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View Full Version : 8-Ball: Messing up on break and runs?



Billy_Bob
04-11-2006, 11:31 PM
Bar table 8-Ball...

I'm getting to where I can regularly run 6 or 7 balls. (Thanks to a certain modest person here.)

And I can break consistently with no clusters, make a few balls on the break, balls spread out around the table, cue ball comes straight back and stays in center of table.

Seems to me I should be able to run out after such a break, but rarely do so. If someone else breaks and does not make a ball, I can run the table every now and then.

But when *I* break and should be able to run out, I usually mess up on position somewhere.

Is this just a "stage" I am going through or something? Seems like I have all the "ingredients" to have break and runs every now and then.

It does not make sense that I can frequently have table runs, but few break and runs. Maybe if I walk away from the table, then return and pretend someone else did the breaking?

PoolSharkAllen
04-12-2006, 08:26 AM
Hey Billy Bob! 8-ball is a harder game than it looks. I also have difficulty sometimes in running out the game in one inning. Like you, the reason was oftentimes because I missed position late in the runout attempt. Sometimes, I try too hard too hard to run out and actually make my position worse as a result.

After potting several balls at the beginning of the run, you should reassess whether you can successfully finish the run in one inning or start planning for a safe and possibly finishing out in the second inning. It sounds like you and I have the ingredients but we just need more seasoning. Give it time and don't think about it so much! /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif

bsmutz
04-12-2006, 09:53 AM
I do this also. There are several factors involved in my opinion. The top players seem to recommend kind of playing out the whole table in your head before you start shooting so that you have a plan for making each ball and the sequence you are going to execute the shots in. However, at our level, this takes way too long and, for me, is too complicated to try to do whether playing for fun at the bar or in a tournament or league match. Consequently, we plan one or two balls ahead. Another complicating factor is our inability to play precise position. When I am planning ahead, I usually pick a general area where I want to end up. We actually need to pick a specific spot and practice landing there. I don't know about you, but most of my runs end because I snooker myself behind an opponent's ball. It seems like when I get down to the last couple of balls, I end up with a hit and hope type of shot where I know where I want the cue ball to go, but because of all the other balls on the table and the distance that the cue ball has to go, precise shape is a crap shoot. If my last couple of balls are in the open, no problem. What I've been trying to do lately, is try to make sure that the last couple are easily hit from almost anywhere. Anything that requires pretty precise position I try to clear early. Of course, you are going to have games where you can never quite seem to hit that one ball and get it clear. It's easy enough to hit it, but leaving yourself a shot or breaking it clear of blockers isn't. I think that's kind of the next level, is figuring out how to move balls to better positions while working your way through the rack. Last night, my 4 ball was hooked right behind my opponent's ball a couple of inches off the rail and a couple of feet up from the corner pocket. I managed to hit the 4 with the cue ball, but all it did was roll over, hit the bank and roll right back where it was. Thinking more along the lines of "where exactly do I need to be" earlier in the rack may help you solve this problem. You already know the part about not hitting your balls in unless you feel you have a better than average chance at the runout.

Billy_Bob
04-12-2006, 10:39 AM
Yes, that is me. It would take me too long to play out the whole table in my head before shooting. But maybe that is the difference. When someone else breaks, then makes say one ball, then misses on the next shot, I guess I have longer to study the table.

And getting the cue ball to go to a general area rather than an exact spot is me too.

What I did last night was go too far with the cue ball - went correct direction, but when it went too far, it nudged one of my balls creating a cluster.

If that had not happened, I think I would have had a break and run. I did win 1st in the tournament, so I guess I shouldn't be complaining. But this was an easy to win tournament - they would have eatten me alive with that kind of mistake at the better player tournaments.

PoolSharkAllen
04-12-2006, 11:11 AM
One reason why the pros make runouts look so easy is their superior cue ball control. It's a lot easier to make balls when you can get the cue ball up close rather than shooting from way accross the table. So, working on our cue ball control would improve your game tremendously.

