How to be consistent at making the wing ball on a 9-ball break

Written by Ron Kurtz

I used to play 14.1 without the use of a safety so I got a lot of practice of hitting a rack of balls and calling a ball on the break. Not a suggested shot but for fun it provided a lot of physics experience with a solid rack of balls and I got pretty good at it. You can by using this knowledge learn how to consistently make the wing ball on a nine ball break. This is ideal because the head ball (one ball) will typically go down the other end of the table close to the corner pocket from where the cue ball was hit. Once you learn where to hit the head ball to sink the wing ball you can experiment on leaving the cue ball in the middle of the table. I am not saying every break will be a beautiful thing, but you can make many more that way by paying attention to the wing ball on the break. It is best to not slam with all you have until your form is good, a firm controlled break with a sunk ball and a clean shot on the one is much better then an atom smasher. The power comes later little by little.

The concept is the same no matter where the cue all is located but this illustration is for the cue ball in the typical location for a 9 ball break. If located else where, it will take experimentation but the principle applies of shoving the rack with the cue ball.

Each person is different in the way they break, spin, power, also the table size etc so the exact spot may be different for your break but by watching the wing ball and seeing where it hits the cushion will tell you where to move your aim point on the head ball. It may also change slightly as you play, but you can adjust by keeping an eye on the wing ball contact point. Just the time you think you have it figured out, sinking multiple balls on every break it goes dry, nothing goes in time after time. Sound familiar?

Start by hitting the head ball head on as in the diagram, I suspect the wing ball will drift towards point B. if so, hit he head ball slightly more to the right to shove the rack to the left and move the wing ball more to the left towards the pocket. If the wing ball hits more towards point A, then target the head ball slightly more to the left to shove the rack to the right and the wing ball more towards the pocket. Experiment and you will see you can direct the wing ball and sink it in the pocket fairly consistent. Draw can slightly help to push the rack further in the direction of hit as well, In my experimentation english seems to have little or no effect on the wing ball, it is too far removed from the impact.

Use english, draw, high, what ever you need to get the cue ball back in the middle of the table. I find with me it varies how I am hitting and stroking at the time and have to adjust for cue ball position and is harder to be consistent then making the wing ball.


Diagram 1

About The Author: Ron Kurtz started pool when he was about 14 years old and was given his first cue, a Sampaio from Lisbon Portugal, and still have the same cue 40 years later.

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Author Info - Ron Kurtz