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cycopath
01-13-2004, 11:37 AM
Last night our APA 8ball team won the semi-finals for our session playoffs. This came with no help from me, I lost 3-1.
I scratched on my last object ball giving him BIH on the 8, missed a full table length rail cut and giving up perfect shape on the 8 and finally he made the 8 on the break. But my biggest problem all night was breaking up clusters. The guy had a break like an 8 year old girl, leaving lots of stuff trapped. I would have to work my ass off trying to bust stuff out and not sell out shots. Just couldn't get it going.

Other than practicing straight pool racks, anyone know a good way to drill for busting up clusters?

Rod
01-13-2004, 11:50 AM
Play or practice 14-1 more often.

~~Rod, sounds to simple

Popcorn
01-13-2004, 12:01 PM
When breaking up clusters, you have to take a good look at the cluster before you shoot. The balls will break up in a predictable way, it is not just luck what happens. You don't want to hit a cluster, only to have the balls end up on rails or now tied up with other balls making even worse problems. The main thing, is knowing what the balls will do when you hit the cluster.

Wally_in_Cincy
01-13-2004, 12:04 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote cycopath:</font><hr>
...The guy had a break like an 8 year old girl, leaving lots of stuff trapped....<hr /></blockquote>

Sigh.... I hate that. With a spread like that anything can happen.

Upon reading the title of the thread my first thought was something you and Rod both mentioned, play and practice straight pool. That helped me immensely.

One option in a game like this, upon not seeing a possible runout, is to engage in a long safety battle. That's not a lot of fun and I rarely do it, but it is an option.

Wally_in_Cincy
01-13-2004, 12:15 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Popcorn:</font><hr> When breaking up clusters, you have to take a good look at the cluster before you shoot. The balls will break up in a predictable way, it is not just luck what happens. You don't want to hit a cluster, only to have the balls end up on rails or now tied up with other balls making even worse problems. The main thing, is knowing what the balls will do when you hit the cluster. <hr /></blockquote>

Excellent point.

The same thought applies to combination shots.

cycopath
01-13-2004, 12:29 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Wally_in_Cincy:</font><hr>One option in a game like this, upon not seeing a possible runout, is to engage in a long safety battle. That's not a lot of fun and I rarely do it, but it is an option. <hr /></blockquote>
Yeah, I did that also. I tried to play smart, using safes and planning my run out, and I shot pretty good. But I could never get in a good position to try to pocket a ball and break out another. I didn't want to just break out my ball and give him a chance to win. The balls in the center of the table were no problem, those you can make stuff and bust other things out fairly easily. But it's those balls hung up on a rail with a couple of his that's the problem.

Iowashark
01-13-2004, 12:51 PM
In my opinion, in 8ball, never run all of your balls off if there's one you can't quite get to. I always see too many people run like 5 balls off and hoping to leave themselves a breakout on that last open ball. Why not leave your balls on the table? When there are clusters I'll take whichever shot has the best chance for a breakout early in the rack, if I miss the breakout or hook myself, it's a lot easier escaping with more of your balls left to shoot at.

RedHell
01-13-2004, 12:54 PM
I used to... But I don't practice it enough anymore...

What I do to practice breaking cluster is throw 2 balls random on the table and then set another 2 stuck togheter (cluster).

Using ball in and I position myself to pot one of the 2 free balls and break the cluster. The second free ball is what I call the escape ball, after breaking up the cluster I triy to be positioned for that escape ball.

Kinda like this...

START(
%AD5U7%BM3Z7%CB4\1%DB3C1%EZ8K1%FB2B9%GB7B9%HN1Y9%I C0C2%JB8B7
%KB6\5%LB4\6%MB4\3%NB4[8%OB4\3%PN2O1%QV7V8%WE5T1%XM7O5%YM9Y0
%ZD3T5%[U9X7%\N4Y4
)END

In this example I used ball in hand on the one to break the 2-8 cluster and take position on the 5....

cycopath
01-13-2004, 12:57 PM
That's a good idea/drill. Thanks.

sack316
01-13-2004, 01:19 PM
I agree with Iowashark on this one. In 8 ball let your opponent take the low percentage risks. If he gets it all he or she earned it, but more often than not you'll be left with the easier run if you are patient in pocketing balls and let your opponent try the tough breakout.

