Monthly Archives: June 2009

Players Tournament Downloads

There are three files needed to run this tournament:

Introduction: a Word file;

Player’s Tournament: an excel work book file;

Entrant List-trial; an excel work book file.

Download These Files

What’s different?

Player’s Tournament© Introduction

 

Concept and design: George Silberzahn Application programming: Gary Yourman

 

Understanding the concept:

This is a tournament designed for the 80% of darts players who do not normally attend tournaments while it provides the other 20% a very challenging experience.

 

There are three parts to this tournament.

            1. Seeding qualification;    2. Finals qualification;   3 Finals

 

The number of entrants is limited by the number of dart boards available.

            The ideal minimum number of dart boards is six.

            The ideal maximum number of dart boards is 20.

            The minimum number of entrant positions is 20.

            The ideal maximum number of entrants is four times the number of dart boards.

The length of time the tournament will take (5 to 6 hours of competition) is jeopardized if the number of entrants is greater than the suggested four times the number of boards.

 

Overview        

           

* Positions in the tournament are available on a first come first served basis;

* Elite players are segregated from the non-elite (see Elite players);

* Competition is completed in one day (5 to 6 hours);

* Every entrant will play at least four rounds of competition;

* Entrants separate themselves into three groups (A, B, C) by shooting for score during a session called Seeding Qualification;

* Each group has its own prize structure.

In effect, there are three tournaments occurring at once with competition inter and intra Group.

 

Elite players     

An entrant is considered “Elite A” if any of the criterions listed below is met.

* Won 1st, or 2nd in Group A of a Player’s Tournament (within a three year period);

* Won Group B of a Player’s Tournament (within a three year period);

* Won a locale wide singles event (within a three year period);

* Ranked in the top twenty of any national darts association.

An entrant is considered “Elite B” (can not play in Group C) if they have won 1st in Group C of a Player’s Tournament.

 

Cost:

Entrance fee is usually $25. There are 50/50s held and sponsor money raised also.

 

Prize money

Each Group has its own prize structure.

The final four positions within each Group win portions of the available prize money.

 

Entrant segregation

Entrants are distributed by percentage: 25% A Group, 50% B Group and 25% C Group.         

 

Winning

Points are earned for each game and match win. Highest numbers of points compete in finals.

 

“Player’s Tournament” Excel program

The tedious work of entrant ranking, match pairing, point scoring, finalists’ calculations and other administrative work is all done by an Excel Book program: “Player’s Tournament”. 

These tedious functions of running the tournament are automatic. The Director only needs to be familiar with the basics of MS Excel. The program will do all the work of separating entrants into Groups, creating the match pairings, filling out the tally cards for each entrant, and totaling the results of the four rounds of competition. It will show the winners (and ties) for each Group.

There are eight tabs within the book:

Instructions: instructions about how to use the program, when and where to enter data;

            Setup: Input form for entry fee and cost per extra seeding try,

            Data form for the number of entrants, matches, Elite players;

              Buttons:  “Start Event” – processes entrant data into Groups and matches, etc.;

                            “Who’s winning” – sorts entrants into standings of the top four and ties;

                            “Clear all data” – deletes all data through out the book;

                            “Clear forms – leave players names” – does what the title says.

Players: before the tournament starts this is where an entrant’s name, elite status and fees paid are entered;

After the tournament is underway this is where the player’s Group, Num of P1 games, Num of P2 games, total games, total points won, win % is shown;

Matches: Col A shows the match number, Col B shows the number of matches in which the player is primary player, Col. C shows the number of matches in which the player is secondary player;

Finals: after the “Who’s winning” button is clicked this is where the top four places and ties for each group is shown;

 

Payouts; shows the standard payouts suggested by the program and where adjustments may be made if desired;

Elite notes: This is where data for who is an elite and why they are in that category is entered;

Tally cards: after  the “Start Event” button is clicked the program fills in the tally cards.

  The entrant’s name, seed score, Group, rank within the group, and start score;

  the opponent’s names, seed score, Group, start score, player num., point value for    each game win are all filled in on each tally card.

 

On tournament day the number of entrants must be even in order to start the event.

* Revenue:

  The “Player’s Tournament” Excel book provides the means of accounting for, and review of, financial data.

       

* Prize distribution

The “Player’s Tournament” Excel book provides the means for prize distribution review.

