The Big Break Theory

Posted by : Samm Diep

The Big 'Break' Theory

Who doesn't want to smash the rack wide open the way the pros do on TV? You don't need to be a professional to have an effective break.

An effective break means maximizing the energy in the cue ball and spreading the object balls widely. Having the proper equipment is definitely a good start. Break cues these days come with all types of various tips. The harder the tip, the quicker the cue ball will accelerate upon contact.

Here are some basic tips to help any level player possess a more effective break:

1. Make sure as many balls are frozen as possible in the rack. The Delta-13 triangle is the best I've found for getting the perfect rack. If a large cluster remains together, the rack may not have been perfectly tight. If you're playing at a place that has mismatched balls, try putting the odd ones in the back row.

2. Timing and accuracy always trump power. It's more effective to contact the rack squarely than to hit the balls as hard as you can. The ideal break moves the cue ball very little after impact and explodes the racked balls. Make the necessary adjustments to 'squat your rock." If your cue ball is going forward after you contact the rack, aim a little lower on the cue ball. If it's moving off to the right, aim more to the left of the head ball.

Three Reasons why it's valuable to keep the cue ball in the center of the table after the break:

(a) You almost always have a shot at something
(b) You are less likely to scratch without the cue ball flying around the table
(c) The less energy remaining in the cue ball means the more energy that went into the rack

3. Choose your break spot and aim through the center of the head ball from where the cue ball is. If you're breaking from dead center, then you would aim for the center of the head ball. If you're aiming from the side, your contact point also moves to the side. Draw a line from the center of the cue ball through the center of the head ball to find your contact point.

4. Lock in your alignment and try watching the cue ball last. As we increase our speed, we don't always contact the cue ball where we're aiming, especially if we drop our elbow during the final follow through. Try keeping your eyes on the cue ball when you make contact.

5. Stand up a little higher to allow your arm to follow through a little more. Develop your accuracy before increasing your speed, and definitely before involving your body weight. Sometimes our body inhibits us from following through more. Standing up higher will help eliminate this problem. Stay loose and fluid.

Developing a power break like the ones we see on TV takes more than just a few leisure games a week. It takes years of practice and fine tuning. However, keeping these tips in mind can help spread the balls out more and make the game more enjoyable.

Rules on Racking 8-BALL:
The 8 ball goes in the center and opposite stripe and solid balls go in the back two corners.

Rules on Racking 9-BALL:
The 1 ball goes in the front and the 9 ball goes in the center.
In both cases, all the other balls should be placed randomly.

Player, writer, and Denver billiard instructor Samm Diep shares tips on basic care, instruction, and etiquette. Check back frequently for more articles.