Perfect Your Lag For Break

The lag for break is the formal way to start a pool match. It is the way to fairly determine who gets to shoot first, and is something you will want to get good at, because it can give you an advantage over your opponent.

To lag, both players place a pool ball by the head rail. They then simultaneously shoot their ball so it bounces off the foot rail and returns to the head rail.

The player whose ball stops closest to the head rail wins the lag, and gets his choice of whether to shoot first or require his opponent to shoot first. For most games, the player will want to shoot first. However, for a game like straight pool, the shooter may want to have his opponent break up the rack.

The next time you get some practice time on the pool table, try practicing some lags. It is more difficult than it looks to stop the cue ball near the head rail consistently. The following diagram shows the lag in graphic form. The striped ball "B" has won this lag because it is closer to the head rail than "A".

lag for break diagram





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