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Last year after the Speedy Hire UK Open we quizzed the Rileys qualifiers on their experience. Here is Part 2 of their responses.

Question Time

Posted: 02.06.12 in Tournament Analysis Blog category

Last year after the Speedy Hire UK Open we quizzed the Rileys qualifiers on their experience. Here is Part 2 of their responses.


UK Open Part 2

We continue looking at the response we had from a number of the Rileys qualifiers who competed in the Speedy Hire UK Open last year. We hope that it will be a useful insight for any qualifiers playing this year and also for all grass roots players who take part in the hundreds of open tournaments held over the country.

In part 2 we look at how the players dealt with their nerves and what, if anything they found the most intimidating!

Arrival Times

We asked when the players arrived in Bolton.

8% arrived a few days before, 15% the day before and 77% on the day of the tournament. 15% of the players arriving on the day wished they had arrived earlier and certainly surprising for us was that the remaining 85% wouldn’t change arriving on the day if they qualified again. Maybe they have a point; this is what grass-roots players would normally do of course for an open tournament, pub, super league or county match. They would just turn up a few hours before it started so maybe the idea (that we promote) of keeping things the “same as usual” should apply to arrival times too, the players from last year certainly think so.


This is the area all dart players dread, the nerves and negative thoughts that creep in. We asked the qualifiers when,if at all, their nerves kicked in?

None reported feeling any nerves after qualifying and in the build up. However, 40% admitted to nerves as soon as they arrived in Bolton and 60% said they had some butterflies just before their match. This is of course understandable and can be dealt with if you have a strategy in place. This was our next question.

46% of our players used a relaxation technique or breathing exercise to calm them down and the rest used a rather vague “other method”.  We are a suspicious lot here and wondered if a few extra beers were being substituted for having a breathing or relaxation technique that some of the others used.

Whichever method they were using though didn’t work for everyone. The good news is that 64% of the players didn’t feel the nerves affected their game but the rest did. One of these stood out from the rest, he complained of no nerves at all! And yes, complained; he said he needed a few nerves to get the best out of his game but was blissfully stress free and relaxed-he lost!

It is an obvious area to try and master but players would be well advised to have a simple breathing exercise to fall back on if the nerves do kick in. (please email me if you need some assistance with this and I will send you some details of a simple to master technique-hurry though the clock is ticking!)

Happy Hour!

In fact our suspicions were mainly unfounded , only 8% of the players admitted drinking more than they usually did. The vast majority, 70% drank the same as they always did!

The Practice Area

We wondered if the players may find the inner sanctum of the Reebok practice area an intimidating experience as they would be rubbing shoulders with the PDC elite. In fact every one of the players loved the experience. Players reported back that all the PDC players were friendly, the atmosphere was relaxing, enjoyable and practising amongst these great players was inspiring! One thing to bear in mind is that the practice boards are very very busy as the start time approaches and that players felt they lost a bit of rhythm due to the wait-“the same for everyone mind” was the level headed view of one of our qualifiers.

Game On

We wanted to know how the qualifiers fared once it was time for action. We asked them if the atmosphere was what they were expecting.

85% were prepared for the hustle and bustle of the Reebok so that was great. None of the players had done anything to prepare for the atmosphere though. I would definitely recommend  for example players taking a look at video from last year and just imagine themselves walking into that type of arena, noise and heat. That would be worth doing a few times in the build up to their match. Each of the qualifiers demonstrated the professionalism they applied to their games by reporting back that not one of them, once on the oche, were distracted by the crowds, the cameras or their opponent.

Part 3 Tuesday!




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. 

Author: Paul Gillings ( paul@dartsperformancecentre.com )

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