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Hottest threads from the Cue Chalk Board
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:
• 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

• December 2007
The Hard Way Makes It Easier

• November 2007
How to Sight the Cue

• October 2007
Win from Your Chair

Trying the Soft Break
January 2008
The big controversy this year at the World Pool Championship was the widespread use of the soft break, which on the main TV table (and some of the others) was always sinking a wing ball in the corner and sometimes the 1 ball in the side. Personally, I feel the soft break has destroyed 9-ball. It’s like every batter in a baseball game stepping up to the plate and bunting. However, your opponent might use it on you, so you have to have it in your arsenal.

If you can break from anywhere behind the headstring, choose one of the sides and take dead aim on the 1 ball. Use a soft stroke — stop-shot speed, or about three times the speed of your lag stroke — and apply some backspin. Depending on the side from which you’re breaking, the wing ball on that side more than likely will go in that corner pocket (see Diagram 1). In addition, the 1 ball will wander toward the opposite side pocket. Depending on your speed, the cue ball should back up a few inches, giving you a clear shot on the 1 ball in the side if it didn’t already drop.

If you must break from the box, try a cut break, aiming for the spot on the ball that you would have contacted had you been breaking from the side. Try a two-third to three-quarter hit. Also use some bottom left or right English on your break stroke — left if breaking from the left, and right if breaking from the right. This will bring the cue ball off the long rail and back up table for a possible shot on the 1 ball.

A couple disclaimers: The rack needs to be pretty tight to make this work, and the 1 ball should be on the spot.