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Dagwood
02-01-2004, 11:24 PM
Was just wondering...how soon do you normally look for your break ball in straight pool? I try and find mine as soon as possible and shoot around it as I go. Is the better strategy to try and push balls out of the pack later on in the rack to create the break ball, so there is less traffic to work through? Just curious, tonight was the first night in a while I've played anyone in the game, and I just wanted to get some opinions on the matter.

Dags

Tom_In_Cincy
02-01-2004, 11:30 PM
Identifying the break ball is just as important as identifying the key ball.

The key ball is the one that will you will need to get position on the break ball.

For me this starts as soon as the balls are broken open.

Lots of times the key ball is more difficult to find. Re-evaluting the table layout when balls have been moved is a good habit to get int.

14.1 is not dead, it's just living in the background.

9ballbc
02-02-2004, 12:40 AM
As long as there are several balls in decent position for being a possible key ball and break ball I don't get too picky about it until there are only 5 or 6 balls remaining. This helps me run the rack out easily without over thinking. I clear the majority of balls off the table before plotting exactly how to get into the next rack.

I do, however, find myself saving two or three balls to use as key balls and I keep my eyes open to 2 or 3 possible break ball options also. But overall, I just have fun shooting until it's time to start planning. I'm not sure what your average run is, and each player has his/her own methods of playing 14.1. My average is only around 30. I seem to screw up and miss the break ball going into the third rack quite a bit. But I have had several runs in the 40's and my highest is 74. Straights is a great game!

BC

Dagwood
02-02-2004, 12:51 AM
Like I said, I'm just starting to shoot the game again, so right now my average run isn't too high...maybe 10-15 with a high run of 26. When I was shooting before, my avg. run was higher, around 20-25, with a high run of 49. It's just been a while, so finding the patterns to play and actually executing them is what's holding me up right now. I'm just looking for the little pieces of information that helped me in the past. Thanks for the responses guys, keep'em coming!

Dags

Popcorn
02-02-2004, 02:22 AM
If you average 30 you may be the best player in the world.

#### leonard
02-02-2004, 07:31 AM
Tom

I would have to say that manufacturing break shots was the best part of my 14.1. I played pool with my Dr. friend for 15 years and if you asked him if I ever played safe on the break shot, he would answer Neeevveer.####

Wally_in_Cincy
02-02-2004, 08:17 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Popcorn:</font><hr> If you average 30 you may be the best player in the world. <hr /></blockquote>

My thoughts exactly /ccboard/images/graemlins/laugh.gif. If he would begin keeping track his average may drop just a tad. /ccboard/images/graemlins/wink.gif

To answer Dagwood's question "as soon as possible" but that's just IMHO and I ain't no world beater.

Wally~~averages at least 2

Foxtrott
02-02-2004, 09:55 AM
There is no reason if you break the 30 mark consistantly you cannot do 75 the same . Alot of players will get past the 35 of 40 mark then loose their concetration .
I would suggest a counter . If you are running 30 balls the only reason you are not breaking 75 is in your own head.
Alot of people do that to themselves .
You are limiting your own capibilities if you are stopping aroung 30.Just look at every single rack as rack 2 if you need to.
If you can break 30 consistantly the best thing you can do is NOT get too much advise as your are capible already for your set up and whatnot .You will find if you check you are way past the level of most players you are getting the advise from.Not saying any is bad but you know at this point what is best and works for you.
I plan 4 balls back and my runs are tripple yours (75).I know a guy that plans 3 balls back and his runs are double mine .
I guess what I am saying is your past the basics . Most is in your head now .
Where you are now there is a Demon you will have to beat to progress further.Once you beat your own demon(confidence)
level the sky is the limit .
I have seen a ton of shooters lower their game stats by changing their game .Dont do this . You can run 100 right now but YOU JUST DONT KNOW IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Thats the best advise I can give .You may call me an idiot if you will but you will pass this at one point or you will never progress.
I can tell you another thing DO NOT let anyone talk you out of your game with doubt.This starts the bad seed for the demon to grow more. There are a ton of people that will tell you it is not possible for you to do this and whatnot . Thats all BS.
I know about 20 people here on the east coast that run close to 100. If you find yourself wondering about it just stay away from those people that put it down.You will find the truth when you pass the mark. Then you will have to do the same thing over when you get to 100 .
When you get to 30 put your cue down walk from the table do a New york and wash you face off then come back and continue. Find what will beat the demon for now till you raise your confidence level .

