Billiards Break

In Pocket Billiards You Need a Break

When you put your best effort into a break shot and it results in a cluster of 5-6 balls, a cue ball back where it started and no balls sunk, you weakly announce to your opponent, “the table is open”.

Everyone has an opinion on the best way to break the rack. The break is a personal experience. But at some point, a player will really want to do it right be consistent and get good results.

Some refer to it as the most important shot in the match and from a physiological standpoint it probably is, but it relies on a Stun stroke, and it is more important to have this in your quiver of ready strokes.

If you are interested in shattering the rack in every direction, leave nothing on the rail, no clusters and nothing touching each other plus make a ball, then let The Monk show you a reliable break stroke.

Stun Stroke Success

You must train and master the stroke. It is the “Stun”. “One of my students in Maine had a success rate of ninety per cent!!! We measured the sound of her cue tip going through the cue ball. When we got the sound to a consistent level, we asked her to deliver this stroke on her break. And the results were astonishing. She was able to hit numbers in the ninety per cent range in both eight ball and nine-ball!” The Monk exclaimed.

He related another coaching experience to make the point that the break is over rated and not as important to a player who does not have a high run out ratio. (see mid-term Suzanne won the BCA Open Woman’s Eight Ball Championship and did not make one ball on the break. This was a strategy we designed for that tournament. But a good break is a very good weapon. It allows you to control the table.

Cue Ball speed has a lot to do with your success at breaking though it is not nearly as important as accuracy. One way to develop speed is to switch to a lighter cue for the break shot. Science over the past few years has taught us cue stick speed is a lot more important than the muscle you put behind it. It's much easier to propel a lighter cue faster. A lighter cue stick (17oz-19oz's) allows greater speed, whereas a heavier stick will create more spin on the ball. So find a weight that gives you maximum speed without losing control.

Back to The Monk’s stun stroke

Set up a shot straight in the corner pocket. Place the cue about five feet away. Line up dead center and then raise your cue so you are shooting down on the cue ball. Raise your tip so you end up slightly above center. Use your best punch stroke.

Make sure you push the cue ball out towards the object ball. Feel the cue tip still on the ball, even when it’s one foot from the contact point. Get a good feel for this “Stun”.

The cue ball will hit the object ball and jump up and creep forward.

When you are able to hit five “stuns” in a row you will then rack up the balls and use the “Stun” to shatter the rack. Place the cue ball in between the head spot and the side rail. Get into the “stun” position. Concentrate on driving the cue ball straight through the rack. See the cue ball hitting the head ball. Deliver your finest stun. You do not focus on speed. You focus on quality of hit. You will discover, for yourself, the right speed for you. What ever it takes to shatter the balls will be your speed.

It's Not How Hard You Hit

Its not how hard you hit the racked balls, accuracy is much more important as accuracy allows you to spread the energy of the impact to every ball in the rack.

Energy in equals energy out. Seems simple, right? Well it is… We all make it seem difficult because we all think that if we don't create this massive explosion on the table, that we can't pocket any balls. Power is not the single answer, Aim is not the only answer, Speed is not the exact answer; CONTROL is the answer!! We need to dominate all of the above. Power through! Body positioning and movement through the stroke will increase your power.

Make sure your aim is true. What to aim at is most important, more so than any aiming theory. There are two positions involved in aiming a break shot. First, be sure you aim at the exact core of the cue ball to keep it going straight. Your second target is the exact center of the head ball, or the point where it rests on the table felt. You need to position your aiming eye so you can clearly see both points; cue ball core and head ball center.

In this way, the cue ball will draw or jump back out of the way and hopefully come to rest near the center of the table (where you want it). During your warm up strokes, follow the intended path of the cue ball, with your eyes, point to point…slowly!

Now speed things up. But remember, you must maintain control at your highest speed. The greater your control over bodily movement, the more speed you can generate. Maximum speed at the moment you make contact with the cue ball will give you more consistent results.