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Aim Through Center - Pocket More Balls This Way

A More Subtle Refinement Helps You Play Better Today

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aim through center

This cool pool shot retrains your billiards eye, and fast

Photo (c) Matt Sherman, licensed to About.com, Inc,
A reader asks a question today that can help you with throw, aim and better aim methodology:

Hi Matt:

I am confused by an aim methodology you described on your website. You've discussed how shooters aim at ghost balls and emphasize finding the shortest line to get there (I don't know what that adds). Then you say that there are two factors making ghost ball aiming unreliable and only describe psychology and throw...

I conclude that either your website is wrong here, or there's something I'm completely missing. I can only see how if the cut is more than 90 degrees, you would get the situation described, with the path to the ghost ball hitting the ball on the other side. But your diagram does not show a greater than 90 degree cut.

Then you go on to say that the ball can be made, but only by overcutting it, but that this overcutting it does result in replacing the ghost ball? Huh? This suggests it is a makeable shot (not greater than 90 degrees). This is now sounding like we're talking about some type of error with some type of contact point aiming system (not an error with ghost ball aiming).

Evidence of this aiming approach is the line "I am sending the cue ball to impact the sighted contact point with all the skill and care I possess." Yet the introduction was that most shooters use ghost ball; why have we switched to a contact point aiming system and described its flaw without actually describing the aiming point system?

What did I miss or is it that your website is in error here? I think you're trying to say that there's some flaw in ghost ball aiming in this shot, but I'm lost.

Back to the original statement about the two situations making ghost ball aiming unreliable. The second is throw. But throw makes ALL aiming systems unreliable that start with the premise of determining the aim line by aligning to the object ball point on the object ball intended path to the pocket.

So, I guess it's fair to list this as an issue with ghost ball aiming, as long as it's listed as an issue with all other aiming systems as well (when throw exists - no cue ball spin to compensate). But I think this is confusing to the reader. And you should at least tell the reader that throw is dependent on cut angle, is maximum at angle X and increases with slower speed. Author Jack Koehler gives his readers a graph, but your readers should at least learn the summary. But this last is just a quibble like I'm a book editor; not my job.

What's the reason for the incorrect aim on the cut shot you describe; I just don't get it?

**

Hi,

What I call "The Aim Point Miss" refers to those amateurs taking a thinly cut side pocket shot and assuming based on experience aiming successfully directly at the contact point (on other, thicker cut shots) that the way to pocket the 4-ball is to aim through center cue ball on the direct line to the contact point. As you know, this aim rubric results in too thick a hit always, unless a shot is a 100% full hit, although it really shows up from this 4-ball angle, where the pocket is missed by far. But the difference is negligible on many cut shots and so contact point aim method works well in general.

As I said, aiming through the absolute center of the cue ball at the contact point will score most cut shots. On the 4-ball into the side, the hit is too thick. As you know, one way to correct the line is to play a ghost ball shot here instead.

Now with this 4-ball, one has to overcut their typical path if they play "aim through center ball directly at the contact point". There are pool pros who swear this is their aim method if you ask them although they may forget that whether consciously or subconsciously, "overcut" or "ghost ball" thinner cuts.

I like the contact point method of aim and teach it with the caveat above. But I don't like ghost ball as much because as you mentioned it does not correcting for throw. Many amateurs who use ghost ball without understanding throw's effects wind up (subconsciously) attempting to adjust by overcutting shots and/or stroking hard.

When they bang the balls around hard and overcut on the same shots the fast speed cancels or reduces throw. This is why so many players who miss consistently miss by overcutting cut shots.

I often correct these ghost ball miss players by having them slow down their stroke speeds and hit the balls more thick by aiming for the contact point (on shots thicker than 1/4 hit).

Does that make sense to you?

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