Mark M. writes that:
"I am cross dominant. I shoot right handed but I am left eye dominant. I was researching other opinions/insights and discovered that Buddy Hall shoots the same way. His advice from June 2003 was to make sure that your dominant eye is over the cue and approach the shot from your left side (assuming left eye dominant, of course).
I have had some success recently with the fluidity of my stroke but never had any real instruction from anyone about this consideration. I spent a grand with Tom Simpson 2 years ago and it was never even considered.
I've also come to realize that many shots CAN'T have perfect stance or proper perspective all the time. Am I correct in these assumptions or am I spinning my wheels?
I believe you have written some insightful articles for InsidePool and could enlighten me on this area of the game. The other area I have questions about is related to the speed of different strokes. Whether it is on the backswing to increase speed or just having an understanding of the forward swing of the pendulum.
I definitely want a better follow through and a better understanding of the distances of any particular stroke for a particular shot. I hope that makes sense.
Would a metronome be useful for faster timing? Could faster paced, up tempo music be of assistance to change speeds during the stroke? Thank you for any advice!
I am hoping that you will be at the US OPEN this week because the things that you are writing about is not what I am seeing anywhere else. Your most recent article sort of went over my head until I realized that you have to be at the table to get the most value from your instructions." - Mark M.Great questions, Mark, and I appreciate the kind words also. Here are my comments:
1. Most persons are somewhat ambiocular, that is, their dominance lies somewhat in both eyes. Like some right handers, you are left eye dominant, but the split may be more like 70/30 than 100/0! A good spot for me, for example, is with my right eye an inch left of the cue, not over it directly. Although those with perfectly dominant vision MIGHT benefit from "dominant eye over the stick", The emphasis in the sport on placing one eye over the cue is wrong because:
* Most people are ambiocular as discussed above
* You DON'T shoot a cue stick like a rifle, you look at the target crisply in billiards and in rifle shooting, the dominant eye sees the front sights more clearly than the target
* Forcing an eye over the cue can lead to head and neck strain
Approaching from the left side may help you a bit.
2. Tom Simpson's three-day intensive focuses on stance mechanics, cue ball positioning, and aiming systems, so he is concerned with righting your stroke movement through the cue ball. In addition, I know he emphasizes consistently getting your "vision center" (your ideal head position allowing the eyes to best see the shot, whether or not this coincidentally is under your chin or one eye or the other) over the aim line. You should have done that in your three-day intensive with him already and he can review with you, too. Tom has said probably 75% of players come to him with their head in the wrong spot so he speaks about it in each intensive workshop.
3. You can have a great stance and proper sighting on every shot. Once you abandon a rigid adherence to placing one eye over the stick at all times--even the pros don't do this on every stroke--you can freely move your head to where it needs to be for optimum sighting.
On a cut shot where you find trouble, get in your stance and then move your head very slightly here and there until you get a great view of the target area on the object ball. Now you can shoot--your mind will send the stroke through the cue ball to drive to the target. But it's much tougher to hit a target you cannot see in billiards!
4. It sounds like you typically use an arc swing/pendulum swing. A good quality pendulum uses the same rate of arc no matter the length of the arc/stroke. More on the pendulum stroke and grip and using "3 speeds you need" for cue ball control.
6. Upbeat music can increase your tempo, and for many deliberate players, going 10% faster in the pre-shot and shot routine will help them get into the dead zone of billiards. Even better than a metronome or any stroke timing device yet invented is the CueTrack. I believe in the product and have a full CueTrack Stroke Trainer review online and an in-depth interview with CueTrack's inventor, Tony Mattina.
7. Yes, I had some good pals playing in the open this October. It's one of our sports great highlights, needs better media coverage from others besides ESPN, and is a great place to see how often the pros do NOT use their dominant eye directly over the cue stick!
Keep those questions coming, readers!