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Tips from the Pros
"The way I like to practice is to play with someone else, preferably someone better. It helps you practice all parts of the game-your stroke, your focus, handling the pressure-and most important, practice being in the heat of the moment."
"Decide what to do with every shot before you bend over to shoot. Don't shoot the shot until you are positive you will successfully complete it."
"In order to get a better reaction on the break, you need to hit the head ball with more accuracy. Hit it solid and straight-on with less speed, rather than trying to break forcefully. With a little bit of practice, you should soon see better results on your break."
"When you want to win a match, don't expect to win, even if you know who your opponent is, because you might lose your stroke and your concentration. This helped me focus on my game at the 1996 World 9-Ball Championship, and I won."
"I feel that it's really important when practicing that you perfect your back swing. You should take the cue stick back slowly because if you bring the cue stick back fast, you get yourself in trouble and you can't get a good hit on the cue ball. Try bringing the cue stick back slowly and follow through with a smooth stroke. Keep your head still at the impact of the cue stick to the cue ball and that should really help your game. And make a more consistent player."
"What makes a champion? I always say it comes down to the three D's - dedication, desire and determination. When you're practicing, don't just hit the balls around, develop your focus. Whether you're an actor, a dancer or an athlete, you always have to focus. When you're concentrating, that's when you relieve yourself from thinking about the pressure."
"The way I practice my 9-Ball, 8-Ball and one-pocket game is by doing a rotation of all three games twice a day-two hours in the morning and two hours in the evening. Amateurs don't have to practice as long as I do, but two separate practice sessions a day allows you to have a break from the table, and come back to work on problem areas from earlier in the day."
Mike "Captain Hook" Sigel
"When you're stepping up to a new level of competition, like the National Championships, you've got to try and take advantage of each opportunity you get, because you might not get another. Don't be discouraged if you make a mistake. Try to block it out and go on to the next shot, and don't let your last mistake interfere with your next opportunity."
"There are many things to think about when playing pool. My advice is to always keep a positive frame of mind and block out all negativity. No matter who your opponent is, you should never underestimate him, but always believe that you are going to win the game. Play in as many tournaments as you can and always practice positive thinking."