The System of Having No System
When considering Aiming Systems, let us look to the master Bruce Lee.
Bruce Lee may someday be surpassed in certain physical elements of his art, but it’s more his philosophy that will be considered the paradigm for excellence. For without the way he approached Martial Arts from his mental plane, the physical would have never been achieved.
The basic concept of “the style of having no style” or in our case, “the system of having no system”, is not that certain techniques don’t, or better stated, “never work”, but that we shouldn’t lock ourselves into any ONE system.
Instead, we try to understand why things work the way they do, what works the best, and then strip down the techniques to their simplest form and let things take a more natural path.
But before we get into that, I would first like to say that aiming is really the minor role of the shot making process. The delivery, or stroke, plays a bigger role. That is, probably 75% of the time a shot is missed, it is a stroking error and not an aiming one. So you should actually try to iron out the glitches in your delivery more than aiming.
The reason why most aiming systems break down, and pros typically dismiss them, is that there is no “one system” that will work every time. Plain and simple.
The fact that any given shot can be struck with a myriad of speeds and spins, makes it virtually impossible to rely on any just one. Having said that, I would also like to make the statement that, though it is beneficial in knowing some aiming systems, and like training wheels, they can somewhat aid you when first beginning,
“there is no magic elixir aiming system!”.
If you think that there is, and as Bruce taught as well, you are headed down the road to mediocrity. Not only that, I really have this sense that relying on these so called “magical formulas” can actually be a detriment in the long run. Why? Because it can hinder feel, and cause us to waste time chasing these mythical systems.
ALL aiming systems have one common denominator, TO GET US ON A LINE!
Feeling the line and learning to drop onto it “automatically”, a concept that Tor Lowry is also a proponent of, is really the only true path to Billiard Aiming. And the sooner you realize that, and make a conscious effort to educate yourself onto this path, the faster your improvement will be.
When you see someone like Dennis Orcollo or Sky Woodward marching around the table, splitting the wick, and taking very little time to set up their shot, you think that is an elaborate system? No! The only “system” they can possibly be using here is FEEL.
Because they just know where the line is. Maybe they used a system when they were starting out, but it’s innate for them now. It’s Automatic. And that should be the goal.
Learning to automatically feel the line is the only true path, because again, the variables of speed and spin, as well as cue elevation, play such a big part of line choice. If we were to ONLY hit each shot with a level cue, medium speed and no spin, then aiming systems might have more validity. But it is in these Collision Physics where ALL systems, even our beloved Ghost Ball, meet their weaknesses. Spin Induced Throw, Collision Induced Throw, Deflection, the Gear Principle, cannot be put into a neat little systematic box. They can only come by feel. And you will need a good understanding of these Collision Physics.
But the sooner you come to this realization, the sooner you will be free from the shackles of the “systems”. It’s quite liberating really.
“Choose a line and commit to it”. Feel the line.
If it is the wrong one, try to be aware of why.
If you can’t figure out why, ask someone.
Make the correction, choose and commit again.
And again. And again. Until you can do it Automatically.
That’s how you aim.
Author: Jeff Trent
Editor: Chris Freeman