Break Shot Experiment On The Way

In yesterday’s post I described steps I took to improve the speed of my break shot. Speed is certainly an important factor, but it’s only one component of the entire breaking routine.  Many factors play a critical role in determining how successful you are with your break shot. I’ve decided to run an experiment (that’s a DOE for you engineer types out there) to identify the most important factors that influence the success of a break shot.  I will be specifically focusing on breaking techniques for the game of 8 ball. Before I begin to design and execute my study, I’ll need to do some thoughtful planning, but here are my initial thoughts on factors that I believe need to be manipulated or controlled during the study:

Variables for study:  cue ball placement, breaking speed, cue ball spin LCR (left, center, right), cue ball spin FSD (Follow, Stop, Draw), rack contact point.

Variables to be controlled to minimize contribution to experimental error: temperature, humidity, ball cleanliness, table cleanliness, muscle fatigue, rack tightness, rack placement.

What are some other factors you believe will have an influence on the success of a break shot?


7 responses to “Break Shot Experiment On The Way

  1. Cool! Love DOEs…
    Seems like it’s going to be quite a large DOE already – what do you think of adding something like “shot control”? I know when I break, that if I go for my top power I sacrifice some control. You could have 2 “settings” for control, one where you slow your break a bit to make sure you hit the english and rack contact point more accurately, and the other would be a full blown top speed attempt…

    • Yes, I agree with your concept. I’m trying to decide how best to implement it. I think it is captured by the fact that I will have two different breaking speeds. Presumably the slower breaking speed will allow me to assure more accurate control of both the rack contact point and english applied to the cue ball. Thus, breaking speed is essentially the variable that will test control. What do you think?

  2. maybe how full u hit the object ball at impact? (e.g., hitting the ball full vs. “cutting” the object ball) if you’re using the 2nd row balls as the object ball this won’t apply.

    i guess u can add all sorts of variables like grip placement, grip tightness, distance of bridge, etc.

    maybe with ur cueball placement variable, u can try to chart which balls are pocketed so u can go for specific breaks to pocket specific balls. (so called 8-ball break)

    have fun michael!!

    • Yes, the more I think about it, the bigger and bigger the study design gets! I’ll need to put a lot of thought into the design. The design part is always the hardest part of a DOE; executing the study is actually rather simple. I am certainly going to track multiple response variables, such as: (1) actual measured breaking speed, (2) number of balls pocketed on the break, (3) “clusteriousness” after the break – a measure of the total dispersion of balls on the table – this is my new word for the day! 😉 , (4) distance traveled by the eight ball, (5) if the 8 ball doesn’t drop, how close did it get?, (6) number of “first shots” available after the break, (7) “runability” of the table immediately after the break as measured by number of ‘problem’ balls. Any other thoughts on response variables I should measure after the break?

  3. maybe “clusteredness”? 😛

    guess you’ll have to keep your break techniques constant since it’ll be too much to add to the experiment. maybe u should limit cueball placement to a few of ur fave spots & start from there. if u don’t like the results u can slowly add more variables.

    as far as clusteredness i personally find that it’s related to speed, at least in 9-ball. so breaking with different speeds may help with cluster management.

  4. One word. Timing.
    Get that right and the rack explodes with minimal effort.

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