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breaking the stack - 03-19-2016, 12:33 PM

I just started playing straight pool regularly and i am having trouble making my ball and breaking the rack open. Im leaving myself the right shots to knock at least 4-5 balls free. Im either:

1. Making the ball and hitting the rack only to knock only 2 balls off and freezing my CB to the rack.

2. Missing pocketing the ball and hitting the rack square for a good spread.

3. Making object ball and hitting the rack forcefully but to no avail.

When shooting the opening shot forcefully to break up the pile, do you alter your aiming any to accomodate for the object ball more sliding across the table rather than rolling?

Do you (and I do) concentrate more on pocketing the object ball than pocketing the object ball and letting the CB hit the rack anywhere, or do you concentrate on hitting the rack in a precise spot, and less on the shot?
  
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Dan White
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03-19-2016, 02:39 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by PocketPooler View Post
I just started playing straight pool regularly and i am having trouble making my ball and breaking the rack open. Im leaving myself the right shots to knock at least 4-5 balls free. Im either:

1. Making the ball and hitting the rack only to knock only 2 balls off and freezing my CB to the rack.

2. Missing pocketing the ball and hitting the rack square for a good spread.

3. Making object ball and hitting the rack forcefully but to no avail.

When shooting the opening shot forcefully to break up the pile, do you alter your aiming any to accomodate for the object ball more sliding across the table rather than rolling?

Do you (and I do) concentrate more on pocketing the object ball than pocketing the object ball and letting the CB hit the rack anywhere, or do you concentrate on hitting the rack in a precise spot, and less on the shot?
It is very common to have trouble making the break ball and getting a good shot after the break. It is the most important shot in the game. There are a few reasons it is more difficult than other shots, such as:

1. You often are hitting a sharper angle. These shots where the pocket isn't really in your vision are a little harder,

2. You are usually hitting this shot harder than any other, and if you have stroke flaws, that's when the flaw is going to show up,

3. You are distracted by what the cue ball is going to do and whether the pack is going to open up,

4. There is more pressure to get this shot right or you can hand over the table with a nice spread of balls.

etc, etc.

There has been A LOT written on the subject (try a forum search), but of course to answer your question you need to decide what you are going to do, and then when you are ready to execute the shot, concentrate only on making the ball with the intended speed.

Maybe the only thing harder than making a good break shot is getting on a good key ball that puts the cue ball in a good spot to pocket that break ball. To do that well, you have to make decisions throughout the rack that will eventually lead you to that key ball, all the while solving bad clusters and other problems that take you away from a simple A, B, C sequence.


Dan White
  
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03-19-2016, 03:24 PM

If I may say so, the time to concentrate on breaking up the stack is not on when you are shooting the break shot at all. The time to do that is on the previous shot. Getting yourself in perfect position before the break shot is the most important part of it.

Thank you kindly.
  
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03-19-2016, 04:54 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by PocketPooler View Post
Im either:

1. Making the ball and hitting the rack only to knock only 2 balls off and freezing my CB to the rack.

2. Missing pocketing the ball and hitting the rack square for a good spread.

3. Making object ball and hitting the rack forcefully but to no avail.

Do you concentrate more on pocketing the object ball
or do you concentrate on hitting the rack in a precise spot,
re 1) try adding some top spin (or draw) to help keep your ball from sticking to the rack. Also try hitting the rack close to the "corner", less likely to get stuck.

re 2) reduce your cut angle to help make the ball, or have the break ball closer to the pocket

re 3) see # 1

good players are pretty sure they are going to make the break ball, so they concentrate on where and how they are going to run into the rack.

Lesser players should focus on making the break ball, and not getting stuck in the rack......even if you only loosen up a few balls, thats better than being stuck. you can always find some "secondary" break shots to break up the rest of the rack...
  
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03-19-2016, 10:07 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by michael4 View Post
good players are pretty sure they are going to make the break ball, so they concentrate on where and how they are going to run into the rack.

Lesser players should focus on making the break ball, and not getting stuck in the rack......even if you only loosen up a few balls, thats better than being stuck. you can always find some "secondary" break shots to break up the rest of the rack...
It occurs to me after reading the above that I'm not clear on what the original poster is asking, exactly. I thought he was wondering whether good players concentrate on where and how they are going to impact the pack while they are in the process of shooting the break ball. After a reread, I'm not so sure.

You have to know where the cue ball is going to go into the pack, but this might not be that important depending on the break shot you have. For instance, if you have a sharp angle "Mosconi" type break shot it doesn't matter where you are hitting the pack. You have to use follow. If the balls aren't opening up due to table conditions, you might need to hit more of a stun to get the cue ball to bounce off the pack rather than die in the middle of a cluster. I think its more important to know the exact contact point when shooting shallower break shots. Using draw when a little follow is better can send the cue ball up to the head rail. You have to know if you are going to hit the high side, middle, or low side of the ball in the pack before you can decide on how to hit the cue ball.


