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View Full Version : Help! The initial break in straight pool, what am I doing wrong?


Jeff Rosen
07-09-2016, 08:12 PM
Hi,
In my initial break in straight pool (not a break shot when a ball is left) but the break at the beginning of the game, I aim for the corner ball like everyone else, but invariably one of three things happen:
1, I scratch in the corner and lose a point
2. I fail to have two balls and the cue hit a rail and I lose 2 points
3. I break too hard, break the balls, and my opponent runs the rack and then some

I've tried left and right English and center ball, How is the correct way to break? It's at the point that in my two leagues the coin toss or lag is the most critical part of the match!!

slide13
07-09-2016, 09:09 PM
High and outside, play around with cue ball placement and how much of the corner ball to hit until the results are right. Watch some pro matches to see what they do. It's not hard once you get the feel for it, but it takes some time to get there. Rack the balls and practice until you get it down, then you'll have it. I don't always have a great opening break, but it's almost always a legal break with a tough opening shot for the opponent at least.

Sadly when it comes to playing straight pool the opening break is the least of my worries.

BeiberLvr
07-09-2016, 09:19 PM
Hi,
In my initial break in straight pool (not a break shot when a ball is left) but the break at the beginning of the game, I aim for the corner ball like everyone else, but invariably one of three things happen:
1, I scratch in the corner and lose a point
2. I fail to have two balls and the cue hit a rail and I lose 2 points
3. I break too hard, break the balls, and my opponent runs the rack and then some

I've tried left and right English and center ball, How is the correct way to break? It's at the point that in my two leagues the coin toss or lag is the most critical part of the match!!

I like to think my opening break is pretty strong. I hit the corner ball (about a 1/2 ball hit) using roughly two tips of running english, just a hair below center.

In my opinion, you really need to spin the CB on the break. So two things you may be doing wrong

1. Not using enough spin.
2. Using enough spin but not compensating for your aim.

Shooter08
07-09-2016, 09:19 PM
If I recall you hit a corner ball to the rail and back to the stack and the other corner ball hits the side rail back to the stack. Practice, it's not a hard shot if you rack correctly.

couldnthinkof01
07-09-2016, 09:40 PM
I use biebers strategy, just spin the crap out of it and land on the 1st diamond on the head rail.

pt109
07-09-2016, 11:29 PM
I've seen a few pool players that are careless about the rack....
....if the last row has any gaps, it doesn't matter how good you hit the break..
....it's gonna be a lousy break.

Always check the back row for spaces.

couldnthinkof01
07-10-2016, 12:03 AM
ever try the break where you freeze it to the headball?

second the rack suggestion also, huge factor.

Straightpool_99
07-10-2016, 01:11 AM
You've gotten some good suggestions. I'd suggest a 1/3 ball hit with a tip of outside english as a starting point. You want the cueball to hit the short rail-long rail-long rail and then freeze. If you "blow out" the stack on the opposite side, try a thinner hit. If the ball on the opposite side does not get back to the stack, try a thicker hit. If the break looks perfect, except the cueball does not get back, add spin. You say you often scratch in the corner, in that case I'd go a tip lower on the cueball than what you are currently using.

The so called "perfect" straight pool break is overrated anyway. Twice last week I performed a near perfect break, but the corner ball on the opposite side came back and froze to the stack, making it dead in the corner. In all the years I've been playing straight pool that has happened quite a lot, and on some table it happens more than on others. As far as I know, there is no way to stop this. My strategy is to focus most of my energy on freezing the cueball to the rail, as that is something I have control over.

If a couple of balls come out on opposite side, as long as the cueball is close to frozen, I think that is much better than leaving a dead ball.

Let us know if any of this helped.

Jeff Rosen
07-10-2016, 06:52 AM
Thanks all. Appreciated!!

Cornerman
07-10-2016, 08:20 AM
I use biebers strategy, just spin the crap out of it and land on the 1st diamond on the head rail.

Interestingly enough, I hadn't broken a game in straight pool in what seems like twenty years until just a week ago. I was about to do a break that we all (back in the day) grew up with, but when I stared at the table with its beautiful, new cloth and perfect conditions, it looked like for all the world, I would easily scratch in the head corner.

So, I played it like this: I used heavy 3 o'clock (obviously breaking from the right), and not 1 or 2 o'clock, and concentrated on spinning the $hit out of the cueball and killing off the third cushion.

Result:

The cueball dead frozen on the head rail.
Yes, the corner ball was out, but the "perfect break" with the two balls going back into the pack is overrated.
No way does my opponent fire from that position (in a real match)
My opponent commenting that he'd never seen someone break in straight pool with so much spin.

Freddie <~~~ hope to do that well in another 20 years.

Bob Jewett
07-10-2016, 08:34 AM
A few points....

