View Full Version : Breaking in 8 ball

03-04-2004, 05:34 PM
What is the most successfull way to break an 8 ball rack? All I've been doing is breaking it like nineball, as that is the game I learned first and have played the most. All my friends love the 8 ball game though, and I'm just not satisfied with my breaks?

Should my goal to hit dead on and drop one of the two corner balls into one of their respective corners? Should I be hitting the side of it trying to get the best spread as possible??

Any thoughts would be appreciated?

OH and one more question... well I'll leave that for another thread... peace,


03-04-2004, 08:27 PM
I personally break from the right side, one diamond over and one and one half diamonds up from the foot rail. I hit the head ball as full as possible. I hit the cue ball about a half tip low, striking very hard with follow through. I get real nice spread like that.
I also like a lighter break cue. My playing cue is 18.9oz and my break cue is 18.3oz. I may drop the break cue back to 18 even.

03-04-2004, 08:41 PM
Is your CB going forward after the break? If so you are hitting too high. Some folks go for the second ball break, supposed to give more of a percentage of making the 8 OTB. Higher chance of scratch if your are a bit high with this break. If you are not making a ball on the break experiment with moving the CB across the table in increments. According to one pro instructor a straight on center table is best as it delivers the most power when properly executed. Practice, Practice, Practice

Scott Lee
03-05-2004, 03:06 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Pelican:</font><hr>According to one pro instructor a straight on center table is best as it delivers the most power when properly executed. <hr /></blockquote>

Rick...Well, sort of... What I said was that it doesn't matter WHERE you break from, as long as you are hitting DEAD center on the CB, and striking the head ball of the rack perfectly square (I usually break from the back rail, almost straight on)...so, Cycopath's break is perfect. Definitely move the CB around some, if you're stroking the break shot technically correct, but still not making a ball.

Scott Lee

03-05-2004, 05:22 PM
I generally break from the right side hitting the second ball with low left. It gives me a nice break and sometimes the eight.


03-05-2004, 05:33 PM
I had what I would call mixed success with this method last night. I hit three balls in on the break four times in a row! BUt, also managed to jump the cueball off the table four times in a row. It was almost impressive (playing on gold crowns). After getting a strange look from the owner (ok it was the second strange look), I shifted back to the first diamond and consistently pocketed 1 ball occasionally two with the same technique.

Any thots on why that was happening?



03-05-2004, 08:37 PM
My bad Scott. Hey, gimme a break, I'm old and don't remember good. Now, what was we talkin' about /ccboard/images/graemlins/confused.gif

03-06-2004, 09:32 AM
Bigal - I notice that when this happens to me, I'm using too much english, and too much power. Sometimes it seems that when I hit the CB, it lifts off the table just a slight bit and when it hits the rack, it goes flying off the table.


03-06-2004, 01:21 PM
Hey Scott,

So it my understanding correct that I should be striking head on the top ball of an 8 ball rack? I've been getting mixed reviews and mixed results with moving my strike point around from the first ball back to the second?

Since pool is all about consistency, where should I commit to breaking an 8 ball rack?

I remember a nineball rack should be broken straight on top of the 1 ball half tip below center on the cb. Should I stick with the same method for 8 ball? thanks.


03-06-2004, 02:16 PM
Funny this question came up, cuz I asked a prominent player that very question the other night during league play on 8' tables. I asked because I wasn't making much on the 8-ball break, and was breaking off of the second ball, but many others were hitting the head ball...answer was that he said he played into the head ball on 8' tables and off of the second ball on bar boxes. I'm moving to his way of thinking next time I play 8-ball on an 8-footer...sid~~~been breaking 2nd ball for what seems like forever, just like pool school said to do

Scott Lee
03-07-2004, 01:49 AM
Alex...8 or 9 ball...doesn't matter...dead center on the CB, hitting the head ball as squarely as possible. NO top, bottom, or side english. This gives the most repeatable, consistent action on the rack, imo.


03-07-2004, 08:50 AM
I was talking to Gerry Watson the other weekend, and he said that at a tournament he was at, some players were breaking from the middle of the table, and these were the players who were consistently making balls on the break, and the ones who won the tournament.

