How does Dr. Dave’s Aiming Method (DAM) work?
I first came up with Dr. Dave’s Aiming Method (DAM) as a joke to mock some people who try to promote “aiming systems” with outrageous claims and snake-oil-salesman type statements, but I also have some serious and useful recommendations below.
First, let’s start with a satirical list of outrageous claims, many of which are direct quotes or paraphrases from statements posted by “aiming system” proponents on pool Internet forums over the years:
I have invented an amazing and new aiming system called DAM that will revolutionize pool playing all around the world. You won’t find DAM in any books, because it has just been recently invented. But rest assured … all future pool books will present DAM in its full glory. DAM is the best and most complete aiming system, that also contributes to correct body alignment, that has ever been devised. Most of the pros use it, especially the Filipino players … that’s why they are so good. DAM works on every shot, regardless of the distance between the balls, or the angle and distance to the pocket. The best thing about DAM is you don’t even need to know or see where the pocket is. Just align and pivot, and the ball goes in the hole. When a good player uses the system, it is impossible to tell … it will just look like they are naturally pocketing balls. That’s when you know they are using DAM!
Try to prove that DAM doesn’t work … you can’t, because it does work. If you can’t make it work, it is either because you really don’t understand it or you don’t have an open mind. If you ask a pro if he or she uses DAM, and he or she says he or she doesn’t, it is because he or she doesn’t want you to know his or her secrets. The DAM system will radically improve the shot-making abilities of those who spend the time to learn it. DAM will eventually become the “aiming standard” and will significantly accelerate your learning curve. There are those who will eventually learn the system, and there are those who will not, and be beaten by those who do. If you don’t think DAM works, it is because you haven’t had personalized lessons with somebody who truly understands it. I make almost every shot with this system … I rarely miss. Isn’t that proof of how good it is? Don’t you want to be as good as me? If you want to master the DAM system, you must visit me in person and pay outrageous sums of money to learn all of the required intricacies.
It only takes two days to learn DAM, and if you practice it for two months, you will start winning tournaments. If you can’t make it work, it is because you don’t have enough “visual intelligence,” in which case you are hopeless. Don’t ask me to describe the system in words or with diagrams, because this can’t be done; although, I do have lots of fancy words and phrases to describe various parts of the system … aren’t you impressed? If you don’t believe in my system or if you doubt the validity of my approach, you will be banished by all of my followers.
Probably the most amazing fact about DAM is that it works for all types of shots, not just cut shots. It also gives you the correct line of aim for combos, caroms, and banks. And you don’t need to adjust for speed, sidespin, throw, or spin-transfer effects. All of the adjustment happen automatically with DAM.
If you want to learn the magic of DAM, I am currently offering exclusive private lessons. I know this might sound ridiculous, but I must be clear on this matter: My students are not allowed to share with anybody anything they learn. They are required to sign a special nondisclosure agreement that binds them for life. People are willing to openly discuss and share everything they learn from my currently-available instructional videos; but if and when I ever release a DAM DVD, the information must not be disclosed by any viewers; otherwise, they risk exposing themselves to extreme wrath and persecution.
Now for a somewhat more serious, realistic, and useful description of what Dr. Dave’s Aiming Method (DAM) actually is …
DAM USEFUL ADVICE (see the outrageous marketing claims above)
The basics of the DAM system are: with a consistent and purposeful pre-shot routine, visualize the required “angle of the shot” and required “line of aim” while standing, then align your vision center with the line of aim as you move your bridge hand and cue forward into your stance while keeping your focus on the OB (or ghost-ball resting point, or contact point, or ball overlap, or whatever else defines your target), then follow all of the recommended stroke “best practices.” Be sure to maintain “quiet eyes” both at the “set” aiming position, checking both the CB tip contact point and your aiming line, and when focusing on the OB (or whatever target you have identified) during the final forward stroke. If you are a good shooter and maintain focus and don’t do anything wrong during the entire DAM process, you will make every shot.
The key to aiming is placing the bridge hand in the exact required position so the bridge guides the cue along the necessary line of aim for the shot. Sometimes you might need to adjust your bridge position a little as you get down and settle into your stance, because you are not likely to place your hand down perfectly every time. Good shooters can see the required angle of the shot and make the necessary fine adjustments to bring the cue (with the bridge) into alignment with the necessary line. Good shooters can also make adjustments where necessary for squirt, swerve, and throw based on shot distance, shot speed, cue elevation, ball and cloth conditions, bridge length, amount and type of spin, etc.
For seeing the required line of aim of a shot, it is recommended to use a combination of straight intuition and feel (just “seeing the angle”) and ghost-ball aiming. You can visualize the necessary CB-OB contact point (to account for throw when appropriate), the line from the center of the OB to the center of the pocket or the throw-adjusted position (sometimes this can be helped by visualizing tracks or a tunnel or an imaginary rail to the target), and the entire ghost-ball. You can do this before and while you move down into your stance, maintaining focus at the OB. You can also visualize the amount of “ball overlap” (between the GB and OB) required during this process. This can help you focus better and maintain your aiming line when you are down low in your stance. Important keys are to aim while standing, with your vision center along the line of the shot, and have laser focus on the OB target as you drop straight down into your stance. These and other things important to accurate and consistent shot-making are demonstrated in the following videos:
Good shooters use all visual information available to them to help see the required angle of the shot and the necessary line of aim. They might use any or all of: ghost-ball visualization, ball-to-ball contact-point visualization, impact-line (or “target line” or “line of centers”) visualization, required ball-hit fraction (CB-OB overlap) visualization, center-to-edge (CTE) 1/2-ball-hit line visualization, visualizing the angular “relationship” between the balls and the rails, etc. Regardless, a good shooter doesn’t need a procedural “aiming system” to do this. For not-so-good shooters, there are drills and techniques they can use to help develop their visualization skills so they can improve their ability to “see” the shot. For example, see:
- ghost-ball aiming system and drill
- NV 3.1 – Practicing contact point and ghost ball visualization
- NV 3.2 – Using the cue to help visualize the required aiming line of a shot
- NV B.3 – Mike Page’s aiming video (part 1, part 2)
For more information, see “Fundamentals – Part II: aiming” (BD, October, 2008) and “Fundamentals – Part III: DAM aiming system” (BD, November, 2008). Here’s a video demonstration from Vol. II of the Billiard University (BU) Instructional video series that illustrates useful ways to practice and apply ghost-ball aiming accurately:
When the CB is really close to the OB, you might find the double-the-distance method helpful. And when the cut angle is close to 30° (which you can judge very well with a peace sign), you can use the CTE (center-to-edge) line as a visual reference. And when you use sidespin, it can be very helpful to use the System for Aiming With Sidespin (SAWS).
For more information dealing with how to aim all types of pool shots, see the How to Aim Pool Shots (HAPS) video series.
The most important ingredients for success with any aiming system are:
PRACTICE … PRACTICE … PRACTICE!!!
FOCUS … FOCUS … FOCUS!!!
Don’t forget to actually aim (while standing), and keep your eyes “quiet” during cue alignment and aim checks. Also, maintain full concentration only on stroke execution during the final stroke. During the stroke, you should not be second-guessing anything about the shot. Everything should be decided and figured out before you settle into your stance. Don’t think while you are shooting.
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