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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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September: Drawing A Map
September 2009
Q. When I first look at the table, should I calculate my first and last shot, seeing the whole table? What are you thinking before your first shot?
Ed; San Leandro, Calif

A. The first thing I do is look over the entire table. I want to identify any clusters or problems that I will need to deal with on my way through the rack. If there are no problems, I then decide which pocket I want to make the 8 ball and what my first shot options are. Basically, I'm looking at my start and finish line. Then, I start to work my way backward from the 8 ball - kind of like a maze, where you work from the place you want to be back to the spot where you are currently sitting. As you plan your route, the goal is creating a pattern that requires the as little cue-ball movement as possible, while still allowing you to go all the way from the first ball to the 8 ball. Ideally, you would like to start with a shot you are confident you can make, but you won't always necessarily be able to start with the simplest shot possible. Once you have found the best way to get from the first ball to the 8, you ready to start your run. Now, all you have to do is concentrate on making that first ball! Good luck.