in: Games & Tricks, Living

• Last updated: June 1, 2021

How to Break a Rack in Pool

How to break a rack in pool billiards illustration diagram.

From the rough-and-tumble tables in biker taverns to the low-key games set up at family-friendly pizza joints, pool is a game accessible to just about anyone, regardless of skill level. For most amateur players, the most intimidating part of the game comes at the very beginning, when one player is required to break the rack, which begins with racking the balls well in the first place.

Racking the balls simply means placing them in the frame so that they are all touching each other. If the balls aren’t touching, they won’t break apart correctly, which can disadvantage the player who breaks. Breaking the rack sets up the beginning of the game, and if done correctly, can offer a significant advantage to the player who gets to break. Whenever breaking, always try to use the lightest stick available and make sure to chalk the tip well before you hit your shot.

1: Place the cue ball anywhere along the head string, an imaginary line that stretches across the table, opposite the rack.

2: Set up in the proper stance, with your feet spread apart, leaning over so that you can look down the length of your pool cue.

3: Use a closed-finger grip to help prevent the cue from drifting up when you strike the ball. With your back hand, hold the cue near the base with a firm but flexible grip.

4: Aim for the center of the front ball; this transfers the most power to the other balls and most efficiently spreads them across the table.

5: Line up your shot, focusing on a spot of the cue ball just below center. This helps keep the cue ball in the middle of the table after the break.

6: Bring the cue back, steady your aim, then shoot through the ball. Keep the cue level and allow your hips to rock forward as you hit the ball to allow for maximum power.

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Illustrated by Ted Slampyak

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