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Part 3 of our "Survival Guide" to the UK Open!

Actually, there is one more thing"...

Posted: 03.06.12 in Tournament Analysis Blog category

Part 3 of our "Survival Guide" to the UK Open!


This is the third and final part of our survey results from some of the Rileys qualifiers who took part in the Speedy Hire UK Open last year. In this blog we ask them about goal setting and what one piece of advice they would pass on to this year’s qualifiers. There is also a little bit of controversy mixed in relating to several incidents from last year’s tournament.

To kick off we quizzed the qualifiers about one of the topics we bang on about to all our members at the Darts Performance Centre-goal setting-a vital but under-rated part of a winning formula.

What a Goal

We asked the Rileys qualifiers if they set goals for the tournament, matches or neither.

The answers seemed to prove again the professionalism the qualifiers took to the tournament. Whilst only 15% just set a goal for the tournament, 53% set goals for their matches and the remaining 32% set targets for both the tournament and their matches.

Opposition Analysis

What about sussing out their opponent-we asked if they had done any research on the player they were up against?

67% of our players did not check up on the calibre of their opponent but the rest (33%) did. Some of this may be down to the fact that the preliminary and first round games are a mix of Rileys qualifiers (who do tend to be the most well known) and Speedy qualifiers and the balance of the players made up of 8 Speedy employees and data may be scarce on some of these players.

I would recommend finding out what you can. When I was involved with AJ Urmston-Toft during his season at the PDC I made a habit of watching as many players as I could, our motto was a simple “no surprises” when it came to playing any opponent. A motto any qualifier would be advised to consider!

Time to Change?

By the way 75% of the players that provided the answers and advice for this blog did win at least one game! We asked them if they felt they had done anything differently to what they normally do just before and during the match.

The overwhelming response and a theme for all three of our blogs is every player kept their routine the same. One player mentioned the distraction of keeping an eye on what was happening on the board he was playing on to ensure he didn’t miss his slot. Other than that, just do whatever you normally do is the call.

Talking of missing your match, last year Mensur Suljovic  was disqualified for not making it to the oche in the time allocated. The next night it appeared Jamie Caven was going to be disqualified as it was rumoured he had missed the cut off time for registration. After much rumour on Twitter and the like he was allowed to take part. This did not impress some of our qualifiers and a few of our players suggested the PDC should stick to the rules they themselves laid out for the tournament!

There may have been “mitigating circumstances” as to the late arrival of “Jabba” and who doesn’t love an organisation that bends the rules now and again?

Anyway, turn up on time to register and turn up on time to play your match then you will have nothing to worry about!

We asked our players if they could change one thing about their experience of playing in the UK Open what would it be?

One advised they would take some food in with them-good advice Most of the players wouldn’t change anything bar one who said next time he would like to change the amount of doubles he missed!

Some Final Advice

We asked what one piece of advice would the Rileys qualifiers pass on to this year`s? A lot were of the “keep calm and carry on” variety and here is a selection, some great ones too:

  • Get as much tournament experience as you can once you have qualified
  • Enjoy it and relax
  • Don’t be afraid, trust your ability and ignore the cameras
  • Stay cool, focus on your own game and don’t let the known faces put you off
  • Take a towel up with you
  • Get there early, find a good cab company, find a good practice facility, Rileys Bolton worked for me, have a good breakfast and smile!
  • Keep calm, focused and remember he has only got 3 darts, the same as you.
  • Enjoy, for some it may the only chance to play at this level, enjoy the occasion, do not worry about who you are playing and relax.


Your UK Open survival kit is complete. The message that comes through loud and clear is be as “professional” as possible. Do whatever you normally do when playing a darts match at a tournament. Turn up early, familiarise yourself with the surroundings and take time out to imagine walking out in the noise and heat. Stay calm, relaxed and by focusing on your own game this will allow you to ignore the crowd, cameras and your opponent, who you know a little bit about after “Googling” him. Have some food and water with you to take you through to well past eleven p.m in case you hit one of the goals you have set yourself-to be in the draw for Friday!

A huge thanks to Rileys for helping with our survey and all the players for taking the time to fill in our survey, get well soon “Gooner” and best wishes to all the qualifiers from The Darts Performance Centre!


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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