Three Quarter Ball Position Practice Drill.

This Video is a Practice Drill

This is a pool practice drill that my snooker coach demonstrated to me during an hour session in Nottingham.

The idea is to play all of the shots from the same cue ball and object ball  location and achieve different track lines by changing your stroke.

Changing the Stroke Changes the Track Line

The position of the hit on the cue ball combined with changes in your stroke will result in the white ball travelling down a different line. By learning how and when to adjust your grip and stroke you will develop a “feel” for the shot and the ability to direct the cue ball in many different directions.

The pace of the shot will also affect the track line, generally speaking the white will follow the tangent less on softer shots.

Control the white so that the white ball just touches the target ball softly if it doesn’t then make adjustments.

The Tangent line and Cue ball Speed.

This is important enough that it needs to be the subject of its own article but I will sum up the issue for this practice drill.

The cue ball will follow the tangent on all cut shots prior to leaving the line and moving in the intended direction due to the applied spin.

The harder the white ball is struck, the longer distance it will stay on the tangent line.

The softer the shot the quicker the spin will take effect.

Observing the Results of Your Actions.

When you are practicing set specific goals, observe the results, make  necessary adjustments to achieve the goal. Then observe/adjust, observe/adjust.


The Dreaded Straight-in Shot!

Why We Miss Easy Straight Shots in Pool.

Have you ever wondered why straight in shots cause so many problems for so many good players.

Perhaps you are one of them and are wondering why this happens?

I had this problem myself, but now I’ve learned to deal with this situation. So much so that I don’t miss straight in shots now unless there’s a really good reason.

Such as:

  • Cueing off the rail.
  • Bridging over a ball.
  • Long distance.

Even then I still feel favorite to make the Shot!

Hopefully this will help you also.

How to Aim in Pool.

Over the years most of us have developed our shot making abilities based on constant repetition rather than point to point aiming. It is like a trial and error process which eliminates the shots that don’t work and keeps the ones that do.

This information is safely locked away inside our head for future use.

In other words we just know how to judge a particular angle through constantly practicing until the shots look right. Then once we are proficient we use our muscle memory to successfully execute the shot at will.

This is a natural way to learn and a natural way to play, our subconscious mind is doing the majority of the heavy lifting for us without even thinking.

The Problem with Conscious Aiming.

The biggest downfall with our thinking mind is that it is a dreadful pool player whose suggestions should be ignored most of the time.

The problem with straight in shots is that this principle gets interrupted because now we have two points point of reference. We can see that a center hit on the cue ball to a center contact on the object ball will result in a straight shot.

Our eyes and conscious mind start to argue with our subconscious stored data with negative results.

Objective points of Aim.

There are only three known points of aim in pool they are:

  • Center to Center…. Straight in shot.
  • Edge-to-edge…. Thin cut shot.
  • Center to Edge…. Half ball shot.

These are the only three shots that we can know objectively. Even then its not easy to recognize the 1/2 ball shot without a lot of practice.

When faced with a straight in shot the pool players’ conscious mind recognizes the center to center shot to the center of the pocket.

“I’ve just got to line everything up and I can’t miss. This is so easy.”

So the subconscious player, which can make thousands of minor adjustments in a split second to overcome stroke errors, is overridden by the thinking mind.

In an attempt to aim perfectly we ignore the wealth of information gathered over the years and consequently miss the “easy shot.”

The Solution to Straight Shots.

The first thing to do is to recognize the problem and be alert to falling into the aiming by thinking trap.

To begin with I identify the shot as straight to alert myself to the possible danger I am about to face.

Then I treat straight shots the same as any other shot. If I  find myself  “consciously aiming,”  I stop, stand up and start my pre shot routine all over again.

Make sure that you identify and treat the shot with the same respect in practice and develop a fool proof routine for executing these sometimes tricky shots under match and pressure situations.


Center to Edge Aiming – CTE.

In order for me to discuss this method I would like you to bear the following in mind:

Center to edge aiming is one of the most contentious aiming systems. It seems that people either love or hate the method and go to great lengths to argue their point. If an aiming system works for you then use it, if not then use another of the many methods.

