What To Look At

As I work with my students and give seminars and classes at the national level events that I have attended in the past, one of the commonly asked questions that I get from less experienced players is “What should I be looking at when I hit the cue ball – the ball that I’m trying to make, the cue ball or the pocket?”.

What the eyes are doing during the aiming process and the pre-shot routine is an important part of being consistent with your accuracy. We will pick up the shot process at the point where the shooter has lowered himself into his shooting position behind the cue ball and has brought the cue tip to a stop about a quarter inch away from Whitey. When you watch pro players play, one may look slightly different than the other in how they do it, but they will all use a system that is similar to each others if you know what to look for. Once they’re in their shooting position, they split their time doing a few warmup strokes then stopping and aiming – a few more warmup strokes then stopping and aiming. Each time, after taking a few warmup strokes, they stop the tip right at the cue ball and check the aim. This means that when the cue tip stops at the cue ball, the eyes shift back and forth between the object ball and cue ball checking the aim. If the pro likes what he sees, he looks at the object ball and then starts his backswing and shoots the shot. If he stops to aim and does not like what he sees, he will make a minor correction and then take a few more warmup strokes and stop and check the aim again. Every pro goes through a similar system to this every time he or she shoots. Some pros shift their eyes to the object ball during their backswing, while others look at the object ball before they start their backswing. Either way, their eyes are on the object ball as they strike the cue ball.

When you are in a stopped position at the ball checking the aim, your chin or head must not move as yours eyes go back and forth from cue ball to object ball. You must keep your chin in a high enough position so that only the eyes move when you are aiming. Many people make the mistake of moving their head up and down as their eyes go from the cue ball to the object ball.
Good luck, good shooting and remember, Whitey never lies.