9 Ball Break

How do you break the nine? All out power? Finesse and control? Hit hard and hope like hell? Personally I like the pop and squat method. Sounds weird I know, but it is effective.

First, I place the cue ball on the head string about 5 inches right of center. (this position along the head string may change depending on my success but it will stay on the head string.) Then I center my tip on the vertical and horizontal center of the cue ball and raise it about 1/4 tip. Then I raise the butt end of my cue about 5-10 degrees. Aim for the center of the one ball and fire. I use a smooth power stroke, almost throwing the cue into the cue ball. I want my mechanics fluid and not tense so I don’t try to kill the ball. Just concentrating on speed and accuracy.  The power will be there, you don’t have to force it.

If all goes well and I get a perfectly centered hit my cue ball will pop up into the air just a bit, long enough for the nine ball and a few others to clear the rack area, and the cue ball will land and stay close to the center of the table. The out come of this break if properly executed is good cue ball position, a wing ball pocketed and a shot on the one ball.

If you having trouble pocketing the wing ball try moving the cue ball away from the center of the table, staying along the head string.

A good controlled stoke is the key to this break being effective. You must stay relaxed, shoot through the ball and follow through. I think about stroking straight through the cue ball as if it wasn’t even there, contact with the cue ball is incidental, it just happened to be in the path of the stroke. If you have ever hit this shot correctly you will know what I mean. Golf is probably the closest example I could use. When you drive a golf ball down the fairway your swing is the primary focus. The hit was just the result of the ball being in the path of the club. You will feel the difference when you hit through the ball rather than at it.

It is also worth mentioning that I used a more “closed” stance than my normal shooting stance and I raise my head up higher than regular shots. Raising the head up allows your body to move into the shot naturally and generates power from your hips,back and legs rather than from just your arms and shoulders.

Here is a break down of my 9 ball break. I did this by recording with my digital camera and then used the standard windows media player and the windows snipping tool to capture the pictures from the video. It’s a good idea to do this for yourself, you may notice some flaws that you didn’t realize that you had.

Pic 1,

This is me after my final practice stroke and just before I start my back swing. On my 9 ball break I like to choke up a bit with my grip hand.

Pic 2,

This is at the end of my back swing and I have started to come forward. My head has raised slightly and started to come forward with the stroke.

Pic 3,

At the beginning of the forward part of the stroke. My head has raised a bit more and moved forward, but I am still focused on the cue ball.

Pic 4,

Here is my stroke at the bottom of the pendulum. Personally I think your tip should make contact with the cue ball at the same time your grip hand is at the bottom of the pendulum to get the most power and accuracy from your break stroke. It is at that moment that your cue is in the same position as when you started and set up your shot.

Pic 5,

This is towards the end of the stroke. My body has moved forward quite a bit adding energy into the hit.  Be careful not to let your body move so much that it effects your accuracy.

Pic 6,

The end of the stroke. Good follow through. I ended up pocketing a few balls and had a decent shot on the 1 ball with the cue ball close to the center of the table.

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Monday Night Pool League 2/28/12

I know, I know, I am a week behind. I am still recovering from a nasty

cold/flu and horrible back pain. Well, last week we

were in second place, 1 point behind 1st. Now we

are in third! We had a bad night on many levels. I

guess the first place team was more worried about

us than I thought since a couple of their player

were acting like 2 year olds. It all started when one

of our guys got ball in hand on the 8 to win the

match. The 8 ball was a little more than a balls

width off the rail so our guy put whitey right

between it and the rail. The other team blows up,

saying that it will be an illegal shot because there

is no way he can shoot it without double hitting 

the cue ball. (not true at all by the way, there are

several ways it can be done) So after 15minutes of 

discussion our guys takes his shot (no double kiss)

and make the 8 ball to win the match. You would

think that would be the end of it right? Not even

close.

This guy on their team keeps running his mouth all

over the pool hall trying to start a bunch of crap. I

wasn’t getting pissed at all but I was pretty

disappointed, I used to have allot of respect for this

guy because he can really play, but not after

seeing him act like this.  So the next match begins.

There guy wins the first game and breaks for

the second. He makes the eight on the break but

also makes the cue ball, instant loss. But wait,

here comes the trouble maker yelling that it’s not a

loss! He says show me where its at in the rule

book! Now, he knows full well that it IS a loss but

he is just trying to start a argument with us. He

comes over to me complaining that he wants to

see the rule book so I get our out. He says, “Show

where its at in there”. I told him to do his own

reading and gave him the book. He looks at it for 2

min and says it’s not in there. So I decided to really

tick him off by saying that it doesn’t matter if it’s in

the rules or not, it’s still a loss. He says” How do

you figure it’s a loss?” I point to his guy that is now

racking the balls, and say ” Your guy has already

swept up the balls and began racking, in other

words he has conceded the game!”

At this point I am still laughing it off and I’m not

pissed at all. But I failed to notice that one of my

guys was taking it so serious. So I go over to the

bar where there is 2 guys from the other team and

we are joking around and watching the fire break

out at the Daytona 500 when all of the sudden I

look back at my teams table and see two guys

about to come to blows. Yep you guessed it, the

guy that was acting childish all night finally

found someone that wasn’t amused with him.

Apparently what happened was my player told the

guy on our team that was playing at the time to

check to see if a ball is frozen next time a certain

situation comes up. Now it wasn’t during his shot

that he said this and in our league you can talk to

the player when it’s not his shot.

Well the guy that had been starting arguments all

night walked by him and said, “That’s a coach,

that’s a coach”, and my guy went off!

The trouble maker yells something about how

much better his team is than ours, yada yada

yada. So now I have to get between them to

try and keep this from becoming a actual fight.

They calm down, somewhat, and play resumes.

As luck would have it, I end up playing the trouble

maker on their team. Whats worse is that I have to

give up one game on the wire to him and he is the

better player. So I win the first match to even it up

and I continue to play fairly well, but in the end he

wins it. So I tell him “Good game, you played really

good and you earned it”. To my surprise he says

“So did you, you only missed one shot”.  So we

talked a bit about what went on during the night

and smoothed things over. No hard feelings, at

least not on my end. I never was really mad, I just

thought the whole thing was ridiculous. I show up to

play pool and have a little fun. I take my game

seriously but not myself, I am getting tired of

people getting bent over a league match

though.

I would rather loose and be gracious than win and

be remembered as “That guy”.