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How do you Break in 9 Ball?

How do you Break in 9 Ball?

Simple question: How do you break in 9 ball?

How and why do you break the way you do in 9 ball? I see most breaks are closest to the right rail, I assume that's just a feel thing. I break from the right typically myself, because it feels right...

Anyhow I haven't been making anything from the right, so I switched to the left thinking that would help, and nope... nothing.

So, I am wondering if any of you use some english on a 9 ball break shot, and if so, and what kind?

I was using top right from the right side and it's a good defensive break if nothing goes down. I suppose. But I would rather be making a ball and having decent cue ball position at least every once in a while. I'm willing to sacrifice a little power for more cue ball control. I just need some new ideas! Thanks.

How do you Break in 9 Ball?

Replies & Comments

  1. Justanotherevolutionaryquickshot on 11/15/2008 5:46:01 PM

    The only thing I can say is, a tight rack is a big help. Other than than that I do not know because I do not play nine ball. But, I am going to start I hope in the winter session. So please share the answers.

  2. JustanotherevolutionaryJustanotherevolutionary on 11/15/2008 6:06:47 PM

    A tight rack is demanding a lot from a cheap rubbery plastic bar rack most likely made in China.

  3. JustanotherevolutionaryMitch Alsup on 11/16/2008 1:00:44 PM

    On any table there is a particular sweet spot and if you can place the cue ball on that sweet spot and make contact with the 1-ball at its sweet spot, you stand a good chance of potting a ball.

    On my table, one can draw a line from the 5th diamond on the siderail to the opposite third diamond on the foot rail. This line will pass ever so slightly to the right/left of the center of the head-ball. Place the cue ball near the second diamond just behind the string, and aim at the opposite third diamond. Make good contact with a touch of draw to leave th cue ball near the center of the table. I have a couple of millimeter corrections to the above that work on my table, but not on my pool hall's tables. But this should get you in the ball park.

    Spend an hour some time just racking and breaking, trying minute corrections of cue placement and point of aim. You'll find that sweet spot--write it down in the terms you understand it.

    A tight rack is mandatory.

    {There are probalby at least 5 aiming systems that have pretty good averages in breaking and potting a ball, the above is only one and tends to work well with both 8-ball and 9-ball racks.}

  4. JustanotherevolutionaryMitch Alsup on 11/16/2008 1:05:22 PM

    ****: make that the 7th diamond

    And **** because the system is so slow one can't get back to the edit key before the 2 minute timer times out.

  5. Justanotherevolutionaryquickshot on 11/17/2008 8:46:54 AM

    @Mitch Alsup: It is an interesting approach to finding a sweet spot. How do you come up with a 7th diamond? Are you counting the side pocket as a diamond point? Even at that the 7th one would be the first diamond from the corner so it would be breaking from behind the foot spot. Enlighten us please.

  6. JustanotherevolutionaryMitch Alsup on 11/17/2008 12:45:08 PM

    The 7th opposite 3rd is only an aiming system. If we had been talking about an 8-ball rack, I could have said :: place the cue ball 2 balls width off the side rail near the string and aim at the point between the last ball at the back of the rack and the next inner ball on the back. Note, this is the same starting point and the same aiming point as above and will impact the head ball in the rack (1-ball in 9-ball) just off center and asymetrically distribute the balls around the table

    The starting point and the point of aim are somewhat delicate. A milimeters off on the point of impact on the front ball in the rack will completely change from potting balls rather regularly and just knocking balls around the table. The point of impact is significantly more critical than the starting point and the point of aim.

    So what I did was to figure out a starting point and an aiming point that maximizes the probability of placing a fast cue ball at that critical point of impact. Spend an hour shooting only break shots at 75% speed. As each break progresses, try to watch every ball on the table and see which ones went close to pockets (it helps a lot ot rack the balls in the same order all the time). Then alter your PoI slightly (fractions of a millimeter) until balls start falling regularly You will see a definate pattern if you can impact at the same point every time.

    And then each table will respond a little differently due to the surfaces of the ball (polished, dirty, scratched,...) , the equivalence of weight between balls, cling, cushion speed, felt speed. And you adjust by altering the starting point and aim point by a couple of millimeters until you find that spot where balls drop rather regularly.

  7. Justanotherevolutionaryquickshot on 11/17/2008 3:22:27 PM

    Thanks for all that good info. I have had a few 8 ball pocket breaks, but I do not play 9 ball. Yet! I am going to go into a nine ball league in the winter session so I will have plenty of time to work on your theory, and take into consideration the potential drawbacks. I watch the 9 ball competitions on ESPN-C. They are really good.