So with that being said let’s look at CTE.

Stan Shuffett.

Center to Edge aiming has been developed over the years by the renowned coach and player Stan shuffett. Stan originally got the idea from Hal Houle who developed a number of aiming systems over the course of his lifetime.
Hal called it his three angle system.

Pro One.

Stan has worked on the center to edge system over the past 10 years and refined it into a method called “Pro One.” Stan has rigorously tested his method on a the practice table and in competition.

Stan’s Fargo rating is currently around 725, so he is a solid force to be reckoned with on any table.

Table Geometry.

Pro one is based around the geometry of a regulation pool table and its relationship to the angles 15, 30 and 45 degrees. Those three angles are not the same as those used in the quarters system ie. 1/4 ball, 1/2 ball and 3/4 ball.

The Cue Ball.

The cue ball has a vertical center line running between 12 and 6 o’clock and two extreme edges at 3 and 9 o’clock. Although there are no actual edges on a sphere these edges are a perception, semantics are not relevant to this system. The Edge that you perceive is the edge used for this system.

The Object Ball.

Visually the object ball is divided into four quarters each measuring 9/16″. The old Centennial balls are marked at the quarters to help make practice a little easier.

If you don’t have a ball with the correct markings then there are plenty of practice balls out there or you could use a marker pen.

How to Find Your Vision Center.

Finding your vision center is probably the most important fundamental in pool. Despite this fact we don’t seem to discuss it much at all.

In a nutshell your vision center is the position between or under your eyes where a perfect straight shot looks straight to your eyes. With both eyes open.

The majority of pool players have two good eyes one will be dominant but the other one will be carrying out a number of other important tasks. One of the most important tasks for the non-dominant eye is depth perception.

Looking with one eye it’s easy to get everything in line but two eyes working in unison will give you the full picture.

The eyes work in harmony to give all of the measurement information required to aim correctly.

This is nothing to do with the “Dominant Eye Theory” which has put a lot of people on the wrong path for many years now. Just to clear that up do not put your pool cue underneath your dominant eye unless your vision center happens to be in that position also!

Joss Pool Cue Level 2 J-1 1986 Used- Ebay Listing

For sale on Ebay

Used Joss Pool Cue 1986

Old and straight. Chipped butt ring see pictures. Butt and shaft match. Shaft shows darker color from age and regular use. Wrap shows wear see pictures.

Used Joss Pool Cue 1986

I will ship in a used vinyl case at no extra cost.


Weight:19.5 oz


Level 2 J-1

Level 2 J-1 Get Pricing
– Bird´s-eye maple forearm, bird´s-eye maple butt sleeve.

Old and straight. Chipped butt ring see pictures. Butt and shaft match. Shaft shows darker color from age and regular use. Wrap shows wear see pictures.

Used Joss Pool Cue 1986

Joss catalogue, circa mid-1980s.
This cue is a level 2 J-1.

The J-18 ( which is not this particular model) was the model used to portray the Balabushka in “The Color of Money” in 1986.

These cues went through a number of price increases during the 1980s.

There are no returns unless the item is not as described.

Please look at the pictures and ask question.

How to Grip the Cue and Stroke the Shot.

I was practicing in the pool hall last week. I don’t go there that often because people always come over and ask me questions while I’m trying to practice.

Just because you’re a good player it doesn’t mean that to you don’t need to practice anymore. The truth is that you need to practice even more than the other players are practicing. It’s the only way to keep ahead of what the other players are doing.

Anyway so this guy is watching me for a while and then he comes walking over. I always try to be nice to people because I want to encourage them to do as well as they can even though it’s a little bit rude to interrupt when someone is practicing.

So he starts to ask me questions. He asked about a particular shot that I was working on.

How was I hitting the ball?

What stroke was I using?

Was my grip loose or firm?

I showed him what I was doing and how I was hitting the ball. Then he asked me to play a different type of shot for him, which I did.

By this point he looked very confused. He didn’t understand why I would hold the cue or strike the ball differently depending on what type of shot I was playing.

