View Full Version : Breaking

09-19-2006, 07:01 AM
This is my first post, probably should post it in the newb section. I'm not a newbie to the game, but I decided to start taking it a little more seriously. ie take some natural talent and polish it with drills, practice, etc. Now I want to start right with the beginning. The break, I noticed in pics of what I think is the break that the pros have their cues laying on the table bowed, now I don't know if this is the finish. When I finish a break I hit it solid on the head ball, I do follow through but I end my break with basically the end of my cue over the other end of the table, is this too much follow through? Any advice??

09-19-2006, 07:18 AM
Welcome! Most people agree that the most important goal on the break is to leave the cue ball in a good position for a shot in case you make a ball. In order to control the cue ball, you need to hit the rack or head ball in the correct spot with the correct spin. Follow through and spread (read power) are secondary considerations. Once you can control the cue ball, then it's safe to start adding follow through and power, but only to the extent that you can still control it. Personally, I tend to follow through more than what would be considered a natural stopping point and end up with the cue in the air rather than on the table. A few of the pros break in this manner also, but the majority break as you have indicated. Bottom line is to do whatever works best for you. A session with a radar gun might be in order, but anything over 16 or 17 mph with a good hit is going to spread the rack well.

09-19-2006, 07:46 AM
Thanks, I never really took in to consideration the ball position. I guess just from the force of the break I always ended up with a good break and position. Also I forgot to mention that I do use my hips, guess it's just a habit form playing baseball. I could always hold my own against what I would consider the good players. One of the big things I have to work on is my concentration, I get easily distracted. I remember playing in a league with friends and I was playing against one of the tourny players and I was doing very good had the eight lined up and my friend was talking about real estate and it threw me off. I got mad, I laugh at it now.

09-19-2006, 08:15 AM
I'm one of the people who agree about cue ball control being the most important part of the break. On my breaks, I make a hard hit, but I don't just completely slam into the ball. I know some people who can do that, but I've always had issues with control(and in a few cases, with cueball flight patterns across the bar! /ccboard/images/graemlins/laugh.gif )

I set the cue ball far enough out onto the table to be able to make a bridge on the felt. I don't bridge off the rail anymore. I've found I have just as much power for the shot, but the full closed bridge gives me more control, and allows me to put some draw on the cueball without the risk of launching the cueball (because of the more level aproach to the ball, as opposed to hitting down at an angle when bridging off the rail)

As for the concentration...my small piece of advice is to play in a crowded bar or pool room where there is a lot of commotion and action going on. Work on playing serious games instead of socializing. Do this for a while, and you'll get to where you can block out your surroundings (including the cute girl in the mini skirt at the next table /ccboard/images/graemlins/laugh.gif ). I've spent enough time on the table in crowded areas that I've learned to block everything when it's my turn to shoot. It's almost second nature now. I just step up to the table, and everything fades away except for the green box and the 15 colored balls. /ccboard/images/graemlins/smirk.gif

Hope this helps some

09-19-2006, 08:15 AM
consentration can be a lacking issue with the less experinced and the more experinced players alike. and i know just what you talkin about when you say that you overheard something while you were at the table. only mine was someone saying anything, a teammate has one of the "get-r-done" lighters that says that when you open the thing. and i was rolling along well i had left great position with every shot till i heard that thing. i told him that if he does it again i was indeed goin to get-r-done when i shoved the thing somewhere.

09-19-2006, 08:19 AM
Where should you hit the cue ball on the break to get it to stay in the middle of the table: a little high, middle, or a little low?

Fran Crimi
09-19-2006, 08:46 AM
No, it's not too much follow through. It's perfect. Keep doing what you're doing. As far as what's most important, it's most important to make a ball on the break and getting a good spread. That comes first. Cue ball position doesn't do you a lick of good if you don't make a ball on the break, or if half the rack is tied up.

I remember little David Howard. He was the best 9 Ball breaker back in the early 80's. His cue ball would go flying all around the table with no control at all, but he'd make 1, 2, or 3 balls on the break and the spread was so great that nearly every time he had a shot; and if he didn't have a shot, he had control over the table and the ability to play a safe.