Before proceeding with your first shot, you should locate the 8-ball and the key ball(s) to get to the 8-ball. Identify potential problems in the layout, such as clusters, isolated balls, blockers, et cetera, and have a plan for how to resolve the problems. It is well worth taking a few extra seconds to analyze the problems in the layout and how you might resolve them.

Also practice on bumping balls out of the way and breaking open clusters. Straight pool is an excellent game for improving one's cluster busting and cue ball control skills.

RonMont
04-16-2006, 04:57 PM
Many top player do not like to play on bar tables and with good reason, it's harder to run a 8 ball rack because clusters and getting hooked are more common.

Here's a couple of things you can try,
After the break divide the table in half and decide which half to run first. Normally it would be the half that does not contain the 8 ball. I'm assuming you are seeing a few balls in each half.

Before you start pick a place for the cue ball to end at after you run the first half. This spot does not have to be exact but it should give you a good place to start the second half of the run.
When you reach the spot for the second half pick the ball that you want to lead to the 8 ball, saving it for the last shot.
Look at where the cue ball is going after a shot to make sure it doesn't hit any of your balls or scratch. Actually, most of the time it is better not to hit any ball when rolling to the next shot.

If you play 9 ball I hope you are leaving your 9 ball stroke someplace else when playing 8 ball. This is a game of finesse not power.

A good practice is to place the stripes on the table spread so they are 8" or more apart and no closer than that to a rail and try to run them without having the cue ball hit a rail..

Best, Ron.

walt8880
04-16-2006, 06:42 PM
I have the same problems as do most non expert 8 ball players.

One hint I got from several tapes and books is to try to shoot position with the cue ball moving generally along the line of your intended next shot and not cross the line. This is much more forgiving and extreme accuracy is not required in final position.

Easy to say but not always possible to so.

Snapshot9
04-16-2006, 09:21 PM
Another tip is to: Deal with your problem balls early in the run. If you have to break out balls, etc.., do it early, like the 2nd or 3rd ball into the run. Why, because after breaking out balls, you have a new table pattern, and you have to
'recalculate' the run then with probably a different sequence
than before you broke out the ball(s).
If your table runs are harder at the end than the beginning, then you are not doing them right. You want then end of the run to be as easy as possible because that is when the most pressure is on you. (like if that last 8 ball was a $500 ball).

Wazoodust
04-19-2006, 12:27 PM
I found that one of if not my biggest advantage in 8 and 9 ball is that I learned to play from straight pool. If you can find a good and reasonably knowledgable partner for this, it will teach you how to get the breakouts, throw shots etc. better than any other game I've played.
You could also practice 8-ball with a weak break to leave clusters that need to be broken up to drill yourself on this.
Just a couple of ideas, but they work fairly well for me

Shooter
09-13-2006, 08:23 PM
totally agree with "pool shark", 8-ball can be difficult game B/R,harder on a small then 8' table, balls are closer together then an 8 or 9' table and its 95% cue ball control. cut back on power shots, don't use excessive speed or engish, Stop And little follow or draw with a soft hit may give you the position you are missing. Dead straight in shot they to use only center stop or mild draw, if you try to add extra stuff to come off a S/In shot most likely the english will throw the ball off and then you sitting down watching instead of Breaking the new rack. Play on APA in NJ got 7 B/R this section. Straight pool i9s the game to pactice, your spread the balls on the table and shot with a purpose, start with planning 2 shots ahead of the ball you are shooting , after you get some time in on this, switch to 8-Ball but don't use a break, again scatter the ball out over the table and make like it was your break, pretend you are playing one of the guys you know you want to beat,try to control your shot like the above mentioned, if you miss don't re-scatter the balls, become the other guy cause he's going the beat you he think. You have to shoot with an object that is to WIN...The B/R's will come and practice.............

Cornerman
09-14-2006, 05:36 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Billy_Bob:</font><hr> Seems to me I should be able to run out after such a break, but rarely do so. If someone else breaks and does not make a ball, I can run the table every now and then.

But when *I* break and should be able to run out, I usually mess up on position somewhere.

