Aim and Collision Points

As you are learning, keep reminding yourself of the importance of these two points. Like everything else you've learned so far, you will have to practice and gain a feel for finding your aim and collision points. In time it will become second nature. But without understanding these points of contact, you will find yourself missing shot after shot and just becoming more and more frustrated. Once you understand the science behind the way the balls hit each other, you'll be able to successfully feel out your shots.

Aiming is one of the areas in pool that requires the most practice. But the good news is that once you've put in enough practice time, you'll always remember how to aim. Here's a way for you to get started: Once you've decided which shot to shoot, and you've visualized the path of the object ball to the pocket, and the path of the cue ball to the object ball, take note of the point on the object ball that the cue ball must strike to send the object ball toward the pocket. That is the collision point, or the point where the cue ball will collide with the object ball. Many players, including the pros, like to keep their eyes fixed on that point on the object ball while they approach the table and get into their stance.

Once you are down in shooting position, then you can aim your cue stick at the spot on the cue ball that will take it to the collision point on the object ball. This isn't so easy, because where you point your stick isn't always in a direct line with the collision point on the object ball. But remember, aiming is a trial and error process, so always note how you missed your shot so you can set it up and try again.

Next, place the tip of your cue stick at the point of aim as close to the cue ball as possible, and secure your bridge hand so it doesn't move. Many shots are missed because the cue stick doesn't actually contact the cue ball where the player aimed. This is often due to a wobbly bridge hand. Finally, strike the cue ball with your cue stick, making sure the point of contact with the cue ball is the same point at which you were aiming.

The point where the cue ball strikes the object ball is called the collision point.

To engrave this concept in your head, always picture the two spots on the ball when you're aiming. You can try visualizing the letter A for the “aiming” point and the letter C on the “collision” point. So remember, if you want to cut the object ball to the right, you will need to aim at a point on the cue ball so it will collide with the object ball on the object ball's left side.

A thin cut shot is when the cue ball hits the edge of the object ball. A fine cut shot is a shot where it just barely skims the object ball.

When you're first learning, you're better off striking the cue ball in the center to avoid any unwanted spin that may throw your shot off, so you will find yourself often aiming your cue stick in a direction away from the actual collision point on the object ball. This is where psychology mingles with physics. It's hard not to want to point your cue stick directly at the object ball's collision point, but you will have to learn to visualize where the center of the cue ball is right at the point of collision with the object ball.

The only time the center of the cue ball is directly in line with the collision point of the object ball is when the shot is straight in. In other words, there is no angle or cut. The sharper the angle at which you strike the ball, the greater the difference between the aiming point and the collision point. So, if you just skim the edge of the object ball, the collision point will be even further away than the aiming point.

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