View Full Version : Ideal 8-ball break

06-24-2004, 06:28 PM
Anybody know of an ideal 8-ball break?

I usually put the cueball 3 inches to the left from the center of the balk line and aim for a full hit on the first ball.

I get maybe 50-50 of getting a ball in.

But I played against somebody who seemed to be able not only to get a ball in on the break, but to get somewhat decent positioning (center line running the length of the table).

Any ideas on how I could get a better break?


06-24-2004, 07:06 PM
The ideal break in 8 ball is to break big, spread the rack, pocket 1 or more balls, and control the cue. It can be done fairly regularly on a bar table. I often break 8 ball with the cue just slightly off center near the headstring on a 9' table or with a closed bridge off the rail on a bar table. Another favorite of mine is to break from the side next to the headstring and pop the ball behind the head ball (if the rules allow), low inside English.

Scott Lee
06-24-2004, 07:09 PM
You'll get several different replies here, but here's my two cents worth! According to AccuStat's own data, over time, the top pros playing 8-ball, come up dry on the break up to 40% of the time. That means if you are 50-50, you're breaking at near pro level. NOBODY makes a ball on the break all the time. A player may have a string of breaks, but overall it works out the same. IMO, you should judge the quality of your break based on several factors. How well did you hit the CB in the center(regardless of where you break from)? Stroking the breakshot with top, bottom, right, left, or any combination of those, will make it more difficult to control the cueball, and more difficult to disperse the energy efficiently from the CB into the rack.
Next, how well did you contact the head ball of the rack?
It should be struck DEAD SQUARE, regardless of where you break from. The best break will keep the cueball near the center of the table. It will not go to a side rail, in the optimum circumstances. Next, evaluate how well the energy you put into the break was distributed through the rack. This means how well did the balls spread out? IMO, players who judge their break solely on whether a ball drops or not, are missing the boat. As as instructor, I recommend backing off on power, until you can control the CB effectively. JMO

Scott Lee

06-24-2004, 07:41 PM
Striking the cue in the center on break shot will get the cue moving faster than if struck slightly off center. Striking the cue even the slightest bit off center can be used to assist with control of the cue, albeit, at the expense of the potential force applied to the rack.

In the ideal 8-ball break there's a balance and trade off to be struck between force/speed and English/anything not exactly dead center/cue ball control.

06-24-2004, 08:16 PM
For breaks that hit the headball as full as possible, the main thing would be to break harder. If you stand taller, you can get more power. I'd raise your head a few inches, and adjust the bottom/top English accordingly (to keep the CB from flying). With an elevated stance, you need to be more careful about keeping the stick as level as possible to avoid jumping the CB up.

In my experience, if the rack is loose or angled favoring one side, I take off some speed and aim for the second ball (on whichever side offers the fattest hit). I use bottom English to draw the CB into the side rail and back towards the middle of the table. No bottom and you run the risk of both scratching, or having the CB end up below the rack.

And added benefit of the 2nd ball hit is the 8 is more lively; tending to go towards the opposite side pocket or opposite upper corner. During a regular 13 week league session, I typically make an 8-break about 7-8 times, and "just missed by an inch" at least double that.

06-24-2004, 08:29 PM
"As as instructor, I recommend backing off on power, until you can control the CB effectively"

Best advice so far Scott, both in 8 and 9-ball. Funny how people get into their heads that if they ain't hittin' at warp speed, they can't break. I've seen small women break at maybe 12-15mph, their regular break speed, hit solid, and amazingly spread an 8-ball pack and make balls.

I break right up the middle on everything but a bar box, then I hit the second ball using the side rail to bridge from...sid

06-25-2004, 06:59 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Sid_Vicious:</font><hr> I've seen small women break at maybe 12-15mph, their regular break speed, hit solid, and amazingly spread an 8-ball pack and make balls. <hr /></blockquote>To add a bit of balance, I've seen small men do this as well. /ccboard/images/graemlins/smirk.gif Actually, for even more balance, I've seen large pool players do this too. You made me do it once and I was amazed at the result. /ccboard/images/graemlins/cool.gif

Chris Cass
06-25-2004, 07:29 AM

I'm not liking your initials but you've heard some good replies but being a recent graduate of the Joe Tucker School of Breaks. I can safely say, CHECK the rack.


C.C.~~ /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif

06-25-2004, 08:43 AM
When breaking and using draw the cue will leave the table and travel to the rack on an arc. The key is however hard you hit the ball the cue must be coming down in the arc and hit the head ball and table at the same time. If you hit the head ball with the cue still off the table this puts the center line of the cue above the center line of the head ball. The result is the cue flying is the air and going off the table and you having no control of it.

