How to Break in 9Ball

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The opening break shot in 9ball pool is the most important part of the game. A good opening break shot can make you the winner of the game in less than two minutes!


  1. Balls 1 through 9 are racked in a diamond shape. If you do not have a specialty rack for 9 ball, you can use a standard triangle rack and arrange the balls in a diamond using your hands to hold the back balls in place. The 1 ball must be at the apex of the diamond and should be centered on the foot spot. The 9 ball must be in the center of the rack.
  2. The cue ball is placed behind the head-string at the other end of the table. If the head string is not marked, it is the imaginary line that connects the second diamonds on the 2 long rails.
  3. Your cue ball must hit the 1 ball first and you must hit it hard enough to send at least four balls to a rail (counting the cue ball).


  • Stay loose during the break. Gripping the cue hard will not make you hit harder: tense muscles do not move as fast as relaxed ones.
  • Break with control. You want to hit the rack hard enough to spread the balls but not so hard that you risk a miscue, scratch or can not predict where your cue ball will end up.
  • Try to hit the 1 ball as full as possible so that all of your energy is sent into the rack.
  • Attempt to bring the cue ball to the center of the table after the break. This will give you more shot opportunities if you pocket a ball on the break.
  • Some players like to break with the cue ball close to the side rail. Others like to break from the center. Find what works best for you.
  • When refining your break, practice with a moderate speed until you feel comfortable with the control. Then speed up while maintaining cue ball control.
  • Once you have control of the cue ball, the key to a big break is speed, not strength. Focus on getting the cue moving as fast as possible. Lighter cues tend to be better at this than heavy ones. Bridge a little farther back than normal to give yourself room to accelerate. Stand up a little straighter to maximize leverage. Take a few warm-up strokes and follow through when you release.
  • Remember that even pros only pocket balls about half the time on the break.


  • Break with as much speed as you can while maintaining control of the cue ball.

Things You Will Need

  • Pocket billiard table
  • set of billiard balls
  • cue

Related wikiHows

Sources and Citations

  • [1] - More tips on how to break in 9ball pool
  • [2] - Official BCA rules of 9ball pool

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