Good luck . Hope to great a game someday
Fox

Popcorn
02-02-2004, 10:51 AM
When, I believe it was Alexv(sp) lifted 500 lb., it was thought it could not be done. Within a year, every super heavyweight did it. What happened was, it was proven it could be done and the rest aspired to do it also. In tournament play, the first time you beat a player like Varner or Hall, the next day when you wake up you are not the same player you were before. It is amazing how a success can change everything. You use the phrase:
"You can run 100 right now but YOU JUST DONT KNOW IT". Regarding every average player, they are all better players then they know, but the demons and self doubt just won't let it happen. But that may be the difference in players, they all look like champions in the practice room, but head to head the truth comes out. The champion may in fact not be the player with the superior skills. I got a little off the subject but what you said is so true and I could not help but comment.

woody_968
02-02-2004, 11:23 AM
I have just started to study this wonderful game of straight pool and cant wait to dig deeper into the proper moves of the game. From what I have seen and read so far, it is best to look for break balls early in the rack. In fact as soon as the rack is broken I would say to start looking for break balls, key balls, and clusters or problem balls that need to be delt with. I do believe it is important to have more than one option when it comes to break balls, and as such if given the opportunity to move an extra ball into break position early in the rack I would think this would be a good idea (as long as not tying up other balls of course).

On the other discusion that has come up dealing with the fact you already know how to do it I agree to some extent. I do believe we have levels that we must achieve the first time, and then we belive we can so we do it more often. Just like in golf you see different levels, first time to break 90 - 85 - 80 and so forth. I remember the first time I shot even par, seemed like everytime I went out after that I felt I could so I shot par quite often (until one bad round invites the deamond back LOL).

But even though you have the ability I dont think we can ever stop trying to learn! Maybe the reason your average is not over 30 (or where ever it may be) is because your not finding the right break balls early enough, or moving more balls into play to have more options. So yes, we all have levels to break through, but to do this we must continue to try to learn more about this game.

roscoe
02-02-2004, 01:47 PM
I constantly monitor the pack for 'dead shots'. Every time balls are moved there may be new opportunities.

There are some basic strategies to extending your run. One is to take the balls on the rails as your first priority. Work from the outside inwards.

Roscoe

Steve Lipsky
02-02-2004, 02:41 PM
Hi Fox. Good post.

I think the key to big runs is to have each successive shot's difficulty simply a function of the shot's difficulty. Once you see a shot as inherently more difficult simply because it will be your 30th ball, or your 40th ball, etc, you're pretty much done.

When making your 40th ball is as easy as making your 3rd, your high runs will start to explode.

Of course this is more easily said than done, but hopefully if you can recognize this as a goal, it will help you to achieve it.

- Steve

Wally_in_Cincy
02-02-2004, 02:45 PM
Steve,

Any thoughts on his original question?

<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Dagwood:</font><hr> ...how soon do you normally look for your break ball in straight pool?......Is the better strategy to try and push balls out of the pack later on in the rack to create the break ball, so there is less traffic to work through? ...<hr /></blockquote>

Thanks,

Wally

Rod
02-02-2004, 03:14 PM
I don't get to quick on deciding a break ball. Many times you need a second break ball to spread the rack. After the balls are spread is a good time. There well could be half a 1/2 dozen balls missing by then. Even then I might play position for a nudge to make a break shot or make it a better shot. I like a break shot to carom between the second and third balls. I try to avoid a ball that hits to high in the rack.

Rod

Bob_Jewett
02-02-2004, 03:44 PM
Babe Cranfield has a good discussion of manufacturing break balls in his book, "The Straight Pool Bible." I think his answer about when to do it would be, "It depends." You have approach each rack on its own, and small differences in ball positions can make a big change in your shot sequence.

woody_968
02-02-2004, 03:58 PM
I just started reading Babe's book, its the first one I have gotten on straight pool and am really enjoying it.

9ballbc
02-02-2004, 04:10 PM
What can I say? If given an open shot I usually run between 14 and 40 balls. More often than not it's just two racks....then the dreaded easy miss! I don't mean that my average INNING at the table is 30.....I WISH! lol. Sometimes I may run 5 or 6 and then tuck it up (play safe) if the opportunity is not good to run more balls. Thanks, BC

Steve Lipsky
02-02-2004, 04:23 PM
Hi Wally. Well, I got in a little trouble on this board some time ago when I gave my thoughts on straight pool. /ccboard/images/graemlins/tongue.gif

I play the game aggressively. I am not looking to move just a few balls at a time when I break. I am looking to move every ball. There are ways to do this which entail much less risk than it might seem.

