View Full Version : Radar Gun on the Break

08-14-2003, 03:33 PM
I just purchased a radar gun for timing my break speed. I am a junky for a good break, and sometimes I just can't tell which technique results in more speed. I figure there are optimum speeds for each different type of stance, stroke, table, rack, etc. I know that the fastest isn't always the best, but I want to mess around with various different speeds. For example, sometimes I tell myself "ok, hit this as soft as you possibly can-like you're in slow motion", and then the rack just EXPLODES!! I would like to know how fast the ball was going in these instances.

Anyway, here is my question. The radar gun was not cheap. I was thinking of trying to recover some of my expense by holding fast break contests at local tournaments. Something like pay 5 bucks, break 5 times, and 3 bucks of that goes into a prize fund for the fastest break. I wonder what you all think of this. Would anyone be interested in doing something like that? I know that in the past I would have gladly paid a few bucks to find out how fast I really break.

Just wondering,


08-14-2003, 03:52 PM
Without a doubt you will get complaints that 1) it is too high and 2) why isn't all the money being paid out in prizes? 3) what kind of spot am I getting? LOL

Probably better off just to charge the people the two bucks to have their speed tested. Of course the pool room owner might not go along with it unless he gets his cut.

How much does the radar gun cost?


Scott Lee
08-14-2003, 04:08 PM
I also have a radar gun, that I use in my teaching, to measure students' break speeds, and modify their technique, to deliver a much better timed stroke. The essence of that involves learning to "throw" the cuestick through the CB, instead of punching it through! The throwing motion, and perfect timing, is what gets good action on the rack...that and hitting the head ball square. For most people, a 14-17 mph break speed will be a very solid break. A pause at the CB, before the final backswing, along with a SLOW backswing, is necessary for the optimum break.

If I were you, I would head for Vegas right now, and set up in somebody's booth with a pool table. Instead of a break contest...why not just let people clock their own break speed, at $1 throw! That would be a LOT simpler...and you get to keep ALL the $$$! LOL Guaranteed, people would gladly pay you a buck to test their break speed...especially
at a national tournament, with 1000's of players! I bet you could pay for your whole trip easily!

Scott Lee

Ralph S.
08-14-2003, 04:44 PM
That is a good idea Scott, even though you know what my personal thoughts are about that radar gun LOL. /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif

Ralph S.>hates all radar guns, been busted too many times for speeding. /ccboard/images/graemlins/blush.gif

08-15-2003, 12:09 AM
You're probably right. I think its a good idea. Maybe when the next billiards expo comes to Valley Forge, I'll contact a certain cuemaker--say, one that makes break cues. Whatever. I'm sure someone would be interested in letting me set up at their table. That actually sounds very fun.
Incidentally, the gun I got sounds like its pretty awesome. It was, however, $675. It will measure to the nearest 1/10 mph. The typical $200 gun will only do to the nearest 1 mph.

I've measured my break by video taping it with a digital camera, and analyzing the sound of the break on a pretty cool audio program. With a little calculation, it came out to 22.4 mph. A while later, I actually got to use a radar gun. I only did 2 breaks. One was 23, and one was 24 mph. I felt like they were fairly crappy breaks, but I feel like I can hit the rack pretty accurately at that speed.

Scott, I think I know what you mean about throwing the cue at the rack. I like the feeling of looseness, and the feeling that the cue is picking up speed as it goes through the cue ball. It seems like the best breaks for me are often the ones that feel the smoothest, rather than the fastest.
One thing I find rather odd: when I watch the pros break, many of them can hit the ball quite hard. The thing I don't get is why the cue ball is going all over the table. You would think the pros would have more control. Or are they "controlling" the cue ball all over the table? To me, the cue ball should not touch a rail on the break. If it *must* go to a rail, then maybe just into the side rail and right back out to the center. I can't figure out why so many pros have the cue ball going nuts after the break. It seems like Johnny Archer is one of the few I see who doesn't let the cueball loose. Or Ralph Souquet, or actually Tommy Kennedy. Lately, Bustamante has been sticking the cueball in the middle a lot more often. Many other pros just let it run wild, so it seems.

What does everyone think?


Scott Lee
08-15-2003, 12:13 AM
Kerry...Letting the CB run all over the table after the break, is NOT controlling it, imo. You are correct in your assessment that the best break will result in no rail contact with the CB.

Scott Lee

Jimmy B
08-15-2003, 03:14 AM
I had this fight a few years back with one of the more knowledgable posters here about what made the best break. He thought controling the cueball was the number one thing and I think it's making balls. It is now and has always been my contention that if I can make a ball on the break and not scratch I still control the table and the game, even if I get stuck behind another ball, I can still push out. Now if I break the balls good leave the rock dead center and don't make a ball I will lose that game 85% of the time against a good player. So I don't give a crap how fast I break or how many rails I hit, I just want to make balls (the more the better) and not scratch.


08-15-2003, 06:10 AM
I agree. If you don't make a ball on the break two things immediately happen. 1) you can not run out and 2) you have to sit down. Too many times lately I have had a nice spread on the break but fail to make a ball and get to watch as my opponent then proceeds to run out. Or, if I get back to the table I have no shot. Controlling the table is very important. Jake

08-15-2003, 10:16 AM
I find that hitting the head ball dead square is the best way to consistently pocket multiple balls (or any ball, for that matter). This also happens to result in a cue ball that stays near the center of the table, unless I accidentally got some draw or follow. I find that by learning the right speed for the conditions, a dead square hit from the 1/4 position (the edge of the "box") will usually put the corner ball in, and possibly the 1 in the side, depending on speed. I usually hit pretty hard, and the one is more likely to hit the rail past the side pocket and come down to the middle of the rail I am breaking from. If you don't have to break from the box, I find the cueball about 1/2 way between the rail and the 2nd diamond works very well, maybe a little closer to the diamond than the rail works VERY well on almost every table I've tried it. Like this:

%AN7O5%BL7P8%CJ5O4%DL7N1%EM7P1%FK6P1%GK6N8%HM7N8%I L7O4%Pg6F7

I guess the thing to do is this. Break a bunch of times, until you have say 20 breaks in which the cueball plants in the middle, and 20 in which it doesn't. Keep track of how many balls you make on each break. You might find that you make more balls than you think with a controlled cue ball.

Thanks for the tips, Scott.