Controlling the Nine Ball break

Written by David Baranski

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Controlling the Nine Ball break (page 1)
Controlling the Nine Ball break (page 2)

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.

Diagram 1

In diagram 1, 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.

In my humble opinion, this really is not a useful break. Here's my reasoning. There are three balls on a 9 ball break that you can predict paths for: the CB, the 1 ball, and the corner ball. If you make the 1 on the break, that means you need to have shape on the lowest ball to continue to run out. Well, that means you're relying heavily on luck, since you never know where that lowest numbered ball is going to be. As seen by my diagram on the previous page, it is possible to control the 1 ball to the point where it heads toward that side pocket. If you can consistently get the 1 ball to MISS the side pocket and head toward the corner (but not drop it), you can control the lowest numbered ball on the table, and thus increase run-outs. I think the perfect break spreads the rack, keeps the CB in the middle of the table, pockets a corner ball, and moves the 1 ball to the corner where you broke from. If you can consistently drop the corner ball, consistently keep the CB in the middle of the table, and consistently have a shot on the 1 ball, you should be able to maintain control of the table throughout the match.

Diagram 2

In diagram 2, point A is where the CB should end up, point B is where the 1 should end up, and C is where the 2 ball should go. This should leave a good shot for the 1 ball. You may need to move the CB around the headstring to find the proper place to achieve this break - it isn't always along the side rail.

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About The Author: David Baranski is an instructor and pool player from Raleigh, North Carolina.

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