What is “eye pattern,” and what are generally recommended “best practices” for eye pattern before and during the stroke?

“Eye pattern” refers to how you move your eyes before and during a shot.

Concerning generally recommended “best practices,” see stroke technique advice. In particular, see steps 1-4 in the stroke “best practices” document.

Regardless of which eye pattern you choose, it is important to have quiet eyes when aligning your cue with the desired line of aim, and during your final delivery. A good generally recommended eye pattern is:

  1. Look at OB while getting down into your stance, and look at the CB as the tip gets close.
  2. Look back and forth between the CB and OB with the cue still to verify tip position and aim alignment.
  3. Look at CB during any warm-up strokes.
  4. Stop at the CB and do one more tip and aim check with the cue still.
  5. Lock your focus on the OB before the final stroke.
  6. Keep your focus along the target line during and after the final stroke, resisting the urge to turn your head or get up to see where the OB is going.

A very important part of the pre-shot routine is to focus on the OB target as you come down into your stance (for more info, see the DAM aiming advice page). This helps guide you straight down along the correct line of aim. Obviously, you need to change your focus to the CB as the tip approaches the CB to make sure you don’t foul and to make sure your cue is being aligned accurately. The CB is still in your peripheral vision as you drop, so both balls help guide you to an accurate alignment.

The reason why pretty much all top players in all cue sports focus on the OB before and during the final stroke is: The distant focus helps you deliver the cue more straight toward your target. This is the case in other sports like free throws in basketball (with focus on the rim), bowling (with focus on the arrows down the lane instead of at the foul line), and archery and shooting (with focus on the target), where you always want your final focused gaze to be at the distant target. This helps maintain straight aim and helps ensure straighter implement delivery in the target direction. Also, focus on the OB helps ensure you keep your head and body still during and after the stroke (instead of looking up from CB focus to see where the CB is heading).

The following videos demonstrate many good and bad habits relating to eye pattern:

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