Archive for August, 2008

A Compromise On Aiming Without Aiming

Monday, August 25th, 2008

 I thought I’d try the aiming without aiming thing again Friday night in my weekly pool night at the bar. It didn’t work that well for me before, but maybe tonight…..

The first few games didn’t go that well, although I did win a couple. My opponents weren’t that tough so that helped. I just wasn’t playing too impressively.

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Pool For Beginners
Pool and Pocket Billiards Resource

As the night wore on I started to make some much better shots. My brother usually comes by for some games on Friday, and I had him shaking his head at a couple long 8 ball banks that I made to win some games. (I love it when he shakes his head). 8^)

As my play started to get better and beter, I remembered that I was going to try the no-aiming thing. I had just naturally reverted back to my tried-and-true method of shooting that I have established over the years.

As I approach a shot, I first mentally draw a line through the object ball to the pocket where I want to sink it. I then take note of the spot on the object ball where that line exits, so I know exactly where I have to hit the object ball with the cue ball to send it towards the pocket. I then focus my attention on lining up my shot on the cue ball to get the correct aim, and where I want to leave the cue ball for the next shot.

At this point I drop my head down over the cue to actually finish aiming and take the shot. I realized that it was at this point also that the aiming without aiming best works for me.

In the past, there would be a little anxiety as I took the shot as to whether I had the angle right, or If I hit the cue ball too hard, or if I didn’t have the right english, etc. When I let go of this anxiety and just let my subconscious mind take over, the ball usually did the right thing.

So, instead of letting the mind take over the shot completely, I lined everything up as I always have and just trusted in the mind to take over the actual physical part of taking the shot. It worked pretty well. I played better than I have in weeks and I enjoyed the games I was playing more.

This, of course, ties into what Paul Rod Turner said in the last blog post of controlling the mind. As I have said before, once you play pool for a few years and have made just about every shot hundreds of times, the game becomes 95% mental. When you’ve got your head together you play much better pool than when you are upset or distracted.

I make it a point to get myself into a relaxed state before I start to play pool. I find that I always play better this way than when I am riled up about something. If I start to get anxious during a game – then I put the magic weapon to work.

Do you have a magic weapon that helps you get back on track? I’d love to hear about it. Leave a comment and let the world know what yours is. I’ll reveal mine in a future blog post. Until then, good luck on the table!

The 10 Ingredients of Playing Great Billiards – Ingredient 1 – Controlling the Mind

Tuesday, August 19th, 2008

The 10 Ingredients of Playing Great Billiards – Ingredient 1 – Controlling the Mind
By []Paul Rod Turner

Ingredient 1 – Control the Mind

The most important ingredient, and therefore the first ingredient to playing better pool is: Control the mind. All the best fundamentals in the world will never compensate for a wayward or mischievous mind. You can have perfect alignment and know exactly what to do, but if your mind says: “You can’t get this,” you will miss.

The fact is, success of anything begins in the mind. All the world’s greatest buildings, art masterpieces, music, books and sporting achievements started with the right mindset. You must learn to see your success in your mind before you can expect to execute it on the physical plane.

Be sure to visit my websites…
Pool For Beginners
Pool and Pocket Billiards Resource

The mind is the king of the senses and therefore it controls the physical body. All of us have at one time heard of a fantastic story of some person who was told he would never walk again, only for them to defy the doctors and start running marathons! In every example, the person who was able to surmount his/her physical obstacles did so with the help of their mind. They ran that marathon in their mind over and over again. And then one day they did it.

So in pool, we have to see ourselves pocketing balls effortlessly. We have to see ourselves escaping hooks with the greatest skill and confidence. In our mind we have to see ourselves raising the trophy, accepting the prize money, being congratulated for a great win, etc, etc.

The mind can be our worst enemy or our best friend. It is up to us. We always have a choice. You see, above the mind is the intelligence and above that is consciousness. So we do have power over the mind if we choose to use it.

So start to see your mind as another tool to help you play better. Don’t let it dictate to you. Tell it what you want it to do. Use your intelligence and your free will to direct your mind to positive thoughts of success, confidence and empowerment.

