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Do you get stressed on the oche? If so, this may help!

Coaching Clinic 62

Posted: 21.02.17 in Coaching Clinic Blog category

Do you get stressed on the oche? If so, this may help!

As you are probably aware the initial way we were involved in the darts’ world was with our self-improvement website. For a small fee each year players get access to our site which is packed with advice and tips as well as practice sessions and ways to record your progress.

Part of the process of improvement involves filling out a sports psychology questionnaire to ascertain what methods they are using and if they are neglecting this side of things, we point them in the right direction. We will work through the questions and solutions over the next few months.

The first two questions are whether the player carries out a relaxation strategy before practice and competition.  If you always do – thanks for reading and see you next month – if you don’t read on.

Now, the first thing you need to know is that learning relaxation methods takes time. You also need to dedicate time in a quiet atmosphere to hone your skills. Yes we have a couple of quick fixes for you but to get the real benefit make it an important part of your practice regime.

OK first up here is an exercise to try that will help reduce the tension in your wrist-a most handy skill to have I am sure you will agree.

The first step in developing the ability to relax is to experience tension. This can be done by deliberately tensing muscle groups and then relaxing. You can experiment with how much you want to tense – start with full tension then reduce. A demonstration of this is easy:

·         Hold your arm out straight in front of you with your palm facing down

·         Bend your wrist up so that your fingers are pointing up

·         Continue to bend the hand back trying to get the fingers to point at your face

·         Hold this for two seconds and concentrate on the feeling in your wrist

·         Now let the hand relax so your fingers fall downwards the floor

The previously tensed muscle is now fully relaxed

Search Progressive Muscle Relaxation on the internet and you will find a lot of good advice and exercises to work on.

Having a breathing exercise to rely on is another way of getting a quick tension fix! Try this out:

1.  Stand comfortably with your feet shoulder-distance apart and your knees slightly flexed.

2.  Relax your neck, arm and shoulder muscles. Smile slightly to reduce the tension in your jaw.

3.  Focus on the movement of your stomach (abdominal) muscles. Notice your muscles tightening and relaxing.

4.  Inhale deeply from your abdomen (your stomach will extend) and be aware of the tension in your face, neck, shoulders and chest. As you exhale let the tension fall away and focus on the feeling of heaviness in your stomach

5.  Continue to breathe evenly.

 6. As you breathe out think of a word that encapsulates the physical feeling and mental focus you want e.g. "relax", "calm".

Now you should have recovered enough composure to deal in a constructive way with the situation you face and you can get on with winning a darts match!

So give it a go and spend some time perfecting both methods and you will reap the rewards.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net 


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 access to our members only darts coaching app! Membership is £25 per year!

Author: Paul Gillings ( paul@dartsperformancecentre.com )

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