English Amateur Billiards Association

EABA : The Billiard Monthly : March, 1911

The Billiard Monthly : March, 1911


The “Eye” to Billiards

The question as to at which ball the billiard player should
look in the act of striking is as old as the game of billiards
itself. What is wanted is to have a clear impression in the
“mind’s eye” or “brain eye” of the relative positions of
cue ball, object ball, and third ball or pocket before aligning
the cue and making the stroke. Turning to the great
professional players, John Roberts, of late years at all
events, has always laid down that the last look should be at
the object ball. H. W. Stevenson, in an admirable article,
has written, “The abiding rule is that the last glance of
all, and the place where the sight must be resting at the
moment the ball is struck, is on the object ball.” Charles
Dawson, in his book, puts it far more strongly than either
of the professionals just mentioned, for he writes—I am
quoting from memory—that “once the player has taken his
aim he can remove his eye altogether from the cue ball.”

Edward Diggle, too, invariably carries out Stevenson’s dictum,
with which the late William Cook’s advice and practice
were in accordance. Joseph Bennett, a player of very
studied methods, advises the player (as I have done in the
second edition of my little book on “Hints on Billiards”
[Bell], and possibly for the same reason) to look at the cue
ball. It may thus be laid down that the greatest players
will always do best to look at the object ball in striking,
their stance being firm as a rock and their cue delivery mechanical
in its accuracy. In my own case I have made
breaks of 150 (all in) looking at the cue ball last, and of
150 (under the present B.A. rules) looking at the object
ball last, whilst I once played a 50 up with my eyes shut
whilst I swung and delivered the cue, and made a 20 break.

J. P. Buchanan, in The Field

If any billiard player be watched, nine times out of ten,
or nineteen times out of twenty, it will be seen that the
player does not align with the one eye or the other; he
uses the brain “eye,” and the line of vision of this mental
eye represents a line drawn at right angles from a point
midway between the two eyes, and when, says Dr.
Doyne, I speak of this line of vision of the eye, this is what
I mean. A great deal has been said about whether you
should look at the object ball or the cue ball, the actual
fact being that, in ordinary strokes, once you have the correct
aim, which is, as I have said, a matter of brain judgment,
you do not need to look at any spot in particular but
take in the table generally. In billiards the use of both
eyes is especially important. The game continually involves
the estimation of distance and angles, and the stroke has to
be made after such estimation, and it would seem an obvious
inference that if the estimation of distance and angles
required both eyes for each mental process involved, the
further delivering of the stroke should be made in the same
way. And as a matter of fact, that is nearly always the

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