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Dear Jeanette
By Jeanette Lee
International billiard icon "The Black Widow" answers your questions about life, love, and everything else that happens in the poolhall.

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March: Break Time
March 2012
Q. I have been playing 8- and 9-ball for 10 years. On my break, I want to spread the balls more. You have a great break - do you have any tips to help me?
Rudy; Fairfield, Calif.

A. There are three main things that I focus on to increase my break's effectiveness. First, are the balls racked as tightly as possible? You can break as hard as you want, but if there are spaces between the balls, you'll lose tons of energy. Two, are you aiming to hit the head ball as solidly as possible? Getting a square hit on that first ball transfers the more energy to the rest of the rack. And finally, where is your cue tip striking the cue ball? I want the cue ball to end up in the center of the table, so I have the best chance of having a good shot. Hit the break several times and see where the cue ball lands. If it goes off at an angle, you aren't hitting the head ball squarely. If it goes straight forward, your aim is OK but you need to strike the cue ball lower on the vertical axis. If it flies backward toward you, you have too much draw. Get these three things down, and then you can add more speed/power.