To start things off, I managed a win in doubles cricket and the team overall did very well. Not much room for doom and gloom, wouldn’t you think? Well in the cricket game I picked it up a little but overall I was shaky. In my first singles game of the night it was all easy and I was putting up nice numbers. My opponent had over 200 left by the time I doubles out. The next two legs (it’s a best of 3) she picked her game up while I decided that 26’s and 15’s would be nice things to build massive collections of, and proceeded to throw away a win, that had I thrown as I normally do I would likely have won. Fact is though, that I didn't and anybody can beat anybody, which is maybe one of the great things about darts?
Still cant say I was happy though. Not so much with losing (I am a good sport usually) but with losing because I played like crap and couldn't get myself sorted out. To add to my troubles the space was crowded, the speaker for the music was right over my head and I was more than a little sore from practice earlier which made it difficult to fully raise my arm and keep my dart level and my arm straight during my throw. These things weren't what did me in though, not really at least. While all of these were distractions, where I really blew it was that I came into it with expectations of myself and that I should get X points per dart and so on, and well that just leads to ‘trying harder’ and believe me darts is a game that will punish you for ‘trying harder’. The way that my mentor George Silberzahn puts it
"Here's something to consider: Practicing alone is not really practice - it should be learning control over the flight path of your darts. Competing is not really practice - it is learning to put your practice (learning) to use.
The one person you can never defeat is you. Set an expectation and reach it - you feel you should have done better. Set an expectation and not reach it - you feel you failed.
In either case - disappointing to some degree. Improve your practice(learning) to improve your competitive game"
It’s a tricky lesson to remember, but it is a true one. The saying ‘don’t think. Throw’ comes to mind, but perhaps it might also be said that there is a ‘Tao of darts’?
At the end of the day I am still incredibly new as a student of this game, and dealing with distractions, both internal and external is just something I will need to learn to do.
Before I am done here I should also mention that I have just nabbed myself a new set of 'Lightning Fighter 5' darts from Pure darts. This is the second order I have placed with them (My Barney Titanium Hero's that my wife is using was the first order) and I must say their prices and service are hard to beat.
I'll report back soon with how the new darts fly!