View Full Version : Break Shot Testimonial

02-23-2003, 09:50 AM
On The Break News www.onthebreaknews.com (http://www.onthebreaknews.com)
September Issue 2002
by: Paul Marquez

I felt like Fast Eddie looking over my shoulder at this tremendous sound only to see this punk kid Vincent blasting the rack and taking off his horse. Except the sound was coming from one of my friends Todd Ruhlen. Todd at this time was an up and coming player in the area receiving lessons at Lance McGill's Billiard Academy. Kraack!! What an unfamiliar sound in such a familiar environment. Strange that this caught my attention so, I mean after all, arrogance and self accompany a player like myself and I could always beat Todd. Don't get me wrong Todd was good, but a seasoned veteran like myself he was not, so I thought. Kraack!!! I would look over and watch two to three balls go in, the cue on the one ball and if were drawn on paper, he was out. Hmmm? Lance would make some adjustments as if it was not yet there. What could be better than that I thought? Kaaraack!!! WOW! It was pretty awesome to witness, Todd and I then took a little hike down to Idaho to one my favorite tournaments at Backstreet Billiards. This was a pretty sweet deal for me. Todd would be able to get all the action that I couldn't. I watched him beat player after player even steering away from certain people I didn't think I could beat. Well it's a funny moment when you make a jump in your game, you hardly see it coming and your only proof is in the results. Todd won all his nine-ball action and went undefeated in the tournament, roasting me in the process. Players all over kept asking me if he was just playing over his head, and arrogantly I thought sure, Todd was never this good before. Hmmm? Wait a minute playing over his head for two days? Just face it jack ass this guy passed you up. Damn! That break! Damn that Lance! Does the break really mean that much? Controlling the game from the beginning, getting more shots puts you in stroke doesn't it? Now I need the eight because of that stupid break, except guess who signed up for breaking lessons? Now I'm looking for you Mister Todd! Thanks Lance.

Before getting into the specifics of the power break I'll offer you a few guidelines; for those of you that use them you will find them to be invaluable in the decisions that we find ourselves left to make in close games.

First know that in 9-ball the strongest break wins. This seems to be the case even when 'all else isn't equal." It can be the deciding factor in the weaker player winning against a world-beater. This fact alone makes it worth working on. Who will do that work? As in life, [s]he who does the work gets paid. Paul Marquez did the work and won at Chinook Winds; Todd Rhulen did the work and won in Idaho.

Now, those guidelines;
In 9-ball: outbreak 'em; if you can't out break 'em then out skill 'em.
In 1-pocket: out wait 'em.
In 14.1: out think 'em.

YES, all of these will work with each kind of game mentioned; they are also best suited for you to rely on as they are listed above. The newer you are at gambling the more useful you'll find them to be. For those of you with years of experience, [seasoning] I suggest using them when you are looking at what appears to be a 50-50 proposition. [My students will all tell you that a 50-50 proposition is where you get fifty dollars for this rack and fifty dollars for the next one.]

I'll approach this by listing, first the kind of things you may be experiencing in the break and follow with potential solutions. NO, OR LITTLE POWER; the break is not as is usually imagined based on how "hard" you can hit the rack. It is based on rhythm. And if it is based on rhythm, you learning your individual rhythm becomes the answer. This common misconception of 'HARD" is borne of the larger and more common misconception that the cue just needs to be moving "fast." at the END of the break stroke, that's true. SOLUTIONS: begin by changing your view from 'how hard" to "how fast can I have this cue stick moving?" Add to that what I think is the largest and most important part. Have the cue stick ACCELERATE to its final speed. In this accelerating you'll find your rhythm and an immediate source of more power. Another source of more power is to find a longer stroke, longer backstroke and DEFINITELY a longer stroke toward the 1 ball. You cannot make this stroke too long. Let the cue do what it wants to do naturally. In looking at my break stroke I see that my cue tip ends about 1 inch beyond the horizontal line that divides the side pockets [on a 9' gold crown and starting from the standard rail and head string starting point.] For those of you that are just beginning in pool you can find this spot on nearly any used table. Look along the head string and find two worn spots near each rail.

This is an exciting one because you can change this one immediately! For most it's a simple matter of "being present" IN THE MOMENT THAT THE CUEBALL IS CONTACTED. It's the one stroke where I suggest you are looking at the cue ball during contact. See and feel what is going on. I think you'll be surprised to find that you see within minutes the individual adjustments you can make to gain more accuracy. Accuracy relies on stance. Adjust your stance to suit the wide opened full swing we are using when we break. Experiment with your gripping hand being farther back than when you normally stroke. Some of this is to compensate for the fact that we stand "higher' when we break. [Our chin is not as close to the cue stick.] If you have very little power this usually goes hand and hand with the cue ball ending up near or beyond where the balls were racked. Go lower on the cue ball and you'll gain more power and control of the cue ball. Don't make wholesale adjustments, the adjustment that works may be slight or nearly imperceptible to you right now. Spend the time looking accurately and remember to adjust your stance however slightly.

This is another thing that is improved by being present at and during cue ball contact. The balance can be in striking the cue ball higher or being more accurate as to where we are hitting the 1 ball. In deciding to go higher on the cue ball [if you are getting power it is unlikely that you have to hit the cue ball lower] understand that it may require new looking on your part. Let's say that the cue ball jumps the table to the side that you break from. Hit more to the opposite side of the 1 ball. Hit more of the 1 ball AWAY from the side that the cue ball jumps the table. Look to have more wrist action on your break stroke; this will have to be done with extreme care and accuracy or you may never gain control of the cue ball. A little more wrist will add speed to your stick movement and be an even greater help in finding a smoooth flowing powerful rhythm.

Most of the problems that I see with powerless breaking are that players aren't putting in the work. Here are some hints; rack the balls in numbered order whenever you are working on the break. This will allow you to become more familiar with how the balls are reacting. The 5 ball will be where the nine usually sits. For you players, hire someone to rack for you or exchange lessons for their help with racking. You will be breaking instead of walking, retrieving balls and racking; the benefit is exponential.

There is a new learning tool on the market designed to assist in improving on your break in the most effective and efficient way possible. It is called 'BREAKRAK.' We will be using one at MCGILL'S BILLIARD ACADEMY and I suggest you get one or have the room owner where you play get one. This is a most effective way to work on your break stroke.

Thank you and..."Do the work"
Lance E McGill

02-25-2003, 05:21 PM
here's the place where the article is..>>> http://www.onthebreaknews.com/September02-05.htm