Is Pivot English Used in Real Life?

Pivot application of English is an advanced subject, but I'm addressing it now as this is something new in VP4. I realized we needed to discuss this when I read a post by deraltefritz on the Celeris forum, ( So thanks to deraltefritz for a this nice post.

The forum post has a pretty good evaluation of pivot English. But this statement is made:

I know that this pivot technique is known, but I can't recall having seen many professionals on TV actually use it.”

That statement is not entirely correct. It is true that Pros don't typically use the exact implementation in VP4 which is also knows as backhand English. But many do use a pivot method with essentially the same idea and results.

Let me first say that no aiming systems actually work, in any situation. Some are acceptable as long as English is not used, none work well with English.

Many good players (Pros and top amateurs) use a pivot, they just don't use it in the form known as backhand English. In backhand English you keep the bridge stable and move the back hand.

I use an English pivot when I shoot, but I don't do backhand English. Here are some reasons why:

  • When the arm moves to apply the English, it changes the relationship between the body and the arm. This reduces consistency in the stroke. Having the arm body relationship as close to being the same as possible every shot is better.

  • Pivoting on the bridge means the proper bridge length is required to match the deflection in the shaft. This is not always desirable as many times there are situations where that is impossible because other balls or the rail are in the way.

  • The backhand English method, like all other methods for applying English and adjusting aim, does not work perfectly. Because the cue ball curves, speed becomes important. Therefore the pivot amount needs to adjust based on shot speed, butt angle, and vertical tip placement. The bridge length can change to account for this but as mentioned above that is not desirable.

The way I pivot to compensate for English deflection is the same way I aim, with my body, and I do this before I get down on the shot. This is not just a change in aim line, it is a pivot of the cue stick and the result is the same with my view not down the cue line anymore. The net result, and what I see when shooting, is very similar to doing backhand English, but I don't have to use a certain bridge length and my arm body positions are more consistent. I do some fine tuning when down but most of the aiming, application of English, and pivot to compensation for deflection, is set by my body before getting down on the cue ball. Discussion of body aiming will be in another blog post. This is a critical RL pool concept, and has some connection to VP4 with the Standard Distance Aiming setting that is new for VP4.

Not all players do what I do and some don't use a pivot at all and prefer to keep their head centered over the cue stick. There is more than one way to adjust for English deflection.

Obviously in VP4 we don't have a body to worry about and we also don't have to place a bridge hand. So the backhand method of applying pivot English works very well.

Steve Chaplin

Virtual Pool 4 Online

Super Admin
Category: Virtual Pool Real Life Pool

16 Responses to Is Pivot English Used in Real Life?

    Andy October 1, 2012 at 09:03 pm

    You never see this technique in Snooker, they also dont talk too much about deflection effect due to shafts or cues in general, instead they talk about grip, bridge, ram rod action and follow though. Any lateral movement is considered untrue and often leads to a missed shot.

    I'm not suggesting there's nothing in pivot aiming, or the effect of deflection from the cue shaft itself, but it's interesting the subject seems to be alien to the snooker community here in the UK, at least in the books I have read over the years.

    Thanks for a very detailed and insightful run down

    Super Admin October 2, 2012 at 12:06 am

    I don't think Snooker players use English much and when the do not a lot. It makes the shot much harder and Snooker pockets are difficult to pocket balls on.  My guess is they stay away from anything radical unless the object ball is close to the pocket. Maybe some Snooker players can chime in on that.

    9balldotcom October 3, 2012 at 05:30 am

    Yes your right but English is used in subtle amounts in and around the reds,pink and  black of course just to give the right angle on the next shot.In that respect probobly like it would for a str8 pool player in and around the pack of balls,just for manouvering.Its simply detremental to your whole game in Snooker to be playing English on your shots as you immediately lose accuracy which is of the utmost importance in snooker.When you see the player missing what looks to be a straightforward pot in a snooker match on tv it usually due the the use of English,not all the time but very often it is.

    Super Admin October 3, 2012 at 05:12 pm

    I figured that. Even with a little English a pivot can help with aiming.

