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BD House Pro
Tony Robles
A longtime teaching pro at Amsterdam Billiard Club in New York City, Tony has dozens of regional and national titles to his name, including the 2004 BCA Open Championships.

Instruction Articles:
• October 2017
Confidence Boosters

• August 2017
Making a Check List

• July 2017
Trust Issues

• June 2017
Rails Away!

• May 2017
Weight Watchers

• April 2017
Opposites Attract

• March 2017
Reach For It!

• February 2017
Adapting to New Rules

• January 2017
Systems vs Feel

• December 2016
It Happens to the Best

• November 2016
Maintaining Focus

• October 2016
Riding the ĎLí

• September 2016
Tips on Tips

• August 2016
The Art of Deflection

• July 2016
Note To Self

• June 2016
Object of Safety Play

• May 2016
Speed Zone

• April 2016
Frozen Ball Shots

• March 2016
Hide and Go Seek

• February 2016
Two-Rail Kicks

• January 2016
Staying Down

• December 2015
One-Rail Kicks

• November 2015
Breaking Bad

• October 2015
Call Shot, Call Safety

• September 2015
Own the Shot

• August 2015
Patterns - Part II

• July 2015
I Notice A Pattern

• June 2015
Two-Way Prt. 2

• May 2015
Two-Way Shots

• April 2015
The Fine Line

• March 2015
Straight Break

• February 2015
The 'Walkaway'

• January 2015
Pushing Your Luck

• October 2014
Walk This Way

• August 2014
Attitude Adjustments

• May 2014
Adapt to the Equipment

• Mar 2014
Turn The Beat Around

• Feb 2014
Straight Is Great

• Sept 2013
Cover the Basics

• June 2013
Getting It Right

• May 2013
Strength Training

• April 2013
Rust Proof?

• March 2013
Not So Fast

• February 2013
Two-Step Jump

• January 2013
Open Your Eyes

• December 2012
Feeling Good?

• November 2012
Hang In There

• October 2012
Back on Track

• September 2012
Straighten Up

• August 2012
On the Rail

• July 2012
Mental Checklists

• June 2012
Respect & Fear

• May 2012
Chin Music

• April 2012
On the Line

• March 2012
Balancing Act

• February 2012
Creative Drilling

• January 2012
Power Outage

• December 2011
Jumping In Line

• November 2011
Soft on Soft Breaking

• October 2011
Find Your Stroke

• September 2011
The Path Off the Rail

• August 2011
Short Position

• July 2011
Inch Along

• June 2011
Into the Unknown

• May 2011
Sharpened Focus

• April 2011
Never Flatline

• March 2011
Stop For A Review

• February 2011
One To Watch

• January 2011
The Straight Answer

• December 2010
Shoot The Lights Out

• November 2010
Never Overmatched

• October 2010
Drawing Conclusions

• September 2010
Through & Through

• August 2010
Along the Rail

• July 2010
The Small Stuff

• June 2010
Three in One

• May 2010
One Ball At a Time

• April 2010
Going Thin to Win

• March 2010
Know Your Game

• February 2010
14.1 For 8-Ballers

• January 2010
Setting It Straight

• December 2009
Hanging Out, Part II

• November 2009
Hanging Out

• October 2009
Control Your Speed

• September 2009
Busting Out of a Slump

• August 2009
Easy Errors, Part III

• July 2009
Easy Errors, Part II

• June 2009
Easy Errors, Part I

• May 2009
Body Language & Breaking

• April 2009
The Break: Body Language

• March 2009
Must-Reads from Robles

• February 2009
Position: Four Square

• January 2009
Romancing the Stance

• October 2008
Look Out for Boingy Rails

• September 2008
Build a Better Break

• August 2008
Q&A: Ask the Pro

• July 2008
'Buzz' Kill: Stay Down

• June 2008
Stop Shots Safeties III

• May 2008
Stop Shots Part II

• April 2008
STOP-SHOT Safeties

• March 2008
How to Keep Winning

• February 2008
The Dreaded Straight-In Shot

• January 2008
Trying the Soft Break

• December 2007
The Hard Way Makes It Easier

• November 2007
How to Sight the Cue

• October 2007
Win from Your Chair

The One-Armed Man
September 2017

These days itís all about the break.

Whether the game is 9-ball, 10-ball or 8-ball, the break is the most powerful tool in a playerís arsenal. Make balls on the break and control the cue ball, and you control the game.

I have long taught students looking to improve their break shots to start with a drill that requires them to drive the center of the cue ball into the center of the front ball in the rack using only their arm. This drill is meant to develop accuracy and consistency in your break shot. Learn to control the cue ball first and you can add power later. Trust me, this isnít an easy thing to do, but it will really teach you how to control the cue ball. Power on the break without cue ball control is virtually useless and may actually favor your opponent. Think about it. If you smash the rack, sending object balls everywhere, but scratch or end up without an open shot because the cue ball is stuck on a side rail or at the bottom of the table, your opponent quickly becomes the favorite to win the game.

Start by breaking using only your arm and gauge how far your arm goes on the follow through. It wonít be much, maybe a foot or two. Now, with the cue still in place on the follow through, lift your back leg and lean forward a bit, still maintaining control of your body. Notice how far the cue tip now extends. It will probably extend almost to the center of the table. The key is to incorporate this type of extra body movement into your break without sacrificing accuracy and control.

Now break again but incorporate some of this extra body movement into the break. Donít go overboard. Start this portion of your practice with short movements and shift your body forward on the follow through a little bit more on each attempt. Make sure the center of the cue ball is still hitting the center of the first ball in the rack. If you begin to lose control of the cue ball on a regular basis, dial your follow through back a bit and start again.

The gameís biggest breakers apply this principle, although in different ways. Some players launch themselves into the shot, lifting their back leg high into the air and really reaching forward. Johnny Archer breaks like that, stretching so far that his bridge hand comes off the cue. Other players, like Francisco Bustamante, tend to drive forward with their hips, keeping the cue on the table and their bridge hand still in place.

Both ways are effective. But it is up to the player to practice the break and find his own comfort zone. Regardless of style, the primary goal is to add power to your break without sacrificing cue ball control.