Pool tip of the Day
Breaks not brakes!
Ha! Although I have posted the importance of the break here before, I thought I would highlight some simple break techniques for a few of our favorite games.
However, before we go into the individual games, let’s recap some overall basic points, no matter what game you are breaking for:
You need to strike your intended ball in the break rack fully on to achieve the best results. If you do hit accurately, you will not have to use as much power. Anyone who has played golf has seen this in action. A really small person smashing the you–know-what out of the ball off the tee merely because he hit the ball squarely with correct timing “through” the ball.
2. Level cue!
Keep your cue as level as possible for the break.
3. Avoid the use of English or side spin if you will, on the cue ball usually.
However, many Pro’s and intermediate players will use “slight” left or right-hand English to avoid scratching.
Look either at your cue ball right before stroking, or object ball or area on the rack. Two schools of thought here and many pros differ one to one on this. You need to pick a method that works for you and perfect it.
5. Fine tune your break:
You do this by adjusting things like power, speed, Cue ball position, etc. If your opponent is breaking better, notice where he is breaking from! Maybe you need to move to the opposite side or maybe this table breaks better from a more center position. Tables break differently— depending on humidity, cloth etc., so be prepared to test what is best for the table you are on.
Strike the cue ball a hair to a full tip below center. This will more likely leave your cue ball in the center of the table where you want it after the break!
Keep the goal in mind when breaking: Balls spread open with one or more balls down and a clear shot at the next ball in line.
There are many more types of breaks with their own “suggested” methods. Study them all!
Now for some of the specific breaks for two of the most popular billiards games:
The 8 Ball Break: The two side balls behind the head ball are your best choices! Striking one of these two balls, depending on which side of the table you are breaking from, will not only aid in pocketing the 8 on the break (if the rules allow for this), it will also “spread” the balls better. Remember to use the “opposite” low English from each side to avoid a cue ball scratch however. Example: If you are hitting the rack from the left, then you would use low right hand English, and if breaking from the right, then use low left.
In addition, another break method is hitting the head ball fully from more of a “center” table cue ball location. This will tend to send the two balls behind the head ball towards the side pockets.
The 9 Ball Break: Most pro’s break from the sides for 9 ball. Striking the one ball head on from the side will tend to send the “wing” balls into the two back corner pockets. The one ball will usually run towards a side pocket. Again, apply a “slight” bit of left or right-hand English should you find yourself scratching on this break. And finally, there are many many more variables and tips regarding the break!
Stance, grip, bridge, timing, etc. are all part of what you must study and perfect to achieve consistent breaks that keep you at the table! Join my Facebook group for more tips.
Photo: Christine Webster/Flickr
Editor: Dana Gornall