When you understand the power of the mind to positively impact your physical experience, and know that YOU actually have the power to direct it, you align yourself with all the greatest thinkers, artists and sports people in the world. Every single one of them had or have good mind control.

Never underestimate the importance of controlling your mind in every aspect of our life.

Okay, so you agree with me. You have probably heard or read about some of these things before. So how do you actually do it?

The first thing is to start paying attention. Start observing how your mind is reacting to things that happen to you when playing. Like a detached observer, start listening to what your mind’s current response is. Make a concerted effort to separate yourself from what the mind is saying and you as the “observer”. And then slowly start correcting it. The good news is that the mind can always be trained, no matter how old your physical body is!

The best way to correct negative thinking (Some call it “Stinking Thinking”) is to replace it with “Success Thinking.” It is a generally accepted rule that one will always give up a lower taste if a higher taste is presented. Similarly, we have to start training our mind to think like a winner by speaking like a winner.

A thought can be the seed of inspiration or discouragement. And sound can be the seed of creation or destruction. Every world war began with sound. And every great achievement began with some voicing their dream to friends.

When we think negatively we sprout seeds of discouragement which are initially expressed as negative talk. This negative talk is like a seed of destruction and just keeps us struggling. However, when we think positively, we generate seeds of inspiration, which grow into expressions of success thinking which then spring forth seeds of encouragement and creation, leading to a happier life and more success.

The next time you play and you miss a shot, instead of saying: “I am so useless. I always miss.” Say: “I may of missed this time, but I know I can get these shots.” Then slowly replace these positive excuses with positive affirmations like: “I always shoot straight. I am a great shot maker. I know how to run out. I am a winner. I was born to win. When I play pool, the balls always role in my favor.”

In this way, you will start to make your mind your best friend. Instead of the mind reacting negatively to a challenging situation, it will start to react positively and give you the power to execute a perfect solution.

Just like any part of the body, we also need to feed and exercise the mind. Success talk is one effective way to do that. However, for it to be truly effective, you must first understand that the mind is not you. It is a tool – a sense – that you can use to help you or hurt you. It can be your friend or your enemy. Just a like a knife — in the hands of a criminal it can hurt, but that same knife in the hands of a trained surgeon can save a life. So the knife is neither good nor bad. It is how we use it. The same goes for the mind. Make it your friend from now on and start playing better pool!

Paul (BATman)

Paul Rod Turner, is the inventor of the Allison Fisher Billiard Aim Trainer ( and president of The Billiards Training Company. He is a recognized semi-professional pool player, entrepreneur and also directs a non-profit called Food for Life.

Article Source:—Ingredient-1—Controlling-the-Mind&id=559917

The Web Saves Me Bucks Again

Thursday, August 14th, 2008

I thought I would mention to folks an experience I had recently with my computer.

I went to the local pool hall and shot some instructional pool video footage so I could make some clips to put on my  websites. Things went pretty well and I did some segments on choosing a cue stick, how to do bridges, how to rack the balls, etc.

My video camera comes with a USB cable to hook it up to the computer. Since Movie Maker software comes with Windows XP, I figured  I would use it to make up the individual video clips. I hooked the camera up and used Movie Maker to download the raw video.

When I went to play back the video, the audio would begin immediately, but the video portion would start about 15 seconds later. Needless to say the voice didn’t sync up with the picture of me flapping my mouth! Nothing I did would make the two elements play in sync.

As is the case in my job as a computer tech, when all else fails go to Google and do a search right? I happened to come upon a Windows Movie Maker forum and posted a question as to why I couldn’t get my clips to play right. Some nice gentleman responded back that Movie Maker wants to work with video that is captured with Firewire and not USB. Oh.

I searched again and found the following Firewire card at –  It includes the card, the cable to hook it up to my video camera, and some video editing software, all for $21 and change. I ordered it and it came to my door in about 3 days. I popped it in the computer, rebooted, and Windows came right up and installed the card effortlessly.

I hooked up the cable and downloaded the video footage again and BINGO!, my mouth goes with my words. Much better. Now I am able to edit the clips and will soon have them on YouTube and on my Pool For Beginners and Pool and Pocket Billiards Resource sites. I haven’t even tried the editing software yet since Movie Maker is doing what I need to do.

