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Ted Hankey is our inspiration for our discussion on "clever" darts players!

Coaching Clinic 29

Posted: 18.12.13 in Coaching Clinic Blog category

Ted Hankey is our inspiration for our discussion on "clever" darts players!



A few weeks ago Ted Hankey pulled off a remarkable victory against Simon Whitlock at the Grand Slam. He was written off by the bookies due to his poor form and at 6:1 down the bookmakers looked like they were right as per usual. Then a transformation took place. The theatrics of Hankey started to pay dividends, Whitlock lost focus and The Count ended up winning 10:9.

We wrote a blog about it at the time and a number of people responded berating Ted for his gamesmanship and asking whether we want the youngsters coming through to copy Hankey? I find this issue of gamesmanship very interesting. In a way darts is miles behind other professional sports when it comes to gamesmanship (which is good in a lot of ways) and its older brother, cheating! You only have to watch a Premier League football game for example to realise Ted’s antics are nothing compared to what goes on in an average football match.

I am reading an excellent book at the moment and it can help us unravel how Hankey pulled off what was billed as the impossible. The book, The Success Equation, explains the role luck has in sport. One section of the book deals with underdogs and their best strategy for upsetting the odds. If you watched or heard about this game you should see some similarities!

The author uses the story of David and Goliath as the example. David, the small shepherd boy took on the giant Goliath and also upset the odds by slaying his opponent. How did he do it? He won because he refused to fight Goliath on his terms. David knew that if he engaged in armed combat he would stand no chance. Instead he moved the odds in his favour by taking along stones and a sling shot. The tactic worked and the first stone he fired struck Goliath on the forehead and killed him.

The author explains there are two simple rules when the odds are either in your favour or against you. If you are the favourite, simplify the game. We have all seen The Power schmoozle his opponent, mates together having a game of darts, then he buries them! Phil also has got his tactics spot on.

If you are the underdog, make it more complicated, do whatever you need to do to try to shift the odds in your favour. So in darts you could slow the game down, speed it up, bash your hand on your head, get in your opponent’s face whilst celebrating a 180 or leg win and wind the crowd up then get them on your side. That is what Ted did!

Darts fans can be quite precious about the “code of conduct” of darts. I understand and appreciate the reasons for this but Ted didn’t break the rules. Yes, he bent them but he needed to win the match. He’s a Pro dart player, his job is to win darts matches. He realised that, like David, he had to get the odds in his favour.

So back to the question of whether we want youngsters (or anyone else) copying Ted. If it means that a dart player is capable of thinking on their feet, changing strategy and picking the right tactics that are within the laws or rules of darts in order to win then possibly you may consider we do. On the other hand players that prepare practice properly and have as sound technique can still be good strategists and tacticians without resorting to gamesmanship.



You may have noticed one of our favourite topics is the importance of aiming the dart. We recently produced a "sponsored" blog partly inspired by the problems John Part was having wearing glasses on stage. 

You can read 4 helpful aiming tips in darts here!

Another Year!

This is our final coaching blog for 2013. Thank you for reading them and for all the feedback. We are opening a coaching centre in early 2014 so you can come and visit us in the real World in 2014 and not just a virtual one. Watch this space for more details.

Image courtesy of supakitmod  and vectorolie/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net


TheDarts 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 )

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