           

* Entrant distribution across the three Groups:

The “Player’s Tournament” Excel book program distributes entrants across the three Groups by Seeding Score and “Elite” status.

 

There are three files needed to run this tournament:

Introduction: a Word file;

Player’s Tournament: an excel work book file;

Entrant List-trial; an excel work book file.

 

Practicing with the “Player’s Tournament” work book

 

Using the “Entrant List-trial” files

 

            Open “Player’s Tournament” excel workbook.

 

            Save a backup copy of “Player’s Tournament.”

 

            Open “Entrant List-trial” spread sheet.

 

            This spread sheet has eighty names in (col. A), Elite status in (col. B) and seeding scores    in (col. C).    There are also more than eighty match results in cols. D and E.

 

Practice:

 Highlight and Copy as many names and seeding scores as you wish.

 * Minimize “Entrant List-trial.”

 * Maximize “Player’s Tournament” and select the “Players” tab.

     Paste names, elite status and seeding scores into cols. B, C and D.

  * Switch to the “Set up” tab and click the “Start Event” button;

      After the program has done its work review the tabs as you wish.

You may print the tally cards or review them on the “Tally Card” tab.

* Minimize “Player’s Tournament” and Maximize “Entrant List-trial.”

   Highlight and copy the match results in cols. D and E.

* Minimize “Entrant List-trial” and maximize “Player’s Tournament.”

   Select the “Matches” tab and paste the results into cols. H and I.

  Add or delete results to equal the number of matches.

 

  Select the “Set up” tab and click the “Who’s winning” button.

 

At this point you should be able to see all the functions of the program and review all the tabs and data and information.

 

* Select the “Set up” tab and click “Clear All Forms”.

 

For more information and/or to receive the needed files through email, please contact George Silberzahn

Fortitude;Heart;Opportunity:Darts

Fortitude; Heart; Opportunity: Darts.  

        Sport offers unique opportunities for an individual to experience the “thrill of victory and the agony of defeat” even when the level of prowess is neophyte. From the youngest to the oldest among us that special feeling of preparing for the competition and competing provides a good and necessary addition to our lives; even at the amateur level.

        Everyone who participates in any sport, no matter how serious the commitment, is limited by their abilities. Those with significant limitations need the sport to be modified in some manner in order to participate equally; most of the time. But there is a sporting endeavor which is not like that. 

        People with physical limitations join the legions of amateurs who are devoted to this sport, and follow its own bit of professional activity, because they learn there is also something more, something special about it. And that something special is that they are not so outstandingly different that they require special consideration. That sport is Darts.

        The struggle to be as good as can be is impressive enough when observed in general but in darts the heart exhibited by those with physical limitations gets barely noticed during play of the game. Spectators have their eyes glued to the dart board; eagerly await the landing of the next dart. Who is shooting and how they are doing it is not as important as where the dart lands. That is why taking a moment to appreciate the fortitude and heart of the physically limited player may not happen so often. And that is a most impressive part of the dart game.   

        There is such a broad range of prowess among darts enthusiasts that everyone can find a level at which they can compete. Participation in the effort to get the most from a person’s innate ability through nurture and training is a shared experience. All participants recognize everyone is struggling with some degree of physical limitation and the limitation is measured only by how close the dart lands to its intended target.

        As many as twenty million people have Darts as part of their life, just in America. Among these people are many who have extraordinary limitations but enjoy the added dimension to their life that Darts offers. So I pause here to recognize the fortitude and heart of all those to whom we Darts people may not ordinarily pay all that much attention. Here are the stories of four of them.

 

Wayne Crook is 61 years old and was introduced to darts while serving in the military during the early 1970s. The sport has intrigued, frustrated, excited, and challenged him for more than 35 years; even through difficulties.

 

A back injury made picking up darts from the floor difficult. His range of motion was limited to the point that picking up darts became embarrassing and he left league competition. A second uncorrectable back injury made picking darts up from the floor impossible and his dart playing days in public were over for a few years, but he continued to play at home.  He figured out ‘how-he-could’ instead of dwelling on ‘why-he-couldn’t.’

 

On top of his existing difficulty the driver of a crew cab truck going about 50mph ran a stop sign and crashed into Wayne’s vehicle. The result was the total destruction of Wayne’ Blazer and, almost, him.

