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The first night of the experiment. Team Kasbah suss out the sports scientist - and we all got on very well!

The Darts Experiment - Night 1 (the detailed version)

Posted: 04.03.11 in Darts Experiment Blog category

The first night of the experiment. Team Kasbah suss out the sports scientist - and we all got on very well!

Darts Experiment – Night 1


The first night of the darts experiment was last night (Tuesday 1 March). One aspect of being a coach which was certainly drummed into me from the FA is that you have to adapt to the environment you are working in and always have contingency plans to cover every eventuality.


The boards I had hoped to use are tucked away at the end of the Kasbah Club (it really is a great venue for darts if ever you are in Bournemouth) had been seconded by the poker club which meant we only had half the boards we were anticipating to work with. There was also the small matter of a Chelsea V Manchester Untied game to compete with too; there are several Chelsea fans in the group. We made a few small changes to the group sizes which solved the problem of the boards and on the whole kept the Chelsea fans focused, I think.


The players introduced themselves and you can meet them all here. The Kasbah, on first impressions, has a great team spirit, something we touched on during our Darts World Cup blogs. There were some interesting discussion areas raised by the players as they reflected and discussed their own darts skills. The most frequent word that cropped up was consistency, or more accurately, lack of it; this may resonate with a lot of grass roots players. This was not just from the relative newcomers to the sport. One player in particular who has played for his county admitted to utilising three different throwing techniques during any one match to find the consistency he was after.


Thinking about the team spirit and the team cohesion aspect again several players also claimed that they felt they played better when they were part of a pair or a triple team. They couldn’t exactly pinpoint why this could be. One suggestion was that they had experienced an increase in effort or motivation from the concern of not letting their team mates down.  The mental side of the game also came to the fore. Negative thoughts and self talk for example. This does crop up a lot with players taking the psychology quiz on the Darts Performance Centre site. Another player suggested he needs to `get angry` to play to his best standard, however, one goal he has set is to reach the level he desires in a far calmer state than he is in when he plays at the moment, watch this space!


We then carried out some interviews with the players, three at a time whilst the rest of the group completed some score sheets so we have some record of their level of play from day one of the experiment. However, it will possibly be the recorded interviews that decipher how rewarding each player found taking part in this experiment. We will conduct an interview with them at the end too and compare their aspirations, concerns and overall knowledge of the aspects of sports science in darts. We will publish the findings.


Finally all the players were signed up to the Darts Performance Centre website, given a brief tour of the many areas and facets of it and then they were set their homework. No experiment is worthwhile without some homework. This aspect may also be of interest to new members of the site. We do get asked “where do I start”, frequently? The homework we have set Team Kasbah is our suggestions for any player who is contemplating commencing a performance improvement programme.


Reflecting this morning on last night it could not have gone any better. The players are motivated and all keen to try out the ideas. When I left most were still throwing and completing their matrix cards. They are all I would say still not 100% sure whether they are going to improve, although there are varying degrees of this, with the majority quietly confident of improvement from the feedback I got anyway. Great! We would much prefer the players to question what they are doing. One of the key aspects for success in any self improvement programme is the ability to question, reflect and think critically about what you are being asked to do and of course the feedback from a third party (coach or trusted darts friend) or that you can generate yourself from averages or even how the dart or your arm feels when you release the dart. It is impossible to improve without feedback.


Next week the players will all be filmed and their technique analysed using our Silicon Coach software. There will also be some other guests coming along and we will publish a full report of our activities.



Home Work


I do hope you enjoyed our first session and that you have a much clearer idea of what we are going to do over the next few weeks. Before the next session – Tuesday 8 March 2011 which will be focused on filming and analysing your technique there are a few items I would like you to do so you are fully prepared for next week:




On the website please read the goal setting section. Next week I would like to discuss with all of you about setting some goals for this experiment. Perhaps two or three would be ideal. To help you with this please look at the interactive section and the performance profile. Fill this out and see what it points you towards with regard to your goal-setting.

There is one goal I would like all players to set and that is a realistic goal for practice time. This can be a 20 minute blast or a two hour session or even a Team Kasbah match, it all counts.  In the practice area of the site is a very straight forward practice schedule example. If you could all create one of these using the blank document underneath the example and add your practice targets to it and bring them in next week. Please be realistic with your estimates.


Sports Psychology Quiz


Please go to the interactive area and answer the questions in the sports psychology quiz. Send them to me and I will send you a report back. This will also help identify potential areas for you to focus on.


Pre-Throw Routine


In preparation for next week please read the article on pre-throw routine.  I would like all of you to consider what you do at the moment before you throw and how you can adapt it so you are 100% prepared for your throw each and every time you go to the oche.


Interactive Area


Please take a look around the interactive area and upload your scores from the sessions you did and from tonight

Author: Paul Gillings ( paul@dartsperformancecentre.com )

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