Darts Experiment – Night 3 Pub Team Meets Jamie-The Sports Psychology lecturer
The Team: Team Kasbah
Analysis: Team Kasbah reflected on the previous week session and on the whole had been implementing the tweaks to their technique with good results. One key area was the “team bonding” that had evolved from “mentoring!” each other. One player was having second thoughts about the changes he had made This is of course the biggest obstacle and the hardest part of making changes, it takes perseverance to keep going!
Stage 1 – The Discussion - Mental Skills in Darts
Method: Jamie ran a workshop on players experience with the mental side of darts. Two players discussed personal events had distracted their minds so much that they went out and played the most fantastic darts. Another recounted a team mate who would put obstacles in his way by complaining about the oche, the board, the opposition and was then surprised when he couldn`t perform during the game
Findings: The common denominator for any player who had player far better than expected or even just consistently was that their mind was NOT thinking about darts! By this we mean there was not any over analysing of their method or technique. They played in a natural state; they were in “The Zone”.
Analysis: It was revealed to Team Kasbah that the objective of the session was to try and give them the mental skills, that with practice, gave them the best chance of being in the ideal state of mind to win darts matches.
Stage 2 - The Practical – Mental Skills in Darts
Method: A challenge match was arranged between two Team Kasbah players. Whilst they were deliberately distracted Jamie asked the rest of the team to monitor the two players in certain areas, none of which involved their scoring!
Analysis: The areas monitored included:
· What sequence of event did they go through before each throw (pre-throw routine)
· Their body language when collecting their darts
· What were they doing whilst their opponent was throwing
· Their self-talk – is it positive or negative?
Jamie then emphasised the importance of body language and posture and the need to “talk positive”!
Stage 3 – The Practical – The Mental Skills You Need
Method: Jamie revealed the four key mental skills dart players need to learn. The players were then put into pairs to play each other. Every ten minutes one of the skills Team Kasbah had been shown were introduced to their matches: A breathing technique, imagery (seeing your dart hit your board in the treble 20), goal-setting and talking positive.
Analysis: The methods that Team Kasbah had been shown could be used as mental “uppers and downers” to help get them in the optimum state of mind to play darts.
A fascinating night and is it the first time a pub darts team have been coached in the mental side of darts? Probably! See the video interviews for some feedback from Team Kasbah and from Jamie on his first experience of coaching dart players.
Paul Gillings – MSc Performance Analysis of SportDetails of all the mental skills, how to learn them and other tips are available at our website: www.dartsperformancecentre.com – Membership is £25.00 per year