03-07-2004, 03:42 PM
First of all determine the goal of the break. My goal for breaking depends on my competition and the degree of risk I'm willing to take. If I'm confident the best approach is to attempt a break and run out, or a break, run and safety, I will try to 1) pocket at least one ball on the break, 2) spread the rack for an easy run out, and 3) leave the cue ball where I can get a 2nd shot. Occasionally, if I'm certain my competition won't run out on me and doesn't know what a safety is, I may try to pocket the 8 on the break provided the rules allow this to be a win. If I judge my opponent to be capable of running out at any time or pulling a decent safety, I may attempt a more defensive break; I may use something along the lines of a straight pool break but hit the head ball if required by the rules. In this case I would have judged the risk of doing so to be equal to better than the risk breaking big. Although I generally prefer an offensive style of play, I have found a well executed defensive break in 8 ball to be a valuable alternative to the big break.

I've improved my 8 ball break over the past 20+ years by trying to better control as many variables as I can. Or, in other works, to make as many variables as I can, as much as I can into constants. Off the top, several of these are as follows and I list them in no particular order:
- cue ball control... where it travels and stops
- location of the cue ball behind the head-string
- the distance between the bridge and the cue ball; a slightly longer distance than normal may allow for a more powerful break; shorten it a bit to improve cue ball control
- the force applied to the cue ball; harder is generally better provided you can satisfactorily control the cue ball
- direction of the cue ball to the rack
- point of contact of the cue stick to the cue ball
- the direction of the stroke of the cue stick through the cue ball
- point of contact of the cue ball to the rack
- whether breaking on a regulation table or bar table
- the level of the stroke, a more level stroke becomes more important the harder the cue ball impacts the rack
- weight of the cue, a heavier cue works best for me, 22-23 oz
- the stance, grip and bridge used
- whether to step forward during the break

In short, I have two recommendations for a better break:
1) watch and imitate the breaks of really good players
2) practice breaking while working on making these and other variables as constant as you can.

05-06-2004, 10:55 AM

05-06-2004, 11:34 AM
When you go for the 2nd ball break I don't think you need to add english to go along with the low. I snapped two in last night with just low. I used to use low/left and it just didn't seem to work any better. Keep your stroke as level as possible and only use as much power as you can control. If this break isn't working for me I will switch to going for the head-ball.

05-06-2004, 12:00 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote mworkman:</font><hr> When you go for the 2nd ball break I don't think you need to add english to go along with the low. I snapped two in last night with just low. I used to use low/left and it just didn't seem to work any better. Keep your stroke as level as possible and only use as much power as you can control. If this break isn't working for me I will switch to going for the head-ball. <hr /></blockquote>
I do the same thing on the 2nd ball break, try to just use one tip below center. Like you, if that break is not working well I switch to head-ball break.

05-06-2004, 02:43 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote JClark:</font><hr> <hr /></blockquote>
Damn, and this was probably the secret we were all needing to make our game jump through the roof. Oh well, back to the practice table to do more drills. /ccboard/images/graemlins/tongue.gif

05-07-2004, 09:56 AM
Depends on what kind of rules I'm playing. If playing "bar" rules where 8 on the break wins, I will hit the second ball on either side of the rack. I put the cue ball either on the left or right side of the table at the 2nd diamond just a bit off the rail where I can get a good bridge. I try to use as little english as possible. This gives the 8 ball more action and I can make it on the break occasionally (I did it 3 times in a row about 7 or 8 years ago).

The 8 ball tournies I play in now have the rule if it goes in on the break, the breaker decides whether to spot it or re-rack and break again. In this case I experiment with the cue ball position to see where I'm getting the best action on the balls, but I hit the head ball full with as hard of a stroke I can use without losing form (follow through, hitting the cue ball dead center, head staying down,etc.). I can't remember the last time I miscued on a break. I rarely chalk by break cue too.

I think when people miscue on the break, they are just trying to hit the ball too hard and their head flies up or something goes terribly wrong with the stroke where the tip just misses the cue ball.

One thing I used to do when practicing would be to clean the cue ball where there are no chalk marks on it and then load my tip up with chalk and break. After the break, take the cue ball and see where it hit. You have to use a cue ball with some sort of reference point on it. I'm usually using a red circle or blue circle cue ball and put the circle in the same place everytime before the break.