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View Full Version : Making Break Balls And Other Thoughts.


mnorwood
05-13-2007, 08:44 AM
One of the things I learned by watching John Schmidt's dvd is that in order to run more balls you must have the ability to move break balls when a workable ball does not exist. I have really been working on this with great effect. For all of you out there who are just getting started with straight pool this is something you are going to have to consider.

I also have come to realize that playing 14.1 is the best way to improve at every other game. Since I have began studying 14.1 my 8 ball and 9 ball quality of play has risen substantially.

Vahmurka
05-13-2007, 10:44 AM
yes, I've been taught by my instructor that learning 14.1 will improve your abilities in other games, and I share that opinion.

When watching John's DVD I was amazed sometimes at how he did fight for creating a workable standard break shot, while he could agree ith the layout and accept not very good but still reliable break.
What proves your statement for me personally is that during my best run of 47 I had to create a break shot twice, just because there were none. That makes me proud a bit more ;)

Blackjack
05-13-2007, 11:37 AM
Last night I had a great time creating balls from absolutely nothing - just for fun. Its a great thing to practice. Its a great feeling to make a shot and have the cue ball travel 1, 2, or sometimes 3 rails and nudge one out perfectly for a break ball.

A break ball is useless unless you have a great key ball. Sometimes getting a key ball is just as complicated as getting a break ball. Recently, I had a 60+ run end due to the fact that I had a great break ball, but because of mistakes, I was left with a key ball that was basically worthless. It is mistakes like this (getting down to the last 3 or 4 balls and watching my options decrease as my mistakes and my frustrations increase) that have kept me from being a solid, consistent straight pool player over the years. Last night I had run 60 or so and I inadvertantly knocked my one and only break ball option up table (carelessly). If there was a competition for doing this, I would be the undisputed world champion.

A few months ago, I made a post with all of my runs for the month, and it was alarming at the amount of runs that ended duie to missing a break ball. These are the runs that end at 42, 56, 70, and 84 - which by the way has become my most consistent number this month - I've ended 6runs at 84 so far in May and the month isn't even half over.

It is deficiencies like this in my game that keep me coming back to the table trying to conquer those demons. It's like I am challenging my myself more than I am challenging the table or the balls. It leads me to believe that having the knowledge is only useful if you are able to apply that knowledge effectively. Its quite humbling to say the least.
:cool:

selftaut
05-13-2007, 12:02 PM
Last night I had run 60 or so and I inadvertantly knocked my one and only break ball option up table (carelessly). If there was a competition for doing this, I would be the undisputed world champion.:

Blackjack , you might win the worlds in that competition but there is a bunch of us that would make you sweat it all the way :) there is days I can do that 2 or 3 times in a game to 50! and if there was a competition for HAVING NO CHOICE but to leave the cb in the rack and shoot from the kitchen I would be odds on favorite! I have an uncanny ability to leave myself on the keyball with a 20% chance on getting on the breakball or 70% to put it in the rack.

CreeDo
05-13-2007, 04:59 PM
dag y'all make me embarrassed, I practice all day and can hardly run 20. I almost always end it on a makeable ball too. I hope to be able to do 50's every day at least. Do any of you remember a specific moment or trick or significant change that brought you out of the 'struggle with each rack' level and took you to the 'go from rack to rack' level? Or is improvement pretty much always very gradual, like my current high run is 30 and my next jump will probably be like 40? And it'll be a while before I hit 50?

PeteW
05-13-2007, 05:12 PM
dag y'all make me embarrassed, I practice all day and can hardly run 20. I almost always end it on a makeable ball too. I hope to be able to do 50's every day at least. Do any of you remember a specific moment or trick or significant change that brought you out of the 'struggle with each rack' level and took you to the 'go from rack to rack' level? Or is improvement pretty much always very gradual, like my current high run is 30 and my next jump will probably be like 40? And it'll be a while before I hit 50?
I second this question because I am in the exact same boat.