It is impossible to get the "perfect" break from a tight rack (balls back to their original positions). Because the balls across the back are touching the balls in the next-to-last row, balls will move in the rest of the rack. To see this, try moving the back row back a millimeter or slide it sideways a millimeter towards the ball the cue ball will hit.

You want the balls tight across the back. If they are loose in the wrong way the ball that goes to the side cushion will not have as much speed as it should. If only one corner ball is not touching its neighbor to that side, break on it if you don't want to ask for a re-rack.

The standard pattern for the cue ball is corner ball/short rail/long rail/long rail/short rail (maybe) leaving the cue ball near the head pocket you didn't start near. You must play with outside or you will hit the short rail third if you hit the rack with the right fullness.

I have seen some people play without side spin and end up with very good breaks and the cue ball nearly frozen to the head rail after only foot rail/side rail. The extra rail with the standard break seems to have easier speed control.

As for fullness on the hit, it is easy to figure out after the shot whether you did it right or not, assuming you hit the cue ball at the right speed to return it to the head cushion. If the corner ball you hit does not get to the rail at all, you hit it too thinly. If the corner ball you hit bounces off the cushion far enough to leave a shot, you hit it too full; that ball should be behind the rack if the cue ball gets to its correct position by the head pocket.

If you get those two things right -- cue ball nearly frozen to the head cushion and struck ball hidden behind the rack -- the rest of the leave is just the luck of the rack.

You may want to experiment with the ball in hand placement. Most players start about 3/4 diamond from the side rail. I always break from the side to my right and use right side spin.

428243

Bob Jewett
07-10-2016, 08:49 AM
ever try the break where you freeze it to the headball? ...
The rules require the cue ball to touch a cushion after contact or you lose two points and your opponent can have you break again.

couldnthinkof01
07-10-2016, 09:39 AM
it is a risk

Ralph Kramden
07-10-2016, 10:16 AM
A few points....

It is impossible to get the "perfect" break from a tight rack (balls back to their original positions). Because the balls across the back are touching the balls in the next-to-last row, balls will move in the rest of the rack. To see this, try moving the back row back a millimeter or slide it sideways a millimeter towards the ball the cue ball will hit.

You want the balls tight across the back. If they are loose in the wrong way the ball that goes to the side cushion will not have as much speed as it should. If only one corner ball is not touching its neighbor to that side, break on it if you don't want to ask for a re-rack.

The standard pattern for the cue ball is corner ball/short rail/long rail/long rail/short rail (maybe) leaving the cue ball near the head pocket you didn't start near. You must play with outside or you will hit the short rail third if you hit the rack with the right fullness.

I have seen some people play without side spin and end up with very good breaks and the cue ball nearly frozen to the head rail after only foot rail/side rail. The extra rail with the standard break seems to have easier speed control.

As for fullness on the hit, it is easy to figure out after the shot whether you did it right or not, assuming you hit the cue ball at the right speed to return it to the head cushion. If the corner ball you hit does not get to the rail at all, you hit it too thinly. If the corner ball you hit bounces off the cushion far enough to leave a shot, you hit it too full; that ball should be behind the rack if the cue ball gets to its correct position by the head pocket.

If you get those two things right -- cue ball nearly frozen to the head cushion and struck ball hidden behind the rack -- the rest of the leave is just the luck of the rack.

You may want to experiment with the ball in hand placement. Most players start about 3/4 diamond from the side rail. I always break from the side to my right and use right side spin.

428243

Bob Jewett is correct in saying, the last row of balls should be tight. The energy of the cue ball will drive both end balls to the cushions.

When the balls are racked, slightly tap either end ball with the CB. Watch the opposite end ball which is the only ball that should move.

.

Bavafongoul
07-10-2016, 11:02 AM
Aim between 1 & 2 o'clock on the cue ball with a speed of 2.5 - 3 using Scott Lee PBIA training methods......hit 1'/8 of the corner ball
in the rack. The cue ball returns to the kitchen rail and the released 2 corner object balls return to the rack when struck correctly.

7forlife
07-10-2016, 11:34 AM
I've said it before and I'll say it again "There is no substitute for practice", hit the table and practice it in a rather controlled manner and not when you're playing in a match or just before.
I always take the break no matter what cause I like my break level and percentage of executing it effectively but i practiced the piss out of it to find the best combination for my stroke and skill level. The advice here is always good but in some cases a persons skill level and understanding of the stroke required is needed or necessary cause most are going to give "their opinion" or what works for them and the biggest mistake an amateur can following or trying to do what another person does (well i see Earl hit that like this (or) X goes 2 rails on this shot) find "your" shot and what works best for "you"

Hit the table, practice a thousand different things and then work on the one you like the most out of that thousand. Best of Luck.