In my opinion, there are some common misconceptions about hitting the rack hard:

1) A scratch is likely
<font color="blue">The chances of a scratch are higher, but still not very high at all. And with some experience in how to hit a firm breakshot, you pretty much have to get unlucky to scratch.</font color>
2. It's not necessary.
<font color="blue">Well, it might not be necessary for some, but it is for me. A big secret about straight pool is that it's a bit easier to play it (just a bit) than a lot of people think. When you hit those breakshots hard, and open those balls well, a C+ player should have no trouble running out to another breakshot. Who wants to screw around with nudging the rack 6 times to finally get out? IMO, way too much opportunity there to get out of line and end the run.</font color>
3. It's more important to not miss in straight pool, than it is to run balls.
<font color="blue">I can only judge from my experience, but I think 80 ball runs win more games than 15s-and-safe. To beat a good player you have to overpower him. If you are trying to beat him by playing too conservatively, eventually he's going to outmove you and run more balls in 1 inning than it took for you to run in 6 conservative innings.</font color>

With all this said, I look for a breakshot as soon as all the balls are open. Once there are no more clusters, you should at least look to see what you are dealing with. If you have to manufacture something, you need to know about it as early as possible.

Here is a WEI diagram with my breakshots listed, in numerical order, of how I look for them. So the 1 ball represents my favorite, and the 13 represents my least favorite. But you should know them all, and if your order is different than mine, that's perfectly fine of course.

START(
%AL5T3%BN0R8%CO8R0%DG5M6%EG6O7%F\0Y4%GR9T7%HZ0Y1%I E1Y0%J[0W6
%Kq0F6%LM1D4%Me6Y6%P\8^6%QQ2X5%RU7S9%Sq6J6%Th8X9
)END

I included some letters for reference:

A is where I want to be on the 7
B is where I want to be on the 10 (and the 1)
C is where I want to be on the 11
D is where I want to be on the 13 (via a BIH by stopping the cue in the rack)

The shots on the 10 (2 rails with inside english) and the 11 are two of my favorites to play, because they look pretty and are actually remarkably easy. /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif

The shots are mostly set up on 1 side of the table, but obviously they work and should be looked for on both sides.

Alright, I am completely rambling and no one even asked about this, so I will stop here. /ccboard/images/graemlins/laugh.gif

- Steve

Foxtrott
02-02-2004, 04:31 PM
Your right Steve .
I do have problem in how I state things and wish I could made the point as easy as you did.I should have spent more time in school than on the tables I guess .Well maybe not /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif Tnx
Fox

Chris Cass
02-02-2004, 04:49 PM
Hi Dagwood,

Not exactly knowing how you play. I would suggest that you set up some break balls on your own. Not the traditional ball next to the rack but others. Maybe, from the side pocket, or the corner up table from the rack. Something, that gives you something to think about. That way, you can use different means of spreading the rack out or atleast one ball. I live by the stand, one ball will get you two.

When practicing by yourself try playing Q-Skill. In Q-Skill you have to run the last 5 balls in order. So, you start or rather I start looking at around the 8th ball. This game will get you in the habit of thinking of your position play in which to succeed.

Then, playing 14.1 will be somewhat clear on when to start looking. One pocket helps safes as well in 14.1. Someone pointed out concentration? This too is key in failing runs. It's hard to focus on 2 different things at one time. One being when to start looking for that break shot and the other, trying to run out to that point.

What I do after clearing the rail shots and shots that I call blockers. Those are ones that block a group of balls from your shooting them in without problem. So, I find myself looking around the last 3 or 4 balls left. I look a lot earlier for the break ball but more of an observation. Like, I'll save 3 around the spot and maybe, near the side or one around the second diamond and froze to the rail. Maybe, just enough to clip the rack and get a corner ball out for a second ball break.

Good question, hope I've helped a little. Listen to #### Leonard and Steve Lipsky. These two are great 14.1 shooters. #### has a record that I could only dream about. Steve has a record I can only try to match. /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif Oh, I believe Popcorn has huge success in the game of Straight pool too.

Regards,

C.C.~~lives by the thought, I only need 7 a rack and 8 on the last one. /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif

Frank_Glenn
02-02-2004, 05:50 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Steve Lipsky:</font><hr> Hi Fox. Good post.

I think the key to big runs is to have each successive shot's difficulty simply a function of the shot's difficulty. Once you see a shot as inherently more difficult simply because it will be your 30th ball, or your 40th ball, etc, you're pretty much done.

When making your 40th ball is as easy as making your 3rd, your high runs will start to explode.

Of course this is more easily said than done, but hopefully if you can recognize this as a goal, it will help you to achieve it.

- Steve <hr /></blockquote>

Yes, it's like breaking through walls, sort of. Once you break that wall you keep going until you come up on another wall (that you built, usually).

Bob_Jewett
02-02-2004, 06:09 PM
Steve Lipsky said:
[ QUOTE ]
I play the game aggressively. I am not looking to move just a few balls at a time when I break. I am looking to move every ball. <hr /></blockquote>

I grew up with the Caras/Crane/Mizerak sort of break shot which is played (for the standard side-of-the-rack break) at medium speed with outside follow. The first time I really noticed someone playing the "leave no ball unmoved" 14.1 break shot was at the 2003 NJ State Championships, in which the winner, Thorsten Hohmann, was hitting the breakshot harder than I had ever seen the old-time champions hit it. If the break ball was nearer the top of the rack, it was common for him to draw the cue ball back the head cushion and then bounce back to the middle of the table.