    Hanterp October 3, 2012 at 07:16 am

    I mainly play snooker in VP4 and I avoid English as much as I can, because I have a low percentage of scoring with it.

    There are so many things to take into account with English.
    If you hit English hard, you miss the shot because the ball did not have time to curl back and if you hit it too soft the ball curls too much, missing the object ball at the other side.

    ... and than there is also the nap of the cloth....

    No wonder I miss so many shots with English applied :)

    Super Admin October 3, 2012 at 05:13 pm

    Sounds like a good approach. In pool you have to use it to be competitive, but Snooker is not the same as pool.

    RTC-UK October 3, 2012 at 09:37 am

    Pivot or parallel ? I'll play whichever keeps my opponent happy :-)

     I just wanted to say as a pub pool player, with pivot I'll set the  desired english first then adjust my aim, where as with parallel I'll adjust my aim & then set the desired english, I can seem to adapt to either in VP4 quite well shooting like this.

    As others have said, it can easily go wrong applying english, so this is best left to your own personal talent, whether pivot or parallel.


    Andy October 3, 2012 at 01:14 pm

    Steve, How are you actualy accounting for Deflection in VP4, are you using applied spin to cue ball depending on the firmness of the shaft and grop of the grip and hardness of the tip, or are you effectly adding a  gradual misshit effect the more english put on?

    RTC-UK October 3, 2012 at 02:34 pm

    Depending if the object ball, needs it's angle exagerated or not, & depending on where I want the cueball to go, will be taken into account when giving english.

    It's a sort of natural feel I can't explain how I come to play this way, years of trial & error I guess, it's just so much more like IRL with VP4 & it's nice to purposely kick object ball off at more of an angle sometimes & know the wrong angle will become correct for a pot. Especially if I was trying to spin cueball around a couple of cushions ;-)
    Feel free to watch World Final with Dazzler & you'll see I'm no pro Andy, I just sort of muddle through. Ya might get to see some sort of answer to how I'm playing though, this was on pivot & a Club Pub Table.


    Edited November 19, 2012 06:05 pm
    Super Admin October 3, 2012 at 05:17 pm

    Ultimately some "feel" needs to be used as curve, throw, deflection, and rails all need to be taken into account. RL takes more feel than VP4 but even there I think it is required.

    RTC-UK October 3, 2012 at 02:52 pm

    Oh yeah & don't forget FOV in this is 40, back then it was still default 40 & it felt better than the 24 I had  VP3. So my VP4's been on 40 up until FOV posts.

    Super Admin October 3, 2012 at 05:18 pm

    The FOV in the playback will not be at what you record at, it is determined by the VP4 settings playing the recording.

    Q-StiX October 4, 2012 at 12:33 am

    FOV is no big deal...   if it looks right to you,  it IS right!  case closed!

    masterj February 13, 2013 at 06:35 pm
    it is the most accurate aiming method...kills deflection and increases accuracy...using center the center line on the cue-ball..some of the greatest players in history use this
    John DaMylla October 7, 2014 at 07:09 am

    This is a very interesting discussion, I played pool for years in real life, not so much now because I didnt like the politics involved where I lived and played, but.... there is not a " right "way  to aim, each one when it starts shooting the first balls develops a aiming ability that works for them, and as he or she decides to realy learn more, then they tune the aim ability in a way that works better. Me for instance, no one tought me to play pool, I learned it for myself, when I started to see other players I had already 3 years of practice, so I developed my own way, witch happens to be parallel aiming, and it works fine for me, and the natural deflection of the cue ball is so automatic that when I aim my shot and  put my chin on the cue aiming at the white, I already aim with the deflection compensation, so it becomes so automatic you dont even notice. I've even see some players I've met along the years that keep the head above the cue aiming and shooting, and it works for them leaving me wondering how the hell can they even pot a ball, but it works, so the only right and working way to aim with or without deflection is practice and practice...deflection will become a normal situation and wont give too many problems, if you are focused enough of course. 

    Edited October 7, 2014 07:10 am
    sdok December 23, 2019 at 08:46 am
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