a sense for both the cue ball and object ball action.

<hr /></blockquote>

It is funny to say this. I am more of a trial and error learner. Like set up the shot, i hit it in a certain spot and it misses. I set it up again and move the aim over a little and keep doing this until it goes in. Then I know where to hit that shot. I did not use angles to learn that shot. I used trial and error. But there are many shots that I do not know exactly where to hit the OB. On those shots, I look at the angles to try to get them in.

Maybe it is splitting hairs, it just seems to me that good players often do not have to look at the angle, they know where to hit the shot, what english to use and how to use ball speed to to get the cueball where they want.

I am quite a ways off from this because I still have to look at the angle. I also to try to get position have to think of the balls speed, english if needed, tangent line to get the cueball to where I want. Sometimes I do okay and sometimes not. I think that a very good player, this kind of stuff is just natural to them because of experience and competition experience, I guess.

I really look up to players that can do all of this naturally and hope one day that things will be a little more natural and not so much thinking.

Your idea of muscle memory interests me and would like to hear how that is a factor. Do you mean in choosing ball speed?

Laura

Steve Lipsky
07-20-2003, 08:10 PM
nhp,

Do you think a player always hits the exact spot on the object ball he is aiming at?

- Steve

nhp
07-20-2003, 10:20 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Steve Lipsky:</font><hr> nhp,

Do you think a player always hits the exact spot on the object ball he is aiming at?

- Steve <hr /></blockquote>

Of course not. That's one of the factors that causes players to miss. A much more common factor is not hitting the cueball right. When I line up on a shot, and it doesn't feel right, I know that I am aiming incorrectly. I stand up, and start the process over again. When it feels right, I pull the trigger. If I miss the ball, most of the time it is because I hit the cue ball bad. Since you won't know until you make contact with the ball of how good you hit it, there is no way for "feel" to tell you that you are going to miss. Aiming correctly is the first step. Hitting the cueball clean is the second step.

pooltchr
07-21-2003, 07:01 AM
One thing Randy teaches in his classes is there are only two ways to miss a shot. You either aim at the wrong spot, or there is something wrong with your stroke. (After playing on some really bad, ratty tables, I think there is another way). That makes it pretty simple. If you can determine where you want the cue ball to go, and can get it there, you make the shot.

Steve~~ still trying to figure out how to get the cue ball to the correct place every time!

nhp
07-21-2003, 08:41 AM
I agree with you ^ the thing that is wrong in someone's stroke is what causes them to hit the cueball bad.

bluewolf
07-21-2003, 09:03 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote nhp:</font><hr> I agree with you ^ the thing that is wrong in someone's stroke is what causes them to hit the cueball bad. <hr /></blockquote>

I have known a couple of players who see the dead center incorrectly. Like what they see as dead center on the cb is really 1/4tip right or left so they get unintentionally english. That is why I practice to make sure I am 'seeing' the cueball right, so that, even if my stroke is good, I am hitting where I think I am.

If I see where I want to hit the ob, and do not hit it there, then it has to be stroke or seeing the cb incorrectly. If I hit the spot I aimed at on the ob, more than likely I aimed incorrectly. At least that is the way it seems. On long shots, I try to hit pretty firm so I do not have to worry about those elusive things like swerve and throw.

Gettin there slowly. /ccboard/images/graemlins/frown.gif

jmo

Laura

DoomCue
07-21-2003, 09:24 AM
The reason there is no "sure-fire" aiming system is because all aiming systems are approximations. On all shots except straight in shots, diameter of the CB must be taken into account, which means the contact point and the aiming point are not the same (on straight in shots, they are the same, unless english is introduced). There are methods such as railroad tracks, ghost ball, clicks, parallel lines, etc. They all do the same thing, which is teach somebody how to approximate the distance between aim point and contact point when no english is used. Throw in left or right side, and those systems are useless. Throw in more variables like contact throw, squirt, swerve, deflection, etc., and having a definitive aim point starts to go out the window. Yet players still consistently make shots. Why? Experience. One of the most frequently asked questions of a pro is: How do you aim? And you know what the most frequent answer is? "I don't know, I just do." Pocketing ability is directly proportional to practice time spent at the table. The more you play, the better you get. Is it because you've fine-tuned some aiming system? No, it's because you've fine-tuned that intangible known as "feel." After a certain amount of time at the table, players don't have to pick out a contact point, or even look at the angle. The aiming process becomes automatic, simply due to shooting thousands of shots. So why are pros so good? They approximate better than most, and they've put in more hours at the table than most.

djb

Wally_in_Cincy
07-21-2003, 09:47 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote bluewolf:</font><hr>

...On long shots, I try to hit pretty firm so I do not have to worry about those elusive things like swerve and throw.... <hr /></blockquote>

I thought you were going to stop giving advice regarding such things. /ccboard/images/graemlins/confused.gif

cheesemouse
07-21-2003, 12:07 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote DoomCue:</font><hr> The reason there is no "sure-fire" aiming system is because all aiming systems are approximations. On all shots except straight in shots, diameter of the CB must be taken into account, which means the contact point and the aiming point are not the same (on straight in shots, they are the same, unless english is introduced). There are methods such as railroad tracks, ghost ball, clicks, parallel lines, etc. They all do the same thing, which is teach somebody how to approximate the distance between aim point and contact point when no english is used. Throw in left or right side, and those systems are useless. Throw in more variables like contact throw, squirt, swerve, deflection, etc., and having a definitive aim point starts to go out the window. Yet players still consistently make shots. Why? Experience. One of the most frequently asked questions of a pro is: How do you aim? And you know what the most frequent answer is? "I don't know, I just do." Pocketing ability is directly proportional to practice time spent at the table. The more you play, the better you get. Is it because you've fine-tuned some aiming system? No, it's because you've fine-tuned that intangible known as "feel." After a certain amount of time at the table, players don't have to pick out a contact point, or even look at the angle. The aiming process becomes automatic, simply due to shooting thousands of shots. So why are pros so good? They approximate better than most, and they've put in more hours at the table than most.

djb
<hr /></blockquote>

Doom,
The above should be required reading for the beginner all the way thru to the worlds champion...I can't find a thing in your statement that is not true...that's the way the game is played, that's the way the game is learned...very nice post...

bluewolf
07-21-2003, 12:10 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Wally_in_Cincy:</font><hr> <blockquote><font class="small">Quote bluewolf:</font><hr>

...On long shots, I try to hit pretty firm so I do not have to worry about those elusive things like swerve and throw.... <hr /></blockquote>

I thought you were going to stop giving advice regarding such things. /ccboard/images/graemlins/confused.gif <hr /></blockquote>

That doesnt mean it works. Maybe it was a backhanded way of saying,hey if I am wrong about this tell me. Like is this right or is it wrong? If it came across as advice, sorry.

Laura

DoomCue
07-21-2003, 12:27 PM
Thanks cheese. /ccboard/images/graemlins/laugh.gif I try....

djb