The really frustrating part is I almost always end on a shot that I really shouldn't be able to miss too... somtimes I hate this game (but usually not for long).

selftaut
05-13-2007, 05:43 PM
OK , I will weigh in here on the question, although I am no pro or not even close to that , I play straight for pure enjoyment , but 15 years ago when I was able to play a lot I had the opportunity to be able to often play a few very good straight pool players that lived near here. I got to understand the game from them. To answer the question my answer is 3 fold, #1) what enabled me to get from 20 ball runs to 40 ball runs was Bill Dunsmore used to tell me its all in cue ball control one ball at a time , stay focused on just that shot once down for the shot , although you have to have a plan mapped out , if you don't send them down one ball at a time with nothing else in your head but that ball and that position you will eventually dig a hole and have to take a tough shot. Then secondly, a guy named Dick McConnell I used to play with had a sporty game of straight , always running 80 on me, he told me "if you can run 20 then you can run 40" "if you can run 40 you can run 80", that also stuck in my head , he was right , if you know how to play the patterns and run 20 by getting into the next rack , then from there its execution and getting to 40 etc..because its the same patterns and execution, that helped me with that "mental block" , I would get to my usual 20 and just take a second to have a small chat with myself and reflect on what he said , then tell myself OK one ball at a time and lets get another 20 the same way. And lastly , what stuck in my head was something I read in a book , I think it was Miz's book , practice with the mental attitude like your in competition , when practicing always imagine your in a big tournament or when your in a run that you are down 80 to nothing in a 100 pointer, putting pressure on yourself mentaly to stay down on your shots and execute one shot at a time.

CreeDo, absolutely nothing to be embarrased about, keep it up and you will hit your goals.

JohnnyP
06-05-2007, 10:38 PM
Wayne Norcross worked with me for a couple hours last night, and part of the time was spent on safeties and intentional fouls.

He showed me a foul from behind the rack, where you just push the cueball an inch or so into the rack, and how to get out of it if your opponent does it to you.

I felt a little uncomfortable shooting these, since there is no pretense of trying to make a legal hit. I kept thinking, is it ok to do this? I guess so, three fouls and you lose a rack.

CreeDo
06-06-2007, 08:55 AM
Taut, that sounds like really good, solid advice.
I had the opportunity at 40's and I really dogged them the other night. I would smack the balls open nicely with a break shot then miss a normal, makeable shot because my first shot after the break was a little tough and I just settled for 'cinching' it instead of trying for a good position too. It's so irritating to run a dozen, get position on the break ball, sink it with the correct english, and even make that first tricky shot afterwards... and then just fall over and die without running the next 13.

Here's a question... say there's a problem (a cluster or a bad ball) that you can attack right away. Sometimes I'm torn between going after it now, and just clearing a bunch of balls off the table and then getting position to clear it up later.

In 8 ball I tend to attack a cluster right away, trying to do it with this shot or to get position to do it with the next one. Should I have the same plan in straight pool? I know I should have an insurance ball for these situations, but sometimes no such insurance exists, so my feeling is "since this breakout is 50/50 to leave me screwed afterwards, maybe I should put a few more balls under my belt before attacking it".

Vahmurka
06-06-2007, 09:21 AM
CreeDo, one of 14.1 instruction books, I think by George Fels, says "tidy up first". I've seen similar rule somewhere else. The reason is simple: unless you clear those free balls and go for a break right away you are in danger of creating clusters with those balls which could have been pocketed.
Generally proper timing is very important, and that's another part of the game where I'm weak at.

VIProfessor
06-06-2007, 01:32 PM
CreeDo, one of 14.1 instruction books, I think by George Fels, says "tidy up first". I've seen similar rule somewhere else. The reason is simple: unless you clear those free balls and go for a break right away you are in danger of creating clusters with those balls which could have been pocketed.
Generally proper timing is very important, and that's another part of the game where I'm weak at.

Vahmurka is absolutely right about getting rid of the blockers early. Some advice that may be more to the point regarding your situation is to "get to work early". This doesn't mean to blast away at clusters at your first opportunity. It means that you should never sink balls without a plan. Every shot that you make should have a purpose--either getting you to where you can solve your problems in the most efficient and risk-free manner, or to get out of the rack and to the break ball.

If you find yourself breaking a lot of clusters without having insurance balls to play, then you're simply playing the game wrong. Just as you identify a break ball in the early to middle part of the rack and devise a plan to get to it, after the break shot you've got to identify where the better secondary break balls are (along with, of course, what the insurance balls on the secondary breaks will be) and make your plans. Straght pool rewards the players who leave the least amount of variables to the cruel whims of chance.