What is SAM?
The Supplemental Aiming Method (SAM) (AKA “Stick Aiming Method”) is a fractional-ball aiming system taught by some BCA instructors.
S.A.M. is the set of aimpoints for the fractional aiming method. It is the inverse (almost exactly) of the system CJ Wiley has on his Volume 3 of ‘Ultimate Pool Secrets’ video. If you can roll your cue-ball in a straight line to the same point on an object ball over and over again, it will produce the same resultant path for the object ball over and over again. The contact point between the balls is not relevant to the shooter using the system, because it will happen automatically just by shooting the cue ball to the correct aimpoint. A straight shot is a #1 Aim in S.A.M. and only requires you shoot the cue ball in a line to a point on the vertical center of the object ball. This is usually done with the aimpoint being where the object ball touches the table or at the topmost part of the object ball (tougher to be precise but has better lighting). A half-ball hit releases the object ball from contact at about 30°s from the cue ball path (not the cue-ball to object ball line), and is the #3 Aim in S.A.M. This is the second reference for me after the #1 when I’m shooting because it has a well-defined aimpoint, the outermost edge of the object ball away from the object ball target (the pocket, most of the time). The #2 is halfway between, but uses a point on the edge of the object ball to aim at and not the body of the ball (it’s tough to pick a point in the middle of a solid colored sphere); #2 releases at approximately 15°s. #1 is straight on, #2 is a 3/4 full hit, #3 is half-ball, #4 is 1/4 ball, #5 is 1/8 ball, and #6 is Thin. Fractional aiming has been around for a long time, and this system is another way to use it to greater effect. The #4 is hit by estimating your aimpoint onto the felt beside the object ball or by matching the #2 inside aimpoint position on the cueball to the #3 aimpoint outer edge of the object ball. #5 aimpoint is a similar estimate, and because the edges of the cue-ball and object ball are receding very quickly the penalty for error seems more extreme; I tend to leave S.A.M. for the #5 (1/8th ball hit) because I focus on the amount of ball overlap and not a point on the felt. #6 is for Thin cuts and is often taught by aiming through the contact edges of both balls and parallel shifting to the center of the cue-ball. There is no exact science that will produce a perfect aiming system. I agree with Bob Jewett when he said something to the effect of needing to know what stinks about a system before being able to use it well. What stinks to me about this system is that there is an intangible quality that appears when using the system because the subconscious mind has to be allowed to use the mind and body to make the shot look, feel, and become ‘right’. This means you can say a shot is a #3 Aim all the way and maybe it’s really a #3.463024 Aim or a #2.903882 Aim. If you want to play pool you will either call it a #3 and let your brain do the rest, you will use a #3 Aim as the reference and let your brain thicken or thin the hit to make it right, you will find some other way to make this system work for you, you will abandon the system for something else that makes more sense, or you will have a nervous breakdown and take up checkers because the checks taste better when the thorazine kicks in. This is a crude explanation of S.A.M. The assumption is that the shooter will use the cue stick as the pointer for the line the cue ball needs to travel down to get to the aimpoint (a specifically chosen point at the end of that line), thus making the cue-ball travel an easier task. The shooter then lets the stroke work and the cue ball has no choice but to go down the line. It’s less stress. Having an aimpoint to shoot directly at removes confusion over contact points and simplifies the process so that the shooting routine completes a circuit with no loose ends and has the added benefit of a complete command structure, leading to a more focused shooter. K.I.S.S(illy).