Skip to main content

How to Break a Rack in Pool

Getting a good break in life is always nice. But when you're playing pool, it's essential.


  • Step 1: Position cue ball Position the cue ball as close as you can to the head string, the imaginary line behind which you have to shoot. You can usually spot the best place to put your ball by looking for the telltale wear marks on the cloth.
  • Step 2: Hold the cue correctly Hold the cue correctly, which means as level as possible with the tip poking through a loop made with the thumb and forefinger of your non-dominant hand. The forearm on your dominant hand should be at a 90-degree angle to the floor.
  • TIP: You can get a special cue made just for breaking. Many players choose a slightly lighter, faster one.
  • Step 3: Aim at the center of the cue ball Aim your cue so that it will hit the cue ball at dead center. Hitting the ball even a fraction to the side will result in a bad break.
  • TIP: The tip of the cue should be about an inch from the cue ball.
  • Step 4: Target the head ball Target the closest or "head" ball, which is usually the number one ball.
  • Step 5: Stand up straight with knees bent Stand up straighter than you normally would when taking a shot, but keep your knees bent.
  • Step 6: Experiment with backswings Experiment with different backswings. Some pros like to reach their arm back a few inches farther than usual when they break, while others like to shorten their reach.
  • TIP: Bring your arm back slowly and steadily when getting ready to hit the cue ball.
  • Step 7: Push your body forward Hit the cue ball as hard as you can while still maintaining accuracy. Move your hips and torso forward for more power, and follow straight through with the cue. If you're doing it right, your back foot should end up in a little kick.
  • TIP: At the moment your cue hits the cue ball, your forearm should be at a 90-degree angle to your cue.
  • Step 8: Test your focus Test your focus. Break a few times while looking at the cue ball, then break while focusing on the head ball. Use whichever style works better for you.
  • Step 9: Practice Practice over and over, noting how the balls are breaking so you can adjust your speed or stance. In a standard break of a rack of 15 balls, you're most likely to sink the two balls directly behind the head ball. If you're getting wild results, try hitting with less power.
  • FACT: Mozart was a passionate billiards player; he composed at the table, played for high stakes, and when he died he owned 12 cues.

You Will Need

  • A pool table
  • Pool balls
  • A rack
  • A pool cue
  • A special pool cue for breaking

Popular Categories