This is a great topic for discussion! Of course, this is supposed to be an instructional article, not a thread on a forum. Well, I was just reading a thread of comments on the Main Forum on azbilliards.com on just this very issue. It started out with someone posting his results and conclusions after doing some experimenting with looking at the cue ball last, just before he shoots the cue ball. His conclusion, after trying it for over 2 weeks, was that he improved his shot making and his cue ball control. Wow, did that ever get some people riled up. The thread is still going strong with over 12 pages of comments so far. Everyone seems to be an expert, even with opposing views.
In the mid 80’s I played a lot of Snooker. In fact I managed a recreation facility (The Club) at the University of Manitoba from 1983-1989. Among many other things The Club had nine 5’x10’ Brunswick Snooker tables. During those years I played approx. 100 hrs a week between The Club and a couple of pool rooms in downtown Winnipeg. I ran many Centuries every week all the while looking at the object ball last. I had a very good friend who was a great Snooker player. We will just call him Bill. Bill and I played a lot of Snooker together, sometimes running back to back centuries against each other. One day I noticed him looking at the cue ball last during a shot. I asked him why he did that. He said he always looks at the cue ball last. I was shocked! Bill was one of the best Snooker players in Manitoba and he could pot a ball from anywhere and his position play was awesome. I guess I just hadn’t noticed where he was looking during the stroke before. So, I did a little experimenting with it. It didn’t catch on for me as a common practice. However, thanks to what I learned that day, and all the hours of experimenting after that day, I look at the cue ball last for certain special shots now. I always look at the CB last for very elevated masse shots, on all jump shots, for any power break in pool, on some rail shots, for most jacked up over the ball shots, for some power draw shots, for some power top spin shots, and for a lag shot. Other than those situations I look at the contact point on the object ball last. For me, it’s all about finding what works best in what situation and developing a great skill at that. I would say that I look at the contact point on the object ball last approx. 85% of all shots that I play.
I have been teaching pool for more than 30 years and have helped literally hundreds of pool enthusiasts improve their game, including professionals. My approach to helping people includes guiding them and encouraging them to discover things. I have been a very successful pool player because of my constant search for excellence and I encourage everyone to do the same. Searching for excellence often means that you have to make some changes in order to improve. Don’t allow stubbornness, laziness, and denial control how you approach new ideas. Experiment and explore your way to the new you!!
Enjoy the Process!