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We look at Taylor and his specs...

Day 2- Darts and then more darts...

Posted: 15.11.10 in Tournament Analysis Blog category

We look at Taylor and his specs...

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The Grand Slam of Darts Day 2

119 legs later and it was all over! The IceMan talked about the players needing concentration skills to prevail in a darts contest, don`t forget us viewers at home Alan, the players only have to play one match each, us armchair fans go the distance!
It was another fascinating day, our wildcards, ladies and youngsters had a mixed day, `The Power`, by turning up and looking resplendent in his new set of sight embellishers has already exhausted all possible spectacle puns (fingers crossed) and Adrian Lewis looked, after his crushing defeat by Martin Phillips like a man who had won the jackpot on a fruit machine only to be told he was too young to collect his winnings (imagine that), dazed and confused.
At first I couldn`t determine whether Taylor was `embarrassed` to be wearing glasses for the first time on TV. He shifted them to the classic sun glasses position, balanced on the top of his head at every opportunity. Was it some sort of male ego thing, we all know that as we get older  we cannot do all the things a younger man can do, but the last thing us men will do is admit that we have any weakness, not even to ourselves. However, a swift glance at research into the psychological effects of wearing glasses and the fact Taylor is so `mentally tough` forced me to dismiss this idea, for now.
One aspect of performance analysis is to determine what changes in a sport, a rule change or equipment change for example may have on the performance of players. What may seem like a simple amendment to the laws of a game or what players can or cannot take onto the field of play with them can have an effect on performance. One analogy I considered was Taylor`s glasses and the compulsory wearing of cricket helmets.
Anyone who has worn a cricket helmet will testify that it does feel unusual to start with, it upsets your balance and gives you a burden that you don`t want when you just want to focus on hitting the cricket ball. Another area, although this would not be the same for darts, is that it can also make you attempt shots you would not have done before because of the feeling of security the helmet gives you. These issues were all genuine areas of investigation for cricket analysts. This is possibly what Taylor is going through with his specs, just simply getting used to them being there after playing all his life without them. He has I assume been wearing them every time he practices and it will not be too long before he will not even realise they are there. However, it did seem to have an effect on his performance. The rest of the players take note, take your chance in Wolverhampton, before normal service is resumed.
Opposition Analysis
When I initially decided that I wanted to try and make a living from working with dart players I wrote a huge list of all the areas my skills (performance analysis and coaching mainly) could be of use to dart players, and more importantly, areas where these skills would be of benefit to players and which they may be prepared to pay for! 
I remember watching `Barny` being interviewed before playing a first round game in the World Championships and openly admitting he had no knowledge of the ability of his opponent. Raymond won with ease and that was that. However, I was amazed, this was because of my study of football analysis, it is rare for any team, at any reasonable level to take on any opponent without any knowledge of the way they play, or more importantly, their current form.
After Martin Phillips beat Adrian Lewis yesterday an incredulous Peter Drury asked if `Jackpot` had any idea how good Phillips was? “Surely Lewis must have known that he (Phillips) was in the form of his life? There was something in the tone of Drury`s voice that led us all to think that actually no, he didn`t know! `Jackpot` was possibly blissfully unaware of the quality of the darts skills Phillips possessed and how he had been putting them to good use recently.
This goes back to a point that was made yesterday about Mark Webster being surprised at the hostile reception he received on Saturday, not being fully prepared. I wouldn’t` t really expect `Jackpot` to sit down and go through hours of videos of Phillips and study his results and averages for the past few years, that could only cause confusion. However, if Lewis had been `leaked` some information about his opponent, and this is a balancing act, you do not want to strike doubts and fears into Lewis, the opposite in fact, but he needs to start the game knowing that he must strive to play his absolute best to win. It does seem obvious thought doesn`t it? Of course every player should start every game with that goal, but complacency can do strange things to players, and teams. Just take a look at the history of the FA Cup if you think the `best` are always 100% bankers!
Just to finish off, Adrian actually seemed more excited than Martin Phillips about his victory. `Jackpot` showed he is a `World Class Sportsman` in the post-match interview and it is no wonder so many darts fans would love him to win something, anything, maybe this is the week?

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Author: Paul Gillings ( paul@dartsperformancecentre.com )

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