I a 5'0 female--a beginner to the game and I was wondering if you could tell me how I can get more power behind my breaks and shots. I notice most pool players aren't giant, muscle-laden people, yet they get this incredible power behind their shots. I appreciate any help you can give!
The biggest secret behind a great break is not power, it's a "square" hit. Ideally you want ALL of the power in your stroke to develop cue ball speed. If you hit the cue ball off center some of your power is wasted spinning the cue ball instead of driving it into the rack.
I wish I could watch you break to see what you're doing but absent that opportunity I can offer a few thoughts.
First you want to position yourself so that at the end of your stroke the tip of your cue is at least a full foot past where the cue ball was when you started. It might be helpful to start by putting your cue stick out a foot or so past the cue ball before you position your body, just to establish where you will stand. Also, many players stand a little higher on the break than they do on other shots.
Remember that it's more important to hit the cue ball basically dead in the center than anything else. If your trying to hit so hard you end up not being able to get that good "middle ball" hit you should back off the power until you can consistently get that good middle ball hit on the cue ball, shooting right through it a foot or more past it's original position. Some people find it helpful to think about hitting a ball in the back of the pack rather than aiming at the head ball; you should try that.
So my initial break advice is:
1) Stand up a little higher than usual on the break.
2) Line your body up by first putting your stick out there so the tip will be a full foot past where the cue ball is.
3) Hit that cue ball in the center and follow through a foot past it. It may be helpful to look at the cue ball when you hit it at first.
4) Think about hitting a ball in the back of the rack, or even a spot on the end rail to help you shoot right through the cue ball. You want your cue to go through the cue ball like it isn't even there.
Let me know if that doesn't help.
Play well and enjoy,