Is this just a "stage" I am going through or something? Seems like I have all the "ingredients" to have break and runs every now and then.<hr /></blockquote> It could be that your opponents simply break better than you do. That is certainly my problem. Everyone breaks consistently better than I do. My B&amp;R percentage only goes up during tournaments when I have more chances to hone my break. If I could break consistenly from the cold like some of my opponents and teammates, I might actually be decent at this game.

Fred

poolguy123
09-15-2006, 08:24 AM
I haven't watched your game strategy, but most of the 6-7 ball runners I see have the same problem.

From the first shot of the game they run away from the one problem ball on the table until it's too late to do anything about it. And then they blame the failed runout on the last hail mary attempt at breaking or making the last impossible shot. It's not the last shot you screwed up- it's the first one!

If you have a buried ball or cluster that prevents a runout obviously from the start- you MUST attack it with the first or second shot or have at least a plan by that time. Because usually after you've shot the first two or three open balls off the table just to "get in stroke" and "feel relaxed" - it's too late. The game of 8-Ball is not about those wide open balls- it's about the one that's stuck. Those open balls are your "soldiers" in your army- and when you knock them off without any purpose other than that they are there and easy to make- you have decimated your own army and you are about to be beaten because your opponent now has more soldiers!

So if I can't see a way to make or break the problem ball(s) in the first 2 or 3 shots- I try to break it loose and play safe (EARLY in the game- 1st or second shot!)or place a ball near the trouble ball for a later breakout and play safe. Or bump one of your opponents balls into a cluster or bad position and play safe(EARLY). Always leave as many of your balls(soldiers)on the table as possible to make trouble for your opponent when you can see one of those 6 or 7 ball runs coming.

If you are talking about apparently wide open tables that seem like likely runouts- join the club!!!!! /ccboard/images/graemlins/blush.gif The best I can say is to focus on your patterns of making balls- try to "go with the flow"- take "natural paths" from shot to shot- leave natural angles to get across and down the table. Don't stir the table up with shots that have the cueball flying around looking for trouble. Be flexible- plan "A" is not cast in stone- often opportunities arise unexpectedly to either make or break tough balls- don't let them pass you by.

(P.S - Hi Bill! Long time no see- oh yeah, it's me than hasn't been here /ccboard/images/graemlins/tongue.gif Hows your snooker game? Maybe we can get together as winter is around the corner so I won't be fishin' on Saturdays. /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif)

Stretch
09-15-2006, 10:03 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote poolguy123:</font><hr> I haven't watched your game strategy, but most of the 6-7 ball runners I see have the same problem.

From the first shot of the game they run away from the one problem ball on the table until it's too late to do anything about it. And then they blame the failed runout on the last hail mary attempt at breaking or making the last impossible shot. It's not the last shot you screwed up- it's the first one!

If you have a buried ball or cluster that prevents a runout obviously from the start- you MUST attack it with the first or second shot or have at least a plan by that time. Because usually after you've shot the first two or three open balls off the table just to "get in stroke" and "feel relaxed" - it's too late. The game of 8-Ball is not about those wide open balls- it's about the one that's stuck. Those open balls are your "soldiers" in your army- and when you knock them off without any purpose other than that they are there and easy to make- you have decimated your own army and you are about to be beaten because your opponent now has more soldiers!

So if I can't see a way to make or break the problem ball(s) in the first 2 or 3 shots- I try to break it loose and play safe (EARLY in the game- 1st or second shot!)or place a ball near the trouble ball for a later breakout and play safe. Or bump one of your opponents balls into a cluster or bad position and play safe(EARLY). Always leave as many of your balls(soldiers)on the table as possible to make trouble for your opponent when you can see one of those 6 or 7 ball runs coming.

If you are talking about apparently wide open tables that seem like likely runouts- join the club!!!!! /ccboard/images/graemlins/blush.gif The best I can say is to focus on your patterns of making balls- try to "go with the flow"- take "natural paths" from shot to shot- leave natural angles to get across and down the table. Don't stir the table up with shots that have the cueball flying around looking for trouble. Be flexible- plan "A" is not cast in stone- often opportunities arise unexpectedly to either make or break tough balls- don't let them pass you by.

