View Full Version : soft break

04-05-2006, 02:38 PM
What is meant by this and why was it banned from most events?


04-05-2006, 03:40 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote kevinkins:</font><hr> What is meant by this and why was it banned from most events?

Kevin <hr /></blockquote>

a soft break is just that,hitting the rack with little muscle or softly. usually displayed playing 9 ball while trying to pocket the corner ball

wasn't aware that it was banned in most events


04-05-2006, 03:43 PM
In BD this month (article posted on the website) Strickland is reported to have walked out of a final where his opponent was using a soft break. This amazed me--if it was legal at the time, it was legal.

04-05-2006, 06:54 PM
Even if one does make a ball using a soft break, what's the advantage of using it? Is it because the weaker player wants to prevent the stronger player from running out the table?

In the BD article this month, Strickland thought that a soft break was cheating and he walked out.

04-05-2006, 07:13 PM
As long as the break is legal there are no rules on how many balls scatter from the rack and hit rails. My question comes directly from the new BD article. Strickland walked away from legal breaks ... I don't understand.

04-05-2006, 07:46 PM
Strickland walked out probably because he was insulted by Cory's use of the soft break in a championship match. He thought it was disrespectful. I'm inclined to agree with Strickland that it was a psychological ploy to throw him off his game. It worked. LOL.

Using a soft break does completely change the dynamics of the game.

04-06-2006, 12:29 AM
Also with BCA 8-ball, you are only required to drive 4 balls to the rail after the break and this includes the cue ball.

You can break from the side softly hitting the second ball in the rack and barely make a legal break. This leaves a lot of the rack intact and can prevent a runout.

Someone did this to me a few weeks ago - defensive move on their part, but I ran out anyway. A bit of luck and 14.1 experience helped with that runout.

And I broke like this when playing a big shot, but he ran out on me!

04-06-2006, 03:46 AM
That's what the new online BD feature on Strickland says. Well I know what a soft break is now but when it's banned how is it enforced? I see in 9 ball rules (world standardized):

"The breaker must strike the 1-ball first and either pocket a ball or drive at least four numbered balls to the rail."

Could this still be a soft break? If a ball is not pocketed it could be ball in hand vs a crowded un-broken rack. Kinda like a snooker or 14.1 situation.


04-06-2006, 04:21 AM
It isn't a defensive break as Deuel plays it: he's playing to make the 1 in the side. He accomplishes this with impressive consistency, spreads the balls adequately, and usually has a shot on the 2. I think it's a smart break in the hands of a genius like Deuel, if he or she is getting consistent racks to work with and has the skill to pocket the 1 reliably. It might also be a smart break for the kind of banger who breaks hard and wild, often scratching or leaving the cue ball in a bad position. The banger will cut down on his scratches, and if he doesn't make a ball, his opponent probably won't be good enough to take full advantage of this. JMO.


Fran Crimi
04-06-2006, 06:08 AM
That's not what happened. Earl wasn't making a ball on the break by breaking hard. Corey, who is known for his rack-reading skills, saw that a softer break would be more successful in this case. So, Corey was pocketing a ball every time by soft-breaking while Earl was struggling with his hard break.

While he did complain about Corey's soft breaks, the real problem (which really is a problem) was that Earl couldn't do anything about it because he wasn't allowed to rack for his opponent in the TV matches. We all know that part of the game is racking and reading the racks. Earl couldn't do anything about Corey making a ball on the break because he wasn't allowed to rack for Corey. I think this is the real problem, rather than soft breaking being the problem.

The tournament should be consistent all the way through. If the players rack for each other during the tournament, then they should be racking for each other in the TV matches.

Earl would have been able to rack slightly differently, within legal limits for Corey. Also, if Corey was racking for Earl, it's possible that Earl would have been making a ball on the break. Whatever the case, the situation was changed because of the independent racker.


04-06-2006, 06:11 AM
Leviathan: In the context of your posting, why was Strickland insulted by Cory's soft break and why was the soft break banned from professional competition?

Fran Crimi
04-06-2006, 06:34 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote kevinkins:</font><hr> What is meant by this and why was it banned from most events?

