The Naming of Ball Aims
To the Editor.
In an article in your last issue you comment upon Colonel
Western’s book on Billiards and invite correspondence upon
his method of naming the various ball aims. I submit with
all deference to your remarks, that this new method is not
an improvement on the old.
Col. Western contends that the present aims are misnamed
because we have to “accept as our datum point a
vague point in space.” Now this is precisely what the
Colonel does himself, and he merely reverses the accepted
nomenclature for the liner and fuller than half-ball aims.
You say that for a seven-eighths ball aim Col. Western
would direct the cue ball at a point seven-eighths of a diameter
from the centre of the object ball. It seems to follow,
therefore, that an eight-eighths (or full ball) aim would
be at a point a full diameter distant from the centre of the
object ball, which would consequently be just grazed by the
If, however, Col. Western defines the full ball aim as being
(as we now know it) that for the straight potting of the
red, we have this noveltythat an eight-eighths ball aim
gives the thickest contact of all and a seven-eighths ball aim
gives almost the thinnestwhich is somewhat illogical.
Referring to the first paragraph of your article, permit me
to point out that in the Badminton Book on Billiards not
only are the various aims fully defined but complete explanatory
diagrams are given showing the different contacts and
the directions taken by the balls after impact.
A. LONG BROWN.
12th February, 1912.
[Col. Western does not say in his book that an “eight-eighths” ball is a full ball and that a seven-eighths ball is
a grazing ball. He takes the full ball aim as the starting
point for all aims and names each aim according to the
extent of its deviation from the full ball, which he regards
(and we think rightly) as a definite and logical starting
point. If a half-ball aim is half a diameter from the centre,
we do not see why a quarter-ball aim should not be made at
a quarter diameter from the centre and a three-quarter ball
aim at a three-quarters diameter from the centre. What
appeals to us the most strongly in the proposed new nomenclature
is that it refers to aim rather than contact and in so
doing embraces contact also, whereas a student who is at
present merely shown what a quarter or three-quarter ball
contact is, is not at all helped in the matter of aiming. We
suggest to our readers who are interested in the scientific
aspect of billiards, so far as ball contacts, directions, and
strengths are concerned, the purchase of Col. Western’s
book itself, so that his arguments may be taken as a whole.
The chapter on the half-ball stroke is alone worth the 3s. 6d.
charged. A true half-ball stroke, for instance, impels the
object ball at an angle of exactly 30 degrees, which is what
not one of the set-up familiar half-ball positions on the billiard
table does.Ed. B.M.]