Mosconi's Method: Parallel Aim - Pool And Billiards

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Learn the Parallel Aim Method

Parallel aiming
Parallel aiming. Photo (c) Matt Sherman 2008, licensed to, Inc.

Let’s examine the parallel method of aiming pool balls. We are exploring a parallel aim method that is rather interesting, one suggested by the legendary Willie Mosconi from his 1950's Winning Pocket Billiards book.

How would you plan to find the aim point on the 3-ball to pocket it in the side? What exact spot on the three would you aim to hit. Which part of the cue ball should hit there? And where do you stand and look to see the shot?

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Mental Marking of Parallel Aim Lines

Photo (c) Matt Sherman 2008, licensed to, Inc.

Mosconi described mentally marking a line through the object ball to the pocket. Take this line to the precise center of the pocket (the topmost part of the ball you can see, or its exact geographic center, or its base where it rests on the table). In other words, the south pole of the ball can be used, or its north pole, or in your mind's eye, what would be the peach pit at the interior center of the sphere, if the pool ball was a peach.

All three points, the peach pit and north and south poles, lie on the "center" of the ball. Now, plot a parallel line running through the center of the cue ball to the nearest table cushion. Extend that line so it comes out the far side of the ball, too.

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The Magic Line In Parallel Aiming

Photo (c) Matt Sherman 2008, licensed to, Inc.

After composing parallel lines in your mind’s eye on the object ball and cue ball, deduce the shortest line that will bring the balls together on one aim line. The cue ball will come right behind the object ball to form one unit "aimed" for the pocket.



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The Parallel Aim Stroke

Photo (c) Matt Sherman 2008, licensed to, Inc.

Set your cue stick through the center of the cue ball so that it is on a parallel line to the line connecting the parallel lines for their stroke (the green line as shown, parallel to the blue line of connection.

Note that although this has been called “the parallel aim method”, it is actually a plan to bring the edges of the balls together, and allows the actual object ball to be sighted upon, rather than some imagined ghost ball in space.

That last is important. It's much, much easier to look at the object ball while aiming then an imaginary spot where the cue ball is targeted. It's easier, for one example, for me to pick out a target spot on a ball in a rack of balls than it is for me to "see" the ghost ball hit the rack to create a four or five ball combination!

Most pros use some type of edge-to-edge method for ball impact visualization. They plan the aim line of the object ball then consider some edge or section from each ball they will connect together. You can do the same, and watch your scoring percentage improve dramatically.