A Good Break Shot Starts The Game Out Right
All pool games start out with the break shot. If you win the coin toss, this is your first chance to gain an advantage over your opponent. Make the most of it with the following suggestions.
The break usually begins with the cue ball behind the head string, in what is known as the kitchen area. The head string is an imaginary line that spans across the short dimension of the pool table and travels through the head spot. The cue ball may be placed anywhere behind this line to take the shot.
As with all the other shots in pool and billiards, a good, smooth stroke is very important. You want to make sure you hit the cue ball at exactly the right spot, and follow through with the cue stick, to get the maximum power into your break.
Before you shoot the shot, take a couple practice strokes while looking at the cue ball to make sure that the cue tip will contact the cue ball at just the right spot. Once you are comfortable with this aim, shift your eye contact to the ball in the rack that you want to hit, and keep your eyes on it until after you make the shot.
Your stance should be well-balanced and comfortable with the upper body leaned over and supported by the bridge hand. A thrust forward of the hips during the stroke will add some power to the shot by adding the weight of the body to it, instead of just using only the power of the arm.
After you have made sure that your contact on the cue ball will be correct, your aim on the object ball is right, and you have taken several practice strokes, swing that stroking arm back and let 'er rip! If all went right, the balls will be scattered all over the table and you may have made a ball or two in the pockets. The game is on!
There are several different types of break shots that you can use, depending on the game. Most people like to hit the head ball first regardless of the game. Others folks will hit a ball other than the head ball, to achieve what they feel will be a superior spread of the balls.
In 9-ball, the head ball, which is also the one ball, must be hit first on the break. In most other pool games it doesn't matter which ball is hit first. Some people like to put some bottom spin on the cue ball, in the hope that it will cause the cue to end up in the center of the table, which usually makes shooting for the next balls easier.
One other variable that influences your break shot is the speed of the shot. Naturally, the harder you hit the cue ball the faster it will go. Normally you want the most power you can get if you break by hitting the head ball first. However, if you have a shot that hits a ball other than the head ball, you may need to slow that shot down some, to avoid knocking the cue ball off the table.
When you make a ball on the break you get to continue shooting until you miss. Obviously, this is the desired outcome, and is something to strive for whenever you get the chance to "crack the rack". Practice taking break shots while changing variables such as cue ball speed, aim on the object ball, and stroke, until you develop a shot that works best for you.
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