Progress with my game for me can be attributed to understanding how my brain works - well when it comes to darts at least.
More often than not, we focus on the outcome of the game and not on the actual performance. In my opinion, too few players take the opportunity to self-evaluate and understand their own response to scenarios, circumstances and conditions.
When I ask how players felt and what they were thinking while playing, most struggle to answer. The mood is everything!
When I lost a game, I started writing down everything I thought was a contributing factor, rating the impact on a scale of 1 to 5.
A majority of my issues came down to self-confidence and negative thoughts crippling my game. As soon as I got negative, I would tighten up and lose scoring power or miss simple shots at critical times.
I was too focused on the outcome, and I forgot to manage the process. (another post for another day too!)
I needed to adjust my mindset to be positive and stop negative thoughts running rampant once they start so I could focus on getting through my process.
So let's look at self-management and trying to eliminate mood shifts during a game.
Confidence is a belief in your ability to deliver the desired outcome at the desired time. A point the mind and body are working cooperatively to achieve your goals.
To be confident, you need to be positive.
Rather than hope we get into the right headspace before we play big events, establish a habit of positivity through triggers!
I began believing I could achieve a little more than I thought in the game, resulting in frequent "daydreaming" about playing better darts.
Every time I started "daydreaming" or thinking positive thoughts, I would rub a trinket in my hand.
Had a good memory, rub the trinket.
Anything positive happens, rub the trinket.
Whenever I played, the trinket was in my pocket. If I need a boost, I'd put my hand in my pocket and without thinking about it, I could recharge my mental state.
In time, I stopped counting darts or focusing on game scores etc. I just played in a free and happy state. Every time doubt crept in, I could reset my thinking patterns without having to apply conscious thought to get in the way of just playing.
Unfortunately, the yin and yang of life would take its toll, and my positive trigger started to lose its magic. I would miss darts or start thinking negatively, and as negativity does, it snowballs quickly losing control before you know it.
Like life, I had a trigger to store positive energy..now I needed one to stop negative energy.
Negative thoughts come into our mind on a consistent basis, this is human nature as an ingrained defensive mechanism.
I focused on catching a negative thought. As soon as a negative thought started, I would click my fingers and say "I got this, we're okay" taking a deep breath. This changed my focus and the negative thought was gone.
Obviously, this isn't going to work for life's critical junctures, however, for darts, it will do nicely.
Over the next few months, I would click my fingers every time I thought negatively about anything, reassuring myself "I got this, we're okay".
I reached a point where negative thoughts would start, I'd click my fingers without having to do the positive reassurance and I was back in a positive mindset.
Through the power of suggestion, you can stop negative thoughts with a click of your fingers and manufactured confidence using a trinket in my pocket, loaded with calm confidence. This takes time to master, but well worth the time investment!
With kind permission of Shot Darts - Darts supplies & Acessories