I’ve been using Stan Shuffett’s Pro/One CTE aiming system for about eight months now. At first it was a bit rough going, as this is quite a change in the way I am used to aiming. I can now say with conviction, this system pockets balls clean when executed exactly as prescribed.
That is the hard part, exactly as prescribed. At first the system may come across a bit perplexing. Most players want something specific to aim at, such as a ghost ball or a point on the object ball. CTE does offer objective targets, but not in the traditional sense. It uses a combination of two lines of sight, and you use these two lines to obtain the “visual” you need for the shot. The DVD leaves some work to the student to figure out this process. The best analogy I can think of is learning to ride a bike. You can explain to me all the mechanics of balancing on two wheels, but the only way I’ll be able to do it is by getting on that bike, start pedaling, fall off, get back on, repeat, and soon enough balancing becomes second nature.
CTE takes practice. It is very different, and if you are serious about making it work, you have to put forth the effort to make the change. Many players are not willing to make this change simply because they don’t immediately understand the mechanics. They think the system must be broken because two different shots with the same pre-shot routine have a different angle to the pocket… so what changes to make the shot? I cannot answer that mathematically, but I can say with certainty that the visuals are different. There is only one visual for each and every shot, and it is precise. You have to realize we are not just looking down the CTEL, but using two lines for a parallax view to get the visual. The distance to the object ball, the trajectory to the pocket, all these subtle differences affect how the minds eye lines up the visual for each and every shot. After enough practice, the mechanics work themselves out and like riding a bike, shot making becomes second nature. You can argue the difference between “feel” and “exactness” all you want, but I’ll just say that after getting the hang of it, this system has made the biggest leap forward my game has ever seen.
That said, hopefully I can help with some of the perplexities of the system as seen by a newcomer. Here is how I would try to explain it to someone who wants help. This would be after they have watched the DVD, as there are many details there that must be understood before hand.
First lets line up the visuals. Look at the shot, determine the correct CTEL, ABC, and pivot direction. (In another post I have covered some ways to quickly identify cut angles. Or, just follow the shots from the DVD.) We’ll start by looking straight down the CTEL line. Get your head/eyes/body comfortably set on that line. You will always be very close to the necessary “visual” from here. Now look down the edge of the CB to the ABC line. If necessary, move your head/eyes/body very slightly until that lines up. You are now locked in on the visuals for the shot.
Now it’s time to move in on the cue ball. It is important to move straight into the shot. This is probably the hardest part for the newcomer, as there is no “line of aim” for this movement. This may help you: With the visuals locked in, now focus your attention on the cue ball. Try to visualize the left-most and right-most edges on the cue ball that are visible. Without letting those edges out of your site, move straight into the cue ball. Another way to think of it: think of the cue ball as a flat disc (instead of a sphere) standing on edge. You are looking straight into the face of the disc, perpendicular (90 degrees) to it. Move in without changing that perspective. Be sure to move in on the correct 1/2 tip offset (right or left.)
Next is the pivot. Since this is always a 1/2 tip pivot, the movement is very slight. When I first started, I’d put a death grip on the cue with my bridge hand and tried to be extremely rigid getting a pivot on that bridge to center cue ball. Don’t do this. Instead, keep the hand relaxed, and just let the pivot happen. Don’t think about where the pivot is, just focus on getting the cue tip to center cue ball. Like riding a bike, the pivot will become a seamless part of the execution.
From here you may want to blend in some english you need to cancel Contact-Induced-Throw (CIT), or maybe you need something for cue ball position play. This is no different than any other aiming system, so use what you are comfortable with. Back-Hand-English works very well with CTE. Things that affect throw the most: cut angle (anything up to very thick and very thin creates CIT), speed (slower = more CIT), distance between cue ball and object ball (close within 1 diamond = more CIT.)
Once you are comfortable with the manual CTE, you can move onto the Pro One, which basically moves the pivot into an “air pivot”, omitting the need to manually pivot to center cue ball. For myself, I’m still using manual CTE. My pre-shot routine is pretty good, but I’m still working on recognizing all the shots.
Hopefully this information will aid you combined with what is given on the DVD. Good luck, and don’t give up! CTE is a wonderful aiming system, and takes dedication to become proficient at it.