  8. JustanotherevolutionaryJustanotherevolutionary on 11/18/2008 7:33:14 PM

    I break with my cue resting on the rail usually, but with your advice I've moved off the rail and am hitting just a fuzz below center, not nearly as much power in it right now but I just need to get used to it. Have a tendancy of scratching in the side now, but all in all it's a good break...I'm probably just not hitting that sweet spot you mentioned. I have a hard time hitting low on the break if it's not on my own table. ( I don't care about my table) I have a tendancy to go too low which can get real ugly. Kinda like my draw shots from time to time. Which brings me to another question...any advice on the draw shot?

  9. Justanotherevolutionaryquickshot on 11/18/2008 8:31:05 PM

    ...any advice on the draw shot?

    I had problems with the draw shot until I read somewhere to practice on one of the striped balls. If you lay the ball horizontal the bottom of the stripe is about where you would hit for a draw. You also have to get the feel that you are pushing the cue tip right through the cue ball. That's where the follow through comes in. It takes a little practice and beware that it is very difficult to draw on a long shot. By that I mean 4 or 5 feet.

  10. JustanotherevolutionaryJustanotherevolutionary on 11/19/2008 8:27:32 PM

    I've always done the stripe thing to see the spin. Usually shooting the cue ball with a stripe to make my 50 cents count for once. Today I got it on a rope though, wow. Actually changed my grip a bit and it's working wonderfully. Only jumped the ball once out of about 50 shots. I've been going way to low on the ball too I realized, it doesn't take much. but a firm hit helps. Everyone always told me to keep a level cue, but they never specified to keep it level alllll the way through. I had a little dip at that end, and that $#!^ doesn't work. Anyhow now I'm trying low right on my break and that is working well, still hard to power up on it though.

  11. JustanotherevolutionaryMitch Alsup on 11/22/2008 10:25:09 AM

    ...any advice on the draw shot?

    Smooth stroke with full follow through. Many people hit a draw shot really hard, and then wonder why the backspin cannot overcome the momentum on the cue ball. When you want to draw, start with a low energy stroke with nice extension into the follow through, and you don't even have to hit the cue ball "that low" to make it come back to you. You should be able to back the cue ball up a whole table with one 1.25 tips of downset from the equator ono the cue ball.

    If you "hit down onto" the cue ball, the cue ball wll spend the first 1-2 feet off the table, where english and spin have no effect on its trajectory. Thus, to the extent the cushions allow, keep the cue level where it just misses the rail and the tip is controlled by the arch of your bridge.

    Finally, avoid trying to lift or depress the tip through contact. These kinds of "cutsey" moves will rarely work and prevent you from having smooth well controlled speed and full extension through the impact.

  12. JustanotherevolutionaryJustanotherevolutionary on 11/24/2008 9:31:12 AM

    I give up. I'm back on the right rail hitting a little left of dead center and ripping it. I think my problem was getting to technical and losing my power. I'm getting the cue ball to follow the 1 near the left side pocket, sometimes in the left side but we won't talk about that. Plus I had a thought. Even the best cue ball control has a good chance of being disrupted by 9 different balls flying all over the table. So in my opinion, never ever sacrifice power. If anything, I'm adding power and working to get more. No more funny stuff for me. Grip it and rip it.

  13. Justanotherevolutionaryquickshot on 11/24/2008 11:38:23 AM

    See how simple it becomes when we see the light? When I watch the 9 ball tournaments on tv I rarely see a nine ball drop. I think it is better if you concentrate on defense.

  14. JustanotherevolutionaryMitch Alsup on 11/26/2008 3:20:49 PM

    Last night I potted the 9-ball on the break on my Dads table (different state) from the approximate above position. The slight correction was from 7 and 1/2 diamonds through 1-ball aiming at back 3rd diamond. I was making balls over 50% of breaks. A lot of power is not needed.

  15. JustanotherevolutionaryJustanotherevolutionary on 11/29/2008 9:31:58 AM

    I'm not too knowledgable on all that diamond stuff. Are you saying you put the cue ball half a diamond back from the headstring? I ask this cuz I see almost exclusivly that people break 8 ball, and a lot of 9, from like 1 or even more diamond back from the headstring. To me this is a big "no no." I always place the ball as close as possible. As much as I see people putting the ball further back on the table it almost seems there is some mis-conception that you will get more power from further back or something! I thought it was common knowledge and practice to always place it close as legally possible, but since I've been on the APA league I'm seeing just the opposite. Maybe it's in the water...I don't mean to ridicule other's playing style by any means. If it ain't broke don't fix it right? Besides I'm completely self-tought and rarely seek advice. But my break was broke! I think that's because it wasn't my break anymore. So I fixed it just by adding power and trying for a stun effect. I watch professional billiards a lot and take away from it whatever I like. One obvious and noticable thing is the incredible force with which they strike the ball on the break. I don't know how you can argue power is not important on the break. Those chics aren't jumping 3 inches off the ground when they hit a break because it looks neat. They're putting absolutely everything in it.

