Ask The Master - I play pretty good. But when I go against someone with equal or better skills than me it's like I choke and you wouldn't think I can hardly play. I guess what I am saying is I beat myself before the game starts. How do you over come that? If I can over come my nerves I could play very good against other opponents.

You have to believe you deserve to win and have a good chance. You've built your skills and knowledge. You've trained your eyes and your arm. You are in the game.

If you are intimidated, you've already lost before you start – and your opponent knows it.

To the best of your ability, focus on what you're doing, every shot. Playing pool well takes 100% focus. If some of your focus is on the opponent or the sweators or the fact that you're behind in the match, you're not fully present in the shot and you'll pay the price. When the opponent is on the table, stay focused on the balls. Breathe and calm yourself. Be eager to perform.

A couple of years back, I wrote a column about choking. If you'd like a copy, Email me and ask for "Professional Choking."