Coaching Clinic 61

How to beat your biggest enemy on the oche - Yourself!
We have many thoughts for you this time, of which two are mine! My first one was to bring back a long time hero of The Darts Performance Centre, sports psychologist Dr Bob Rotella. Bob has written many books trying to help golfers play better golf. Darts and Golf can be linked in numerous ways so if you can get your hands on any of his books I would recommend them.

My second thought after taking a look though one of Rotella's books (The Golfer's Mind) is that whenever we receive any feedback on these coaching blogs it is generally one point we have made that hits home to a player. Not the same point in any given article but as dart players seeking improvement, certain suggestions are more important than others.

With that in mind we are going to look at the thing that is the biggest cause of why you lose a darts game. That evil presence that lurks on the oche causing you frustration, anger sometimes and that thing that knocks your confidence for six. Yes YOU - your worst enemy on the oche is yourself!

These are Bob's thoughts on dealing with self-destructing golfers-can we apply them to ourselves on the oche?
  1. Playing with the feeling that the outcome of the game doesn't matter is almost always preferable to caring too much! (This is a philosophy of Gary Anderson-so give this some thought).
  2. Your self-image of your darts skills is called that because you create it yourself with the thoughts you have about yourself and your darts game - If your self-image is poor, work on it like you would your physical fitness; seek steady, gradual improvement.
  3. Here's one to take into a match: I will get looser, freer and more confident as the match goes on, I will not get tighter, more careful and doubtful.
  4. We highlighted "beating yourself up" and this is a great paragraph or two to make you think about that. I have kept the golf comparison in but I'm sure you agree it could be swapped with a kid playing darts. Give a child a set of golf clubs and a ball and watch him. He doesn't get angry when he misses but does beam with delight when he hits the ball and gets it airborne.
    'The child understands hitting a ball is tricky (as is consistently hitting the 20 bed with darts) and when he achieves the feat it is a cause for celebration and not accomplishing it is something to shrug off and try and try again. It's only as we get older we learn to do the opposite, shrug off success and get angry at mistakes.'
    This thought process can be reversed. First accept darts is played by humans, you are going to make mistakes. MVG makes mistakes so does Glen Durrant, Taylor, Scott Waites and Anderson but learn how they react to them. They are like the kid swinging the golf club, they take mistakes in their stride, they also stay tranquil and poker faced and the mistake is forgotten by the time they are ready for their next throw!

A lot of these ideas embrace the power of the mind! Here's a killer one to finish off: A confident dart player thinks about what he wants to happen on the dartboard in the match. A player who lacks confidence thinks about the things he doesn't want to happen! This confident outlook isn't arrogance or experience Bob points out, it is merely letting your mind think positively about what is going to happen. Why is it worth trying? Rotella has witnessed players of equal ability but different confidence levels and the more confident player wins nearly every time.

So try to turn yourself from enemy to your best friend and enjoy playing no matter what!

Extracts are from The Golfer's Mind by Dr Bob Rotella with Bob Cullen Published by Pocket Books

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