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Keep Your Eyes on the Ball ~ By Calvin Post

Calvin Post of CJP Billiards

5 Reasons why shots are missed!

1. You aren’t on the shot line. The shot line is the path in which your cueball must travel to pocket

the ball. If your eye, cue and stance aren’t squarely lined up with the shot line you have already missed the shot before you even took it. Take a step back and think about your alignment of your stroking arm, you're dominant eye, and your back foot. All 3 of these are essential to be placed on the shot line to make any shot in pool.

2. You aren’t cueing the ball straight. Spin induced throw happens when the cue ball hits the object ball. Imagine two mechanical gears in a machine. As one gear rotates one way, the other gear rotates opposite. So if you are shooting a straight in shot and miss to the left just a small amount you can look at this data and realize it isn’t your shot line, it’s that every shot made has some accidental right spin that is making the object ball miss to the left. It’s crucial to cue absolutely straight each shot. If you have a flaw in your tip placement it will make it hard to ever fully learn cue ball control.

3. Body Movement. This is the number one struggle I see for misses. In the heat of the moment and under immense pressure body movement can occur. The head and body need to be perfectly still on all shots. Any movement of your body can send the stroke slightly off and make misses. If I find myself missing frequently the first thing I remember to remind myself is keep the body and head frozen, and to stay down on the shot until the object ball is pocketed. Staying down is crucial because you want to be as still as a statue until the object ball is pocketed. Only time to get out of the way quick is if you plan on drawing the ball backwards and it would hit your cue otherwise. If you can eliminate all body movement and stay down on shots this will tremendously increase your accuracy.

4. Wrong eye pattern. If you look at the cue ball last before shooting you’re doing it wrong. Staring at the object ball is of the upmost importance. This is your target. By looking at the cue ball last you take your eyes off where you are aiming and essentially are shooting blind. Trust your muscle memory to hit the cue ball without you staring right at it. This takes some practice and time. My eye pattern is as follows.

Eyes on object ball.

Eyes on cue ball to verify tip placement.

Eyes on object ball.

Practice strokes with eyes on object ball.

Eyes on object ball while striking the cue ball sending the shot.

With this eye pattern I’m always focusing on where to hit on the object ball. This keeps my accuracy and focus on where to hit with the cue ball at the object ball rather than on my tip hitting the cue ball. I know this sounds rather simple but it’s something that new players don’t think about right out of the gate.

5. Aim while standing. This one is HUGE! When you are planning a shot commit to one plan. Address the angle, spin, and pace of the shot needed before you get down on the shot. If you get

down and feel uncomfortable or disagree with your decision of how the shot should play, stand back up and reset. NEVER make any adjustments while down on the shot. Your body was setup to play the shot a certain way. Your stance and feet were set on the original plan’s shot line. So if you change the plan midway through your body and stroke may be misaligned now. It’s always safe to stand back up, rethink your plan, commit to the shot, and then get back down on the shot again with your new plan.

I could rattle off another dozen reasons why shots are missed, but I hope this quick read on these 5 may have helped you realize some of your mistakes or perhaps taught you something you didn’t know. There is nothing more empowering than figuring out what’s wrong in your own pool game, and correcting it.

Chalk up, and don’t scratch!

Calvin @ CJPBilliards

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