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This month we look at ways of improving the mental part of your game!

Coaching Clinic 20

Posted: 25.02.13 in Coaching Clinic Blog category

This month we look at ways of improving the mental part of your game!

 
 

 

Last month we discussed some ideas for you to focus on when looking at areas you need to improve on to take your game to the next level. Despite dart players constantly being told that 90% of the game is played in the head, most players would probably still be first looking at improving their power scoring or finishing, or maybe improving part of their technique.

However, that old darting adage does have some truth to it. We have mentioned before though it is not much use if you are the “coolest cucumber” on the oche if you can’t hit a treble or a double. Your technique and skill are equally as important as your mental skills.

Perhaps the saying came about when players of equal ability meet and then perhaps the most likely winner is the player that can handle the mental side of the game. I was reminded of this by a regular contributor to the blog area of our site, Aidan Farrelly. Aidan’s goal is a straightforward one; he wants to be a pro one day! You can read his blogs here!

In one blog recently Aidan discussed how his darts have been suffering but his form has picked up after making some 2013 resolutions centered on the mental side of the game! For example he has been working on the nerves he used to feel before matches. For a while he has been telling himself it is a darts match-what is the worst thing that can possibly happen? You may lose, you may chuck some darts out of the board! “So what” became the mantra and the mind over matter has released Aidan from feeling any nerves! That is a huge step forward virtually all players would agree.

One of Aidan’s other goals for 2013 that I really liked was based on concentration: Respect your opponent by keeping focus throughout the game. Stay in tune with the game, and try your best with every dart. If the first lands in the five, and the second floats into the one, you still have potentially 60 points in your hand. Don’t waste them with a frustrated effort at the board.

We have our own darting philosophy at the Darts Performance Centre that Aidan’s ideas would enhance. I would urge all players to consider thinking about exactly what attitude they take to the oche each time they play. In many ways this is the only area of a darts match you have total 100% control over. Win or lose, you can walk off the oche proud of how you handled yourself and your attitude during the match!

Just In Case

Sport is amazing isn’t it. Just when you think you have seen it all, cricketers contrive to lose their wicket in original ways (Alastair Cook) or dart players put their darts in a fridge before playing in the World Championships (Stuart Kellett)! Two incidents of a similar nature also spring to mind.

Justin Pipe broke the shaft of his dart during his match against Mark Walsh. Walsh had to lend Pipe a dart as Justin had no spare dart with him whilst repairs were carried out behind the scenes. At Lakeside a set of flights had to be taken to the stage as Steve Douglas lost one of his down the back of the Lakeside stage.

We rather cheekily started advertising a repair kit that comprised of various darts tools to help in situations like Justin found himself in. We also started offering a 4th dart option with our Performance Darts. These “marketing ideas” did of course have a serious side. Pipe was playing in a competition with £200,000 for the winner. Imagine the consequences of losing a game like that solely because you didn’t have a spare dart!

We are also aware though of how much effort and practice goes into playing at every level of darts and to waste that effort due to circumstances that can be avoided such as a broken dart or lost flight should of course be avoided. All players should perhaps go through some “what if” scenarios and get spares of whatever you can imagine could possibly go wrong-just in case!

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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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 )