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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One response to “9 Ball Break

  1. Nice post, I am just starting to practice for my State 9 Ball Tournament and I really want to focus on my break and cue ball placement. Developing a “pop n drop” break is one of my main goals. I really like your idea of “throwing” the cue into the cue ball. Going to try this method and see what happens!

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