How to Break in Pool – 5 Tips for Beginners

Rack of Pool Balls with a Pool Cue on top

Is your break perfect?

Breaking a rack is a fundamental part of pool as it can set the tone for how the rest of your match will go. Breaking is also quite difficult to master if you consider all the different variables; holding a stick, aiming, and striking the cueball HARD (which usually decreases your aim and accuracy).

You can either start off really well with pocketing a ball on the break with good position or miss (or scratch) and give your opponent an early advantage. This can be especially dangerous when facing advanced players.

Many players struggle with their break and ask the same questions:

  • How do I break harder in pool?
  • Why do my breaks in pool keep scratching?
  • Why are my breaks inconsistent?

Breaking is probably one of the most underestimated shots in pool. With these simple tips below, you will be able to improve your break significantly.

Break Straight

We recommend positioning your cue ball dead center on the head string and hitting the front of the head ball straight on. It’s best to keep it simple when breaking that way you are not angled and your cue ball is going in different directions. There are other strategies that involved positioning your cue ball in other places but, to improve your break it’s best to start with small steps.

Additionally, make sure you are hitting the front ball as FULL and straight as possible. Imagine if you have a straight in shot for the 1-ball, it is the same thing. You want to be hitting that cue ball dead straight into the 1-ball as FULL as possible. This guarantees you transfer as much energy as possible from your cue ball directly into the front ball of the rack.

Don’t break from the left or right side, stick to the middle!

Hit the Center of the Cue Ball

When you break and hit the cue ball, you want to make sure you are hitting dead center. It is highly recommended for beginner players to stick to hitting in the center of the cue ball. It is okay if you hit slightly above or below center, but you want to make sure it is still center. If you’ll notice that if the ball veers off to the left or right after contact, it’s probably one of these few reasons:

  • You are actually hitting slightly left or right on the cue ball
  • You are not hitting the front ball on the rack head on
  • The cue ball or rack is not center
Pro Tip:

A simple way to test if your center is actually center is to aim your cue ball on the short rail and hit a diamond. Try hitting it softly in the center and keep your cue extended out. If you have a straight stroke and hit center, the cue ball should bounce off the rail and come back to hit the tip of your cue. Make sure to do this softly so you do not damage your tip when the cue ball returns back.

If your breaks are still resulting in the cue ball going in different crazy directions, try reducing your strength. It’s best to break center and accurately before applying more power to your break. You want to master the technique down first before smashing the rack.

If it’s not hitting the tip of your cue then you are not hitting straight and you need to adjust. Try hitting slightly to the left or right until your shot is straight. This is probably true center and your aim may have been slightly off this entire time! (Believe it or not, players do have this issue and don’t realize it)

Follow Through and Use Your Body to Generate Speed

The more you can follow through with your break, the stronger it will be due to the speed you are generating; resulting in more balls spreading and hopefully pocketing one. A lot of players that I see that struggle with breaking harder is after they break, their cue will fly up and elevated in the air. When you break, you want your cue to extend straight through the cue ball.

Some players will also jab a break and not fully extend their cue. This is limiting your break power when you limit the distance your cue can go during a break.

Use your body to follow through with your break in one moving motion. Players that use their entire body can generate more power (this is not necessarily required as with the right technique you can stick to just your back arm to get a sufficient break). One method that works for a lot of players is breaking slightly forward so their head, break arm and overall body is slightly forward after their break. This gives them the extra bit of power their desiring.

Note: If your stick is flying UP and in the air after breaking, you are doing it wrong. Make sure you follow through and the tip of your stick should be close to the table.

Use a Closed Bridge

This one is highly recommended to players to use a closed bridge because it secures your cue from going in different directions when breaking. It is a good bridge to limit your cue direction and will keep you breaking straight.

One thing I do want to mention though – it is okay if you don’t feel as comfortable breaking with a closed bridge. I personally break with an open bridge because I prefer to see more of the cue ball and I am used to it. Breaking with a closed bridge for me makes me feel uncomfortable and I know that closed bridge breaks aren’t for everyone. At the end of the day it’s best to stick to what feels comfortable to you.

Experiment With Your Break Techniques

The last piece of advice I want to give you about breaking is to be curious, experiment and try new things. Once you’ve mastered the break from the center of the table, get out of your comfort zone and try to add to your breaking skill set. For example:

  • Change up the position of the cue ball
  • Try different weights in your break cue
  • Try different tips on your break cue
  • Add or remove power from your breaks and see the different results

Additionally, you can try out different kinds of break cues. If my friend has a break cue I’ve never seen before, curiosity takes over and I will usually ask them to try it out. I have a dedicated break cue and it definitely contributes to a better break. If you are thinking about getting a break cue, I recommend the following below:

Recommended Break Cues

I have used all 3 of these cues and they all do their job great. The stringer break cue is a sweet multi-purpose cue because it has a built-in jump cue you can screw off. Predator has always been a fan favorite of mine because of their amazing quality and design work.

  • McDermott NG01 Stringer Break Jump Cue on sale (Click the Amazon link for exact price) (I have been using this for over a year now and I still love it!)
  • Elite ELBKRS Break Cue (Link to Amazon for accurate pricing)
  • Predator BK3 Break Cue on sale (PoolDawg Link)

All 3 of these are great break cues with different price ranges so it should give you guys enough options and different price points to find the perfect break cue. Later on, I will make a post about a larger number of break cues with more in-depth detail.


I hope these tips above will help you improve on how to break in pool. Be sure to check out over 50 tips here at my post where I cover beginner and fundamental tips every pool player should know. Remember that accuracy beats powers and to practice your breaks as much as you can until you are confident in it. One last note is to make sure that rack is tight and good luck everyone!


Benny is the owner of Supreme Billiards and has been shooting pool and teaching people how to shoot pool for a few years now. He enjoys showing new players techniques and drills to improve their pool game.

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