Moves For An Improved 9-Ball Break

9 ball

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While advising students for a national competition recently, offering them specific pool coaching, the subject of breaking a 9-Ball rack came up. What moves could improve a Nine Ball break for already strong breakers?

About Breaking

1. Pick a spot for the white ball that works. Take the cue ball an inch or two off the side rail, on the right side if you are a right-handed player and vice versa for a lefty.

2. Fire straight into the 1-ball in your mind. You should take your break stance as though you plan to go on the shortest possible path from the cue ball to the side of the 1-ball facing you.

In other words, do not hit the front of the rack where the 1-ball faces the middle of the table but plow straight into it. The shortest possible line between two points/two pool balls. Why?

  • There is less room for deviation/error on a "full hit". A full hit is when the cue ball totally covers or eclipses the object ball as seen from behind the shot. A full hit is less likely to have the cue ball slide off somewhere unintended.
  • The full hit on the break best releases the power into the pack. You should already know from observation during play that thinner hits on the object balls allow the cue ball to retain speed and impart only a bit of speed to the object ball. But if you want to stop the cue ball dead and send most of the energy into the object ball? The same kind of full hit that breaks the pack apart widely, too.

3. Adjust your aim like a pro to pop the 1-ball into the side pocket. Move that imagined line a teensy bit to the right (or to the left for the left-handed reader) so that following impact, the 1-ball moves on a straight line into the side pocket. Bingo!

You are often looking to pocket the one in the side or have it bank one short rail into the opposite side. You may also adjust your aim between breaks to make the 1-ball go in if you fail to pocket it on the snap. Note each and every break whether the 1-ball sinks in the side or goes just past the side pocket to strike the rail toward you or away from you and adjust the break accordingly. Now you are teaching yourself how to manipulate a ball on the Nine Ball break.

You will begin to pocket the 1-ball routinely and retain your turn with these three moves.