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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!