Harrows Darts.

How do you fix something you don't do in practice?
Hello Nutz

Hoping some of you can help before I head off to a sports psychologist or hypnotist or exorcist... whatever, anyone who can help me with this maddening issue.

I (feel like I) know what I need to do to significantly improve my game. I need to slow my backstroke down and bring the dart back to a fixed point each and every time.  I have been working on this relentlessly in my practice sessions and am becoming consistent in my pace, and my results are very encouraging.

Then I get to league.

Warm up darts are fine. First darts when the lights are on... I'm jerking my arm back at 1000 mph and spraying darts all over the board. I know exactly what I need to do, I practice that thing with success, and when it comes time for the darts to count, I can't make my body do what I want it to do.  When league is over things are better (but still not great) and the next day in the practice session I'm back to being a totally different player.

How do I fix this? How can I fix something that I don't do when I practice? Am I the only mental patient here or has anyone else beat this before?

Thanks for any replies!

Sounds to me like it's a bit of performance anxiety when the darts really count as opposed to just relaxing and tossing them like you do in practice.   

You don't say how long you've been playing or if this is your first foray into league play.   If you've not been playing long and this is your first league, a bit of nervousness is not uncommon and it is something you will get a handle on as time passes.   Just try to relax and enjoy the moment and not think too much about what you are doing.   If your mechanics are fine when practicing, then they will eventually be fine when playing league once you stop worrying about every dart thrown.

Bottom line, just have fun.
Yep its because your mental side needs to become comfortable in that environment, it will take time as you have specifically worked on something in practice and your obviously more relaxed at home but that's the same issue a lot of the pros have, they have to get used to been on TV and in front of crowds and it can be very hard and take time, again its just mental pressure but the only answer is to keep doing it and get used to it Guests cannot see images in the messages. Please register at the forum by clicking here to see images.
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i can tell you that i (and pretty much everyone else here) has been guilty of the same thing at one time or another. its something that i still struggle with sometimes. for me, just good practice and the confidence that comes with it takes care of it most of the time. but there are a few people in my league that either make me nervous because they are good, or because i really really want to beat them for whatever reason. either way when i play them i feel a lot of pressure and that makes me rush rush rush. i dont know much about your throw, as far as your normal tempo, but it usually helps me when i remember to take one deep breath in between each throw. my throw is pretty fast tempo and i dont normally do well when i stop and lose that rhythm but i figure if im doing like crap anyway it couldnt hurt to just take a little extra time.

it usually gets worse when i miss because my brain is thinking "hurry up and throw again real fast so you can make up for that bad throw" when in fact, you need to do the opposite. so just slow down, take a deep breath between throws and eventually you will probably find your groove and wont even notice it anymore.

good luck!
It takes me months of practice before a change in my stroke or stance becomes reliable out in the world.
26's so far this year: I've already lost count. :-)

I'll echo what has been said above; if you're new to league it will take a while to get comfortable but it will happen.

I've said this on her before but when I stepped up from B Grade I spent the first 6 to 8 weeks playing as a bag of nerves. Nothing remotely like I was in practice. Wondering what people were thinking... Wondering if I was going to get dropped back down to B Grade... All that stuff. Then one week it just clicked and I was throwing a lot more like I do at home. I hit a 180 and won all my singles including beating last season's MVP.

From there it hasn't all been plain sailing but I do feel that I belong in A Grade and my performances have generally reflected that new-found confidence.

I've also read a sports psychology book which pretty much boiled down to (1) think positively and (2) calm yourself with deep breathing.

Darts: Harrows Glen Durrant Duzza Series 2 24g, short Harrows Supergrip shafts, Harrows flights (Marathon/Retina/Optix/Rapide) 

Best 501: 13 darts (League), 14 darts (Pro Darter)

Best Checkout: 154 (League), 160 (Pro Darter)
i went through the whole gauntlet of this during my last league season. when the season started i was the type of player that was dangerous, just not consistent. i knew i could do so much better but the pressure i put on myself caused me to do horrible most of the time.

at some point during the season i had something click and i started throwing darts like mad. i was killing it for about 3 weeks. then all of a sudden it got in my head that not only COULD i beat almost anyone i played, but that i SHOULD beat them. which only added more pressure which caused me to start doing horrible again.

things finally came around when i got it into my head to stop thinking about wins/losses or scores and just throw the darts. it took a lot of conversations with myself for that happen but eventually it did. i think one of the biggest issues that i had was during my practice before the league games i would almost always kill it. then once the games began if i started off poorly then i would immediately get discouraged and nervous. most of the best games that i had came when i had really Poo practices beforehand. i guess it was because my expectations werent high so i just threw the darts. but when i killed it in practice i expected to come out blazing in every game and it didnt happen that way more often than not.

just keep practicing, trust your ability, and play other people as often as you can. its hard for me to play other people that are close to my ability so most of my playing outside of league is either practice drills or playing a computer bot. neither is comparable to playing other people. the more experience you get doing that the more comfortable you will become playing anyone.
Thanks for your responses. Background wise, I quit the darts about a decade ago, exactly for this reason when I basically melted down at Nationals. Now I've picked it back up and have been shooting again for about 2 years. Love the game. Concerned that right now this issue is causing me to be absolutely zero fun to play with and I don't want to lose my dart friends or teammates.

No doubt it is a performance anxiety / self-inflicted pressure & discouragement issue. I can practice and work on my game and my arm speed is good but as soon as the scores actually count, in league or even when I'm playing against other people online, I speed up then get frustrated, tense, angry and it goes downhill from there. As soon as the pressure of competition is gone, I'm back to throwing well. Maddening, as I said.

I agree that I need to give the change time to become habit so I just need to stay with it and hope it develops over the next months to where it becomes more of the "standard" during pressure situations. I definitely need some guidance on how to reset my head here so I don't go full Chuck Knoblach or Mackey Sasser here. I'd hate to give this great game up again.

Thanks again for all responses.
beer also helps!


in georges book he says something to the effect of: 90% of darts is mental, and the other half is in your head.
(06-14-2016, 06:39 PM)mcockrell Wrote: beer also helps!


in georges book he says something to the effect of: 90% of darts is mental, and the other half is in your head.

I agree. Its muscle memory for me ... like learning to drive or anything else - to trust yourself and just throw with fluidity. My tips for anyone who CAN do it but doesn't all the time;
SAME stance all the time - dont lean too far unless your balance is perfect (wobbles = 5s and 1s)
SAME head/eyeline - your head shouldn't move much
SAME toe point on oche (a routine/ritual can help with consistency)
SAME elbow (90 degree or whatever - nice n high and the same throw with nice follow through)
dont get upset ffs we all throw SOME loose ones
- get 3 pints down your neck .. not that I advocate big drinking ...
Best leg = 12 (first ever) 85/140/137/139
180s = 31
Finish = 158
Darts Used = Andy Hamilton/Sigma


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