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'Game on' Struggle.
Hello peops, little intro before I ask the question.

I'm 16 and have been playing darts since I was 5 as my dad gave me a old dart board and some of his old darts.

I started playing properly in a league with my team when I was 12, started off great with my dad and his mates coaching me along the way, and for the next few years I was the 'up and comming' of the league, and the last year I have started playing crap, I switched darts and then started pulling my darts, so I switched to heavier darts, but that didn't work and I got even worse, and when I play my singles game, I struggle a lot as I always think 'I have to do better' as my dad always said I can do better and could beat anyone.. blah blah...

Practicing I'm fine, I can hit the trebels and doubles no problem, but when I play in a league singles match or competition, my first three darts are fine, then I tend to loose it and they go all over the place, I try to relax and think what I'm doing wrong and try and correct it, but it doesn't work. Any suggestions?

If you need more info please ask, as my rep is going down and I want to get back on the winning streak.

(I practice 5 days a week and for about 1 hour a day, play league matches twice a week)
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First of all, you are not alone. I'm 40 years older than you and have recently begun showing the same struggle that you have. In my case, it is self imposed... *I* expect to shoot better than I do because *I* said I should. That pressure just wrecks everything.

I can imagine in your case, where your dad made you think 'you can do better and could beat anyone', the pressure must be immense.

First things first.... I can hit a 180.. I hit several every week.... *should* I hit one every time? Thinking I *should* hit heavy every time out is not right. When you fail, you think you have to hit even heavier now, so you tighten up and fail again and again and again.... the struggle begins.

That sort of unrealistic expectation has to stop. Don't turn the idea that you *can* hit heavy into you *should* hit heavy. This is the start of the road to hell.

read this... especially #4:

https://www.dartsnutz.net/forum/showthre...?tid=15457

Before you learn how to win, you have to learn how to lose. Which means you have to learn that you *can* lose.

Then you may start to focus on the game you're playing instead of the result you expect.
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Listen to BigE. I'll add just a little bit more:

Try and get your stroke down during your practicing, never during league matches. Somewhere on this site they said "have a just PLAY attitude" and it helps. That helps me keep my overthinking to a minimum and brings out what you do in practice into your match.

There are some others on here that will have some great advice, so I'll just leave what I have to say at that.
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About the "play" attitude.

Personally, I don't get it. Even the pros will sometimes take what looks a heck of a lot like their practice into the game. Adrian Lewis is clearly thinking about the mechanics of his throw during this match.

Have a look at this here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YDRIH_2jBBM

He also did it against Barneveld ftw in the final of the same tournament.

But, and I believe this fully, he seems to be thinking about just one element of the throw. I've posted elsewhere, you can only fix one thing at a time. Go for two and you will be confused. Adrian Lewis has said on video that the shot is basically, aim, then go "back and forth" -- which is pull back and extend. So everything that happens when you go "forth "is one move -- extension, wrist and all.

Perhaps just picking a target on the board and hammering at it with full extension for 20 minutes might stop you from spraying darts around your target? I did three sessions tonight, mindfully ensuring that I used full extension on the T20, T19 and T17. The grouping improved dramatically.

If you think this sounds like A2, it basically is, except you don't chase missed darts. You ignore them and keep stroking at the target. It is exactly A2 if you hit the target with the first dart......( and the stroke was a keeper ).
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Exactly what's been said already.

Don't put pressure on yourself. During league nights there's enough pressure as it is.
Don't walk to the oche tinking "I need this big score/finish now". Instead clear your mind and only focus on sending your current dart to it's target. Rinse and repeat for dart 2 and 3.
And what if you miss..? So be it, there's nothing you can do about that dart any more. Don't let it interrupt your focus for the next dart.

Sounds easy right? Guests cannot see images in the messages. Please register at the forum by clicking here to see images.
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Cheers peops, just going to say quickly, when I started playing darts seriously in a league, I started in the top division, I have never played in the lower divisions, so in my opinion, I have already 'learned to loose' of course I could be wrong tho, thanks for the advice, I appreciate it
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Oh forgot to mention, playing against my dad this weekend in a major competition
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Here's the ticket zaryte, you know already why you are failing:

"I struggle a lot as *I always think* 'I have to do better' as my dad always said I can do better and could beat anyone."

