Last night during my deep practice session, I discovered an error in my aiming method. I was practicing a new shot which required me to shoot across 2/3rds the length of the nine foot table that I’m using. I repeated the same shot into the corner pocket dozens of times, but a handful of shots missed because they collided with the right side rail just in front of the pocket. I noticed that even when I made balls, they were almost always entering the pocket on the right hand side of the hole. I made a very minor correction to my bridge to make it more solid, and also made a minor correction to my stroke which was slightly off-line. I thought to myself that I must be rushing the shot and I needed to slow things down, so I stepped back. I looked over the shot. ” This was not a hard shot, and I must make it” I told myself. Then I got into my shooting stance, focused intensly, and imagined the national championship was on the line. I took my time, thought through the fundamentals, then pulled the trigger. Cue tip and cue ball collided, the cue ball rolled down table and collided with the object ball. The object ball obediently rolled towards the corner pocket…the right hand side of the corner pocket I might add. Then, the unimaginable happened….the object ball hit the tip of the side rail and rattled between the jaws of the pocket. A MISS! WHAT?!!
I was a little upset with myself, and I set the shot up again. I got back into my shooting stance, checked everything again, and thought, this one should definitely go in. Just before I pulled the trigger, I froze. Maybe the issue was not my execution. Maybe the issue was related to my perception of the shot. Ahh Hahhh! Maybe my eyes were not in proper alignment with the cue stick. I froze my bridge and stroke arm in position, and slightly moved my head to allow my dominate eye to rest directly above the cue stick so that I could look down the line of the stick and assess where the cue ball was being aimed. BINGO! The shot was aimed directly at the very right hand edge of pocket! I’m not sure what changed to cause this error in my aiming, but it’s very easy to fix. I got back into my stance, repositioned my head slightly to the left, noting the location of the cue stick next to my face for future reference, and fired the shot. A perfect shot. I fired again several times, each successful.
In retrospect, I’m not sure how the parallax issue manifested itself, and the new location of the cue stick next to my face seems unnatural (I usually shoot with the stick directly below my chin), but it’s producing results, so who cares why it works? Maybe my vision is changing, and one eye is becoming more dominate? That could explain why the visual perception between both eyes changed. Maybe it’s time for my annual vision checkup!