CTE: dissecting the pivot

It has been a while since I made a post. Two young kids, busy work, life happens. I’ll try to do better 🙂 Meanwhile, Stan Shuffett continues to refine and discover new things about CTE, and I’m pretty excited to see what he has in store for his book coming out! Today, I’m going to talk a little bit about the pivot in CTE.

Over the years there has been a lot of controversy about the pivot. Especially from those that have not taken the time to understand CTE from an experienced point-of-view. Those that do know and understand CTE, they don’t worry about the pivot. They know that if they follow the prescribed steps, they get the result they are after. This is not good enough for those on the other side of the fence, and I don’t blame them! I was there once myself.

A post, I believe from Colin Colenso, once described and explained how a fixed pivot on the bridge hand could not possibly work. He diagrammed how a slightly bad placement of the pivot (say a millimeter or two) would throw the trajectory off at the object ball by a considerable margin. The idea that the bridge hand is always placed with such precision sounded preposterous. I think I agree with that sentiment. I know the how, but not exactly the why. So, I took upon the task of paying attention to the pivot while shooting various shots. The result was quite simple, really. The answer to the pivot is the following.

The pivot does not drive the result of the center ball alignment. Instead, the pivot takes you to the alignment that your perception has already given you. Think about that for a moment. Lets say I’m using a CTE perception, I’ve aligned the aim points and I’m down on the shot in the 1/2 tip offset position. I am ready to pivot at this point. Now, my eyes move their attention to the cue ball. I’m focusing on center ball. Looking from this offset, there is only ONE place the cue can go such that it is pointed directly through the core of the cue ball. I simply turn my cue so it is exactly on that line.

My bridge hand is a soft squishy thing (as Dave Segal stated), it is not a precision instrument. But, it is not crucial to be precise. I only need it in a proximity so that I can turn my cue onto the CCB perception I’m looking at. Through experience I have trained myself to always place my bridge hand very close to that proximity, which to be honest is nearly identical for shots longer than a diamond. We know that for the shorter shots the bridge needs to be closer. Well, a close inspection when on the 1/2 tip offset will indeed show you the line through the cue ball core is a steeper one. I recall during a lesson with Stan watching him pivot the cue on a shorter shot. The butt of the cue was moving considerably more than the longer shots, and that makes complete sense.

So to summarize, the pivot is not a mechanical rotation on the bridge hand. Instead, the pivot takes us to the center cue ball perception such that the cue points directly through the core of the object ball. If the cue needs to shift on the bridge hand slightly, that is not a problem. Even if I purposely placed my bridge hand at an unusual distance, I found myself sliding my bridge hand back during the pivot so the alignment worked.

Stan has always said that CTE is a visual system. When you find your perception alignment standing up (at ball address as Stan puts it), you then look at center cue ball, see where the cue needs to go, then move your body however necessary to put the cue there. The eyes lead, the body follows. The pivot is not all that different. You look through the core of the cue ball from the 1/2 tip offset when you are pre-pivot (full stance), and you simply put your cue on that line. If the bridge hand is placed accordingly, all it takes is a slight pivot to get there. The eyes lead. Your eyes are the most deadly accurate tool in pool, and CTE uses them to the fullest extent.

This entry was posted in CTE, Instruction. Bookmark the permalink.
  • Martin B

    In your opinion, what is the best way to get CTE? I mean, if I’m given the proper perception and pivot direction, I can pocket balls easily.

    If I have to decide for myself which perception, but you tell me the pivot direction, I can poket ball somewhat easily, but I still select wrong pivot direction too many times, which prevent me from using CTE on real games.

    What’s the best way to improve my pivot direction?

  • mohrt

    When you line up on a perception A/B/C, look where CCB crosses the OB, and determine if the shot needs thickened or thinned. That will determine the pivot.

    • Martin B

      yeah, easier said than done 🙂

      I mean for some shot close to the pocket where the pocket is in my sight, that’s great. But say you have an OB 1 diamond away the side pocket, and the CB 2 diamond down the table, 1 diamond away from the rail, same side of the OB and you want to cut it on the fartest corner pocket. You don’t really see the pocket and the OB is far from the pocket, so thining or thickening is not that obvious..

      • mohrt

        Experience will be a huge help here. To to a manual check: if you find the ghostball contact point, then go back behind the visual and see if no pivot will send the shot long or short (hit the contact point in front or behind). Then you know which pivot to use. Usually it is pretty obvious if you pick the wrong one, it will look much farther far off compared to the correct pivot.

        • Martin B


          And in regard to the cut angle vs perception, can we make any conclusion for this? Like for all cut angle between 0 (being a straight show) and 30 degree, it’s a 15-perception, between 30-60 degree, it is a 30-perception, and above 60, it’s a 45 perception? or that is simply not possible?

          • mohrt

            No, cut angles can vary depending on the shot. Some places on the table a 30 degree cut might be an A or C inside, and others could be A or C outside. Although they get easier to recognize through experience, there is no concrete cut angle mappings. That is why its important to practice known shots while learning. That said, I’ve noticed that in most every case a cut angle of 45 degrees and greater is no longer a 15 degree perception.

          • Martin B

            Alright, so I will set up to do all known shot from the DVDs at least 10 times per week and see how I improve on perception/pivot selection.

            thanks again!

  • RW

    I have found that if you use the half ball pivot amount then the pivot point on the cue is 2/3 the distance between the CB and the OB. Always.