iCue — Thomas Van Eck
Thomas Van Eck is a man on a mission to help pool players better their individual game, cuing accuracy, shot percentage, and precision with which they obtain position with the cue ball; he plans to do it one iCue at a time.
The iCue is his invention and his contribution to the pool world, and players at large. He has sold them and distributed them to many people in many countries worldwide.
“You can apply all the english ever required on the cue ball by striking it no more than a tip to the right or left of center.” — Willie Mosconi, Van Eck has as one of his principles in putting english on the ball. Van Eck’s iCue has a target area just 27mm in radius, three concentric circles for the player to focus on; the three circles start with 13mm for center cue shots, then the second target area is 20mm, then for the most english on shots, the 27mm outer limit Thomas sets, and this does appear to coincide with what Mosconi said in the quote. Anything outside of that radius, the 27mm limit he sets, and there’s a great chance, like 99 percent, that you will miscue on a shot. That’s the first thing Van Eck appears to want players to know, and he definitely knows, as anyone that’s seen his Facebook videos, where he provides example after example of himself talking and running out tables — and doing it with pizzazz and fast like Jimmy Jhon’s, lightning fast.
Thomas told me the game with his iCue is as easy as the letters and numbers on the ball — as easy as A, B, C, and 1,2,3 — bottom left (7 o’clock), and bottom right (5 o’clock) are labled “1” in the bottom section of the target area on the ball. The number “2” is at the eleven o’clock and one o’clock position on the ball for top right or top left. Then we have left or right english at the 9 o’clock and 3 o’clock positions on the ball. Van Eck explains to me that bottom right and bottom left, the 1 position, is the highest position shot, coming up in many professional matches as high as 80 percent throughout the match for both players, and Van Eck has studied many pro matches in his research of what is the most common shot, specifically in 9 ball pool.
Van Eck wants players to improve, do well, play well, and believes if they get his iCue, their respective games will improve exponentially, in leaps and bounds, and players everywhere should be practicing with his iCue so they will see what he means. He provides free instruction videos on youTube and on Facebook, and shows videos where he provides examples of how to use his ball.
So, I have investigated Van Eck a bit, his iCue a bit — though I haven’t been able to get out to play with it, as the Coronavirus has us all locked down at present — talked with the man day before yesterday, and it went well; great guy. Nice man. Helps get tables set up for Boys Clubs and YMCA facilities around the area he lives in Arlington Heights, Illinois.
The iCue was born in 2013, and Van Eck only has 22 cue balls left as of our conversation, and is concerned that his balls won’t be produced as a result of the lockdown because of the Coronavirus, so that was one point of contention — Thomas was having a bit of a frustrating day, worrying about not being able to have iCues on hand for customers; we all are dealing as best we can with the worldwide Pandemic. Tough times, but we soldier on.
“The A means Above. The B means below. C is center. Eighty percent of shots are low right or low left, so that’s the number one position,” Van Eck says and then goes on to tell me, therefore left, right, top right, and top left are all about 5% of the shots. “ABC and 123, that’s how easy pool should be,” Van Eck tells me of his cue.
We talk about pool, we talk about his ball, and we go back and forth for an hour and a half. Thomas is very easy to talk to, very energetic, and dedicated to promoting the game and his iCue in any way he can.
“You look at my cue and the center circle is 13mm. What’s a tip? 12.75mm.” Van Eck says, speaking how most cues are 12.75mm so often.
He tells me the circles on his ball represent half-tip measurements from his 13mm center mark, leaving 7mm radius target areas, to 20mm, and 27mm circles at the outer limit — so he wants everyone to realize that you don’t want to hit outside of his 27mm limit, as it’s most likely to cause a miscue, and not needed. Staying within Van Ecks target area on his training ball gives players all the spin they will ever need on the cue; get any shape you want.
“My ball is the solution. There’s no secrets anymore…It’s aim, spin, and speed.” Van Eck concludes of his iCue, and addressing the cue ball on shots, how you want to hit the shots.