: Liz Ford
Ba-Boom!: Your Guide to a Bigger Pool Break
Your break is a chain of events that transfers momentum from one object to another. Your body moves the cue, the cue moves the cueball, and the cueball moves the rack. It's true that you need to generate some serious oomph from your diesel frame if you want to break like a cannon, but maintaining good habits that keep that initial power from dribbling away along the way is key. Here are ten things to keep in mind as you improve your break:
1. Get Huge
Your break stroke is a maximized version of your regular stroke – power is created, in part, from swinging your arm in a much longer arc. All of the same basic fundamentals apply, except your body will need to move during your swing to help create extra power and arc.
2. Bigger Backswing
To create a longer arc, you'll need to draw your arm farther back on your backswing. Think of the backswing as a runway that allows you the room to accelerate your arm up to the speed needed for take-off.
3. Bigger Follow-Through
To complete the longer arc, your cue will also have to follow-through farther than on a normal shot. Many pros follow-through so far that the tip of the cue almost reaches the foot spot. In order for this to happen, your upper body will need to tip forward as your hand comes through. Ideally, you'll end up with all your weight on the front foot in an upright stance.
4. The Sweet Spot
It's important to time your swing so that you're accelerating through the cueball. This means figuring out the place in your break motion where your hand is moving the fastest and placing yourself so that the cue hits the cueball ever-so-slightly before you get to your max speed.
5. Let Your Hips Help
By bending your knees and driving your hips forward as your hand reaches the back of your backswing, you'll set the stage for more power in two ways. One, you'll increase the distance between your body and your hand - effectively creating an even bigger backswing. Two, your hips will start the forward motion that creates a whip as it goes through your upper body, down your arm and into your wrist and hand.
6. Stay Out of Your Own Way
Turn your body sideways, with your feet and shoulders in a line behind your bridge hand instead of standing with your feet and shoulders square to the shot. This will allow you to come forward over your front foot with your swinging arm without hitting your body.
7. Don't Put on the Brakes
In order to take full advantage of your body's whip action, it's crucial to keep a loose, neutral grip hand and forearm. Any kind of extra “power” you try to create with your hand will only serve to clamp down on and decelerate your cue.
8. Contact the Cue Ball Squarely
Hit the cueball through the center and as levelly as possible so that you don't send any of your precious momentum into spinning the ball or jumping it into the air. These both represent energy that isn't getting passed into the rack.
9. Hit the Rack Squarely
Aim for a full hit on the head ball to ensure that all your momentum is being transferred into scattering the balls and not into moving the cueball around the table or onto the floor.
10. Practice Strategies
A very large swing with body involvement has a lot more moving parts than a regular shot, so it can be difficult to learn to coordinate everything smoothly. One great strategy is to practice in slow-motion, gradually increasing the speed as you get more comfortable. Another is to go at regular speed and increase the arc of your swing gradually. Once you get the break motion down, alternate concentrating on an accurate hit with concentrating on maximum power until you're turning heads with the loud bang of your heavy artillery.