There’s an app for that!

I recently downloaded the Break Speed app for my iPhone.  It’s very simple to use and is pretty nifty.  The application allows you to specify the size table you are playing on and requires that you specify (graphically) where you are placing the cue ball when you break.  I found the app to be very useful.  It provides quantitative feedback on your breaking speed as you experiment with the few variables that you can control in an effort to help you refine your breaking technique.  Recently, I tested my two primary playing cues to see if there was any difference in performance when used for the break shot: 
(1) My playing cue: A McDermott model D7
(2) My backup cue: A custom made Bautista

Here’s the raw data that I collected with the iPhone app:

Here’s a boxplot of the data:

Yep, the Bautista is a better breaking cue for me…if my criterion is breaking speed.  I’ll continue to work on my break to maximize speed while at the same making sure that I keep the cue ball under control.


11 responses to “There’s an app for that!

  1. $5 for the app…a little steep. hope it’ll go on sale.

  2. Just wondering about the weights of your two cues – guessing the Bautista is a bit lighter?
    When I try to think about breaking from a physics perspective, I just don’t see how the cue ball could move any faster than the cue stick at time of contact. And the only thing that’s gonna help move a cue stick faster is for it to be lighter… What do you think?
    By the way, awesome use of boxplots 🙂

    • Good question about cue weights. I actually don’t know the weights of my cues, so I’ll see if I can bring them into our lab today and weigh them. There are some other factors besides initial cue stick speed that affect break speed. For instance, the stiffness of the cue stick shaft – if it flexes a lot, that removes energy from the collision (i.e. energy is lost into the shaft when the shaft flexes). Also, the hardness of the tip is a factor. A soft tip will absorb more energy than a hard one, thereby removing energy from the collision. I’m definitely in the camp of folks who believe a lighter breaking cue is better. To me it is synonymous to the discussion about baseball bats…the lighter the bat, the faster the bat speed, and F=ma.

  3. If the Bautista is not lighter, then my backup explanation is that you unconsciously slow your break to avoid the possibility of damaging your playing cue 😉

    • That’s always a possibility…It’s hard to be an unbiased observer! I have been using the Bautista as my breaking cue so that’s what I’m accustomed to. I started using the Baustista a few weeks ago when I popped the tip off of my Predator 314 shaft. (That’s a story in itself!) I’m sure I’d get higher breaking speeds if I were still using the 314 shaft.

  4. This is so cool ! My daughter has an i phone, I’ll get her to download the app. Thanks for the info.

  5. Curse you, Michael! You knew I wouldn’t be able to resist downloading that app! Pssst… just between you and me, p00lriah is soooo looking at this thing wrong. I mean, how tough does he think it is to charge $1 for the analysis of say, 5 breaks? Heck, they charge more than that @ one of this breaking booths at a big pool gig. 😉 I’m gonna put food on the table with this thing – bwahahaha!!!!

    • Gary, what a great idea for a money making scam…er, I mean, business concept. We could travel around the country together gathering data and analyzing other pool players. I see this as rich area for research. We could write a paper, get published in Scientific Amercian…heck, we might even bag a Nobel prize, or at least an Ig Nobel prize! (See their qualification criteria at

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