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Do you get distracted when you are playing darts? We have an idea or two that may help!

Coaching Clinic 26

Posted: 27.08.13 in Coaching Clinic Blog category

Do you get distracted when you are playing darts? We have an idea or two that may help!



Regular readers of our coaching blogs will know we are fans of sharing coaching ideas and principles from other sports. This month swimming and cycling can perhaps give us some ideas on how to stay focused and not to let distractions that are beyond our control become excuses for losing a darts match!

First to speak on the matter is one of our Darts Performance Centre members, Reverend Adrian Underwood. He contacted me with a tip that he uses in lots of different circumstances that due to his work he finds himself in. The tip is “Be Like Dave”!

The Dave he refers to is Dave Brailsford, head of British Cycling and Team Sky. Dave trained his cyclists to focus only on areas that they can control and stop thinking about areas they had no control over! So let’s use Adrian’s example of concentration, we have lots of questions on this, from the top of the tree of the PDC to pub team players.

 Here are some examples of what The Rev is referring to when it comes to areas that are controllable and areas that are not:

Controllable -Be Like Dave!                                  Uncontrollable – Dave Says Ignore
Have the best set up for your darts Music on in the pub/club
Wear your most comfortable kit                Player/customer noise
Carry any spare kit you may need Opponent hits a 12 darter
Ask your team mates to yell support after you have thrown How your mate is doing on the next door board
Arrive in time for a warm up Bounce-outs
Don’t drink too much before your game Speculating what your average is half way through the game


On a similar theme Craig Townsend has worked with top level swimmers in Australia and has some great advice on avoiding the uncontrollable elements we have discussed, or obstacles as he describes them. He worked on getting his swimmers to forget about the obstacles, telling them that if their mind got stuck on small problems out of their control (temperature of the water, not liking their lane) they would put in a poor performance.

For darts think Merv and The Power using a hostile crowd as an excuse for losing. So your choice becomes: do I choose to give these obstacles power by focusing on them, or do I choose to blow them away by focusing on my goal?

Try This

Craig explains a simple but brilliant exercise that brings all these points home! This brings us to the subject of tunnel vision. Tunnel vision means being able to focus on your goal so completely that you cannot see any obstacles getting in your way.

Try this exercise for a moment. Try making a 'tunnel' with your hand and look through it at the board, the treble 20 or your favourite double maybe and you'll notice that this 'goal' is all you can see, because the tunnel stops you from seeing anything else - right? So this means that the goal is all you can focus upon, because there's absolutely no distractions or uncontrollables for you to see. This is tunnel vision, which is the best way to achieve a goal, and this is what most champions use.

Now, imagine that this tunnel is becoming wider and wider (open your hand out more and more until the whole room is in view), and suddenly you'll see there are lots more distractions going on to stop you focusing on your goal, and these are the obstacles that get in your way before and during a darts match.

I'm sure you can see that it's definitely better to see 'just the goal', than to try to focus on everything at once. So the choice is obvious - if you use tunnel vision, you simply won't 'see' the distractions or uncontrollables anymore, they'll disappear and you will not have to worry about them.

Try this at your next match and see what a difference it makes.

Images courtesy of arztsamui & Toa55 & adamr/ 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 and an invite to our exclusive members only events!


Author: Paul Gillings ( paul@dartsperformancecentre.com )

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