 

The most significant injuries were to his spine which made it so, among other things, attempting to raise his head caused total loss of feeling and control to his right arm (he’s right handed). 

 

It took three months of recovery and rehab before he could walk unassisted and when he stood at the dart board he could only raise his head high enough to see the lower half of the board. All feeling and control of his right arm was lost. Fine motor skills like throwing darts and signing his name had to be relearned.

 

Regaining his dart game became his goal and its improvement became the measure of his recovery. He was starting from scratch and a darts learning program became his Rehab Program. His time was spent in wrist- finger thrust exercise, stroke development, and dart grouping practice.  He began with two 10 minute sessions at the dart board every day.  In two months his endurance improved and he went to 20 minute sessions. He became able to stick the darts within a circle of 2” or less. A month later he could raise his head enough to see the entire dart board and feeling was regained in his right arm. He has progressed to two sessions of 25 minutes with one of them being a specific drill regimen designed to perfect accuracy.

 

“My goal is to achieve the accuracy and endurance I require to take on an open tournament. I believe this accident was simply an inconvenience that has provided the opportunity to make my game even better. Semper Fi, Wayne Crook”

 

Jim Chatterton was sponsored for Darts. Traveling to tournaments around the nation he won the American Darts Organization ranking of fourteenth place. He suffered a brain stem stroke and remained hospitalized for several months. His whole world collapsed. His diagnosis for walking again was pretty slim and he was also diagnosed with Gerstmann’s syndrome. There are many factors involved with Gerstmann’s syndrome, but the main ones are:

unable to read or write; unable to distinguish between different fingers on the hand; permanent loss of sight on the affected side; unable to distinguish from right to left.

 

The effects are permanent for Jim. He was wheelchair bound and entered intense therapy at a local neurological rehabilitation unit.

 

At home, alone and safe from the embarrassment he felt, he began throwing darts again. He slowly got used to his eyesight problems. His accuracy returned – albeit painfully slowly – and he had to relearn all the mathematical shots. He realized that all finishes are the result of patterns, and he still knew the patterns. Using this method he was able to quickly re-establish all of the mathematical shots back into his damaged brain.

 

It was a year later, after he got home, that he went out to play darts. His left side was still paralyzed; he was in a full sized leg brace and had a hemi-walker to keep him stable. His left arm would not work and he was unable to hold anything in his left hand. He had people pass his darts to him one at a time and somebody else retrieved them from the board. 

 

His arm gradually began to regain some strength, and he is now able to grip items like darts, knife, fork, etc. with little problem. He is unable to raise his arm very high as his shoulder is constantly sore, but he is able to work around this problem. His eyesight never improved, and never will. He has sight through one half of his right eye only. He is unable to read or write and has massive problems with anything remotely to do with mathematics. He has found methods and tricks to get around just about every problem he has. He has software in his laptop that reads and writes for him and his cell phone has photographs of all his contacts.

 

He made his return to serious competition with appearances in four tournaments Following the fourth tournament he collapsed at the airport when he returned home. He was ill because he pushed his body too hard. He was very disappointed and did not play darts for over a month.

 

Two months later he attended another tournament and he came home determined to have one more go at Darts aimed squarely at the top end; which is where he believes he belongs. 

 

He began to practice again with the Professional Darts Corporation’s tournament in Chicago his goal. He joined an on-line darts learning program and received some valuable insight into what correct practice is all about, and more importantly learned about the benefits of rest and recuperation. In short, he is listening to his body and being more professional in his approach to life in general and in his approach to darts in particular.

 

“Darts is my main focus in life. It is the spur that is driving me to improve physically and mentally after my stroke. I am determined to get back amongst the top echelons of players, both here in the USA and back home in England (I am British, moving to the USA in 1999).” 

Jim Chatterton

 

 

Glen R. Huff.

 

Glen was born with Cerebral Palsy, and he walks with the aid of two canes. 

 

He first got into darts while in College at Western Washington. They had a student recreational center with an assortment of pool and snooker tables, pinball machines, and 1 coiled paper dartboard on a corner wall of the room. He’d already tried his hand at the other recreations and decided to give darts a try since he was not good at pool, pinball, etc. He gave Darts a try and liked it right from the start.

