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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 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


• 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


 
Soft on Soft Breaking
November 2011
BEFORE WE get started I’d like to say that if it were up to me, every 9-ball rack would be broken with a powerful break. I think the soft break, which is pretty commonplace these days, is a terrible development for the game. How exciting would it be if you went to Yankee Stadium and every batter tried to bunt?

That being said, you might find yourself in a situation where the soft break gives you the best chance at winning a game, match or tournament. If you can break from anywhere behind the head string, place the cue ball along the long rail (as you can see in Diagram 1). Aim to hit the 1 ball as full as possible, using the same speed you would on a normal stop shot.

You’re most likely to sink the near wing ball into the near corner pocket, like the 4 ball in the diagram. Also, the 1 ball should float toward the opposite side pocket. Ideally, you sink the wing ball, and the cue ball sits in the middle of the table with an angle on the 1.

But what should you do if you’re limited to breaking in the box? You’ve got options if you need to break softly, but you have to change your approach a bit. You want to aim the cue ball at the same exact spot as before, which means you’ll be cutting the 1 ball slightly. This angle will cause the cue ball to rebound off the long rail. To keep control of the cue ball, hit it with some draw and left English, as shown in Fig. 1. (Use right English, if you’re breaking from the right side.) This will bring the cue ball up-table after hitting the side rail, so you should still be in position to drop the 1 if it stays up.

Considering its popularity and effectiveness, the soft break is a necessary addition to your game. You don’t have to like it, but try it for yourself.


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