How to Break a Rack in Pool

While breaking is a privilege, it also holds the potential for much embarrassment. To ensure that you don't get your name scratched from the blackboard in your local bar, follow these instructions for a powerful pool shot.


  1. Image titled Break a Rack in Pool Step 1
    Select the right rack. The type of pool rack is a very important aspect of the outcome of your break. The tighter the rack, the better the break.
  2. Image titled Break a Rack in Pool Step 2
    Focus on form. Put extra power into the shot by pulling back farther, not by shooting faster. You want a smooth, controlled backswing with full follow-through. A steady, square impact carries more force than a lightning-fast shank.
  3. Image titled Break a Rack in Pool Step 3
    Get close. Beginners often rest their stick on the back rail. On a regulation table, that puts you too far away. Learn to break from the head-string (the closest point you can be to the rack), with a closed bridge (the hand position that looks like a rotated "OK" sign).
  4. Image titled Break a Rack in Pool Step 4
    Aim middle low. Go for a full hit in the middle of the cue ball, just below center, so it dies after contact. You want the cue ball to come to rest in the middle of the table so you'll have lots of options for your second shot.
  5. Image titled Break a Rack in Pool Step 5
    Shoot down the middle. Some players aim for the second row of balls, hoping to bounce the cue ball off a rail and back into the rack for more action. Whatever. A full hit on the head ball equals a stronger, more consistent break with fewer scratches.
  6. Image titled Break a Rack in Pool Step 6
    Learn from your mistakes. Watch the cue ball to fine-tune your shot. If it tends to drive forward after impact, hit it lower for more backspin. If it likes to veer off toward the sides, hit it slower for greater accuracy and power.


  • For a spectacularly hard hit, use the Bruce Lee One-Inch-Punch stance. Your natural break is to place feet on floor, bend and hit, using only arm power. Try this for added smack. When the cue is being pushed forward for a large hit, shift your body weight behind it too. This means your body shifts from one side to the other, and the foot at the back moves forward too. Follow through with the cue ( through and up for show ). It's not the prettiest break, but you'll go far before you find one that packs more punch!

Sources and Citations

  • Wired Magazine - Original source of this article. Shared with permission. Original content by Jeanette Lee, aka The Black Widow, winner of 20-plus women's professional billiard association titles.

Article Info

Categories: Cue Sports