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03-20-2016, 01:28 AM

As one member already suggested, use a little follow or draw to move the ball either through the stack or away from it out either towards a rail or the center of the table depending on the impact angle... Where you hit on the rack is obviously important but not as important as the angle in which it comes into the stack. The angle determines whether there will be natural cue ball movement after contact and how much follow or draw if any you may need to minimize a "dead" break.


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03-20-2016, 07:00 AM

A simple/simplistic rule of thumb is if the cue ball is closer to the long rail use follow, if the object ball is closer to the long rail draw the cue ball.

That's kind of a beginner's way of doing it. Some guys focus on where the cue ball will contact the rack to determine what type of English to use.
  
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03-20-2016, 04:33 PM

I could write a long post about this..But it would be much easier for you to watch this video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QI9BJqyUhrI
  
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03-21-2016, 06:47 PM

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Originally Posted by Straightpool_99 View Post
I could write a long post about this..But it would be much easier for you to watch this video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QI9BJqyUhrI
Great Video. And thanks to all for the help
  
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03-22-2016, 06:45 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by PocketPooler View Post
I just started playing straight pool regularly and i am having trouble making my ball and breaking the rack open. Im leaving myself the right shots to knock at least 4-5 balls free. Im either:

1. Making the ball and hitting the rack only to knock only 2 balls off and freezing my CB to the rack.

2. Missing pocketing the ball and hitting the rack square for a good spread.

3. Making object ball and hitting the rack forcefully but to no avail.

When shooting the opening shot forcefully to break up the pile, do you alter your aiming any to accomodate for the object ball more sliding across the table rather than rolling?

Do you (and I do) concentrate more on pocketing the object ball than pocketing the object ball and letting the CB hit the rack anywhere, or do you concentrate on hitting the rack in a precise spot, and less on the shot?

I think that as a player improves one of the things they learn is how to calibrate the speed and hit on the CB to get the maximum break out of OBs from the stack. It's not just going into them full bore, it's going into them and getting some balls open and retaining some semblance of control over the CB so that there's a secondary shot. Unless it's a radical cut angle there's an infinite combination of speeds and hits that will give you different outcomes.

It also helps that, as you improve, you're leaving yourself better break balls so that your odds of making the shot improve drastically. If you watch Hohmann's run from this year's DCC you'll see he leaves himself almost the same identical break shot -- distance from the CB and angle into the stack -- for somewhere near a dozen racks. Somewhat obviously, that helps your make percentage, a lot.

Lou Figueroa
  
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03-22-2016, 09:38 AM

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Originally Posted by lfigueroa View Post
I think that as a player improves one of the things they learn is how to calibrate the speed and hit on the CB to get the maximum break out of OBs from the stack. It's not just going into them full bore, it's going into them and getting some balls open and retaining some semblance of control over the CB so that there's a secondary shot. Unless it's a radical cut angle there's an infinite combination of speeds and hits that will give you different outcomes.

It also helps that, as you improve, you're leaving yourself better break balls so that your odds of making the shot improve drastically. If you watch Hohmann's run from this year's DCC you'll see he leaves himself almost the same identical break shot -- distance from the CB and angle into the stack -- for somewhere near a dozen racks. Somewhat obviously, that helps your make percentage, a lot.

Lou Figueroa
Yeah, good points here. Additionally, emphasis on a smooth stroke with full follow through (let the stroke finish!) is the proper approach regardless of speed or spin. Somehow, the balls seem to know the difference between a poke/slam and a smooth stroke and typically will reward the latter...

Rick
  
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04-23-2016, 07:40 AM

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Originally Posted by Straightpool_99 View Post
I could write a long post about this..But it would be much easier for you to watch this video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QI9BJqyUhrI
WOW Thanks alot!


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04-30-2016, 11:39 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Straightpool_99 View Post
I could write a long post about this..But it would be much easier for you to watch this video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QI9BJqyUhrI

Too bad he doesn't actually run 100 balls in this video... creative editing.


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05-02-2016, 01:27 AM

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Originally Posted by Dan White View Post
Too bad he doesn't actually run 100 balls in this video... creative editing.
What makes you say that?

Anyhow, to the OP:
Do you actually practice break shots? I used to miss them all the time until I started practicing them like any other shot.
  
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05-02-2016, 06:03 AM

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Originally Posted by john coloccia View Post
What makes you say that?
If you look at the break ball and the cue ball on rack 4 you will see they have been replaced in a slightly different position when you look at the overhead shot. The breakwall is the 4 ball. There may be other instances but I didn't bother to look for them. Also he ends at 105 but you can see that the balls have been moved around so he must have missed.

I understand from a business standpoint that it doesn't really matter but then again Jim rempe actually ran 100 in his video.


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