  16. JustanotherevolutionaryMitch Alsup on 12/1/2008 3:51:23 PM

    Draw a line from the actual position of the 7th diamond on the side rail to the opposite third diamond on the foot rail. (On my fathers table this is the 7.5th diamond itself--1/2 way between the 7th diamond and the center of the pocket:which would have been the 8th diamond). Then position the cue ball at the string, and this should place it about 2 ball widths from the rail. The line so drawn will impact the head ball about 3-4 millimeters left of center. Use just enough draw so the cue ball ends up in the center of the table.

    Note use the diamonds themselves, not where the diamonds would be when extended to the point of reflection on the felt.

  17. JustanotherevolutionaryMitch Alsup on 12/3/2008 8:33:17 PM

    This image is from the BCA 2007-2008 rules book. I drew the ines of explanation myself.

    I have labeled the left side of the foot of the table as the point of the zeroth diamond. Counting diamonds from the right we find the ultimate point of aim.

    On the lefthand side of the table we find the correspoinding diamonds of intrest, the 0th diamond and the 7th diamond.

    A red line connecting the 7th diamond to the 3rd diamond is the left hand extremety of the the break shot being described. A green line running from the 7th and a 1/2 diamond towards the 3sd diamond is the other extremety of the line of aim.

    The cue ball is placed near the head string between the range defined by the red and green lines. The pint of aim remains the 3rd diamond. The point of impact is about 3mm wide on the ball at the head of the wrack

    Somewhere in this range I have been successful of finding a sweet spot on al the tables I have played since discovering. Now admittedly this is not a huge number of tables.....

  18. Justanotherevolutionaryquickshot on 12/3/2008 8:53:41 PM

    If I'm seeing the image right (nice image by the way) you are hitting the 1 ball about 9 o'clock a tip and a half left of center. And the cue ball about 1 ball width away from the middle diamond on the long rail. Would you also be hitting the cue ball about a tip below the equator?

  19. JustanotherevolutionaryJustanotherevolutionary on 12/3/2008 10:53:16 PM

    Well...I taught myself one ball and a thumb width off the rail, with example from all the billiards I watch. It looks pretty damn close to the position shown in the image on the green line. I did this because it was the only way I could get enough back stroke without drawing my tip on to the rail...sounds silly but that's how I came up with it. Whatever works I guess.

    As for hitting low on the cue ball, which isn't as easy as it sounds when you're breaking, it actually DOES seem to be the easiest, and safest method so long as you make something. But now I ask...when the hell is a good time for a defensive break and when is the time for a typical break?

    I'm always planning on something going in when I break, I think most people are. If you choose to draw or stop the ball on the break and the 1 doesn't go, typically there will be a shot. And if nothing goes...ya. And same way with the defensive break if something does go but the 1 doesn't. AHH! Have I mentioned how much I hate pool recently?

  20. JustanotherevolutionaryMitch Alsup on 12/23/2008 2:33:55 PM

    Minor update:

    last weekend, I made a ball 4 racks in a row and 7 out of 10 racks using the above geometry. Same ball, same pocket every time. The funny thing was I was only hitting them at about 60% power and the balls were well distributed afterwards. Breaks are not about power, they are about precision.

  21. JustanotherevolutionaryJustanotherevolutionary on 1/16/2009 6:59:14 PM

    Ok Mitch, I give in...a little bit. For about 2 weeks now I've been going off my philosophy of ripping it. Really putting my body into it and giving it everything I have. Well I haven't been making much and was losing control of the cue ball badly. So for about 1 week now I've gone back to a little low of center and about 80% power, staying down on my shot. This is working crazy good. I don't keep track but I would say I haven't scratched in maybe my last 60 breaks, making a ball more often than not and usually leaving a shot. I guess since I'm not a chic I don't really have to go all out, no offense chics. 60% though seems a little low, although your 60% is probably different than my 60%. Good advice though, and thanks for your insight.

