goal setting
sports science

This month we imagine what is going through Brendan Dolan

Coaching Clinic 18

Posted: 14.12.12 in Coaching Clinic Blog category

This month we imagine what is going through Brendan Dolan's mind and we have some cleaning advice!



Imagine That

Brenan Dolan has become popular at The Darts Performance Centre. He first came on to our radar after his success at last year’s World Grand Prix. This was the event that created his new nickname “The History Maker” after hitting a 9 dart finish in the double in, double out format. Dolan put some of his success down to taking more time and care over his first dart. This is an area we have been developing with some of the members of our site with some success.


Brendan is also a fan of visualisation. This is the skill of imagining first whatever it is you are trying to achieve. For example if you watched the Grand Slam last month and look out for it at the Worlds, you would have noticed Brendan taking a practice throw. He goes through the motion of going for a double without releasing the dart. Just like a golfer with their practice swings.  As Dolan goes through the motion of throwing he will be imagining the dart flying straight in to whatever target it is he is going for.

The skill of visualisation is a massive asset to any competitor in sport. This has been proven. But, like all skills it takes time to master and also like all skills you need to practice. I was skimming through some of the books I keep on my shelf in the office and found a brilliant way for you to try out the art of visualisation from a hero of mine, golf guru and sports psychologist Bob Rotella.

I have altered it slightly as his example is of course golf related. His idea is simply to have say twelve darts at treble 20 and whilst doing so imagine the dart flying in to the sixty every time. Repeat the experiment whilst imagining the dart flying in to the one or the five! See which method brings the most success and repeat it again going for your best double!

Kit Tip

Another area of interest from last month’s Grand Slam was Wes or is it Wez Newton and a rather unfortunate bounce out that he had during one of his games. He was advised by the eagle eyed commentator to sharpen his points as the replay clearly demonstrated that his point didn’t come in to contact with the wire or another dart for that matter.

The sharpening of your darts points should be a fundamental part of our darts routine. There is a skill to it but as I can testify there are a vast number of sharpeners to assist in the process. I think at the last count we had four different versions in our darts shop.

The key to effective sharpening is to round off the end of the points. This is far more effective than a sharp point, not just for preventing bounce outs but also to protect chunks being removed from your board!

Another area that one of our member’s pointed out was often overlooked by players is the simple task of cleaning your darts. Kevin advised “I've started cleaning mine daily I just use some antibacterial wipes and give them a good wipe down then using a toothbrush give them a gentle brush down to remove any bits of the wipe that may have got caught on the grip, makes the darts feel like new each time”! 

This last point is a good one. Never underestimate the difference a tiny change in how the darts feels in your hand can make. If you clean your grip before every match another variable that can affect your performance is eliminated.

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Practice game

Adding a practice game to our coaching clinic blogs has proved popular.  The game was sent to us by one of the memebrs of our darts improvement site, James, so a bight thanks to him !


How to Play:

The “Splitz” are:

20 / 10

18 / 9

16 / 8

14 / 7

12/ 6

10 / 5

8 / 4

6 / 3

4/ 2

2 / 1

You start the game by going for Double 20 with your first dart. Hit or miss second dart is at Double 10 and hit or miss third dart is back to double 20.

On your next throw you repeat the sequence but going 18 then 9 then back to 18

Work your way through the rest of the “Splitz”.

Scoring – 1 point for every double you hit

You can adapt the game to go for the “fat numbers” or the trebles. It is a great game to play with a partner or set yourself a target score and try to beat your personal best if playing solo.

Coaching Point

We like the rhythm aspect of going from the fat number to the double, let's face up to reality you don't always hit the double first dart do you? So we are not practising to miss the double we are practising getting the rhythm from fthe at number to the next double in sequence. That is realisitic practice!


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 )

Posts by Month

Main Index