Is the Break Shot Overrated?

Mr. Dogg

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I sure ain’t no pro, so I’m just askin’.
Is the skill of the break shot overrated?
Of course, the outcome of the break is important, but is the skill of breaking overhyped?
The rack will never be exactly the same twice in a row (gaps, alignment on table), and neither will the placement of the cue ball, the contact point of the cue/cue ball or cue ball/object ball, and table conditions is variable.

If anybody could shoot superhumanly perfect, and the balls are racked to superhuman perfection every time, they’d make the money ball on the break every time. Imperceivable differences in those things will result in very perceivable results, so I consider the results of a break to be relatively random. Anybody agree?
 
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jrctherake

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I sure ain’t no pro, so I’m just askin’.
Is the skill of the break shot overrated?
Of course, the outcome of the break is important, but is the skill of breaking overhyped?
The rack will never be exactly the same twice in a row (gaps, alignment on table), and neither will the placement of the cue ball, the contact point of the cue/cue ball or cue ball/object ball, and table conditions is variable.

If anybody could shoot superhumanly perfect, and the balls are racked to superhuman perfection every time, they’d make the money ball on the break every time. Imperceivable differences in those things will result in very perceivable results, so I consider the results of a break to be relatively random. Anybody agree?

I totally disagree.....big time.

Then again, different levels of play REQUIRE a different skillset.

Jeff
 

Patrick Johnson

Fish of the Day
Silver Member
I sure ain’t no pro, so I’m just askin’.
Is the skill of the break shot overrated?
Of course, the outcome of the break is important, but is the skill of breaking overhyped?
The rack will never be exactly the same twice in a row (gaps, alignment on table), and neither will the placement of the cue ball, the contact point of the cue/cue ball or cue ball/object ball, and table conditions is variable.

If anybody could shoot superhumanly perfect, and the balls are racked to superhuman perfection every time, they’d make the money ball on the break every time. Imperceivable differences in those things will result in very perceivable results, so I consider the results of a break to be relatively random. Anybody agree?
There's more room than you seem to think between totally random and totally controlled. Good breakers improve the odds of a good outcome.

pj
chgo
 

middleofnowhere

Registered
I sure ain’t no pro, so I’m just askin’.
Is the skill of the break shot overrated?
Of course, the outcome of the break is important, but is the skill of breaking overhyped?
The rack will never be exactly the same twice in a row (gaps, alignment on table), and neither will the placement of the cue ball, the contact point of the cue/cue ball or cue ball/object ball, and table conditions is variable.

If anybody could shoot superhumanly perfect, and the balls are racked to superhuman perfection every time, they’d make the money ball on the break every time. Imperceivable differences in those things will result in very perceivable results, so I consider the results of a break to be relatively random. Anybody agree?

No It is not overrated.
 

ShootingArts

Smorg is giving St Peter the 7!
Gold Member
Silver Member
winning ir losing

The break gives control of the table to someone every time! The importance of a good break can not be overrated.

There are stats available so that you can see the results of those that work on the break most seriously. The two most important shots in pool, the break and the lag, are probably the least practiced.

The break matters whether you are a bar room banger or a top pro. Even if you can't run a rack, you can choose when to play safe if you control the table. No way to overvalue a good break!

Hu
 

MitchAlsup

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
If you cannot run the average rack after the break, then breaking might not be such a deal.

If you can, then it is the most important shot of the rack.
 

Mr. Dogg

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Thanks for the responses. Being a hack, at best, it's kinda hard to wrap my head around, given all the variables, but I'll take your word for it. Maybe I'll see it, someday (Doubtful … I'm already old! lol).

By the way:
"There's more room than you seem to think between totally random and totally controlled."
I was careful to say "relatively random."
 

Buzzard II

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I was just thinking the same as Nick about SVB. But the last time I saw him break I was on the far side of the room. With that long bridge and superb timing it looked effortless and I couldn't hear the crash of the balls. But oh man, the balls would rocket everywhere. He makes it look so freakin' easy. Beyond skill and into violent art.
 

Bob Jewett

AZB Osmium Member
Staff member
Gold Member
Silver Member
Overrated? Maybe not. I would say that most beginner to intermediate players worry about it too much. Unless the two players are running the rack a quarter of the time, who breaks has little effect on the outcome of the match. Check out AtLarge's stats in recent nine ball and ten ball matches and look at the "breaker wins" percentages.

Is the break a large factor for the top 500 players? Yes. Does it make any difference to the vast majority of pool players? No. For the vast majority, if they can get the balls open and not scratch, their break is fine. They are never going to play SVB or try to outsmart Corey at racking.

Speaking of Corey, here's a clip that will show you how to do Corey's four-shot nine ball racks.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZnYiuO8I6Pg
 

JC

Coos Cues
Gold Member
Impossible to underrate importance of the break, at any level.

I disagree with this.

Just for kicks I will use fargo rating to make my point.

Matches between players under 600 are rarely decided by the break or who's doing it better.

