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We have commentators who need "faith", table tennis and why does Phil sometimes give away the throw?

Party Poker European Championships-Night 1

Posted: 28.07.11 in Tournament Analysis Blog category

We have commentators who need "faith", table tennis and why does Phil sometimes give away the throw?

Hang On, I’ll Get Going in A minute!

The first night of the EDC produced some interesting but perhaps not dazzling darts-a number of players were struggling on the doubles and a few players didn’t have their usual firepower on the trebles. But why was this?

The finger of blame was pointed squarely at the format last night, the first to six legs - this doesn’t give the players enough time to get into the rhythm required to reach the peak of their performance was the explanation. If this is the case and bearing in mind that all of the Players Championship events are played over exactly the same format, it would appear worthwhile to try to find a solution to combat a sluggish start to a darts match.

If a professional darts player approached us to find them an “edge” we would look at how a player prepares just before the match begins (say 15-20 minutes before) as a massively un-tapped source of gaining an advantage. I have a very interesting account of how one table tennis player prepares for a match. Table tennis is of course a more dynamic sport than darts. However, I would suggest the actual ideal “state” of a darts player and a table tennis player prior to going into a match are pretty similar. I would be looking for proof of the player in either sport being calm, relaxed and focused.

The routine the table tennis player had settled on was a combination of relaxation exercises and visualisation skills. He carried out breathing exercises to calm him down and visualisation or imagery skills were utilised to play back in his mind some of the best shots he had ever played (building confidence). He also created a picture of how the game ahead was going to pan out (all positive of course). I have never witnessed a dart player putting this much effort into their pre-match preparation and perhaps it shows?

If any player would like to try it out, call me, when you have a minute!

It’s Phil Taylor to Throw First-Game On!

Once the hilarity of a Greek dart player (John Michael) competing in the EDC last night had subsided and he had been written off with the thought that George Michael (singer song-writer) probably had more chance of beating The Power, he only went and won the first leg against the throw of The Power, the greatest dart player ever! The commentators needed a bit more “Faith”!

This reminded me that Phil often gives away the throw to his opponent (not in a sprint to 6 legs though)."Mind games” or “psychology” are the reasons given for this. They are both of course compelling arguments.  We worked out a long long time ago that there is more to Taylor than perhaps a lot of people give him credit for and he does get a massive amount of praise (mostly completely justified too). He is not just the best dart player ever, he is the smartest too. Yes he does play mind games, a lot of them are far more subtle though than handing the throw over to his opponent!

He may hand over the “advantage” of the throw for the much more simple explanation that a player is at his most vulnerable to losing his throw at the outset of the match (see blog post above) as Phil demonstrated perfectly last night! 


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Author: Paul Gillings ( paul@dartsperformancecentre.com )

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