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Aidan is our guest blogger today and he discusses Barney and his darts meddling!


Posted: 22.07.14 in Tournament Analysis Blog category

Aidan is our guest blogger today and he discusses Barney and his darts meddling!


Not a lot scares me in life if I’m honest. I don’t like spiders. I’m ok with heights. And clowns… well…

But watching Raymond Van Barneveld emotionally crack in his second round World Matchplay tie against Simon Whitlock left me in horror. At one point, I had my hands over my face, peeking out at intervals to see the damage unfold.

It’s too easy in my position to just say he was wrong to do what he did. He is one of the best players ever to put his toe to the oche. And without doubt he holds experiences that I could only dream of. My purpose in this blog is not to slam Barney. I’ll be clear from the start.


To take a delivery of a brand new set of darts on the same day you take to the Blackpool stage, throw them for an hour or two, before announcing they will be the set you use against Whitlock is always a bad idea.

Upon seeing his tweet early in the afternoon, I put my neck out and question his mentality. His head can’t be in the right place if he can decide to change so close to battle. Unfortunately for him and his fans, he lost control of his arrows at a pace rivalling a spiralling plane.

The first four legs were majestic. Unstoppable. I was beginning to wonder if there were magnets in those little black tips!!! Whitlock sneaks the last leg before the break just to halt Barney’s riot.

Losing the second session 4-1, Barney is in a quandary now. It’s easy for the darts to look good, and more importantly feel good, when he has time on his doubles and no relative pressure applied from the Aussie.

But when the charge came, Barney immediately began to lose faith in his new set. Footage is shown of him throwing his old set, before returning to the new one’s before the resumption of play. An utter nightmare!

He eventually uses a third set in the same game, but falls to a disappointing defeat, and Whitlock walks off stage feeling like he’s been acquitted from jail despite pleading guilty! He threw well, but without doubt I think Barney would have won should he have stuck with his original set.


Browsing the web means many different things for many different people. For me, I tend to start off with some news, maybe a bit of sport, before always allowing myself five or ten minutes looking at…. Darts.

Like a child in a sweet shop is just too obvious an analogy. But it’s true.

I actually feel myself somewhat lucky that Ireland has no major darts shop. I don’t have the opportunity to walk in to my ‘sweet shop’. So I’m left scrolling through page after page of different types of darts.

The tantalising appeal to change your set can be cruel. You begin to convince yourself that if I throw a set two grams lighter, or change from a straight barrel to a bullet style will make the difference. Make me a better player.

And I’m convinced there is a beautiful five minute period when you pick up a new set and they feel magical. You can do whatever you want with them, hit any target, bang in the big scores.

Imagine having the worlds leading darts brand in Unicorn offering you anything you wanted, and type of set, any grip, a life time supply of ‘sweets’! I’m not sure I could handle it.


I have a theory on changing darts that I think is true to many of the professionals. If you take Taylor’s much hyped move to Target recently. We all knew it would take a while to settle, and once he did he has at times returned to his best. Why?

When he swapped, he wasn’t throwing naturally anymore. In that, he was thinking about his new darts. He was thinking about flights. Thinking about throwing. Thinking.

They still felt knew, strange, maybe a little alien to him. And this is after weeks, months of throwing with them.

Taylor couldn’t move to that lethal danger zone where he is oblivious of the damage he is causing, because he doesn’t have 100% confidence in his throw. He couldn’t find the rhythm. Couldn’t relax the arm. He was too aware of every little movement, and grip.

Many players have proven over time that change is not necessarily a bad thing. Gary Anderson, Peter Wright, Taylor and Barney himself are all renowned for tinkering with their set up. A change of barrel here. A new shaped flight there. They have dozens of sets for sale.

But then you have Michael van Gerwen, Adrian Lewis, James Wade, Mervyn King, Andy Hamilton who have all stuck with what they know. And trust. So when it comes to that pressure moment, they can refrain from entering the sweet shop! 

"Clown" by Africa courtesy of Africa/www.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 acess to our members only darts coaching app! Membership is £25 per year!


Author: Paul Gillings ( paul@dartsperformancecentre.com )

Author: Aidan Farrelly ( throwlikeaprodarts@gmail.com )

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