I've touched on eye patterns in a recent article and now I think it deserves its own 400-500 words. Eye patterns are something that aren't talked about very much in the world of pool, but all great players, whether they are aware or unaware, have excellent and consistent eye patterns. Just to refresh, eye patterns are what you do with your eyes as you align and stroke the cue ball. To me it was important enough to add to my 4 most important things in pool, and it is something that I have recently been working on perfecting. If you're having trouble with consistently pocketing balls, this is probably something you need to work on.
The first part of the eye pattern is the initial gaze. As you're standing up assessing the shot, you should let your eyes rest on the spot on the object ball that you need to hit. While you are zeroed in on this spot, you should step into the table and get down on the shot. This is the most crucial step in aiming. Once you are down on the shot you lose some depth perception and it becomes very difficult to find the right spot to hit.
Once you are down on the shot, you can bring your eyes to the cue ball. This is an important step because not only can you make sure your tip is on the part of the cue ball you want to strike, but it allows you to create an overlap of the cue ball and object ball. Some people refer to this overlap as a half ball hit, quarter ball hit, edge to edge hit, etc
To reinforce this overlap, your eyes should move back and forth from the cue ball to the object ball as you are taking your practice strokes. As your eyes go back and forth, you should be going from the point of aim to the point where you are striking the cue ball. Try to use your peripheral vision to see the connection between the cue ball and object ball.
Just before your final backswing your eyes should take a final look at the cue ball. As you pull back into your final backswing your eyes should shift to the object ball. At the back of your final swing, a slight pause will give you an extra moment to zero in, and your delivery should go straight through to your target.
It may sound complicated, but its something you probably already do when you're playing well. If you watch the greats play, that intensity you see in their eyes is actually just a solid eye pattern at work. If you can come up with a pattern that is comfortable for you, and you can do it on every shot, your pocketing consistency will improve dramatically.