Tables are not being run out much and multiple mistakes are being made post break.

The break shot is an advanced skill that will not help the B player much to master. An awesome break more often leads to an easier sell out at that level.
 

Tin Man

AzB Gold Member
Gold Member
Silver Member
Bob, JC, and those who said it matters more at the higher levels are absolutely right.

At the beginner level it doesn't make much of a difference.

At the highest levels it means more than can be explained to those living in the world where you take turns shooting.

That is the trap. I grew up playing amateurs in Minnesota. I didn't need a good break to win. I could just wait for shots and then run out. It got to the point that I was one of the top in my state without a good break shot. The heck of it was I could turn in a 'perfect set' and feel like no one could play any better. And it was true. I played 'perfectly' according to Accu-stats that set maybe. Coming up dry and then running out when you get a shot doesn't penalize you in Accu-stats.

But against the pros a dry break can be just as costly as a miss. It was a major wake up call! It didn't matter how good I was shooting, if my strategy was to hope those guys hung up balls I was doomed to failure. And when they are winning 2-3 racks at a time it doesn't work to win a game and then dry break or get hooked and push out. It happens, but you can't fight those guys one rack at a time and think you're going to win sets.

After looking at my results I've noticed that the sets I lose are often by the margin of the number of break and runs my opponent had more than me. For example, in a race to 11 if they run 4 from the break and I only run 1 it's often they beat me 11-8. On the flip side, I've won some sets where I put a handful of racks together and that was the margin of score.

The good news is it's not too late for me. I've worked really, really hard on my breaks, 10 ball, 9 ball, 9 ball on spot, template, no template, etc. It's paying off. I just played the 10 ball ghost a race to 7 with the caveat that I had to not take ball in hand if I had a playable shot (not a good shot, just anything I'd fire at in a game). I won 7-2 and 4 of those racks were off my break without ball in hand. None of them were easy and a couple involved combinations and some very difficult runs. I'm looking forward to the day I get to compete again. I'm hitting the balls pretty good. And I'm breaking well :)
 

u12armresl

One Pocket back cutter
Silver Member
Let's go down the list

One pocket = huge
9 ball banks = huge
full rack banks = very little
9 ball = big
10 ball = huge
8 ball = huge
3 cushion = automatic first score (for the most part) big
snooker = not a lot
 

buckshotshoey

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Even Shane breaks dry or scratches once in a while, or ends up with no shot.

Of course he does. VERY occasionally. He's human after all. But his percentages of making a ball and having a second shot are HUGE! Same for Corey Deuel.

And that is due to being a student of the break shot..... the many years of study that taught them the nuances and Intricacies of how the balls react when struck.
 

ShootingArts

Smorg is giving St Peter the 7!
Gold Member
Silver Member
An old story

It was late one night when a young stranger came into the bar wanting to play. He won the coin flip, I racked, bar box eight ball. Johnny called eight ball in the corner pocket. That's where it went.

I had racked with normal care but perhaps I had not given him a perfect rack to break and he had taken advantage of a flaw. Next rack was 100% perfect. "Eight ball in the side." Down it went. "Eight ball in the side." Down it went. He had started with the standard bar room bet of five a game and I was down fifteen dollars on three shots. "Eight ball in the side." Everybody in the place was urging me to quit and that might have caused him to take a little off his break. The eight ball that had been slow rolling in the side hung in the jaws.

Letting him break was like giving up games on the wire, a lot of games. Anyone think they could give a young Johnny Archer 3/4 of a set on the wire? I ran out on his dry break and a couple more before I let him shoot again thinking I didn't want to lose him. That resulted in the most impressive shot I have ever seen on a pool table and he had mapped it out in the air with his stick over the pool table. Fortunately after eight rails the cue ball just ran out of gas and he jawed his ball. After that I only let him swing his stick when I had the kind of lock up safeties Efren couldn't escape! We played maybe an hour or an hour and a half and I never let him break again.

That is something even TinMan overlooks, even a smart amateur and lower level player has the lead with a successful break. With well planned and good safeties they can keep the lead. As in the lead dancing. Having never heard of Johnny Archer in my small berg I was concerned with him quitting and let him swing a stick once or twice most games, however when I did it was with the kind of lock up safeties that he literally never pocketed another ball after those three breaks. I wasn't exactly helpless on a bar table on my home turf myself.

I also had a barbox eightball break that usually pocketed three or four balls. Usually a mix of high and low so not as big an advantage in terms of balls as it seems but I usually had choice of balls when it was take what you make. Golden breaks at eightball were a fluke for me and I might average a couple a night, probably less.

Consider if your break is twenty percent successful, Shane's is thirty. You are unlikely to "outrun that spot". AtLarge does a great job of keeping stat's. His stat's have often shown Shane's break most successful by a bunch, and the top few breakers head and shoulders above the average cluster. Corey D. is another whose break often made him winner.

If both players are near equal in skill levels other than the break, an average breaker can't outrun a great breaker. That holds true once a person is skilled enough to play safeties.

Hu
 
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