As Steve pointed out, when you have the balls spread so completely apart, even a drunk Girl Scout could run them if you held her up to the table.

As I recall, Hohmann rarely had to move a ball into break position, and rarely had to use a behind-the-rack ball.

Hohmann high run in practice is 404. In the final match of the NJ Championships, the shortest run of either player (Hohmann and Robles) was 23.

Dagwood
02-03-2004, 12:21 AM
Great info guys, I really appreciate everything that's been offered up! Gawd, I forgot how much GREAT information was on this forum...I used to lurk and occasionally post a few years ago as Josh in GA...until I lost the use of a computer...now that I've got a computer of my own, I can keep up on it...thanks again guys!

dmgwalsh
02-03-2004, 05:24 AM
This thread is great. I am a rank amateur at straight, but I used to play it a little as a kid and want to get better at it now. My high run is only 27 and I've only been in the twenties a few times. I've started playing every Sunday for about 4 hours with a guy that's better than me and am learning a little. Thanks for all the great info. Dennis

Wally_in_Cincy
02-03-2004, 08:47 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Steve Lipsky:</font><hr>
...The shots on the 10 (2 rails with inside english) and the 11 are two of my favorites to play, because they look pretty and are actually remarkably easy. /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif... <hr /></blockquote>

Remakably easy? I'll remember that /ccboard/images/graemlins/laugh.gif. I'll have to try those.

I pretty much agree with your ranking of the break shots except for some reason I like the 6 in the side with the cue ball in the kitchen better than the behind-the-rack shots (4 and 5). Personal preference I guess.

Great info Steve. You are da man.

Eric.
02-03-2004, 09:09 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Bob_Jewett:</font><hr> Steve Lipsky said:
&lt;/font&gt;&lt;blockquote&gt;&lt;font class="small"&gt;Quote:&lt;/font&gt;&lt;hr /&gt;
I play the game aggressively. I am not looking to move just a few balls at a time when I break. I am looking to move every ball. <hr /></blockquote>

I grew up with the Caras/Crane/Mizerak sort of break shot which is played (for the standard side-of-the-rack break) at medium speed with outside follow. The first time I really noticed someone playing the "leave no ball unmoved" 14.1 break shot was at the 2003 NJ State Championships, in which the winner, Thorsten Hohmann, was hitting the breakshot harder than I had ever seen the old-time champions hit it. If the break ball was nearer the top of the rack, it was common for him to draw the cue ball back the head cushion and then bounce back to the middle of the table.

As Steve pointed out, when you have the balls spread so completely apart, even a drunk Girl Scout could run them if you held her up to the table.

As I recall, Hohmann rarely had to move a ball into break position, and rarely had to use a behind-the-rack ball.

Hohmann high run in practice is 404. In the final match of the NJ Championships, the shortest run of either player (Hohmann and Robles) was 23. <hr /></blockquote>

Hi Bob,

I was at the 2003 NJ Straight Tourney too (too bad I missed ya...)

I noticed too that the guys that had the highest runs (Hohmann, Robles, Lipsky) all played power break shots vs. the break some out/clean up/break some more out/etc. My personal opinion is that this leads to more high runs.

It seems like there is a similar thinking in One Pocket too. I see more people trying to power alot of balls in one shot, rather than chipping away at the stack.


Eric

#### leonard
02-03-2004, 01:04 PM
Bob did Babe mention in his book that I beat him in an 800 point match? The final score was 800-797.####

Steve Lipsky
02-03-2004, 01:10 PM
[ QUOTE ]
Bob did Babe mention in his book that I beat him in an 800 point match? The final score was 800-797.####<hr /></blockquote>

Yeah, RSB can hang with us /ccboard/images/graemlins/cool.gif.

(Just kidding, RSB folks...)

- Steve

ajrack
02-03-2004, 08:57 PM
When I began playing pool "back in the old days"..the 60's/70's/ i was lucky to watch the world tourneys in LA. Joe Balsis used to hang out in "MY" home room. He would practice for awhile and let us ask him many questions about straight pool while he played.
I thought I was getting pretty good and was on a good run of about 40 plus ...against Joe...when I got the so called perfect break position that everyone has in their books. I broke the balls in great fashion and Joe asked me why did I break them so hard? I said I watched him do it all the time so I figuered that was what I should do also. He simply said..he is supposed to because he can run 150! I should learn to just keep running balls and learn to control the break shot and know where the balls end up after the break.
Just to let you know, in his trick shot exhibitions , Joe would call his "NEXT TWO SHOTS" playing straight pool and also during and after the break shots!!!!!!