I'm not saying cue ball control isn't important, but making a ball and spreading the rack comes first. I've seen players worry about controlling the cue ball when they should be worrying about making a ball on the break.


09-19-2006, 08:51 AM
The optimum place to strike the Cue Ball, with the tip of the cue, is app'x 1/8 inch above dead center. That info is for the average Center Table Cue Ball location. There are also several other locations, for the Cue Ball to be sent toward.

Keep the Cue level, as is possible, pause at the back of your stroke, then smoothly & quickly build power as you strike the Cue Ball. Lunging at the Cue Ball is totally inefficient.

I have found that practicing the Break Shot is best done with the focus on ACCURACY. As your coordination & timing reach a higher level, Speed will automatically come along.

09-19-2006, 09:03 AM
Fran Crimi>> Thank you ..I will continue to use my break technique. As I was writng my last post I was thinking the same thing. I get a good spread anda couple balls drop, then I usually have the choice of shots. Also thanks for the concentration techniques..I will try and use them. Nothing worse than being in the zone and soemthing stupid breaking your concentration.

09-19-2006, 12:48 PM
FYI, lots of great break advice is summarized in the links under "break" in the threads summary section of my website (http://www.engr.colostate.edu/~dga/pool/threads.html). Check it out.


Scott Lee
09-19-2006, 01:46 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Fran Crimi:</font><hr>
I'm not saying cue ball control isn't important, but making a ball and spreading the rack comes first. I've seen players worry about controlling the cue ball when they should be worrying about making a ball on the break.

Fran <hr /></blockquote>

Fran...This surprises me to hear you say this. AccuStats own data shows that over time (20+ years), pro players come up dry on the break, playing 8-ball, about 40% of the time. The numbers were a little less for the last IPT tournament, but not a lot overall. In view of that, controlling the CB, with a solid hit on the rack, and a smooth, high speed stroke, will result in potentially the best chance of pocketing one or more balls on the break. If a pro makes a ball 6 or 7 times out of 10 tries, then the average amateur player would be doing EXCELLENT, imo, to make a ball half the time. Nobody, not even Efren, makes a ball every time...or even close to it.

Scott Lee

Fran Crimi
09-19-2006, 01:54 PM
controlling the CB, with a solid hit on the rack, and a smooth, high speed stroke, will result in potentially the best chance of pocketing one or more balls on the break. <hr /></blockquote>

Well, I'll be....?

Is that what everybody here meant by controlling the cue ball? I thought they were referring to getting position on the one ball or getting the cue ball to stop at a particular place on the table.

I consider what you're describing as 'controlling the cue ball' as basic breaking mechanics. When did I miss this new definition of controlling the cue ball? Was I sleeping at the wheel again while everyone was out there redefining the wheel?

Fran /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif

09-19-2006, 02:12 PM
There are quite a few of videos of pros (Charlie Byrant, Tiffany Nelson, Ronnie Alcano, Larry Nevel, Jennifer Chen, Pei Wei Chen...)breaking here: http://www.xtremebilliard.com/page3.html
Hope you will find these helpful.
There will be an instructional video of breaking and jumping up very soon on the site, most likely after the US Open.

09-19-2006, 03:36 PM
I also was in the same boat as fran thinking good CB placement means making it stop where you want it too.

09-19-2006, 06:12 PM
Call me a fence rider, but I agree with every word of advice given here. It is extremely important to have your cue ball controled so you can localize it for an opening shot on the one. But it's all for naught if you squatted your cue ball dead center of the table, get an excellent shot on the one and don't make a thing. Of course, that's for 9 ball. If you are primarily an 8 ball player, there are quite a few more objects flying around the table, and the likelyhood that your cueball will collide with one is much, much greater. With that logic in mind, in 8 ball, you should be concentrating more on just making a ball and getting a good spread from the rack. If you do make a ball, you will most likely have multiple options for shots afterwards, unlike 9 ball where you only have one object ball to shoot at.

