goal setting
sports science

We reflect on a `blinking` good night of darts

PDC Darts World Championship - Darts Blog 3

Posted: 19.12.10 in Tournament Analysis Blog category

We reflect on a `blinking` good night of darts


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Andy Hamilton V Dennis Smith was the opening game of the night and it probably had half the audience contemplating switching channels if they were listening to the negative propaganda emanating from the TV. Sid wasn`t impressed, he wasn`t even the man with a glass half empty, he had already tripped over a black cat and spilt the contents of his beaker such was his gloomy reporting of this match. Dave simply chose to ignore the match even took place, match, what match?  However, isn`t this the type of game that pundits, coaches and even the players post-match should earn their money analysing?
In a number of ways this match was as fascinating as a Whitlock or Anderson 180 fest. The majority of the watching and darts playing public would have far more empathy for what Hamilton and Smith were going through; two good players who completely lost their way and had to `think on their feet` to try to get a win. Smith demonstrated his pragmatic nature and served up a good lesson for all players- despite systematically missing the double his pre-throw routine didn`t alter. He twizzled his dart and blinked and threw, he also didn`t show any emotion as dart after dart missed, a brilliant lesson for all players despite the end result of course.
Hamilton adjusted his tempo and this was picked up by Sid`s co-commentator, who appeared to be slightly more interested in proceedings. This change of strategy appeared to get Hamilton back into a `rhythm` he was happy with and he booked his place in the second round.
OK, I have pulled out the positives for each player and let`s leave it there and move on, but why not? It would too be easy to sit here and grumble.

Goals Win Darts Matches
My ears pricked up last night when the targets of Steve Evans were discussed last night. He had set himself a target to qualify for the World Championships this year (which he achieved) and his next target was to `make it` next year. At the Darts Performance Centre we encourage all our clients to set goals and have targets. We much prefer process goals though.

An example of an outcome goal has already been provided – a player whose goal is to win or to achieve one very specific target.  This goal potentially motivates a player for a short period but each loss is considered as a failure. In addition, an outcome goal describes no specific strategy to improve a player's ability or their chances of winning. Players of all sports are often told that if they play well they will win and achieve success. However, this is typically not true as many other factors influence the outcome of a competition (such as opposition ability, officials' decisions, and conditions).

Process goals specifically address the skills that are required to increase the likelihood of winning. As a consequence, the achievement of a process goal is not related to whether a player wins or loses a particular match. However, consistently meeting process goals will improve the playing ability of competitors and increase success. With process goals there can be some degree of flexibility, whereas with outcome goals you will either win or lose. Crucially, the meeting of process goals is down to the player, not to situation or opposition performance. As a result full credit for meeting these goals can be taken by the player.

There is a fantastic interactive tool on our website for first of all identifying what areas need to be addressed and then how to set a strategy to achieve these goals. It`s not too late to get “The Outlaw” a membership for Christmas, it`s a steal at £25.00!


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Author: Paul Gillings ( paul@dartsperformancecentre.com )

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