06-25-2004, 09:00 AM
I put the CB 3 inches from the rail on my right (I am right-handed) and aim for the second ball on the right with center draw. This to me give a much more even spread on the balls and I do not have to hit it nearly as hard as a full on the head ball break. It also gives much more action on the 8 and some under some rules (not BCA) making the 8 on the break is a win. I have had much better results pocketing a ball with this break, and I can use my playing cue as well-

06-25-2004, 09:07 AM
Lots of good info given out here. My addition to this thread would be this&gt;&gt;&gt;&gt; Practice, Practice Practice.

Learn to control the STROKE, which will aid in the accuracy of STRIKING the Cue Ball, the Cue Ball's flight &amp; the Cue Ball's hit on the OBJECT BALL. It's like any other shot, the basics have to be there, you're just using a great deal more muscle groups with the Break Stroke.

Work up your speed gradually, it cannot be done in a week... unless you are a natural. A 12-15 MPH Break will separate any 8-Ball or 9 Ball Rack well enough to run out.

We are conditioned to hit the rack hard, trying to make the 8 Ball or 9 Ball ON-THE-SNAP. That's BS...

Mika Immonen &amp; Corey Duel are WORLD beaters with the Soft Break. Allison &amp; Jeanette both employ a medium Break &amp; they runout from the Break Shot, lots of times.

It's all about ACCURACY &amp; CONTROL....

06-25-2004, 10:16 AM
I use different breaks depending on who I am playing.

If it is a lesser skilled player, I will break from the head spot with a medium to light stroke. This spreads the balls pretty good and let's the other player get in a few shots.

If it is a very skilled player, I'll break from the side with a very hard stroke aiming between the first and second ball (hits first ball first). This leaves a lot of balls clustered together and makes it difficult to run the table. Sometimes I can get the required 4 balls to hit the rails while leaving most of the others clustered together. One opponent I was playing said "What a terrible break!". I said, "No, it was an excellent break!" I won the match because he could not break up the clusters.

If you play Straight Pool, you will get good at breaking up clusters after making a shot. If you're really good, you can pick off one or two balls at a time.

I would suggest experimenting with a softer stroke from different positions on the head string. First break from 2 inches from the rail, then 4 inches, etc. Also try breaking from the first diamond in different positions.

When I'm playing my best friend, I'll break from a different spot each time. Then the lay of the balls is different for each game. Makes playing more interesting if playing for several hours with the same person.

Ralph S.
06-25-2004, 08:48 PM
As as instructor, I recommend backing off on power, until you can control the CB effectively. JMO
<hr /></blockquote>

As Scott mentioned, backing off of the power and working on control of the cue ball is key. Many, many players, mostly amature, are concerned with one thing only when it comes to breaking...the speed of their break shot. Many instructors, including Scott, as well as trade shows and exhibitions, have a radar gun set up or handy to check the shot speed.

Personally, I could care less what my "shot speed" is. Scott has asked me a few times when we first met, wether or not I wanted to know what my break speed was, as most players like to know this. I am sure he remembers my reply. /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif

I feel that I have a very above average break shot. My preference is, I like to break head on and just a hair below center on the cb. I seem to get good results and have no complaints. I use this break for eight and nine ball.

My best advice that I can give, is don't get engrossed in how hard you break. Sometimes, less is more. Another thing that may also help, is try to find a copy of "Racking Secrets" by Joe Tucker. This is one of, if not the best peices of information you can utilize.

06-26-2004, 09:48 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote bill190:</font><hr> I use different breaks depending on who I am playing. <hr /></blockquote>

I do this too. If I'm playing a stronger player, depending on where I am in the match, I may not want to gamble on a break and run out strategy or a break, run and safety strategy. Instead I may play a safety break similar to a straight pool break but within the limits of the the rules being used. I do this to even the odds a little especially if I'm not breaking well.

The bottom line on an ideal 8-ball break is to spread the rack, pocket at least one ball and control the cue - not a lot different than 9-ball. You use a controlled, repeatable amount of force, more force is usually better, in combination with with hitting the cue as little off center as it takes to control the cue. The angle of attack to the rack, the distance the cue is from the rack and the contact the contact point on the rack on a horizontal AND vertical plane all factor into getting this done. There's also your stance, grip, and stroke to be considered if not other factors I've failed to mention.

Practice is NOT all that is required. A little knowledgable instruction can go a long way. And, watching some very good players break can be invaluable. Then, when you're prepared to not go practice mistakes and bad technique... practice.

06-26-2004, 10:47 AM
i usually break from the right side about an inch from the rail and right on the second diamond with low left english. Lately ive been hitting it with top left and getting about the same results. I make alot of 8 ball breaks but they dont count in league. I made 2 8ball breaks in a row the other day playing my buddy for $1 a ball on the table and when we 8 break you add solids and stripes.

In leagues i hit it straight up the middle with a medium hard stroke and try to leave my cue in the middle. (dont always happen that way) If im playing a guy with a higher average than me i leave clusters and play safties.