goal setting
sports science

We have talked about getting enough asleep before you play darts before, here is the proof!

Coaching Clinic 64 - If You Snooze You Lose

Posted: 25.04.17 in Coaching Clinic Blog category

We have talked about getting enough asleep before you play darts before, here is the proof!

Well perhaps not if you are playing darts! Last month we discussed players staying up too late and depriving themselves of sleep the night before they played darts and how detrimental to performance this was.

I was having a sort out of a load of papers I had from taking my Performance Analysis degree and found an article entitled Effects of Sleep Deprivation on Throwing Darts! In the test they carried out for the study the participants went from 8 hours sleep to 4 hours sleep before then trying to throw their darts through some bullseye size rings.

Initially the player’s performance suffered due to sleep inertia. To put that simply you know when you oversleep and leap out of bed in a panic and then you come over all disorientated because you got up too quickly?  That is a type of sleep inertia. The interesting thing about this is that the drowsiness/disorientation can, in some people, last for up to 4 hours.

On top of that as time went on players’ performance decreased further just simply due to the lack of sleep taking effect over still being awake and having to try to focus on throwing darts through the rings 5 times during the day of the test. Interestingly and what of course we all know anyway is the scientists carrying out the study appreciated the fine skills required to throw accurate darts and highlighted our sport of choice as one where the symptoms of lack of sleep have the biggest effect on the level of performance.

So remember, if you snooze (enough), you will probably win!

A friend of the Darts Performance Centre and a man who does some great work with The Heart Of Darts charity, Paul Brown, wrote a very interesting review of his time at the Scottish Open. What caught my attention in particular was this he wrote about the long day Dan Day experienced; he had come from the very first round to the final:

Paul wrote: “After a couple of long days of darts, I think the valuable lesson here was to make more use of the long gap between the semi and the final and ensure that steps are taken to take on board plenty of water, energy drinks and or tablets as Dan was clearly and quite rightly fatigued at the end”.

Paul is spot on here. Sleep deprivation can wreck your chances at the start of the day and dehydration (which also has similar effects of drowsiness) can hijack you half way through and at the end of a long day if you haven’t been taking sufficient fluid on board. You all know our thoughts about alcohol and darts and we don’t preach at the Darts Performance Centre. But just so there is no confusion a pint of beer does not count as a hydrating drink. In fact it has the opposite effect and will ultimately make you feel worse.

In fact some advice that a good friend of mine dispensed about staying hydrated and what he took was a cocktail he mixed himself of orange juice, water and a little salt. A basic energy drink that cost 10% of one from the supermarket!



Photos Courtesy of wowspix/FreeDigitalPhotos.net (Glass of water) and Ambro/FreeDigitalPhotos.net (Sleep)


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 access to our members only darts coaching app! Membership is £25 per year!

Author: Paul Gillings ( paul@dartsperformancecentre.com )

Posts by Month

Main Index