Anyone beginning to play billiards or snooker will attest that shot making, and more specifically billiard shot aiming technique, is one of the more difficult skills for a beginner to master. This article is written for the beginner who knows nothing about billiard shot aiming, and has simply played a few games in the past for fun without any real thought about technique. The goal is to become consistent with your shot, and to master your shot aiming techniques so that you can make conscious shot decisions with some degree of accuracy. It is one thing to have a great game, but it takes a special skill to have great games consistently. It is said that consistency and shot aiming are two of the most important skills to master. To help you with these, we will discuss three important aspects of improving your aim:
Billiard Shot Aiming Technique
- imagining the shot paths and points of contact
- aiming the billiard shot with your dominant eye
- proper shooting posture
Once you have assessed the table and made your shot decision, you need to analyze it and aim the shot properly. To begin, imagine the straight line from the object ball to the middle of the opening to the pocket and extend that line through the object ball to the side opposite the pocket. Where this line intersects the edge of the object ball is where you must hit the ball in order to make it go in that exact direction. (See diagram 1)
Next, you must determine the exact point on the cue ball to match up with the point you have identified on the object ball. It may not be visible to you since you will be standing behind the cue ball, but you will learn to visualize it. The key point you must imagine is the cue ball contacting the object ball at such a point that during the exact moment of contact, the two balls will be perfectly lined up toward the pocket. Note that this should match the imaginary line that you visualized earlier.
Notice in the diagram that once the cue ball travels to the object ball, the cue ball and the object ball will be perfectly aligned with the pocket at the exact time they come in contact. Once you wrap your head around this concept, only practice at the table can help you get better. You can try our aiming billiard drill for practice on this billiard shot aiming technique.
To determine which points should meet, you will have to make sure that you are aiming the shot with your dominant eye. Estimates show that 95% of humans have a dominant eye, meaning that one is stronger than the other. You need to ensure that you are using your dominant eye to aim all of your shots or else your practice sessions may prove frustrating. See our finding your dominant eye for billiards article for determining which eye you should be using to aim your shots. Once you have determined which is your stronger eye, you should align your body position in such a way that your dominant eye is perfectly aligned with the shot. With that, your body posture is instrumental in getting your dominant eye as low as possible and aligned with your shot. Many pro players including Bata Reyes, Bustamante, and Archer shoot with their chin practically resting on the cue so that they can aim properly. A final note on this billiard shot aiming tutorial; don’t give up before you have a chance to become enlightened with this information. You can read it over and over, but one day when you are at a table it will just click and you will finally get it, as though you were born with this skill. Once you reach this point, consistency will start to set in and you’ll do better in competitive billiard matches.
If you have read this beginner article and you still believe you are missing shots that are hit properly, you may want to investigate the possibility of “throw” and whether or not it is affecting your shots. We have an article called throw in billiard shots to help explain this and how to deal with it when perfecting your billiard shot aiming technique.