Power Breaking

Written by David Baranski

Page 2 of 2:  First ·  Prev ·  1 ·  2

Article Index
Power Breaking (page 1)
Power Breaking (page 2)

Now that we've discussed technique, let's put it into play. Get into your stance. Get that right hip (left if you're a lefty) rotated as far back as you can. You'll notice that you can rotate it even farther during the backswing. Address the CB by taking a few practice strokes. Concentrate on hitting dead center on the CB. Any spin transferred to the CB takes away power, as energy will be used to spin the CB instead of being used to propel the CB. When your right arm comes forward at address, your right hip should come forward a little, too. This is your body's way of automatically transferring weight. Before you strike the cue ball, pick out your contact point on the one.

At this point in addressing the CB, you have a choice. Some players concentrate on the CB at contact, some people concentrate on the one ball. On normal shots, you definitely should focus on the object ball, but the break shot tears up the rule book when it comes to convention. That choice is going to come down to personal preference on the break shot. I used to focus on the CB during the final stroke, but I now focus on the one ball, trusting my body to get the cue to contact the center of the CB. Either way, find the best method for you by PRACTICING.

Now you're ready to strike the CB. Pull the cue back slowly, rotating your hips as you do. You'll be coiling yourself up like a spring. Now, uncork it! Push the cue through the CB, allowing your right hip to come forward with your right hand. This will force your weight to transfer to your left foot, and may also cause that back foot to raise up. If it wants to come off the floor, let it. Don't waste energy trying to keep your foot on the floor. On the other hand, don't waste energy trying to lift it up if it doesn't want to come off the floor, either. Let your body naturally do what it wants to do. Maintain your head position until contact, this will maintain accuracy. After contact, FOLLOW THROUGH! In fact, follow through so much that the cue looks like it's going to hit the one ball. The reason you do this is to allow the stick to decelerate naturally. A short punchy break stroke wastes energy, as you have to use energy to stop the stick. Allow all of your energy to transfer to the CB by letting the cue stick stop naturally. Some players follow through down into the table, causing the stick to bend. Most players follow through with an upward motion, causing them to stand up after contact. I do this, and I have to make sure I don't stand until after contact. I can't stress that enough. Standing up before contact leads to unpredictable results because of decreased accuracy. Now watch the results!

The break shot, just as any other shot in pool, must be practiced with vim and vigor. It is the most important shot in 9 ball, it sets up the game, and can lead to short easy victory if done well, or long hard defeat if done badly. When first practicing the break, you'll notice that you don't get the results you want. That's because your mind is training the body, which means that the mind has to consciously control each and every little movement. This leads to what is known as "purpose tremor," which will cause tension through the break shot.

You can read an excellent article on purpose tremor by Max Eberle at AZBilliards entitled "Threading the Needle". Only after dedicated practice will the mind allow the body to naturally do what it was trained to do, so don't expect sledgehammer breaks during your first practice session. Don't allow that to discourage you, as with all good things, it takes time. And remember, break only as hard as you can control. Using too much power at the expense of accuracy is pointless.

Page 2 of 2:  First ·  Prev ·  1 ·  2

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

Related Articles

Author Info - David Baranski