Kevin <hr /></blockquote>

I'm glad to see you asked the question rather than make any assumptions. This is the kind of thing that happens where it gets blown out of proportion and then before you know it, players are telling one pocket players that they can't soft break because it's illegal.

If you really want the truth you'll have to understand the twists and turns the soft break has taken in our sport over the last several years.

Back when the Sardo rack was introduced, the WPBA tested the prototype and agreed to use the rack as their official rack. Unfortunately, what happened was that the corner ball would go into the corner pocket every time. This wasn't the case when we tested the prototype. Instead of canceling the contract with Sardo (which is what I think should have been done) the WPBA decided to rack the balls by placing the 9 ball on the spot as opposed to the one ball. I was on the board of directors at the time and I strongly opposed this, but I was outvoted.

When we all showed up at our first event with the 9 ball racked on the spot, one of my earliest matches was against Alison Fisher, who was soft-breaking. I thought this was very interesting as none of us had the rack yet, since it was only just out and yet Alison knew that only a soft break would now pocket a ball on the break. I guess she had gotten a jump on us all being that she was endorsing (or sponsored by, I forget) the Sardo rack.

Fisher sailed through that tournament, while the rest of us struggled breaking hard as we usually did and not making a ball on the break.

Thus the precedent was set for the soft break. When the 9 ball is racked on the spot, use a soft break if you want to make a ball on the break.

That went on for several years, then the situation became more complicated as Sardo started to change their rack specs and sometimes the balls were racked with the 1 on the spot and sometimes they were racked with the 9 on the spot, particularly in the men's events. It became a real mess.

Not to take anyting away from Corey Duel, who did study the art of rack-reading and he used soft breaks whenever he felt it was necessary, regardless of where the 9 ball was racked. However, it all got confused and jumbled up because of the Sardo rack mess.

So, years of this whole Sardo thing managed to highlight the soft break, when ordinarily no one really paid it much attention because hardly anyone ever did it.

So I believe that what was eventually ruled, was that if the 1 ball is on the spot when the balls are racked, soft breaking was not allowed. Frankly, I think it was made simply because everyone got sick of seeing all those soft breaks.

I think a better rule would be to say that defensive soft breaking is illegal and that they should eliminate referee racking during tv matches. That would make more sense than outlawing soft breaking.


04-06-2006, 08:49 AM
Hard Break - Soft Break

Are there not infinite variations of the break stroke, just as there are for any other shot attempted in the game?

Where would the arbitrary split be between a legal hard and an illegal soft break?

Who is to make this determination? Your opponent?

Have we all not seen games where the soft break was not working, yet a player would persist in shooting a soft break shot?

Isn't one of the skills of the game hitting the cue ball to obtain the desired result?

04-06-2006, 11:04 AM
I believe the rule that was incorporated is that 3 balls have to pass the side pocket when breaking.

The soft break, when working, can be very effective, BUT
when it doesn't work, it usually leaves a runout, especially
for a pro or very good player.

Of course, the same can almost be said for a hard break that
is getting a 1 ball shot..... lol

04-06-2006, 02:09 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Billy_Bob:</font><hr> Also with BCA 8-ball, you are only required to drive 4 balls to the rail after the break and this includes the cue ball. <hr /></blockquote>

I believe it has to be four numbered balls (cue doesn't count).


04-06-2006, 03:03 PM
Thanks for clearing this up. Seems the thing is a small nightmare. The desire to have perfect racks (which takes some of the skill and randomness out of the game) lead to the whole thing. Why are "perfect" racks desirable? Oh ... when an opponent racks how do you know its legal?


04-06-2006, 06:54 PM
'Lo, PSA. I didn't see the Strickland-Deuel match and could only guess why Strickland might not like Deuel's break, and I'd rather not do that. As for wider prohibition of the soft break--I bet Fran's answer is pretty close to the mark.--AS

04-07-2006, 12:44 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote SpiderMan:</font><hr> <blockquote><font class="small">Quote Billy_Bob:</font><hr> Also with BCA 8-ball, you are only required to drive 4 balls to the rail after the break and this includes the cue ball. <hr /></blockquote>

I believe it has to be four numbered balls (cue doesn't count).

SpiderMan <hr /></blockquote>

You are correct. The rules say 4 "numbered" balls. Thanks for the correction.