goal setting
sports science

As the 2012 Olympics fade in our memory we look at what dart players can learn from some of the amazing and inspiring athletes that took part!

Coaching Clinic 15

Posted: 16.09.12 in Coaching Clinic Blog category

As the 2012 Olympics fade in our memory we look at what dart players can learn from some of the amazing and inspiring athletes that took part!


The 2012 London Olympics are now a fading memory and by September dart players are (or at least should be) preparing for the “start” of the darts season again. Although darts is now a global sport, in the UK anyway the darts season comes alive in the autumn and winter. This month we will use the amazing and inspiring athletes who took part in the games last month as our guide for some ideas on what preparation dart players can consider using.


What a Dive!

Last month we challenged you to some checkouts and pondered how many sets of three darts it would take you to hit the double. One reason for this was to demonstrate that it is easy to exaggerate how many darts you really need to check out. Take the 121 for example, if you had 10 goes at that you may later be telling your friends about how you took out a 121 in practice in just one throw! However, only you really know how the other 9 attempts went and it will be these throws that give you a true indication of your skills.

Maybe we could pinch an idea from Tom Daley and the other divers. When the divers get their marks from the judges the top mark and also the lowest mark are disregarded. Maybe dart players should try this for a more accurate reflection of how their practice is really going.  So taking out the 121 (your three dart wonder throw) would be out but so would your 15 dart nightmare.  You can then work out the average of what is left to give you a score to try to beat.

Personal Best

I really liked the attitude of Andrew Osagie, he competed for Team GB in the 800 metres. He came last in the final and whilst disappointed not to have won a medal he reflected on the fact that he ran a personal best time(PB)  and you can’t do any more than that! This knowledge of what time an athlete is capable of serves a number of purposes.

The first one is that despite finishing 8th out of 8 Osagie knew, despite the result he was still improving and also improving under the utmost pressure. Dart players often tell me they have had a shocker because they were beaten in a darts match. Do dart players truly know if they have been as bad as they believe they have though?

For example, how many darts on average does it take you to get to a sub 100 checkout? You possibly don’t know but if you did have this information and then you discovered, despite being beaten you had matched your personal best you would look at the game from a different perspective.  Instead of beating yourself up you may reflect on the game in a much more positive light.

On the other hand you may win a match when your opponent really did have a shocker! You may leave the oche blissfully unaware that your own performance was below your best but as you won the game any areas that may need working on are ignored as you celebrate a victory.

The second benefit of having an accurate “PB” is that you then have a target to beat. On our darts improvement website we have a whole section dedicated to goal and target setting, that is how important we regard it. It is not just us; it has been proven by sports scientists in tests that the right sort of goal setting does improve performance.

We discussed how to set some goals in a blog a few months ago-you can view it here.

This quote also sums up why goal setting is a vital part of the improvement process. It is attributed to Yogi Berra, he never competed in the Olympics but played baseball for the New York Yankees.  However, I believe every single competitor in the London games would agree with his sentiment about the importance of having targets:

“If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up somewhere else”!

From The Archives!

It seems strange thinking we have archives but it is coming round to two years since the Darts Performance Centre website was formed. We have made steady progress and soon we will have aother progression to tell you all about, but more of that in a few weeks time!

Here is a video from our archives of Ian, which we shot at a tournament in February 2011. It is a great example of the small changes a player needs to make to get the accuracy and consistency every player craves. This focus on the small details that make the difference is made possible by our video analysis kit!

One thing we can let on is that soon it will be a lot easier for you to get a coaching session with us ! Darts coaching is still a new phenomenen, we know that, but we urge all players to consider the benefits that this type of analysis can bring to your game. It can help you play better darts!

Thanks to FreeDigitalPhotos.net for the images


The Darts Performance Centre is a resource to assist dart players of all standards play better darts. The site is arranged as an online 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 and an invite to our exclusive members only events!




Author: Paul Gillings and Andrew Humphrey ( paul@dartsperformancecentre.com )

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