I recently moved to India where snooker tables are a lot more common than pool tables. The pockets are very tight (1.3 balls at the most) and the rails are incredibly unforgiving. Also the tables are much larger than pool tables (either 10 feet or 12 feet long). As a result playing pool on snooker tables is more about shot making ability and less about position play that uses cheating of pockets.
Having played pool for so long, I saw that I played fairly well as long as I played within half a table (short to medium range game) however I found it incredibly difficult to keep up with others when it came to making cut shots 8 feet away. People with no positional ability could destroy me using just their shot making ability.
The ghost ball system just fails at those kind of distances. It is incredibly hard to aim at the center of an imaginary ball 6-8 feet away and hit it perfectly. I found myself missing the pocket by as much as a foot unless I was concentrating a lot. It was also very tiring, both physically and mentally.
While looking around for ideas to improve my long distance shooting, I discovered the parallel line aiming system. It works beautifully for shots that are at the other end of the table. When combined with the ghost ball system, it also works really well for short distance shots.
This is how the parallel line system works.
- Draw a line from the center of the pocket to the center of the object ball and extend it to the opposite side. This point (A) is where the object ball needs to be hit by the cue ball.
- Draw another line parallel to the first, passing through the cue ball and identify the point (B) on the cue ball that needs to hit the object ball
- Align yourself along the line from B to A, and visualize the point B hitting the point A and pushing the object ball into the pocket.
I spent the last couple of weeks practicing with the new system (and also perfecting my stroke). Using precise points instead of imaginary ghost ball centers makes it easier for the subconscious mind to aim at the target. I found it took much less concentration to shoot using this system and within a few days I was able to aim and align shots subconsciously again. This has made it much easier to keep up with others on the big table. Now that my aiming is more confident, I can use stroke and top/bottom english to position the ball around the table again and am able to run more balls.
If you are having trouble with the ghost ball system or are uncomfortable with long cut shots, then give this system a try.
If you enjoyed this article, continue on to the next article in this series, Aiming without Aiming Part IV – Breaking Down The Details of Aiming and Shooting a Billiards Shot.