As far as the follow through, I personally follow through so that when I finish, my tip is touching the cloth about 1 1/2 ft over the headstring. The speed/power that I put into the break generally is dependant on the table, (i.e. type of cloth, size of table), and the playing conditions (humidity in the room, is the cloth new or old, ect.) Example, if I were in room with 7' bar boxes with brand new Simmonis 860 that had a climate control system, I wouldn't need to break nearly as hard as I would in a place playing on old nappy cloth on a 9' table without air conditioning and the door open in the middle of the Georgian summer. (2 years of that...I was spoiled learning to play in New England). That was also a 9 ball break. In 8 ball, I probably would have just hit them as hard as I could without losing the cue ball, which would meant I either jumped the cueball into the rack (hitting it with a slightly elevated cue) and off the table or hit the cueball or head ball off center. Good practicing and good luck!

09-19-2006, 06:42 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote WoodMonkey:</font><hr> Where should you hit the cue ball on the break to get it to stay in the middle of the table: a little high, middle, or a little low? <hr /></blockquote>

WoodMonkey, i have good results hitting the cue ball like it's a knuckle ball, or a hard stun shot. That is, as little spin as possible. Because of the friction of the cloth there will always be the tendency to pick up forward roll so you have to counter act this with a slightly lower hit. I go about half a tip low. This in relation to a slightly angled down cue will give you this. A flater than usuall tip will also be more forgiveing on a break shot. If your tip is too rounded your going to get lots of unwanted spin with only the slightest of misshits. St.

09-20-2006, 08:42 AM
I don't understand how one can CONCENTRATE on making a ball on the break. Unless the rack is in the exact same place and the balls always in the same relationship to each other and you can hit the same exact spot on the head ball to make a particular ball in the rack, isn't it somewhat of a random event that a ball goes on the break? To me, it makes more sense to concentrate on keeping the cue ball from going in a pocket, jumping off the table, or coming back up to rest on the head rail and spreading the balls well with a good solid hit. I realize that there are a couple of breaks in 9-ball that will fairly consistently make the one in the side or a wing ball in a corner, but for 8-ball, is there a way to concentrate on making a ball on the break? If so, please pass this information along as I would like to know about it. Thanks.
Oh, yeah, I would also like to know how worrying about making a ball on the break would be helpful also...

09-20-2006, 08:43 AM
The Break Shot is obviously a complex shot. The coupled requirements of developing power, maintaining balance, accuracy of hit &amp; selective cue ball placement, the Break Shot requires practice to become effective &amp; consistant.

Defining what a player should do in one paragraph, to have a good Break shot, is impossible. The preceding info, posted in this thread, are all good suggestions.

Remember that nothing replaces perfect methodical practice.

JMHO.... Good Luck to all

Scott Lee
09-20-2006, 09:08 AM
Oh well...I see you completely avoided what the post was about, which was making a ball on the break. You said pocketing a ball was primary to controlling the CB. I said nobody makes a ball all the time, and that a controlled break was the best option to pocket a ball.
Sheesh! /ccboard/images/graemlins/tongue.gif I guess this qualifies as "whatever!"

Scott Lee

09-20-2006, 09:30 AM
I started doing what Ralf Souquet (he is one of the most consistent pro players out there) does, I line up my break to the head ball, and switch my vision to the cue ball for the last five warmup strokes and the hit stroke. That way, it insures that I hit the cueball where I want to, the head ball is in my background vision, and I can follow through better. I started this after getting a break/jump cue with a phenolic ferrule/tip, and had to make sure I was hitting the cueball properly on my breaks. It has assisted me in being more consistent on my breaking, and on controlling the cue ball.

09-20-2006, 10:00 AM
Wow I think I really stirred up a hornets next here. I will continue to break the way I am and hope balls drop. Now to start some serious practicing to improve my game. Here's another question..do people look at you funny when you go into a pool room and rent a table by yourself and run drills?