 

After graduating from WWU he moved back home, discovered the local dart league, and got involved right away.  He’d never had a sport growing up and Darts and Darts league were the first activities he found that gave him an “in”, in that he could participate to the best of his ability, and be accepted by his peers. His own particular stance setup and throw is different from the optimal style due to his legs being less stable than a non-handicapped person.  He is short, at 5 ft tall, which has always made it harder for him to get the darts to the top of the board consistently.  

 

He has over 50 books on darts in his darts library. Although he has a long way to go to get his own physical consistency and performance where he would like it to be, he is seeing improvements in his game from using what he found in one of his books. That improvement has brought a lot more enjoyment to the game for him.

 

He says he’s been very fortunate in that he’s made many wonderful friendships thru the sport of Darts, not only in his local league, but with folks halfway around the world where the common love and appreciation of Darts was enough to get a

friendship started. Since 1987 he has traveled once a year to Las Vegas to watch the Las Vegas Desert Classic Dart tournament, and as a pub-league player it’s been a real thrill for him to see up close the professional dart players play. The chance to chat with them, and get photographs and autographs, has been quite an experience over the years. One

year at the Las Vegas Desert Classic, World Champions Phil Taylor, and Bob

Anderson gave him the darts they used, which was a real thrill for him. He is someone who collects dart sets, dartboards, books on the game, and tapes of darts matches. Getting such sets from the pros, and getting to meet them has been something which he’ll always treasure. 

 

“I’ll continue playing darts, whatever my level of ability, because it has given me so much over the years. One of the things that’s kept me participating in darts for 25 + years, is the fact that anyone can do it,  men can play women,  short players can play taller players, young  players can play older players, and language differences are not a barrier,  it’s truly a great sport for all. I have always wished to get as many folks playing the game as possible; my thought being if I can play it, then anyone can play it. 

Glen R. Huff.”

 

Eileen Willis

Eileen started playing darts in 1976, still plays the game and she is Captain of her dart team. She’s had two incidents of injury during that time; an automobile accident and a fall at work. The automobile accident caused her seven months of recovery from face, breast, wrist, arm and pelvis injury but she didn’t miss many of her dart team’s matches through whole seven months. She sat on a stool and took her turn while others fetched her darts for her.

 

The fall has been another thing altogether. The damage to her lower back put her in a brace and caused her to use a cane. She took physical therapy but not being able to walk or stand well eventually cost her job and put her on disability. Over time she recovered enough that she can walk without the cane but the injury has brought on arthritis in both hips and both knees. Prior to the accident Eileen played darts seven days a week but she cut back severely after.

 

Since everyone has off days for one reason or another her dart team mates see her as no different from everyone else. They care about her personally but see no other affect from her limitations. Each person shoots their darts as best as they can on each turn at the dart board.

 

Eileen doesn’t see her limitations having effect on her dart prowess. She believes she competes against the dart board not the competitor and all limitations leave her mind while she is shooting her darts but when it comes to walking the 7’9” to retrieve the darts they come back.

 

She recalls being at the top rank of players as her high peak and intends to return to that level. She calls it going from peak to peak.

 

“My darts go with me everywhere; weddings, funerals, baby showers, everywhere. And I don’t care how old or decrepit I get I’ll still be playing darts. Eileen Willis”

 

George Silberzahn

Author: “How To Master The Sport Of Darts”

www.howtodarts.com

 

 

The Ideal Dart League

The Ideal Dart league 

After creating one, running several, playing in a bunch and interviewing leaders of a dozen American dart leagues, I discovered that not one had a regular training, coaching or teaching program. Players are mostly left to their own devices to “get better” at the sport. The reasons were plain: none of the leaders thought darts was complicated, intricate, or sophisticated enough to have such a thing as training and people playing the game didn’t think they needed someone to show them how to “throw” a dart. In addition, league leaders don’t have the time to think this through.

 

I’ve also discovered there’s practically no conversation or exchange of ideas between leagues and organizations, many of which were struggling with issues that others had long since resolved.

Both of these conditions, lack of training/teaching programs and little or no conversation, come from the profoundly provincial mind set of most of the league leaders. There is practically no discussion or exchange of ideas between leagues, and absolutely none between darts businesses which call themselves leagues or associations or organizations. No one was talking to anyone. They mostly view others in the sport as what – competitors?

