Harrows Darts.

Difference between home practice and league night
Shot my first night of regular league tonight in ~20 years and put in an absolutely stunning performance. I’ve been shooting encouragingly well at home (in my quiet, distraction-free, stress-free, comfortable living room).

When I shot in the league against people in my ability range tonight, I couldn’t hit anything until the very end of the entire night. When I was shooting the 20, I hit the 12 and 18 more than I hit the 1 and 5, which I hit more than I hit the 20. Similar performance with almost everything else. I had lethal trouble doubling in but I never had to worry about doubling out because it was mercifully over before then. I lost both of my individual games and my poor partner wasn’t able to carry me well enough to keep me from being the cause of our losing both partners games. Overall, it was probably a lifetime worst night of painfully bad dart shooting.

The only thing I did right is when we were wrapping the night up with a 4-man team game of 601, it came to me to double out with a double 5. Without hesitation, I landed my first dart perfectly centered in the double 5 as if it was what I did every time I tried to double out. At least I redeemed myself a little tiny bit with my last dart of the night---I think (?)...

My shooting tonight was way beyond anything that I could blame on sound and sight distractions in an overcrowded, noisy league setting or on the beer, since I was drinking diet soda. I doubt I could have done too much worse if I’d been blindfolded or shooting left-handed.

So... the question... Is this a typical or at least reasonably common “first league night experience”? I’m away from darts for ~20 years now, so I’m a newcomer all over again right now but I wasn’t anywhere near this bad when I originally started ~20 years ago. I wasn’t stressed out, I wasn’t nervous and jerky, and I really didn’t have any excuse at all. I just couldn’t hit anything worth squat. I just don’t get it.
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I had/have the same: was down the pub, they needed a player and I was drafted in as a emergency sub.. id say I play reasonably well for a beginner at home (prob av around 50ish, sometimes better sometimes worse) but played absolute sh*te when the time came! also have the same prob at home if someone watches.. very frustrating. Strangely like your experience Ive found I can hit doubles ok, and even bull, but twenty when I need it? no chance! not played down there since, mostly due to injury but I cant say im biting at the bit to get back down there for league night! maybe should go down on a quiet night to play instead of jumping into the deep end
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My story to a T. In practice I can roll off multiple ton/ton pluses for a good bit of time and have yet to do it in a game against a player. However the more games I play the more and more I'm starting to relax and get closer to throwing what I know I'm capable of.

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Anxiety.......it's something we all experience without realizing it's happening to us. Grip pressure just a tiny bit more or less is all it takes to send our aim sideways!
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Glad to hear at least I wasn’t a first in the history of darts, but it still was an unnerving, really bad experience. I pulled a lot of my shots so bad that they landed >2” to the left of my target and many others so bad they landed >2” to the right. Wow. Wild inconsistency on top of uncontrolled inaccuracy! Even when I nailed the double 5 with my last dart of the night, I was trying to put that dart near the edge of the board to give me an anchor point to walk it in from, so my shot was actually off by >1”. I was lucky I didn’t hit a single 5. Last night was deadly and I came out of it filled with doubts about the darts, stance, grip, release and follow-through that all work well when I practice at home.

Oh, well. I guess all I can do is practice for an hour a day, practice for a couple hours in the dart room at the league bar on Sunday and hope the demons don’t visit me again next Monday night. On the bright side, at least now I know enough to stay away from the tournament in my area this coming weekend.
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Keep practicing and enter as many tournaments as you can. This will help the nerves and deal with the stress. Playing WDA or Prodarter against another live opponent will help you also. Time and experience will overcome the nerves etc. I think you were more nervous after your hiatus because now you now what is expected. Just play your game, that's all your in control of. Best of luck!
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Adams,
What happened to you happens to almost 100% of players, do not despair my friend because your gonna improve dramatically over the coming weeks. Practice at home is so important but there is no pressure there. If you haven't be sure to join flight School and buy the Book (and read it lol) Darts beginning to End by my mentor George Silverzahn, considered by many as the Greatest instructional dart book ever written my self included. Be sure to go to the practice threads and incorporate routines that you like and are not bored with. I have played darts for many years but only steel tip for about 5 and my next birthday I will be 70 years old. I do flight school routines (modified) almost every day. At age 65 after practicing my routines religiously I did win Top shooter in top league and last year top shooter in a lower league. Remember practice with a purpose my friend don't just throw at the board. Hope this helps ya.
Larry
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Thanks for the thoughts. There’s almost no room left for me to get any worse, so next time almost has to be better. I’m not doing that tournament this weekend, though. I’d be like a Yugo in a Formula One race and I don’t need another disaster a couple days before my next league night. I may (?) be ready for a tournament in 6 or 9 months, but I know I’m not ready this week.
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Hi Adams - just seen this thread and was wondering how you've gone since that first night...

Also like to say my first ever experience of league was like this although I felt very nervous.  Didn't know where the darts were going but did enough to get a place on the team.  Since then I've improved (although not without some hiccups... https://www.dartsnutz.net/forum/showthre...?tid=16352) and like everyone has said - practice and playing are the only things that help.

I'm certainly less nervous these days, about 20 matches into my "career", and I'm starting to get some routines in place to improve.  This includes practice nights at home (Friday-Tuesday for an hour or so at the end of the day) and getting to league in time to warm up.  This really helps me to feel I'm in the best place to throw good darts.
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