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Dear Jeanette
By Jeanette Lee
International billiard icon "The Black Widow" answers your questions about life, love, and everything else that happens in the poolhall.

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January: Entering Tournaments
January 2008
Q. I just watched a local tournament yesterday and thought of entering one. What would you consider the most important thing to focus on?
Germain Puccetti

A. Good practice habits, for sure. I practice in two ways: analytical practice and competitive practice. In analytical practice, I pay attention to my errors and work on new shots. I do more drills. I analyze my weaknesses. I question everything I do and work on it. In competitive practice, I'm training my mind. I play more sets against "ghost" opponents and against players around my level, just a bit weaker and a bit stronger. I work on keeping my mind on the present. I stay in the moment, focusing on being ready for every opportunity. I let go of my errors, focusing only on the table and being ready to play my best pool. I let my opponent know in advance what I'm training for and we don't talk, take phone calls or goof around. We take one five-minute break and that's it. If we find ourselves distracted by something, we force ourselves to get our minds back in the match. This is important if you plan to be a competitor. If you're at war and get shot, you don't have time to kick yourself for making an error. All you can do is reload and keep shooting until your opponent is down for good. The closer I am to the tournament, the more competitive practice I put in; the further I am to the event, the more analytical practice. Whatever you do, do not use new weapons (systems, new shots, new equipment) right before a battle.