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Darren Appleton

Instruction Articles:
• January 2021
Donít Lag Behind

• December 2020
Head games

• November 2020
Life on the Edge

• October 2020
The Family Tree

• September 2020
A Dip of the Tip

• August 2020
The Big Diamond

• July 2020
Nine-Ball One-Hole

• June 2020
Youíll Kick Yourself

• May 2020
Tight Quarters

• April 2020
Cue Ball Control

• March 2020
Straight Cueing

• February 2020
Saddle up!

• January 2020
9-ball Crossover

• December 2019
Ride Those Rails

• November 2019
Up and Down

• October 2019
Money Balls

• September 2019
Captain Zig-zag

• August 2019
15-Ball, No Rails

• July 2019
One Extra Ball

• June 2019
Two-Pocket Drill

• May 2019
Up and Down

• April 2019
Ultimate Rotation

• March 2019
In A Good Spot

• January 2019
Breaking Bad Habits

• December 2018

• November 2018
X marks the spot

• October 2018
Striking It Rich

• September 2018
So Many Options

• August 2018
Put Hangers On Rail

• July 2018
Mirror, Mirror II

• June 2018
Mirror, Mirror

• May 2018
ďVĒ for Victory

• April 2018
Up and Down

• March 2018
Kick Into High Gear

• February 2018
Up and Down

• January 2018
Up To The Challenge

• November 2017
Taking A Break

• October 2017
End Game Safeties

• September 2017
Get Comfortable

• July 2017
Shape Up For Summer!

• June 2017
The Selection Process

• May 2017
Two For One

• April 2017
A Ghost of a Chance

• March 2017
Bankerís Holiday

• February 2017
Great Eight

• January 2017
Getting Into Shape

• December 2016
Hocus, Focus

• November 2016
Kicking Into High Gear

• October 2016
More Drill Bits

• September 2016
Hand Model

• August 2016
Breaking Tradition

• July 2016
Drawing On Experience

• May 2016
Proper Practice

• April 2016
Drilling For Improvement

• March 2016
Mind Games

Center Cut
February 2019

The 10-ball break shot is more similar to 8-ball than 9-ball.

In the last issue I discussed the common mistakes players ó particularly amateur players ó make on the 9-ball break. In this issue, letís look at the 10-ball break shot.

Obviously, the biggest immediate difference in the 10-ball break is that adding one ball to the rack eliminates the wing ball, which is one of the key elements of the 9-ball break. The key balls on the 10-ball break are the balls directly behind the 1 ball in the rack.

I see a lot of amateurs break from the rail in 10-ball, similar to their 9-ball break (Diagram One). The first danger with this approach is losing the cue ball to the left or right from not getting a solid hit on the 1 ball. If you are off even a little on the break, your chances of making one of those balls in the second row become really slim. The rail break in 10-ball also takes a lot of power and energy away from the rack because the majority of the balls are in the back two rows.

Your only real chance for making a ball when breaking from the rail in 10-ball is the 1 ball in the side pocket. The 5 ball and 6 ball will hit the rail below the side pocket because of the energy lost by the thin hit on the 1 ball. Any ball you make after that is pure luck and the balls are more likely to settle in more clusters.

The best option is to break from a more central position on the table, either dead center or a few inches right or left. Every table is different, and conditions will impact your choice, but most pros (myself included) break just left or right of center.

As Diagram Two indicates, the contact point on the 1 should be as if you were hitting it straight on from the center of the table. Aim to hit the 1 square and cue just below center. Keep your eye on cue ball contact. If you hit this properly, you have a great chance to make the 5 ball or 6 ball in one of the side pockets. These are your target balls.

The center break in 10-ball also offers a greater chance of pocketing additional balls on the break and offers better control of the cue ball and 1 ball, provided you hit the 1 square. Professional players know that if they hit the 1 ball square in 10-ball breaking from the center, the 1 ball will track towards the top left-hand pocket. In some ways, the 10-ball break is easier to control than the 9-ball break, especially if you are hitting them good and square on a consistent basis. I only use the side rail break if I am really struggling with the center break.

So, take this information to the practice table and work on your break shots. Always remember: A balanced stance is key and donít lunge into the break. Timing is essential. Let the body take over on the delivery, similar to a drive in golf. Donít allow your body or arms to get ahead of your body.

The moral: Master the break like the top pros and your game will benefit from the opportunities a good break creates.