goal setting
sports science

This month we go to the top of World darts and seek advice from players that have "made it"!

Coaching Clinic 17

Posted: 20.11.12 in Coaching Clinic Blog category

This month we go to the top of World darts and seek advice from players that have "made it"!



The best thing, without question about the past 18 months of running the Darts Performance Centre and our coaching service has been meeting dart players, who have shared their ideas for us to add to our bank of knowledge about how to play better darts.

One client we met during a memorable trip to Belfast was Aidan Farrelly. Like many dart players Aidan’s dream is to be a professional dart player; unlike many players he is publishing the highs and lows of his journey for us all to follow.

More recently though Aidan shared the chats he has had with some players recently about their ideas, kit, and practice regimes. The reason the guys Aidan chatted to are worth listening to is because their names are Justin Pipe and Brendan Dolan . He met and interviewed them at the PDC World Grand Prix in Dublin.


Justin Pipe

Pipe and his Kit

AF: Pipe’s dart is certainly a nice piece of equipment, an arrow that he has become scarily accurate with. A common story among the world’s elite, it took quite a while before the Taunton man found a set up he was 100% comfortable with, until now.

JP: “It’s taken me about seven years to get my darts exactly right. Not so much the barrel, but the stems, flights and points. I have extended the points, shortened the points. Now I have it where it feels right for me.”

Pipe’s Philosophy

JP: “If you’re not mentally fit, and things get on your nerves, then your opponent will win. You have to go up there and into a game confident and clear headed. You don’t go in to any game if you’re not confident.”

Brendan`s Stepping Stones

BD: “With the stages you go through, as soon as I could play in the pub, I played in the pub. As soon as I felt relaxed in that, which might have taken a year to feel totally comfortable, I went to the Counties. It took a while to get comfortable there, and then I went on to play the Internationals. Everything was a stepping stone for me.”

“For me, I now believe I can mix with the best.”

“Beating Phil Taylor for the first time ever, now I know I can do it. When you are given opportunities, you need the mentality that you can take them. Confidence is high.”

“For me, confidence is 30% of the game. I have watched people on the PDC Circuit, and they are unbelievable dart players. On their day,  11, 12, 13 darters are not a problem. It’s about having the confidence to do it against a ‘name’. That is what makes people shake, and doubt themselves.”

“I reckon our arms are equally as good as each other.”

AF: This is a really interesting statement. When you look at the mechanics of darts, it makes sense. Our arms are the same. So what is it that make the best players in the world just that? According to Dolan, our head space plays a pivotal role.

Dolan on Head Space

 “You walk in to your local league, and you’re playing for the first time, and you play well. You don’t know anybody. Then you come up against someone you know who has played at County level or whatever. The next thing, you play well until you get close to the finishing line. “

“You doubt yourself, the hand starts to shake. You doubt yourself. You think about having the chance to beat him rather than thinking about actually beating him. That’s where you get distracted.”

Pro Practice

Another benefit of mixing with the pro's is to find out what practice games they favour. A while ago we brought you a game favoured by PDC player and friend of The Darts Performance Centre Andy Relf. Metalhead's game promoted throwing straight and nailing the 20. Here is another game with similar principles!

Monkey Business 

We like practice games that replicate what you have to do in a match, challenge you and help you learn new things. This game has it all!

The aim of the game is to focus on hitting the twenty and to get to 500 points (You can adjust this depending on your level but try 500 points to start with and go higher if you find it too easy). Keep bashing away at the 20 BUT if you stray into the 1 or the 5 you re-set your score to 0.

There are two key areas we like here:

First of all it is a great drill for keeping straight.

Secondly, don’t “run for cover” if you are blocking the treble-just go for it anyway or try to pop the dart into the vacant area in the fat part of the 20. you often need a single 20 to get on a double so you are practising dodging a dart already in the board. 

Also you may surprise yourself by hitting a 60 in a bed you would normally think was blocked. You will of course get bounce outs too. But by doing so you will learn when to stick with the 20 bed and when to bring your cover shot into play!

Play for 15 minutes and record your best score.


A huge thanks to Aidan for sharing an insight into elite darts with us-so remember, stick with your kit once you get it right, progress steadily, there are no short cuts, work on your self-belief and remember your arm is as good your opponent’s!


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

You can follow Aidan’s journey to become a pro in his blog “Throw like A Pro” at www.dartsperformancecentre.com.

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

Posts by Month

Main Index