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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:
• January 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 L

• 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

• 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

Build a Better Break
September 2008
I'm going to continue to answer questions from readers, and the next one I hear a lot.

It seems like I hit 'em hard on my break, but the balls don't do much after impact. How can I get more power? - J.T.

When I teach the break, I simply put the 1 ball on the foot spot, put the cue ball anywhere on the head string, and say, "Let me see you hit a stop shot." Ninety percent of the time, they cannot shoot a stop shot from that distance. If you can't hit the 1 ball dead-on, what makes you think you can hit a rack effectively?

You have to learn how to hit the head ball squarely. Try an exercise in which you hit the stop shot above 10 times (see Diagram 1). For those not entirely familiar with stop shots: You stroke the cue ball right at its center, or just slightly below, and hit the 1 ball fully. With a perfect hit, the cue ball will stop right in its tracks.

A trick that I learned from former women's pro Nesli O'Hare is to treat the break shot just like any other - meaning that you should line it up (with your back foot in line with the cue ball and object ball) and step into it like you would any other shot. And for this exercise, stay down and still through the entire shot - which means you're just using arm power, and not moving your body forward.

Stay loose. When we try to smash the rack, we tend to tense up and tighten our grip, which can inhibit arm speed and jerk your stroke off target. So keep a loose grip and follow through on your stroke to the center of the table.

Also, don't rush your back stroke. When we try to hit it hard, we usually pull back too fast. The only thing that matters is controlled acceleration on your forward stroke.

In this exercise, pay attention to the cue ball. If it isn't stopping, note which direction it goes. If it's going to the right more often, for example, adjust slightly.

Once you've mastered the stop shot, use a full rack. Later, you can put more of your body into the break stroke for forward momentum. But remember that you don't need to have a big, full-body, Bustamante-like move to get power. It's all about hitting the head ball square.