For the purpose of this article, when we say CTE we are referring to CTE PRO ONE.
Center-To-Edge aiming, probably the most controversial thing to hit pool in our lifetime. We can demonstrate it, we can teach it, but we can’t seem to diagram it. Why is that? Isn’t everything in pool explainable with math, geometry and physics? Most would agree with that statement. However, there is a fundamental part of this equation that we tend to take for granted: visual perception.
When you look at a shot diagram in a book, you might see something like this:
That is, a two-dimensional view of the table. That’s fine for getting a point across, however it is technically inaccurate. That is, unless pool is played by looking at the table from directly above with one eye, and everything is perfectly flat and we are playing with little circular discs lying on the surface.
However when we take the shot to the table, we are presented with something completely different:
Even this photo is not an accurate representation of the perception. This is just a flat 2d picture of a 3d world. If you move your head left and right looking at the photo above, the perception does not change. However when looking at a shot on a real pool table, moving your head even the slightest bit changes the entire perception. Just to complicate matters, we have two eyes that give us a stereoscopic view of the table. Each eye sees things independently, and together they give our brain information to work out the entire visual perception.
Let’s take this to ghost-ball aiming. If we were playing on a 2d surface the ghost-ball is easy to diagram, and a line through the center of the cue ball through the center of the ghost-ball is easy to draw, no matter how you turn the diagram and look at it. However if you walk up to a table and stand behind the cueball, now how do you find that ghost-ball? There is an inter-play of the mind that happens to map the 2d information to the 3d world. Through repetition your mind recalls a shot picture and muscle memory to execute a successful and repeatable shot.
This is by in large how most of us learn pool. We take something taught in a 2d form of geometry and math, and through repetition the brain figures out how to translate this to a 3d perspective. Now, some super smart people (Hal, Stan, etc.) figured something out completely different. Instead of translating 2d solutions to 3d perspectives, what if we start with objective visuals available to us in our 3d perspective, and see if we can map these to shot lines that connect with the pockets? (objective just means definitive or unambiguous, strictly defined targets.) I’m only speculating here, but maybe these people setup some shots, and for each one they moved their eye position left and right and determined there were objective visuals available that were in identical and repeatable positions. That must have been a glorious day 🙂 From there, the rest is history.
So we end up with Center-To-Edge aiming. We take a specific CB/OB/Pocket relationship, and through repetition and practice we learn to identify the correct visual for the given shot. From there it is a matter of lining up on the visual, moving into center cue ball (with a slight but identical/repeatable left or right sweep) and landing on center cue ball, and striking straight through that line.
So the first question someone may have with this system, what about all the shots in between the visuals? Well that is most certainly the million dollar question. I don’t have a mathematical proof, but I can say with conviction that there are no in between shots. All shots align to the heart of the pocket when executed perfectly. I believe this is evidence of how the system starts with a visual perception. 2d diagrams are fine for getting the idea across, however it will never be geometrically accurate. These lines represent visuals found in a 3d perception. When you stand behind a shot and align a visual, these are not discrete lines you can draw on a 2d diagram and mean anything geometrically. For instance, I can stand behind the cueball and line up CTEL/A, both lines aligned with my right eye from maybe 5 feet behind the shot. There is no way to take a pencil and protractor and draw the two lines through CB/OB and make them intersect 5 feet away. Even if it did, it doesn’t correlate the perception from a 3d view. However when you stand behind the shot, the perception is exact and repeatable. When you see a 2d diagram of a CTE perception, it is just that, a representation. Anyone trying to take these visuals to paper and making a claim that it doesn’t work, well they are not working with the correct or complete information.
So then you might ask the question, what does this aiming system have over something like ghost-ball? This is another highly debatable question, but I’ll tell you how I see it from my own experience. With ghost-ball, you are not using objective targets. You are using invisible points and/or invisible balls to feed your brain and through practice, make these shots accurate and repeatable. CTE starts you with objective targets through a 3d perception. From there the path from standing to execution is very definitive and repeatable. So how is that really any better? For easier shots, especially shots where CB/OB/Pocket are directly in front of you, the difference may be negligible to most. These are not difficult for the brain to digest. However, move to long thin cuts, or shots where the pocket is out of your perception, or move to 1, 2, 3 rail bank shots. Now the system really starts to show it’s merit. You might want to watch Stan shoot some bank shots to get the idea what I’m talking about. Objective, repeatable targets to take the object ball to the heart of the pocket.
To conclude, it really is not possible to represent CTE in a 2d diagram with any mathematical or geometric accuracy, as the entire system hinges on ones perception of a shot standing behind the cueball. Although 2d diagrams are helpful to represent the visuals, they are not useful for anything mathematical or geometrical.
CTE PRO ONE is a product of Stan Shuffett and Just Cue It productions.