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Does darts need technology,do dart players need to practice, is Bruce Willis the ultimate action hero?

Bruce Willis, tennis umpires and the Corinthian spirit, yep its darts, day 4

Posted: 17.11.10 in Tournament Analysis Blog category

Does darts need technology,do dart players need to practice, is Bruce Willis the ultimate action hero?

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Early on in the proceedings last night the subject of practice raised its head. Chris Mason was asked to consider whether there was a possibility that players may over practice, especially in the weekends building up to tournaments? Later on in the night we discovered Chris was a big pal of `The Wanderer`, Wayne Jones. No wonder Mason moved swiftly on to talk about super-heroes in the crowd.  It turned out that the last place Jones could be found wandering was in his `purpose built` practice room, or was it a dysfunctional gym or home cinema? The honest, likeable Wayne said he would much rather get a few hours of solid DVD (action adventures) work under his belt than hurl some darts. He may also of been on the verge of telling us his running machine didn`t actually have a plug on the end but held back.
Let`s not pick on one Wayne, lest we forget `Hawaii 501`s ` build up to the World Championship a few years ago, his practice was not going to plan so he stopped it all together, working on the theory he couldn`t get any worse. It`s not just players called Wayne. If you do study the players biographies and auto-biographies practice sessions for some professional players do appear to be haphazard or in some cases non-existent. `The Power` doesn`t help, telling the media in one interview he practices eight hours a day and then a few months later it`s two hours, he`s clever that Taylor bloke! It certainly baffles his peers as to what is the perfect regime.
Can Wayne Jones fulfil his dream and win a major? No chance! Not without practice, well more precisely not without `deliberate practice` as it was described by one researcher, or as we prefer to describe it at The Darts Performance Centre effective practice. We are not talking about playing for your local pub (although we would encourage match practice of any sort) or Wayne throwing his darts with one eye on James Bond seducing or shooting an enemy spy. We are talking about engaging in a session where the goals of the session have been set down, and the player is committed fully to the task, the skills, techniques and mental skills required to finish the session, and when they are done, they believe, without fear of contradiction, they have put every ounce of effort into trying to push them-self to hit their targets.
This can be exhausting, frustrating but also exhilarating, when you witness yourself literally improving and edging closer to mastering the skills of darts. Perhaps  Wayne and I should make a darts improvement DVD or a membership to the Darts Performance Centre could be a good investment?
Did it Cross the Line
How long will it be before the cry goes out for `technology` in darts? Last night the `punchy` King, glared menacingly at the mild mannered Scotsman John Henderson. The heinous crime which sparked fury in the usually, err, `punchy` King was that `Hendo` was apparently encroaching into the `exclusion` zone on the stage. I have had players tell me there are certain individuals who get `up close and personal` at the floor tournaments and it puts them off. My only suggestion is simply to tell them to move back or ask the tournament official to shift them. In general, this is not seen as sportsmanlike in the confused etiquette of 21st century darts.
It would seem a fairly simple rule to enforce. We could go high tec and have some sort of beam that shoots across the exclusion zone that sets off a light if a player encroaches. Or maybe one of the `gang` of scorers, markers, referees and bloke who stands there to give the players another hand to shake could assist. We could get them a comfy chair, like the umpires at Wimbledon, opposite the exclusion zone, and they could monitor who is standing where.
If you do not take my encroachment suggestions seriously I do believe the role of the match referee does need defining. They are brilliant at keeping score and keeping the crowd quiet but it appears to me, whenever there is any conflict they do not know how to react. Darts is renowned for its sportsmanship, no question about that, and you may feel suggestions of match referees requiring the skills a referee needs in football or rugby is absurd. A long, long time ago, football was renowned for its sportsmanship, in the recent past so was cricket and rugby, can you honestly say, in the tough world of 21st century sport that these sports now bear any resemblance to the ethos and conduct of the participants ‘back in the day`?  Will we be saying the same thing about darts one day?


The Darts Performance Centre is a resource to assist dart players of all standards play better darts. The site is arranged as an on-line coaching manual. There is advice on technique, nerves, psychology, goal setting, practice games, an area to log your statistics and an interactive area where your darting questions are answered by two sports scientists, one with 30 years dart playing experience! Membership is just £25.00 per annum. 

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Author: Paul Gillings ( paul@dartsperformancecentre.com )

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