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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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March: Positive Nervous Energy
March 2009
Q. What can you recommend for bad nerves when you're playing in competition - like racing heart, racing thoughts and panic?
J. Thandy; Portland, Ore.

A. The difference between professional and amateur is not a level of nervousness, but rather, the way that it is channeled. Amateurs are so focused on how nervous they are, and they do everything they can to fight it. Professionals thrive on it. We crave that adrenaline rush and have confidence in our skills to use that nervous energy to narrow our focus. This thrill, these nerves, will drive us forward to really pay attention. We let the nervousness stay and understand that it's part of the thrill of what we do. Keep playing in tournaments, leagues and against tougher opponents, and you will get more comfortable. The better your game, the more your confidence will grow. When you find your self thinking negatively, replace it with something positive. Stay focused, while having a positive mantra in your mind - something that suits your personality like "I rise to the occasion" or "I can make any shot at any time" or "I stalk the table like a panther." If you find yourself thinking bad thoughts, then just replace them. As you do all these things, you will still be nervous, but you'll be more comfortable with the nervousness.