How To Play Pool: Master Your Break Shot
Q: A player writes:
Last night I broke 57 times. I had 7 chances to run out. just seven. Of those 7 opportunities there were 2 spreads that needed perfect cue ball placement, just too tough for me. perhaps Efren could have done it.
Once I ran out. once I got hosed when the '7' ball skidded on me and missed dropping. Three times I just messed up, although once the last 3 balls were in kinda difficult spots, somewhat close together. Seven (7) times out of 57 breaks.
I dunno, does that seem like a normal percentage? not in my mind it doesnt, oh well. I watched so many times balls roll into my way, or leave the cue ball in the middle and no shot. I was smiling, laughing, and happy all the way through it though! didnt throw or break anything either.
A: Fast Larry Responds.
The above was an internet question, but a good one. How do I know if my break is good or not, most frankly do not have a clue. Our guy is realizing his break is his problem. Most rarely ever figure that one out, so let?s give him a real big pat on the back.
Most APA 5?s do not become 6?s, or 6?s do not become 7?s because they have a poor break. That is the main thing holding most of you back. You just do not realize the break is the most important shot in pool.
You can?t run them if you break them bad and the balls do not spread. Most of the league breaks I see after the balls spread are so poor God could not run the table.
All the balls are down on one end and all clumped together. I spend a lot of time and space on this one because this skill is so important. With out mastering the break, you go no where.
Few know what a successful break is. You must accomplish 3 things:
(1) Make a ball and stay at the table. You can?t win sitting in the chair.
(2) Spread the balls well so no 2 balls are touching, move at least 7 balls up table past the side pockets at 8 ball.
(3) Get a shot so your run can begin. At 9 ball you must control the cue ball and one ball together putting the both up table.
If you do not do these three things your break failed. It does you no good if you break and spread them perfectly.
If you fail and do not make a ball. If you are playing a strong 6 or 7, you just lost because he ran out on you.
If you do not make a good table spread even if you make a couple of balls you cannot run out if the table is a mess.
You lose control of the match as your opponent now has equal opportunity to beat you.
You need to go into each play session and record your break stats. How many times a night did you break, now many times did you perform all 3 perfectly, produce the run out table, how many times did you actually run out. 2 out of the 3 is no good, you must learn to do all 3.
You need to chart these 3 stats so you can see if your break is improving and if your run outs are getting better as well. How many of you are doing that now, actually have a gauge, how you are you doing, going up, going down or stuck in place.
The facts are the vast majority of you are flat stuck in place in the mud where you are now. Don?t shoot your messenger, I am telling it like it is here not trying to make you mad, the truth does sting, but I am trying to help you get out of the mud and get this game of yours moving forward.
For the vast majority of you reading this message you must study your break and realize what I just told you, pal, and your break probably is terrible and you don?t know it. Now accept that. Now do something about it. If you are like most you are only trying to hit the rack as hard as possible and if you do that you think you are doing the right thing. Wrong. This is totally wrong.
Run outs are a different subject so I will not go into that here. Your stats are higher when you lay out a run out table in hew haw practice because no pressure or heat is on you. Under the gun for money or in league competition those run out stats will be less of course.
Part of your problem is you putting heat on your self. You guys are breaking so bad and producing so few run out tables during a night what happens when you actually pull one you panic and choke and screw it up. You feel you have to run out, you must. You are putting too much pressure on your self. Just go into that easy table with no expectations and have fun.
Stats on 9 ball tell us the pros will get out from a run out 9 ball table 86% of the time. Your stats will be far below this but you want to see them climb. If they don?t then you need a lesson with me or somebody like me.
About the Author: "Fast Larry" makes it easy for you to learn how to play pool using almost-controversial methods. To get the complete version of this article, go to http://poolplayingtips.com/ and sign up for the Pool Playing Tips newsletter now.