  22. JustanotherevolutionaryStitch on 1/29/2009 10:59:10 AM

    I make the wing ball quite frequently breaking with the cue ball about 2 inches from the rail (either right or left) and using the first dot (closest to the corner pocket) as my aiming point. I try to cue center on the cue ball as control is more important to me than power. The cue ball usually ends up around center table.

  23. JustanotherevolutionaryMitch Alsup on 2/1/2009 1:51:58 PM

    I made 5 balls on the above break friday night. 4 stripes and a solid. Ran out.

  24. Justanotherevolutionarypatrickp123495 on 2/16/2009 11:11:08 PM

    Try using a cut break. Break from the right side and use low right english. Probably the one ball will eiether shoot or near the pocket; the wing ball is predictable

  25. JustanotherevolutionaryJustanotherevolutionary on 2/19/2009 7:46:20 PM

    Good idea Patrick I will try this one soon and get back to you. Although I'm a little confused already, where do I want to strike the 1 ball? I like your concept though because my goal is to pocket the 1. I really couldn't care less about a 9ball break. To me a break and run is far more entertaining and intimidating. Also it "should be easier" than a 9 ball break. Lately I've gone back to just murdering the cue ball with draw and it's ok, but I typically don't make the 1 or have a shot afterwards. I know the 1 in the side is textbook, and I used to be proficient in it, but I tried new stuff and completely forgot what the heck I was doing to make the 1, haven't got it back since. Thanks for your input. I look forward to a reply.

  26. JustanotherevolutionaryMitch Alsup on 2/22/2009 3:52:10 PM

    Had another good Friday night. Made 5 balls twice, 4 balls twice, 3 balls once, and 2 balls three times, only missed sinking a ball twice.

    This time, I was shooting from 7.5 diamonds back and towards one chalk cube beyond the 3rd diamond on the foot rail. This puts you a little fatter on the head ball and you are aiming about 1.5 tip widths into the rightmost ball on the back of the rack (on the angle you are looking down the line).

  27. JustanotherevolutionaryJustanotherevolutionary on 2/24/2009 8:16:12 PM

    Well I've gone back to my old standard, a ball and a thumb off the right rail. Never scratches (unless kicked by another ball) and makes the 1 in the side a lot. Seems safe and consistent. I will probably not mess around with anything else again now, aside from little expirements. My cousin uses a different 9ball break almost every time he steps up, I think because he doesn't want to "copy" me, and he is having just a miserable time. I did just the opposite, I tried to copy the break of my favorite pros and stick with it. Kinda like my golf swing, I can go out and change it every other month and get absolutely no where or I can develop a method, stick with it, and even if it betrays me for a while, just work to fine tune it and eventually it rewards me. I encourage everyone to let us know how and why you break the way you do. I really enjoy hearing all these different styles and experimenting with them for fun if nothing else. Like you, Mitch, Sounds like you have a good thing going for you there sir and I really appreciate your input. That's the whole reason I asked this question. Keep it up!..... On a different note, I would like to issue a complaint about Triangle brand tips. I recently put one on my break cue and it leaves brown marks on my felt. It also has a crack on the bottom of the tip near the ferrule. First and last time I will use one of those tips.

  28. Justanotherevolutionarypatrickp123495 on 3/1/2009 4:29:36 AM

    oh if you like draw.follow alcano's style on 2007 wpc.

  29. JustanotherevolutionaryMitch Alsup on 3/23/2009 5:42:46 PM

    I found this interesting article and it has a drawing much like what I drew up:


  30. JustanotherevolutionaryJustanotherevolutionary on 3/25/2009 2:28:42 PM

    That is pretty much identical isn't it? I think he has the cb closer to the rail, but other than that it's the same aim. I agree with about half of his article, but I oppose soft breaks. And breaking to make the 9, which he seems to have learned the hard way, is not the way to break 9ball. I like how he explained aiming for the point on the cloth where the 1ball touches/sits and as it turns out this lines me up with the back left diamond. I recently talked to my "mentor" and he emphasized this as well. As that is beyond a shadow of a doubt, a dead center aiming point, I have been using this method on my shots too, works wonderfully. I also just go for a stop shot now, rather than draw, I was scratching back in the corners with the draw all to often. For some reason, I am the only one I have ever seen use this break on league, most of them use the break in the diagram where he shows how to make the 9ball, however since we play a point system, this doesn't make much since to me. Maybe they just need to watch more billiards =P Thanks for the link mitch and the previous help, it just reaffirms I am on, what I believe to be, the right track.

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How do you Break in 9 Ball?