Last week I wrote a post on “How to Rack and Break” but this week I wanted to get a bit more granular and post up some tips on how to really crush the rack. Most games a good break will determine if you continue playing or not so having the skills to really smash it are definitely to a players advantage. Here are a few basic tips to help pool players set up their next breaking of the rack:
- Power and Accuracy: The 1st rule of thumb when breaking is to hit the head of the ball, which in almost all games will be the 1 ball. If you are able to hit that 1 ball accurately and on center it should transfer all the energy and momentum (aka power) into the rack. So if you hit it dad center you don’t have to hit it as hard because you will have all that energy transformation working in your favor.
- Play for the Best: Always play like your striving for the best results. The only good break shot is the one that sinks all the balls. So don’t be afraid to switch up your cue ball positions or change speeds.
- Position Tricks: Every pool table will break differently but if you want a few tricks to find out those sweet spots here they are. 1) Check the cloth for signs of wear, players before you have probably found the best position for the cue ball so follow suit. 2) Try and get to the table beforehand to see where players are breaking and their speed to find out whats working.
- Where to Look: The debate is whether to look at the cue ball or the objective ball. Basically it comes down to where you want your focus during the break stroke. Some like looking at the rack’s head ball where other’s keep their gaze on the cue ball making sure they hit it accurately. It all comes down to personal preference even some of the pros confess they don’t know which one or where they focus on during the break shot.
- Timing: One of the key ingredients to a successful break. A player should try and have everything working together to make the movement effortlessly in less than a second. Really understand how your body works each person will be different so end up doing what works best for you.
I started off this blog letting readers know how to properly use a pool cue but I think it’s about time to let readers know how to choose a pool cue. First let’s go through the different areas of a pool cue.
As you can see on the picture it’s important to know what material is used on certain areas of a pool cue. The most important and obviously most used area is the wrap or butt of the cue. It’s essential this area of the cue is comfortable and feels good when you grip it. Some cues come with leather wraps if your looking for a smoother feel.
Taking a look at the shaft of the pool cue your most likely going to see some sort of high grade maple used to make this section. When choosing a cue make sure you know what type of material is used here and what the shaft diameter is. The smaller your hands the smaller the diameter you will want. Most range from 12mm to 13mm but various manufacturers will allow 1/4 increments size changes.
Cue weights range from 12 to 21 oz. This is another aspect of the cue that is a personal choice there is no guidelines here just what feels the best.
A well made quality cue will generally range between $150 and $300. Anything over that you are looking at added details to the cue that make it more appealing. We can call these the show stopper cues. We would recommend taking a look at Billiards.com or PoolCues.com for the best pool cues in either of these price ranges.
Uses for a pool cue: warning some humor may be involved. Pool cues were made for just that, shooting pool you know hitting billiards balls on a pool table. They were not made to be used as for javelin throwing or limbo contests.
The Do’s and Don’ts:
Chalk designs on the ceiling may be made easier with the help of a pool cue but we suggest you don’t try it. The tip of a pool cue is made of leather and attached to the shaft of the cue with a ferrule. Essentially the most vulnerable spots on the stick. When the come in contact with anything other than chalk or a billiard ball it may not be a happy ending. Loosing it’s original shape can cause inconsistent shots and severely affect your playing ability.
If you did you the pool cue for that aforementioned duel or javelin contest just don’t leave it outside. Exposure to the outdoor elements can be disastrous and possible fatal for the poor old thing. The shaft and butt of the pool cue is made of wood and can warp, this is an unfixable mistake. The only plausible use for it now is firewood.
If you use it to conduct the music aka bounce the stick to the beat you are affecting the bumper. The pumper is there to protect the cue but it also adds a precise amount of weight to the cue. The bumper can eventually crack if it gets too used an abused.
Lesson learned you paid a lot of money for that pool cue, if you want it to work properly be nice to it. Your Welcome for the etiquette lesson.