09-20-2006, 10:33 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote spectre:</font><hr> Wow I think I really stirred up a hornets next here. I will continue to break the way I am and hope balls drop. Now to start some serious practicing to improve my game. Here's another question..do people look at you funny when you go into a pool room and rent a table by yourself and run drills? <hr /></blockquote>

Hey spector, nothing like a lively debate eh? Lots to think about here. Getting the better of the breaks sure makes your job easier that's for sure. Lately in 8 ball i've had a lot of success breaking off the second row, about half speed with enough draw to take it straight into the side rail and back out. I think you need at least 2 or 3 good break shots so you can adapt to conditions. St.

Fran Crimi
09-20-2006, 10:38 AM
Well, I'll be damned....

Was it something I said?

Fran /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif

Fran Crimi
09-20-2006, 11:09 AM
Oh, yeah, I would also like to know how worrying about making a ball on the break would be helpful also...
<hr /></blockquote>

That's an easy one.

Worrying in itself isn't helpful unless it leads you to take positive action. Then it would have served as a catalyst for something positive. In the case of making a ball on the break, if worrying about it leads the shooter to improve their breaking mechanics, then it was a good thing.

But worrying and doing nothing about it is useless.


09-20-2006, 12:01 PM
Scott Lee I have to bring up Andy Bakerian again. He was a Legend in Troy having put all nineballs in on the Break.

I said I racked balls for him for 3 hours. Just to see what he did on the break that made his breaking so awesome. He hadn't played in 5 years, after 5 minutes or so of limbering up his fingers. He gave me a demonstration of breaking nineballs, in the three hours the least he put in on the break was two balls and the most was six balls.

I called him the 8 Wonder of the World because he did nothing to create the power of the cueball hitting the rack. Slight of build,no violent body movement, just the sound of a bomb going off when the cueball hit the oneball. The cueball would be in the center of the table with balls flying all around the table.

In his day he was banned from breaking in any ring game. He would be out on the break playing Rotation,Keno and Nineball would be 3 or 4 balls and out if the nine didn't go in.####

09-23-2006, 05:29 PM
Breaking in 8-ball was never a predictable thing for me until the last year. After I decided that I HAD to try and find a break shot that would give me some kind of predictable result most of the time, I broke from different positions with various speeds and after many, many, many practices just on breaking I came up with this break that pockets me one or more balls (sometimes 3 or 4 /ccboard/images/graemlins/laugh.gif) and the cue ball in a safe position for another shot in aprox. 60% to 65% of my breaks, I had hoped for a better (ie. higher) percentage but from all I've seen and read, I am definitely in a better postion now after the break than I have ever been in my 20+ years of shooting pool.

I put the cue ball 1 ball width inside the right side of the table right up on the break line and hit a strong but not too strong (making a very good stroke and contact are the most important things IMO) of a break shot and hit the cue ball dead center and aim directly at the 2nd ball in the rack and hit it dead in the face, the cue ball comes off the rack at a slight angle down table and ends up halfway between the "spot" and the rail on the lower portion of the table and I get very good scatter of the rack (I almost never scratch the cue ball either). I have had several comments in my pool league and from close shooting friends on how controlled I look when breaking now and how often I get a wide open table with 1 or more balls made on the break, which has helped my game. I should mention I do use a break cue with the phenolic tip just for breaking my racks. And I can definitely say I'll never be without one again. I have confidence when breaking the rack now for the first time in 20+ years !!! /ccboard/images/graemlins/cool.gif

When I play at bars/halls that I'm not familiar with, my percentage drops slightly at most places probably due to the differing felt/table/balls conditions, and a very few I probably get a slightly higher percentage in my favor due to higher quality felt/balls than I usually get to play with. I am lucky to have a "home" bar that knows how to take decent care of their equipment.

Sorry to ramble but I thought this tidbit of info might help someone else out there hoping to get control of their break shot. /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif

09-24-2006, 05:48 AM
Just a quick thought, but I always make sure the rack is tight, especially in bars. The spot usually gets worn out and that lets the head ball roll off the pack a little. Not a good thing for a consistent break.