The main reason I mention this is to save people some money if they ever run into this situation. When I went to my local Staples to buy a Firewire card they wanted $60 for just the card and $30 for the cable! Instead of $90 I ended up paying $27 with shipping. Quite a difference.



I Tried It – Aiming Without Aiming

Monday, August 11th, 2008

I went for my usual Friday night pool-playing session this week. I thought I would try out the aiming method that Aditya described in his article that was published in this blog last week. His premise – aim for your pool shots without consciously aiming at all. Let your subconscious mind take over the aiming for you.

This is actually not so far-fetched as it may look at first glance. I have done this without really meaning to, or realizing what I was doing, in the past.  Sometimes I will be practicing and make some fantastic shots without really trying. I just mentally set the pocket I want the ball to drop into and quickly hit the cue ball without really aiming. In it goes.

I have had discussions with other pool players on this subject in the past. If you have played pool for a number of years, you know how and where to hit a ball to put it in the pocket. The main problem is the lack of consistency in being able to make the same shots over and over again on a regular basis.

You mentally know that you can make almost any shot that comes up. Why do you miss so much when you have made the very same shot hundreds of times in the past?  What’s the trick?

This is what intrigued me when I read Aditya’s account of his aiming without aiming successes. He seems to have bypassed the conscious mind that seems to hold us up in our quest to make consistent pool shots.

So anyways, I played pool Friday night with the attitude of letting my subconscious mind do the aiming instead of consciously trying to aim as I usually do. I took less time to aim, I didn’t try to viualize where the cue ball would end up as much, and I just kind of had an I-don’t-care attitude.

I did make some pretty amazing shots. Those table-length cut shots come to mind.  I also made a few banks that had my opponent shaking his head. Hey, there might be something to this! However, I did  scratch on the eight ball twice, and I didn’t win as many games as I usually do. My game seemed a little too loose and out of control.

Of course Aditya did say that he has used this system over the course of three months, so I guess I can’t make a sound judgement yet. I’ll have to give it another month or so and see if my play improves without aiming.

I did come to some conclusions though. It seems my play Friday night suffered from not paying enough attention to my cue ball position after the shot. I often ended up in a difficult spot or in an impossible position to make another shot. I did notice a slight increase in the ability to make long cut shots. Shooting these shots without sweating them so much did seem to help them go in easier. This method did take a little of the anxiety off.

It seems that if I paid a little more attention to my position play and don’t think so much about how I am aiming for the ball, I might get the best of both worlds. You still have to leave yourself right for the next shot or two if you want to win games. But, worrying less about how you are aiming can only help your attitude and enjoyment of the game.

I’m going to give this “aiming without aiming” some more time to grow on me. If I can play just as well, or even better, without sweating the small stuff as much, then I’m all for it. After all, pool is supposed to be fun as well as challenging.

If you try shooting this way I’d love to hear about your experiences. Leave a comment and let me know how it goes for you. Thanks.



Interesting Article – Aiming Without Aiming

Tuesday, August 5th, 2008

I got a nice comment today from a reader named Aditya Ravi Shankar. He sent a link to an fascinating article he wrote about how he aims for the balls during a pool game and his success with his new method. I received his permission to reprint it here. I know what I’ll be trying the next time I play pool….

Nice website. I had an interesting insight in pool that shot up my pool game in the last two months. From a guy who shot maybe a couple of balls at a time, and  was rated a 2 in my APA league, I am now able to run racks and have beat 5’s, 6’s and 7’s in my league…. 

The art of aiming without aiming 🙂

Aiming without Aiming – How to shoot pool like a pro in three months

When I first started playing pool (billiards), I considered myself an average player. I could never be sure if I would make the next shot, and running two or three balls in a row was a big achievement for me. I read books on aiming systems like the ghost ball system, and different drills. However I still saw a clear difference between “easy” and “difficult” shots and trying advanced things like position play would make me miss my shot.