RedHell
01-13-2004, 01:28 PM
It worked for me. Usually I'll keep the same setup until I'm satisfied of the shot, i.e. I got a decent break on the cluster and maintained position on my escape ball.

cheesemouse
01-13-2004, 01:31 PM
cycopath,

When going into clusters it is hard for even the best players to control where all the balls will end up but the best players know there is a best place to enter the cluster and a best speed with which to hit the cluster to give them a chance at a postive outcome. If your going into clusters w/o a plan, best spot/best speed then your outcomes will often be very negative. If I were going to practice clusters I would setup common situations and practice different entry points and speeds.
Iowashark mentioned swinging at your problem balls early, this is very good advice in 8-ball for all levels of play. The numbers will always be on your side if you consistantly swing early, that's just the way it is. If you avoid breaking up clusters because you think it will open up the balls for the other guy/gal you are playing losing 8-ball.

Rod
01-13-2004, 01:40 PM
Like I said, play 14-1 it will teach you the value of a back up ball not to mention dealing with proper break up of clusters. I know hardly anyone plays 14-1 but it teaches you so much including the right position to break out balls or move another ball into a position to break out those same balls.

Rod

roscoe
01-13-2004, 01:52 PM
Carpel (Carpal...ok?) is right. Playing Straight will not only teach you to recognize cluster shots but how to use the cue ball to carom off object balls and into clusters. Kiss shots, caroms, combinations all are fine tuned by playing straight.
Roscoe

Rod
01-13-2004, 02:08 PM
Carpel? LOL

BLACKHEART
01-13-2004, 02:13 PM
Steve Mizerak once told me that you should go into a cluster, just hard enough to move the balls 6". Blasting them hard only sends them flying, with no chance of controlling their position...JER

UTAddb
01-13-2004, 03:08 PM
I always try to put the clustered balls in a different pocket even though it might be harder to get shape for. It can be hard to control a group of balls which is why I break them up as a last resort.

houstondan
01-13-2004, 05:04 PM
going pretty much against the flow, as usual. i don't thing straight pool is the best practice here. it gives you too many options if you mess the shape. overall, i think the best practice is good old rotation. you'll find yourself going 3 rails thru 2 keyholes trying to just see the next ball. it's probably the best practice drill overall.

often as not, the guy who breaks up the cluster will just send balls all over the place and create some more clusters. might be best to hide, let him open the table and then move in for the closer.

dan

Popcorn
01-13-2004, 05:31 PM
Quote
"often as not, the guy who breaks up the cluster will just send balls all over the place and create some more clusters. might be best to hide, let him open the table and then move in for the closer."

This kind of thinking won't beat a good player. You don't win sitting around hoping and wishing for good things to happen, you have to make your own luck so to speak. Maybe with some dumb head, but if you want to play with better players, you have to make things happen.
As far as clusters go, your fear of what might happen comes from lack of knowledge and understanding. If you know what you are doing, what possible reason could you have for not breaking up the cluster. The less the other guy comes to the table, the better.

woody_968
01-13-2004, 06:05 PM
Many have made good suggestions already, but Ill throw in my 2 cents anyway. As far as playing 8-ball I agree you shouldnt make many balls unless you really think you can get out. But when you play safe it must be with purpose. If you have two balls tied up that do not block any of his, meaning it wont help him if you break them up, then you should look for a way to play safe off of those balls. You dont always have to pocket a ball to break out your cluster if you can get a reasonable safe off of the shot.

Another thing to look for when going to play a safe is moving one of your balls close to a pocket or cluster making it your breakout ball the next time you get to the table. Every time you move one of your (or his) object balls there should be a reason.

As far as a game to play to practice breaking clusters you may want to look at Cowboy. I dont remember all the rules, but I know at one point during the game you basically play billiards. Which means cue ball control. And that is what it takes to break up clusters well.

tateuts
01-13-2004, 06:39 PM
Besides what everyone is saying, you can also break up clusters by playing safe. Here is a pretty typical one:

START(
%Be7O8%Ca1L6%Da5E4%Fe9O7%G\0N5%H[0F9%IP5P4%Jn5M7%KX6F6%M`2W3
%NO0P4%PN9U2%UP0F1%VO3O3
)END

WEI Table (http://endeavor.med.nyu.edu/~wei/pool/pooltable2.html)

You could shoot the 13 or the 11, but the 9 and 14 are locked up so it does you no good. Better to safe and lock up the cue ball as shown behind the nine - and you've broken the cluster at the same time. You don't want to leave your clusters as a do or die last shot, which would be the case if you played the 13 with draw, cut the 11 in the side and broke up the cluster off the 11 ball.

