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This month we look how you can stay focused whilst playing pairs!

Coaching Clinic 36

Posted: 20.07.14 in Coaching Clinic Blog category

This month we look how you can stay focused whilst playing pairs!

The football World Cup has just finished and of course we had the darts World Cup fairly recently too, both winning “teams” owed a lot to the simple fact that they played together and their teamwork helped them through. Pairs play in darts is played in virtually every pub and club league in the country but it is rarely transferred into the professional game. It is refreshing and very interesting to see it on Sky and as part of a PDC tournament.

What I didn’t realise I admit is how a number of players detest playing pairs or doubles. I had a discussion with two such players; one avoids at all costs being picked to play in the pairs, the other going as far as to claim that for him doubles play in darts is like playing a different sport altogether. He added that his level of play was way below his skill level when playing singles.

So can we help these individuals to embrace the extra challenges doubles in darts undoubtedly presents? Let’s try. The issue they have is of course with concentration and focus. You have to wait three times as long to have your throw in doubles and we have all witnessed the state some players get in to playing one slow player let alone having to wait for three.

One clever comparison I found to highlight the focus issue was to ask you to imagine playing darts with a miner’s helmet on, one with a big torch mounted on the top. Now can you imagine where our two players who are having problems concentrating would be shining their torches? They would be all over the place. They would be shining it on the rowdy group in the corner discussing the football results. Then they would be shining it on the scorer trying to get the score right and then over to the TV to see what was happening on there!

The first rule of staying focused is a simple but effective one; you have to decide to concentrate! Well that sounds simple enough but we all know it isn’t. Why? Because of all the distractions already mentioned. It takes a lot of mental effort to stay focused, but you only need to do it once you are playing. You don’t run a bath an hour before you are going to jump in it so save your energy and flick the focus switch when you hear game on!

Keep your torch shining on the back of the player's head in front of you. Imagine yourself going up to the oche and throwing your three darts whilst you're waiting in the queue. Maybe use Paul Lim’s tactic from the Word Cup and actually simulate throwing your three darts whilst standing in the queue. It has been proven by a host of champions that having just one key thought in your head, in our case, throwing three darts, is way more effective than your mind jumping from one source of focus to another.

You will need to remind yourself to stay focused, our mind is determined to throw us off track. Get into the habit of saying 'focus' each time a player starts their throw. Write an F for focus on your throwing hand prior to the game to help keep your mind on the job!

Finally use your partner and help them by reminding each other to concentrate and stay focused.

Doubles isn’t an alien sport, it’s darts but you just have to wait a bit longer for your turn!

Gun Metal Elite 25g Version

Our latest addition to our Performance Darts range,the set with a scallop, the Gun Metal Elite's have been a great success! We now have a 25g version arriving on Tuesday!

Would you like to be one of the first to get your hands on a Set? Check out our Facebook page to find out how you can win a set on Wednesday!

Light image courtesy of sumetho/www.freedigitalphotos.net 

F image courtesy of franky242/www/.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 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. You also get an invite to our free but exclusive members only events and acess to our members only darts coaching app! Membership is £25 per year!

Author: Paul Gillings ( paul@dartsperformancecentre.com )