Some time back I heard the term “subconscious-competence” and about the subconscious mind. This is the same thing that allows us to walk without having to logically plan every muscle that needs to be raised to take each step – We just look at where we want to go, decide we want to go there, and then automatically end up there. It is also responsible for the times when we might get distracted while driving, thinking about all kinds of other stuff, and suddenly realize that we have reached home without remembering any of the turns, traffic lights or other cars on the road.

I don’t think that we were ever really meant to be conscious learners. The conscious mind can handle about 5-9 things at a time after which it zones out. The subconscious mind can apparently keep track of EVERYTHING, including things the conscious mind wouldn’t even dare try.

The only thing the unconscious mind really needs is
1. The initial desire or thought from the conscious mind – Creating the goal
2. Trusting signals from the subconscious mind – following your instincts
3. Allowing the subconscious mind to learn and train itself for the goal – Allowing mistakes to happen without labeling or judging them and not getting frustrated by them
4. Getting out of your own way – Letting the subconscious mind do everything instead of trying to take over the wheel while it is doing its work.

Three months ago, I wrote down in my notebook, a thought addressed to my subconscious mind – “I refuse to aim. You do it otherwise we both miss”. For three whole months, I did not aim. I just looked at the pocket I wanted the ball to go, and just shot the cue ball without aiming with any system… Talk about a crazy, unrealistic, leap of faith…

A few days after I began, when the first difficult shot went in without aiming, I was pleasantly surprised. I assumed it was just luck. Over the next few days as more and more people started noticing my consistent shooting “luck”, I started getting an ego. If I did miss, I forgot rule 3. I didn’t realize that when I missed, it wasn’t that my plan wasn’t working, it was just that my subconscious mind hadn’t trained itself for that particular shot yet. It took several days just to accept any misses and not try to control with my conscious mind.

Now days every shot is “easy”. I spend exactly 0 seconds planning the shot. I just look at the pocket, look at the ball, wait for that “YES” signal in my head, and shoot. It goes in on its own. I don’t aim or shoot. My subconscious mind does. I don’t take credit for the shots since I never really shot them. I saw it shooting some amazing shots which blew my mind. It was almost like my subconscious mind was a different person, who was shooting through me. And as it overtook me with its skills, it earned my trust and respect. I no longer dared to compete with it or try to take over the steering wheel again. I knew, that as long as I stayed out of it’s way, it would do the job better than I could have ever hoped to.

But this wasn’t the real shock. Now that I could shoot without shooting, I wanted to see how far I could take it, and what limits my mind had. My next goal was to run a table (run all 7 balls, and the 8 ball in one go without giving my opponent a turn).

Again, I wouldn’t plan it or think about it, just make a goal and trust my subconscious to do whatever was needed. Over the next few days, I found myself wanting to shoot one particular ball versus another, without any logical reason. I would just look at the table, see a particular ball and think to myself- “I like that one, that is what I will shoot next”. Trying to logically decide which was the best ball to shoot actually messed things up.

One week later, I broke and ran the entire table when playing with my team captain – or rather my subconscious mind did. Now days, running 4-5 balls is almost a regular occurrence. Three months ago, I would have laughed at that possibility.

The funny thing is, I don’t even have to be paying attention to the table while I am shooting. I can be thinking about taxes or some movie I watched. In fact, anything OTHER than aiming the shot. The balls just go in on their own. I seem to get so zoned out, I seem to lose track of time and place. I can now play entire pool games and not remember shooting even a single shot.

With the success in pool, I had to push things further. I now started setting broad goals for all areas in my life, just trusting my subconscious mind to handle it. Since then, I’ve had more synchronicities in my life than I can count. Accidentally finding about just the book I needed to read, talking to the one person who can help me with a project. All I have to do is stop wanting my goal or trying to get it. Just do what I feel like doing. My subconscious mind seems to take care of ensuring that I feel just what I need to feel to achieve my goal. Every few days I have to adjust my goals to make them harder and bigger. Frankly, I don’t think the subconscious mind has ANY limits.

I think some people call it being in the zone. Some people call it instinct. Some people call it muscle memory. Some call it trusting a higher power. Whatever you choose to call it, trusting your subconscious mind can let you live life the way it was always meant to be – effortless