You're not thinking about the right thing. You are thinking about someone else's expectations of your game, not the game you're playing. That's not right.

It takes courage to really play the game, and to put out your best effort. Because even when playing well, you can be beaten. You cannot control the opponents darts.

OTOH, it takes no courage to beat yourself up and play badly. That's the easy way out. Read the link I posted. ESPECIALLY NUMBER ONE: struggling is nobodies fault but yours.
You cannot blame your dad's expectations for your poor play.
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You are 100% right, I have to say tho, when he isn't watching me I tend to throw better. I know it's mental, and I over think a lot. Any suggestions for how to 'empty the mind' and focus on the game in hand. Cheers
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Do you play well when you are mad/angry?

But seriously, he is just another opponent. You should be focused on the board anyway, not the player you're playing against. The board is harder to beat than any opponent -- it should have your undivided attention. Nothing anyone does matters to how you shoot. Disregard the announcers on the PDC saying "Now he will be punished". You can shoot only as well as you do. It is BS to demand a great shot when the other guy slips up.

You focus on the board until you hear "GAME SHOT" because you hit it. If you hear it before that, well, the other guy played better. End of story. Shake hands.
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First of all, welcome aboard Guests cannot see images in the messages. Please register at the forum by clicking here to see images.

You have taken the first steps to rectifying your issue by identifying what the issue is and more importantly actively saying what the issue is and sharing it with us. Now you can get to work on correcting the issue!
You will find that as you play the game the mental side has a far bigger affect than the actual mechanics of throwing the dart, especially when you reach the point of being reasonably consistent for your level of play - it sounds to me like you have got to that point and have a throw that works.
It is also a lot harder to crack the mental side of the game than the physical!
You can try out some breathing techniques that help relaxation and reduce the pressure that you and others are inadvertently putting on you. I would also suggest taking it slow and as BigE says, work on 1 point at a time. So each time you go out to throw work on improving the relaxation a little bit each time, which will in time reduce the pressure and let the darts fly like you would in practice. The next day have a think about the positives (only the positives, no negative thoughts Guests cannot see images in the messages. Please register at the forum by clicking here to see images. ) of the night before and what you want to work on next.
Take it slow and you will get there, you have lots of time
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(09-04-2015, 12:20 PM)ElusiveDouble85 Wrote: So each time you go out to throw work on improving the relaxation a little bit each time, which will in time reduce the pressure and let the darts fly like you would in practice. The next day have a think about the positives (only the positives, no negative thoughts Guests cannot see images in the messages. Please register at the forum by clicking here to see images. ) of the night before and what you want to work on next.
Take it slow and you will get there, you have lots of time

Brilliant advice!

+1 for that!
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When I was an up and coming player, my mentality was that I knew I was likely worse than the guy I was playing so I had to really buckle down to win. To me that meant focus and making every dart count.

Eventually I got to be pretty good, to the point where I was expected to beat most opponents. That's when something happened and my game started to tank. In retrospect I think my fear of losing or letting down my team became stronger than my previous mentality of fighting to win. I was also quicker to get down on myself when I had a few bad shots because I expected more of myself. All of that works against you.

I've mentored several dart players from good to great and I've tried hard to help them manage this problem. That is to play for yourself, play the board, and play for the glory of the great shot (naught to do with your environment or opponent). Darts is hard enough without adding additional pressures, as others here have said.

The great thing about darts is you almost always have another three. You have a bad trip to the oche, you can turn it around the next trip. Have a short memory for your bad shots and a good memory for your good ones. To this day, if I am struggling in a match, I will think back to previous times I hit a big shot. It builds my confidence and helps me get back into that same frame of mind.

My old boss who played for the U.S. National team in the 80's once told me that darts is 90% mental and the other 10%? It's mental. Guests cannot see images in the messages. Please register at the forum by clicking here to see images.

The good thing about that is it is in your control, grasshopper.

Some times it helps me to slow down a bit and really try to make each dart count. Maybe focusing on a single bristle in the trip to narrow my focus or pretending their is a hole in the board I am trying to throw the dart through (instead of at.) Mental tricks like these can improve your focus and make your task entirely about getting that dart to your target, and nothing else.

Best of luck!
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Cheers, I'll keep it in mind next time I play Guests cannot see images in the messages. Please register at the forum by clicking here to see images.
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