Snooker Practice: 5 drills to improve your break building

By Snooker Jim •  Updated: 04/27/23 •  4 min read

A player is break building by hitting the black.

If you are looking to improve your break building whilst playing snooker, then here are five drills to help you do that.

The break is an important thing to master, as you can set the stall for the rest of the frame, and maybe even the match.

Get it right, and it can give you the confidence to clear the table, but get it wrong, and it could impact the frame.

Building from the black

You start this drill by potting the black, and wherever the cue ball lands, put a red ball down in a favourable position.

Start off by setting the cue ball up straight on the black, and pot it. You then put the black ball back into position, and set up a red ball in a favourable position to where the cue ball lands.

From here, you can then start to think about setting up the next shot- making sure the red goes in and ensuring the cue ball lands in a favourable position.

From here, keep building up the breaks and familiarise yourself with angles and shots, etc.

You can also do this for the blue and the pink balls.

Three Reds

Place three red balls in a line between the pink and the black ball. To start, place the cue ball anywhere you want to.

The idea of this drill is that you pot a red, go to a colour, then go to another red and another colour, and so on.

You can carry on looping until you have potted 15 reds, and then you may even want to try your luck at going further up the table and trying to pot the yellow.

T exercise

Line the red balls, as well as the pink and black in a t-shape, leaving the blue, yellow, brown and green in their usual positions at the top of the table.

Put the cue ball in the middle of the table, near whichever ball you feel most comfortable potting first, then make your way through the balls going red, colour, red, colour.

This drill is handy if you want to try and practise a maximum break, or just larger breaks in general.

Long potting

It’s all good being able to keep the balls at a short distance, but as you move through the break, you will need to make some longer pots, so it is handy to practice long potting.

Keep the blue, yellow, brown and green balls at the top end of the table, and then at the bottom place one red. Move the cue ball to a favourable position, and take the long pot. As you get better at this, you might want to start trying to clear the table.

Shot to nothing

This is handy if you do not have an obvious ball to pot. You ultimately want to leave yourself in the best position possible.

A shot to nothing is where there isn’t an obvious ball to pot, but you hit the ball as hard as you can to make it happen.

Ronnie O’Sullivan once did a really famous one in his World Championship match against Andy Hicks.

This is a good shot to practice in situations where you need to get from one end of the table to the other.

Place a red ball at one end of the table, have the cue ball set up in another, and do your best to hit the shot without giving a foul away.

Eventually, you could get to a stage where you can pot that ball.

Looking for more advice? Check out our post on understanding what the T-angle is.

Snooker Jim

Gone from a 6ft table in my dad's garage as a kid to a 9ft table at the office, with the full-size snooker club visits in between. Hoping one day to get the playing technique right.