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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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June: Build a Bridge
June 2009
Q. I hate using the bridge, mostly because I'm not comfortable with it. But when it comes to leaning over the table to get on a shot, how far is too far? And how do I get better so I won't be afraid to use the bridge?
Sara K.; St. Peters, Mo.

A. Ahh, the wretched bridge. I do believe that the only way to turn a weakness into a weapon is with quality practice, over and over again, until you feel you can shoot it blind. Practice using the bridge with different speed and spin, starting with the vertical axis of the cueball before you even touch side English. In regards to stretching over the table, if I have a stretch shot in question, I would give it a practice swing, next to the real cueball, just as a player would in golf. I practice the swing, from the backswing all the way to the full follow-through. If I follow through and feel that the stretching prohibits me from following through in a straight line and past the target by a few inches (and there is a point in which your straightness does break down), then I would just get the bridge. It's so important to have a comfortable swing - being able to stay down and follow through straight toward your target. If you do a little work, you will no longer be forced to desperately stretch to reach a shot instead of just using the bridge.