Pool Aiming Tips for Shooting Precision

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Happy friends playing pool together

People new to pool often spend a lot of time online searching for pool aiming tips that can help them improve their score, shot precision, and overall performance. Just having the best pool table and cue often isn’t enough. Hours of daily practice is required, but if you’re not using the right aiming techniques, you’ll find yourself frustrated and feeling defeated at the end of every practice. This guide can help you improve your aim and includes tips and tricks that you can use to get an edge on the competition and basically wipe the floor with any opponent.

Skill Level

Learning how to aim is only part of the solution, you also need to know how to hold a pool cue correctly and how to play the cue ball in the correct direction with excellent precision to prevent missing important shots.

This will usually require a couple of things:

Aiming Correctly

This requires visualizing the correct line for the ball to travel along.

Straight Stroke

Maintaining a stroke that’s straight while striking the ball is very important.

Aiming System

The basic aiming system is pretty simple. To do, you’ll need to assume and choose the right line. While this may not sound very effective, it doesn’t mean that it won’t work for your game. Experienced pool players know that there’s a correct spot where the pool ball needs to go.

Here, the aiming system you’ll learn involves setting up a certain shot, then repeating the shot several times in a row, twenty to thirty times per practice session. Every time, it will follow the same procedure:

  • Try visualizing the line that the ball should take toward the pocket.
  • Choose a line from the ball to the object, which you’re assuming is the right line.
  • Next, play the cue along the line as precisely as you can.
  • Pay attention to the result and perfect your aiming line accordingly for your next shot:
    for the right side, if the ball didn’t make it to the pocket, then you’ll correct your aim line to the right.
  • For the left, if the ball didn’t make it into the pocket, you’ll correct your aiming line to the left.
  • Repeat it again if you’ve potted the ball.

Missing Shots

Many beginners tend to easily get frustrated when they miss a shot. However, they need to learn that missing shots is all part of the game. Even the most skilled billiard players will miss shots from time to time, even simple ones. Choosing a line is all about assumption and making an educated guess where the correct spot may be, where the ball needs to hit the object ball. There will be times when your aim is off by only a fraction of an inch, which leads to the ball rattling in a corner pocket before it drops out. Keep trying. Learn from your mistakes, and over time, your educated guesses will improve and so will your aiming accuracy.

Follow Through

You have to trust your assumption 100%. While there may be times when your fundamentals aren’t that great, you’ll still need to shoot the ball with all the confidence you can muster. This will increase the probability of making a pot on each and every shot.

Ghost Ball

Pool balls on the blue felt

There are many different aiming systems you can use to achieve the best results. The ghost ball system is one of the most commonly used methods. When you line up a shot, you’ll need to visualize the ball being in line with the pocket you’re trying to land.

If you hit the right spot with the cue ball, the object ball will make it into the pocket. Keep in mind, when you’re aiming the cue ball at the contact point on the object ball, only rely on using the center of the cue ball for an aiming point if it’s a straight shot. Typically, when you’re performing a cut shot, you’ll be striking the object ball using the edge of a cue ball. If you spend time practicing, you’ll quickly get the hang of it and won’t have to rely on the ghost ball system for each shot.

Angle Range

There is a pretty wide range of angles you can hit, depending on how good your eyes are and how straight your stroke it. Basically, any type of cut shots that are less than ninety degrees can be made. This basically means that there is a 180-degree area in the front of an object ball.


Most new players attempt to aim at the center of the ball when they’re trying to hit the target. However, the cue ball is sphere shaped, which means players rarely hit the direct center. The majority of the time, when the cue ball makes contact with the object ball, it won’t hit the center of the cue ball, only the side. On perfectly straight shots, this isn’t the case.

A good drill to use to get the hang of this technique involves placing a coin hanging just slightly off the side cushion of the pool table. Of course, you’ll want to make sure the pool table is level. Place the cue ball about a ball’s width away from the cushion and attempt to hit the coin causing it to move. If you aimed at the center of the cue ball in order to hit the coin, you’re going to miss. You will only be able to move the coin by aiming the part of the cue ball that will hit the coin at a particular angle.

Contact Point Sighting

Now that you have a better idea of how you can find the contact point, there are a few great steps you can take to ensure you know how to aim a shot correctly. You need to get behind the shot and find the contact point. Next, remember to keep your eye on that point up until you take the shot.

  • Begin by standing behind the line of the shot to find the aiming point.
  • Always keep your eyes on the contact point as you get the shot down.
  • Now, you’ll want to check the cue ball and aim at the contact point on the object ball, slowly moving your cue back and forth.
  • Just before you shoot, on the backstroke, look at the contact point you want to hit on the object ball and continue looking at it until you finished your shot.
  • As you become relaxed with taking practice strokes, you can make the shot.

Using this aiming system may feel awkward at first, but it will start to feel more natural over time. The more you utilize this technique, the more comfortable you’ll feel practicing taking shots.

Mistakes to Avoid When Aiming

Below you’ll find a few common mistakes most beginners tend to make when they are learning how to use an aiming system:

Don’t Change Your Aim

When you’re taking your practice strokes, don’t change your aim. This is probably the most common error many beginners first learn to avoid when playing pool. In many cases, the beginner will find their aiming line, set up the shot correctly, then decide to change or move their aim while they’re taking their practice stroke. Your aiming should take place right before getting down on the shot. If you don’t feel confident about your aim get up, reinspect the contact point you plan to aim at, then you can get back down to shooting again.

Avoid Moving Your Head

Try to avoid jerking your head while shooting to check your aim. In pool, head movement is a huge no. The right shot should have every part of your body very still with the exception of your forearm and elbow which move the pool cue to hit the ball. So, if you’re attempting to move while shooting to see if the hit went in, you may be messing up your aim. Fully follow through on a shot. This way, you’ll know your cue was delivered correctly.

Walk into a Shot

When getting down to shoot, walk into the shot. Beginners tend to move their cue from the side when they’re getting down on a shot, or they end up stepping backwards as they get down to shoot. These techniques can cause issues, since the player isn’t able to visually keep their eye in line with the cue while they move to aim the shot. Ideally, when a player steps forwards, their eye is always on the contact point it needs to be on and they’re moving their cue in a vertical direction to get down on the shot using minimal side movement.

If you’re a beginner and want to learn the most important lessons any beginner should know, make sure you read this!

Final Thoughts

These pool aiming tips are for players of all skill levels; however, beginners tend to make many common mistakes that are easily avoidable. Using these tips, you should be able to sight the aiming point on the cue ball, increasing the number of balls you’re able to sink each time you get to the table. With consistency and practice you should have no trouble perfecting your aiming technique, using basic or advanced aiming systems that are designed to train your eye and aiming precision, so you can pocket every ball.