(P.S - Hi Bill! Long time no see- oh yeah, it's me than hasn't been here /ccboard/images/graemlins/tongue.gif Hows your snooker game? Maybe we can get together as winter is around the corner so I won't be fishin' on Saturdays. /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif) <hr /></blockquote>

Great Post! Speeking about opportunaties to make or break tuff balls. I've got a nack for recognizing lock up safes along my way. If your comeing to the table with your group intact and he's left only one or two of his it's almost too easy to lock him up, you know what i mean? Then your starting out with BIH to attack wuts left and finish up. As for Break and runs, obviousy they are going to be tuffer off break because all your opponents balls are running interference on all your plans, add that to the fact that if you play wide open like this and it's not your day to finish them, your going to get killed. The fun thing about 8 ball is there "can" be a lot of strategies, and the variety of shot scenerious is endless rewarding a certain amount of creativity. When dealing with groups like in 8 ball that changes everything /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif St.

Stretch
09-15-2006, 10:35 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote PoolSharkAllen:</font><hr> One reason why the pros make runouts look so easy is their superior cue ball control. It's a lot easier to make balls when you can get the cue ball up close rather than shooting from way accross the table. So, working on our cue ball control would improve your game tremendously.

Before proceeding with your first shot, you should locate the 8-ball and the key ball(s) to get to the 8-ball. Identify potential problems in the layout, such as clusters, isolated balls, blockers, et cetera, and have a plan for how to resolve the problems. It is well worth taking a few extra seconds to analyze the problems in the layout and how you might resolve them.

Also practice on bumping balls out of the way and breaking open clusters. Straight pool is an excellent game for improving one's cluster busting and cue ball control skills.
<hr /></blockquote>

I've heard this drill is golden for inhanceing your 8 ball game. Just spread all the balls out, nothing on the rails and shoot them all down without sending the cue ball to the cushion.

What it does is work on cue ball control and pattern play. What's pattern play, well to meeeeeee ha. That's when you can sink a group of balls doing nothing more than stop shots, or very little movement. It's just like connecting the dots. That's the pattern.

Everyone who starts out doing this will appreciate the subtle difficulties in moving the cue ball short distances with accuracy, and useing "set up" balls to get at their more difficult shots. I tell ya, it's almost like cheating it's too easy if you get to use the rails too......what's that all about? lol /ccboard/images/graemlins/tongue.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif St.

poolguy123
09-15-2006, 01:14 PM
"If your coming to the table with your group intact and he's left only one or two of his it's almost too easy to lock him up, you know what I mean? Then your starting out with BIH to attack wuts left and finish up. "

Another good point Stretch.

An inexperienced player might come to the table with all of his balls on the table(the other guy is the 6-7 ball runner!)and think he is WAY behind and you can see the pressure build up on their forehead and in their eyes as they try to remove their 7 balls before their opponent can get one more or the 8.

A good player knows that this is the pefect scenerio- you now have complete control of the game. Your odds of winning are now MUCH greater than the guy with one stuck ball on the table.

For those who don't understand this, I'll try to 'splain it a little.

Most of the time you have lots of your balls to hide behind if you get out of line and need to lay low(play safe). So.....do NOT attempt any shot which is less than a realistical 95% makeable for YOU. (not EGOistically-realistically). If you don't have a 95% makeable shot to play- shoot a 95% safeable shot. Only shoot shots which you know will go OR shoot a shot in a manner which leaves your opponent in a bad position. Many times you can shoot several shots that may be tough (10-80% makeable)but the leave after each shot is safe - you can shoot them with virtually NO pressure on you.

The premises of my earlier post still apply here. If you have trouble balls break and safe your first shot- don't run all the easy ones and then look at the problem and go hmmmmmmmmm- now what... if I go 3 rails with high/inside force stun with a little jump thrown in maybe it'll go???? /ccboard/images/graemlins/blush.gif


There's probably lots more that others can add - I must return to work! /ccboard/images/graemlins/shocked.gif Jim