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Improve Break Shots

Improve Break Shots

With all of the recent questions pertaining to how to break a rack of balls, I have decided to throw in my two cents to the cause. I can only pass along what works for me, hopefully if you try the methods I am about to explain, You can also benefit from the success I have had with my 9 ball break.

I will first point out that when breaking the rack of balls during a game of nine ball, power is not what you should be concentrating on. Control is essential when breaking the balls, but most beginning, intermediate and advanced players attempt to drive the cue ball through the rack, obviously trying to see how hard they can hit the rack without scratching. This is not a tactic I would recommend. During the break we should only use the amount of power we can control, which according to your skill level will vary.

I recommend the side break, placing the cue ball about three to four inches from the rail and even with the head string. I try to draw a line through the one ball, the second ball, and the corner ball. This will be the angle that I will be breaking towards. At this angle, I will also attempt to make the one in the side pocket, hoping to have the one deflect from (not off of) the second ball. The one will either go into the side pocket laying in the direction of my break angle, or it will hit the rail (either short or long depends on the speed of my stroke) and rolling back towards my bridge hand and towards the corner pocket where I am standing. If I hit the one where I need to, my chances of having on or both of the corner balls rocket into the corner pockets increases. The balls should spread well, and if my cue ball stops dead in the center of the table, I should get a decent shot at the lowest numbered ball. Now that I have given you a mental picture of what the result should be, let me explain how to properly execute it.

I do not use english on the break shot for two important reasons.

  1. Having the cue ball follow into the rack is reckless, I do not know where the cue ball will stop. As it barrel-asses through the rack, it can ricochet off anything in it's path, it can scratch, overall causing more damage than needs be.
  2. If I draw the ball, i increase my chances of having my cue ball not hit the contact point on the one, either slipping off of the one (As opposed to making contact with the one) and scratching in closest pocket. If I do not hit the one ball at the proper contact point, I could draw the ball straight back towards either corner pocket.

I place the cue ball in the center of the table because there are no pockets there, and I can expect a makeable shot on the lowest ball from there.

I STROKE the cue ball at about 1-1.5 tip below center (Not low enough to impart backspin). I line up my body with the Break angle that I spoke of earlier. I aim at the contact point which is the nose of the one ball. The one ball is a round object that is just as round from any angle you wish to observe it from. Only the shape of the rack of balls is a triangle. To assist my aim, I usually look at the point that the one ball meets the cloth at its base. This is my primary aiming point. When my cue ball makes contact with the one, (AND ONLY THE ONE BALL) it should deflect from the one naturally coming to rest three to four inches behind the original location of the one ball, or the center of the table. My stroke should be a controlled fluid movement, not a jerking blast. the balls should spread well, rolling around to give me a decent chance at a run out. If I hit the balls too hard, I run the risk of having the balls spread to the rails, then mushrooming back into the center of the table. Not a good thing. We should hit them firm, but not blast them uphill to Arkansas. We are trying to control what is happening between the rails, and that means we first need to control what's going on between our ears. We need to concentrate more on the break than any other shot. If you can break, make a ball and get a decent shot on the lowest ball, and the pack is spread decently, you can, will, and should run out. Practice the break at various speeds of stroke.

Improve Break Shots

  • Title: Improve Break Shots
  • Author: (Billiards Forum)
  • Published: 12/31/2008 12:44:00 AM
  • Source: Defunct EDU Site

Improve Break Shots

The Improve Break Shots article belongs to the Billiard Break Shot and Breaking Tutorials category. Pool playing tips to help you master the art of the break shot.

Improve Break Shots Comments

  1. Larry BunchLarry Bunch from Corbin, KY on 4/26/2009 8:05:03 AM

    I'm from Corbin, KY and have been playing pool all of my life. I am a in my fifties and love the game and I know I'm a pretty good player.

    I think all players need to think about how to break a rack of balls too.

    The main thing I focus on when breaking is looking at the proper spot to hit the one ball in the rack. It'a very important to learn how much of a cross over follow through you have when you break the balls. The cross over understanding, control and power in the break is my best strategy. Also, learning that each spot you set your cue ball when you plan to break each rack is critical. I place my cue ball any where on the table when I break a rack. This is important to know that each rack has it's own personality setting. Knowing how to identify rack angles before you break them are key importance to begin winning a game. Again, I'll put in a list the points just stated.

    1. Look at your rack and focus on the spot where you need to hit the one ball solid
    2. Learn how your natural cross over swing works
    3. Know when power breaks are needed
    4. Recognize where to place the cue ball when you start to break the rack
    5. Understand racked balls always have a slight angle difference each time
    6. Maintain a follow-through as you break to release power from your break
    7. Remember, your cue ball and object ball need to connect correctly. Study this statement
  2. mos802mos802 from Bradford, PA on 12/14/2009 9:06:24 PM

    Nice info on the break shot. I liked and enjoyed reading it.

  3. CeeBeeCeeBee from OK, United States on 6/16/2010 9:37:26 AM

    The break shot is a complex application stroke speed and shot accuracy. In golf, the stroke is short and contained, like the play shot in pool. In golf, the drive uses every muscle group in the body, just like the break shot in pool.

    To do this requires practice. To do it well requires knowledge and practice.

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