Instructional Articles by David Baranski

David Baranski is a BCA instructor from Raleigh, North Carolina.

  • Break Cues: Light or Heavy?

    There has been an argument over whether break cues should be light or heavy for years. My definition of light cues is 18 oz. or less. My definition of heavy cues is 20 oz. or more. I base this on an average cue weight of 19 oz. Having done some reading on the subject, I came to the conclusion that it comes down to personal preference. However, that wasn't good enough for me, so I did a little more research, and came up with some physics arguments which seem to favor lighter break cues.
    Read more on light or heavy break cues..

  • Power Breaking

    Power isn't nearly as important as full contact on the one ball. Pros generally break in the 20 mph range. The fastest breaks are just over 30 mph, but you'll never see pros breaking that hard because of a loss of control. You should break only as hard as you can control.
    More on power breaking...

  • Preparation of the Mind

    Once the physical aspects of pool (stance, grip, bridging, stroking, etc) have been learned, pool becomes mostly a mental game. The ability to focus and to concentrate fully is what separates the hackers from the professionals. I've seen players with a superior stroke lose to lesser players simply because the player with the superior stroke failed to properly focus on a key shot. Why do these things happen? Is it fate or destiny? Does a Higher Power reach out and knock the sense out of the player with the superior stroke? The answer lies in the mind. A lapse in concentration leads to a lack of focus on the task at hand, which leads to disaster.
    More on mind preparation...

  • Controlling the 9-Ball Break

    It is possible to consistently make the 1 ball on the break in the side pocket. The most important factors are the contact point, and the speed of the break.

    In the diagram, I've drawn a line through the 4, 8, and 1 balls. Aim for the point on the one where this line goes through. This will be slightly left of center as you look from your rail bridge. Apply just a touch of draw. USE NO ENGLISH! Using english on a power break will only cause the aim to go off and waste energy. The CB should bounce to the side rail you broke from and back out to the middle of the table. Play around with the speed of the break, keeping the contact point the same, and the 1 ball should head toward that side pocket.
    Read more about control break...

  • Spin and the Tangent Line

    English is a necessary evil in the world of pool. English allows the cueist to alter the natural path of the cue ball (CB). Sometimes, the natural path of the object ball (OB) can be affected also, but that’s a topic I’m not covering in this article. I term english a "necessary evil" because sidespin can cause numerous problems as well as rewards, many of which have been expounded in the "Understanding English" lesson. This particular lesson will deal with using english and various other spin techniques to control the CB.
    Read more about english and tangent lines...