Say 'No' To Defeatism

Laurence Kent

de*feat*ism (noun) - acceptance or expectation of or resignation to defeat - Merriam-Webster Dictionary

This is the one thing that, for the life of me, I can't understand. In the middle of a game, a person mentally gives up or, worse yet, mentally gives up even before the match begins. Sure, you may be throwing against a person who is better than you. Or your team is near the bottom of the standings and is scheduled to throw against the first or second place team. "I'm/We're going to lose anyway, so why should I try?" Why should you? Here's why.

If you are throwing in league play, you have teammates who will try to do their best, despite the situation. Since the objective is to get as many wins as possible, giving up and allowing your opponents an uncontested victory is helping your opponents reach their objective lots more than helping you reach yours. And it's real easy to know when this is going on. Your teammates will not be happy about it, and I don't blame them in the least. Defeatism has a tendency to spread like wild fire. "Great, so-and-so isn't trying at all and we are losing so the heck with it." Now you have even fewer people trying to win.

If you are throwing in a blind-draw doubles tournament, I can't think of one thing that will infuriate your partner more than defeatism. Your partner is doing his/her best and here you are, not even attempting to throw your best darts. In most cases, your partner focus is no longer on the game. The focus has become trying to get your head back in the game. Most of the time, you and your partner are going to make an early exit. The cause wasn't the ability to throw darts. The cause was someone's attitude.

The best defense against defeatism is a positive mental attitude on each and every throw. The attitude shouldn't be "I'm going to win the game". It should be "I'm going to have a good throw this turn". It is a must to take the game one throw at a time, especially if you are considered the underdog. Even if you have a bad throw or a series of bad throws, keep the positive attitude. I have seen, as probably you have, a game that has turned completely around from a sure defeat to an upset victory. I would be willing to wager any amount that if that person mentally gave up, that throw would not have occurred and that person would have lost.

Even though you may throw a good game, you will lose, especially against a superior darter. Instead of focusing on the loss, focus on the positive aspects of your game. You may have thrown better than you have in a while. You may have had some 100+ rounds. You may have had some 5-mark rounds or better in Cricket. Instead of having your opponent cruise through the game, your opponent may have to worry about the fact that you may have beat him. Your opponent actually had to earn the win. Once this starts happening on a regular basis, your future opponents will not take you lightly.

I know it is difficult to maintain a positive outlook during a personal slump or a bad losing streak. You get sick and tired of losing. That is understandable. But mentally giving up will not do yourself, your partner, or your teammates any good. Letting defeatism control your darts will accomplish two things. First, your opponents will be able to pick up on this and use it to their advantage. Second, your teammates will pick up on this and you will find yourself looking for another team to throw on, if a team will put up with your defeatism.

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