This guy had apparently been working on a specific grip for quite some time. He had been trying to make this grip/stroke work for all shots on a pool table.

This does not work and you will waste so much practice time trying to perfect a one grip suits all shots approach.

I use at least three different types of grip and at least three different types of stroke:

  • Soft finesse stroke.
  • Punch stroke.
  • Follow through stroke.

Now I can combine these strokes with the different types of shot:

  • Top Spin
  • Back Spin
  • Stop Shot

Of course I know there are some more shots.

The point is if you combine the three shots with the three Strokes that’s a lot of combinations.

Well nine combinations anyway.

So there is not one particular way to hold the cue and stroke the ball that will work for all shots.

Whilst standing in the pre shot position, decide which stroke to use in order to achieve the desired shape.

Play the Shot through in your head before getting into your final stance.

If you are in the habit of thinking that one grip or stroke fits all, try to spend some time alone on a table and discover the different ways you can make the ball move by changing your grip.

Just as an example of the differences you can make, try playing a punch stroke and gently squeezing with your back fingers as the cue goes through the ball.

The draw shot or screw back is another example of how the stroke and grip can change the end result: follow through with a loose grip or snap through with a tighter punchy grip and the results will be totally different.

You have to set time aside to experiment and test things out in a practice session. Time spent on this exercise will pay greater dividends than running out racks against the ghost.

Playing the ghost will maintain your existing skills, whilst experimentation will expand your range of shots and may  take you to a new level.

How to Aim at Pool-Billiard Aiming Systems.

How to aim at pool in order to make the cue ball strike the object ball at the precise angle that sends the ball into the desired pocket?

If you can play a bit then this will not seem that difficult to do. However, making 2 spheres collide at the exact angle is no mean feat. Professionals and top amateur players make it look easy but they have hit their share of balls on the practice table.

If you ask a professional pool player how they aim you will usually get one of two replies:

  • I don’t know.
  • I don’t aim.

This is actually not a lie. It is not these players trying to hide their secrets, most of them genuinely don’t know.

Even worse if you are ever in a position to get some help from a pro player you will soon find out that most of them are terrible at explaining the process.

So what is a New Player to Do?

Pool and billiard aiming systems which is the best for a new player?

What is an Aiming system?

An aiming system is a practical method to assist alignment with the object ball. It is an aid to help with cue ball object ball alignment.

Do I Need an Aiming system?

The short answer is no, many people including professional players have never used an aiming system but play at a world-class level.

These players learned the angles from hitting millions of balls and using trial and error.

Do Aiming Systems help?

Yes aiming systems can help.

Some systems are used to help illustrate the aiming line in coaching situations.

In particular the ghost ball system is very useful when coaching students.

Aiming systems can help to shortcut the learning process, not everyone has the time to practice 8 hours a day.

Some popular aiming systems.

  • Quarters system
  • Split the difference
  • Cue shaft systems
  • 90/90
  • The see system
  • Center to Edge
  • Shish kabob
  • Ghost ball
  • Poolology

I am only going to discuss the systems that I know something about.

Coming Soon!

How to grip a pool cue – the pool stroke.

The pool cue grip determines the way the cue is delivered when striking the ball.

The grip should be firm enough to pick up the cue from a table, yet relaxed enough so that the cue moves slightly within the hand.

The thumb should Point downwards and the knuckles should be parallel to the cue in the set position.

The shaft of the cue should rest lightly on the pads of your fingers with no pressure being transferred to the butt.

As the cue swings backwards and forwards in a pendulum motion the fingers generally open and close to accommodate and maintain its level movement.

When striking the cue ball the grip pressure is gently transferred from the front to the back of the hand.

In the finish position the knuckles finish pointing upwards with air to the palm of the hand.

It is a mistake to think that this grip as described above is good for all shots.

There are several different strokes in pool.

  • Follow stroke
  • Draw stroke
  • Punch stroke

Each Different Stroke requires a slight adjustment to the grip described above.

However the general basic principles of the grip remain the same throughout.

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