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Calling all 9-ball racking experts
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ktrepal85
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Calling all 9-ball racking experts - 07-07-2015, 07:05 AM

This may seem like a dumb question to some but racking is a skill that many people lack. Can any of you rack mechanics share some unique tricks and tips you use to get the balls to freeze when racking in 9-ball to ensure the wing ball is dead?

Before you say it: I've already seen Joe Tucker's racking secrets and I understand which balls need to be frozen and how to adjust the cue ball position for small gaps.

But I've been around some high level players and they just seem to be able to rack tighter for themselves than anyone else can. It's an art of it's own I guess. I'm sure we've all seen the many different racking methods:

-tapping the head ball with your cue
-pushing all the balls down on the table
-rolling the balls into position and stopping quickly
-getting the balls positioned and then rolling them in place to tighten them up
-rolling the head ball back gently

What's your secret? What do you do when you're on a table where one of the balls constantly rolls off? Let's hear it...
  
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Masayoshi
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07-07-2015, 07:08 AM

Use a racking template. There is really no good excuse not to, except that your rack will be too perfect.
  
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ktrepal85
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07-07-2015, 07:22 AM

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Originally Posted by Masayoshi View Post
Use a racking template. There is really no good excuse not to, except that your rack will be too perfect.
Don't turn this into a racking template debate please.
  
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07-07-2015, 07:29 AM

There is no single method you can use since tables and racks will act differently. It's like anything else in pool, soon as you move to a different table, everything you know to do needs to adjust.

You may have to move ball location around the rack if they are worn, or flip the rack around a bit to get a good side that it gets the balls tighter, or move the rack high or low to get a spot where the head ball does not roll off each time.

Usually if I can't rack well in a few tries, I get out the magic rack or the Renfo one, which I actually like a bit better as it is more forgiving of different ball sizes and does not wire the corner ball as much.


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07-07-2015, 07:52 AM

I don't understand why racking templates keep being mentioned. You can't simply switch to a racking template in a tournament where they aren't being used.
  
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07-07-2015, 08:02 AM

Using traditional racks, as Hang has mentioned, leads to a great deal of variability ad lack of consistency. There are methods, like you have described that can help, but for the most part, when I used to play, I would inspect racks for where the gaps were rather than to try to eliminate them (eliminating all gaps with a traditional rack is pretty near impossible- even on new cloth).

Tapping the head ball, or spinning balls in place are my preferred methods to freeze certain balls in place, but, again, I just accept the fact that the rack will not be perfect, and try to break according to what the imperfect rack provides (after I get it to the point where it provides something reasonable).
  
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07-07-2015, 08:15 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by ktrepal85 View Post
This may seem like a dumb question to some but racking is a skill that many people lack. Can any of you rack mechanics share some unique tricks and tips you use to get the balls to freeze when racking in 9-ball to ensure the wing ball is dead?

Before you say it: I've already seen Joe Tucker's racking secrets and I understand which balls need to be frozen and how to adjust the cue ball position for small gaps.

But I've been around some high level players and they just seem to be able to rack tighter for themselves than anyone else can. It's an art of it's own I guess. I'm sure we've all seen the many different racking methods:

-tapping the head ball with your cue
-pushing all the balls down on the table
-rolling the balls into position and stopping quickly
-getting the balls positioned and then rolling them in place to tighten them up
-rolling the head ball back gently

What's your secret? What do you do when you're on a table where one of the balls constantly rolls off? Let's hear it...
I find that massaging the cloth where the balls are racked can be very helpful.
  
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07-07-2015, 08:33 AM

It seems to me if the balls are rolling off constantly that the racking area is a little worn. I typically rack a little high until the balls rack cleanly.


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07-07-2015, 08:39 AM

Rack at the other end of the table.

But I think imperfect racks are a feature of pool, not a bug. The break is supposed to be more or less random.

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07-07-2015, 08:40 AM

The best way is to use a template or tap the table which is the equivalent.

If that's not possible, make sure you have a good rack. Lots of racks cannot make a tight rack. Some of them are bent or warped and some of them are just plain designed wrong. Get a Delta-13 http://www.delta-13.com/ or whatever is as accurate. Make sure the balls are right. If the 9 ball is too small, and some of them are, it's impossible to get the balls tight around it.

Some good additional points have already been mentioned above.


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07-07-2015, 08:41 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick Johnson View Post
... But I think imperfect racks are a feature of pool, not a bug. The break is supposed to be more or less random. ...
And how about rack-your-own? Should racking a dead ball be an important skill to learn?


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07-07-2015, 08:58 AM

Quote:
Quote:
Me:
I think imperfect racks are a feature of pool, not a bug. The break is supposed to be more or less random.
Bob:
And how about rack-your-own? Should racking a dead ball be an important skill to learn?
That wouldn't be random, but I get your point: "perfect" racking devices can help prevent some shenanigans.

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07-07-2015, 09:22 AM

My racks always seem to be tight. I place the rack by the ball return and put the balls in, slide the rack with balls rolling onto the spot and stop fast. I usually do this around 3 times and my racks are always very tight.

No real trick to it, just repeating the same process until you get the desired result. If a table is so bad that the rack just won't stay tight then eventually I have to settle for a happy medium.


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07-07-2015, 09:28 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick Johnson View Post
That wouldn't be random, ...
Well, technically, the only randomness specified by the rules is the order of the balls (other than the 1 and 9 at nine ball). The arrangement of gaps (if any) is covered by "as tightly as possible".


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07-07-2015, 09:33 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zphix View Post
My racks always seem to be tight. I place the rack by the ball return and put the balls in, slide the rack with balls rolling onto the spot and stop fast. I usually do this around 3 times and my racks are always very tight.

No real trick to it, just repeating the same process until you get the desired result. If a table is so bad that the rack just won't stay tight then eventually I have to settle for a happy medium.
If the table is worn and has craters, I think this technique is unlikely to work well. I assume you use this method for 8 ball and not 9 ball.


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