This is a move. I realize that most players feel a need to get balls off the table but that's the easy part. In this scenario, you will almost certainly get the next shot, ball in hand or otherwise, and the win.

I don't play 8 ball but this is another way I would deal with clusters in 8 ball.

Chris

houstondan
01-13-2004, 11:05 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Popcorn:</font><hr>This kind of thinking won't beat a good player. You don't win sitting around hoping and wishing for good things to happen, you have to make your own luck so to speak. Maybe with some dumb head, but if you want to play with better players, you have to make things happen.
As far as clusters go, your fear of what might happen comes from lack of knowledge and understanding. If you know what you are doing, what possible reason could you have for not breaking up the cluster. The less the other guy comes to the table, the better. <hr /></blockquote>

popcorn, very unkind. i may well be timid and stupid as you suggest but i do shoot some better players.

i don't know you; are you a pro?

dan

Popcorn
01-13-2004, 11:09 PM
I apologize, in rereading my post I see how it sounds. If we were just talking in the pool room and I said the same thing I am sure it would have come across better.

houstondan
01-13-2004, 11:16 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Popcorn:</font><hr> I apologize, in rereading my post I see how it sounds. If we were just talking in the pool room and I said the same thing I am sure it would have come across better. <hr /></blockquote>

accepted. nada.

i guess what i was trying to say was that the more balls there are in the cluster and depending on how it looks, i'm not as likely to go after it unless i am positive where everything is going to end up. i see people break clusters badly or unwisely all the time. as far as keeping the table, don't you ever play safe?

dan

Popcorn
01-13-2004, 11:32 PM
When it comes to 8-ball there are strategies that kind of break the common rules I would normally play by. Yes I play safe. The problem is even the best played safe can lose you the game. I like to play offensively when I can. A good safe should improve your chances of winning the game, many safes don't , they just give the other guy a free turn at the table.

Billy
01-14-2004, 06:44 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote cycopath:</font><hr> Last night our APA 8ball team won the semi-finals for our session playoffs. This came with no help from me, I lost 3-1.
I scratched on my last object ball giving him BIH on the 8, missed a full table length rail cut and giving up perfect shape on the 8 and finally he made the 8 on the break. But my biggest problem all night was breaking up clusters. The guy had a break like an 8 year old girl, leaving lots of stuff trapped. I would have to work my ass off trying to bust stuff out and not sell out shots. Just couldn't get it going.

Other than practicing straight pool racks, anyone know a good way to drill for busting up clusters? <hr /></blockquote>


maybe play some billiards?

or practice billiard-like shots on the pool table?

after effects of breaking up a cluster,practicing rotation,straight pool ... all great suggestions for cueball control

#### leonard
01-14-2004, 08:14 AM
I learned my straight pool from the best breaker of clusters and controlling the outcome of the balls ever. Jimmy Moore said if he knew what Joe Canton knew about 14.1, Mosconi would never beat him a game. I listen to announcers on pooltapes saying, avoid going into balls while Joe went into balls like a Billiard player controlling the outcome just like the Billiard Greats of Yesterday.

I was thinking billiards also. I am sorry that all the great billiard stars died with very little of their greatness recorded for us to enjoy. Imagine watching Jake Schaffer running 3000 and out playing straight rail billiards. Jake jr,Hoppe,etc playing balkline, they would walk the balls up the rail get to the corner, turn the corner, walk them to the next corner, turn the corner. A truly lost art.####

Billy
01-14-2004, 11:14 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote #### leonard:</font><hr> I learned my straight pool from the best breaker of clusters and controlling the outcome of the balls ever. Jimmy Moore said if he knew what Joe Canton knew about 14.1, Mosconi would never beat him a game. I listen to announcers on pooltapes saying, avoid going into balls while Joe went into balls like a Billiard player controlling the outcome just like the Billiard Greats of Yesterday.

I was thinking billiards also. I am sorry that all the great billiard stars died with very little of their greatness recorded for us to enjoy. Imagine watching Jake Schaffer running 3000 and out playing straight rail billiards. Jake jr,Hoppe,etc playing balkline, they would walk the balls up the rail get to the corner, turn the corner, walk them to the next corner, turn the corner. A truly lost art.#### <hr /></blockquote>

guess it really doesn't matter who we are,where we are,or what era ... cue ball control will always be the name of the game /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif

imo