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How To Aim In Billiards - Tried And True Tips

Lots Of Gold In One Place

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how to aim in billiards

Knowing the true pocket center is one important facet of aim in billiards

Illustration (c) Matt Sherman, licensed to About.com, Inc.
Here's a quick rundown of some of the aim tips and techniques I share in pocket billiards clinics and individual lessons. If you have two eyes or even one, you can shoot great pool.

*Try starting your aim process from the Full Line. Most good players do so on most shots.

*Use both of your aim/stroke/stance "check off points" correctly: 1) high above the balls when your bridge hand first touches the table and then your 2) in set check off point.

*Get far back from the table to "see", such as marking the contact point on your object ball with your cue stick.

*Take the longest possible route to walk around the table to shoot. This freshens the eyes and depth perception on the table.

*Regardless of how you get there, commit to cue ball aim, spin and speed, from an erect position before bending to your stance!

Aiming Kick Shots:

*Use your cue stick for a bi-sectioning kick shot aimer as I demonstrate.

*Always walk to behind the back end of the kick. Stand behind the ball you plan to kick toward and the aiming is simple.

Eye And Head Positions

*I like to use both eyes to play pool. I feel that makes me twice as good as one-eyed players. :) In other words, forget all the hype about "chin over stick" and "dominant eye over stick" and make sure your vision center is over the line when you shoot. Your vision center is the head position that helps you best see the contact point on the object ball (or edge or portion of the ball you're aiming toward). For most shots, you will have a consistent head position with your vision center on line to aim and play your best.

*The cue stick rests only in one's peripheral vision for many good players. As you come down to the table for your final stance, forget the stick and look ahead at the shot. Trust yourself to do well from there. And for those who use the edge of the stick or its ferrule for aim, do all those calculations when your bridge hand first hits the table than forget the stick again as you lock in for the final stance position.

When Having Trouble Seeing Cut Angles

*What I call pro secret aim is "think contact point" but is geometrically closer to ghost ball. Check it out.

*Be certain to focus 100% on the object ball and find that pinpoint spot you want or the "face" or "side" of the object ball you want; go down looking at it and shoot--even with the worst stroke you have and the ball should go. Commit to the "spot" and you'll work wonders. I shoot in clinics with my head turned and eyes closed to explain the efficiency of locking into the shot first.

*One method of "Pivot Aim". Ignore the contact point and aim at the object ball's "edge" using one tip of english, aligned with both hands one tip off center ball (the pseudo english called "parallel english". Now leave your bridge hand in place and pivot the cue stick to center ball with your stroking arm only. You are aimed to cut the object ball to the pocket (for most shots). Seriously! Use regular non-pivoted aim for half-ball hits.

*Use my chin lock method when you are having trouble locking in aim.

*Give yourself permission to adjust your head, not your hands, when in the full stance.

*Decide if you're an "aim scruncher" or an "aim lounger". Do you shoot best when you pull your head back and away into the final stance or stick it over your bridge hand and close into your work? Watch a few YouTube videos of the pros and you'll see what I mean.

Aiming Difficult Shots

*Use parallel aim on challenging thin and "backwards" cut shots.

*Aim all object balls between the pocket points at the true center of the pocket opening as shown.

*If your aim doesn't feel accurate on a difficult shot, there is no shortcut to greatness. Stand erect, re-acquire the line, get back into your stance again. Fiddling about with the hands to fix aim in the stance is suicidal. A pro who does this soon becomes a retired professional.

*Use quiet eyes and no runway when you aim.

*Keep your head centered on your trunk where God put it using my "secret stance" and don't twist the neck.

*Speed trumps aim near the long rails. I'm saying that cue ball speed on certain shots is far more important than aim! A prime example to review.

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