 

I offer below what I call the Ideal Dart League which includes things I’ve found to exist in successful leagues and of which others may not be aware. These are conditions already being enjoyed by some leagues and address some root causes of difficulties within leagues but are not intended to be a cure all .

 

1. The Ideal Dart League will have a Board of Directors which oversees the activity of the entire league.

     There will be rules/ bylaws which address league wide issues.

 

2. The Ideal Dart League will have divisions within the league when membership exceeds 150.

     Each division will have a Board of Administrators which oversees the activity of that specific division.

     There will be rules which address division specific issues.

 

Issues which are among those within the juristiction of the League BoD

 

Size of the league and divisions;

A. No more than 150 players in the entire league or be divided into semiautonomous divisions composed of no more than 150 players in each division, each with its own leadership in the form of a Board of Administrators.

 

League wide competition activity

B. A period when activity is largely suspended which lasts two months each calendar year and is most preferably during the summer months.

 

 

 

Elections of League Directors

A Board Of Directors will be elected by league members in good standing no sooner than every two years at the mid period of league activity. They assume office during the suspended activity period following their election.

 

The Board of Directors:

     1- decides general rules and enforcement procedures concerning revenue issues, player/ team/sponsor conduct, legal status.

     2- collects, disperses and accounts of league finances and ensures that officers who handle money are bonded and the league is in compliance with not for profit organization regulations.

     3- supplies minutes of meetings, which follow Robert’s rules of order, submitted to all league members through Division Administrators on a regular basis.

     4-  writes rules of conduct for all members with expulsion as one penalty for infraction of the rules for membership of individuals, teams and team venues which includes enforcement provisions.

     5- recruits venue owners and players.

     6- conducts a league wide party at which recognition & awards are presented but there is no darts competition and every member of every Division is offered the opportunity to attend with one guest.

     7- establishes league wide rules for day to day operation of the league which include the following:  a grievance procedure for Divisions to bring member complaints to the BOD for resolution when Division rules are not applicable.

      8- A growth program which includes:

     * a player development program to help maximize member’s enjoyment of the league, division and sport of darts;

     * a venue support program to ensure the business advantages of darts is appreciated by venue owners;

     * competitions which are specifically designed to encourage participation by the recreational members of the league in addition to the routine type which are geared to the more serious competitors.

     * a division designated “social club” which has no formal structure, schedule or rules, intended to provide a place(s) and time for individuals who are looking to enjoy darts outside regular league play.

     * a division for electronic machine competition which is handicapped, and preferably, steel tip type.

     9- A forum for membership concerns which include:

     * divisions established with geography as the first determinant and competition as the next.

    

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some issues within the juristiction of a Division BoA

 

Elections of Administrators

A Board of Administrators (BOA) will be elected by  that division’s members not sooner than every two calendar years to oversee division competition.

 

Scheduling of competition

A schedule for regular season competition will be created which includes open dates for make up of matches which were postponed. There are no forfeits.

 

The BoA will create and administer rules governing when, where, which games and competition format. They will create and administer a set of rules which pertain only to that division’s competition activities and which include:

     1- Scheduling of regular season competition;

     2- A provision for postponement of scheduled matches, but no  forfeits;

          a. captains are granted the authority to negotiate conditions for playing a match instead of postponement.  

          b. if agreement can not be reached the match is postponed. 

     3- Rules concerning minimum team size only – no maximum limit;

     4- A grievance procedure through which members may bring complaints for resolution;

          a. enforcement procedures, for only that division, concerning violations of rules governing conditions for match play.

     5- Rules which require every player to participate in a minimum number of games per match and none which inhibit or prevent team captains from deciding which team members may play in which game or with which team member.

     6- An objective method of ranking individual players by skill and accomplishment. These statistics shall be used to balance competition between teams/divisions and not be used for handicapping players or teams unless the whole division uses handicapping.

     7- Accomplishment awards for individuals, teams and sponsors;

          a- These awards are to be presented to individuals, teams and sponsors, with fanfare, at the annual party run by the league BOD.

          b- Accomplishment awards are not to be monetary.

          8-  Contracts stipulating the responsibility of being a league member, team captain or venue owner, signed by the league/division member, team captain or venue owner which includes, for a member, requirement to help with league activities such as tournaments and league parties.

          a. rules defining the penalty for breaking a contract, e.g.: cancellation of matches at the venue, match schedule being recinded for the team. 

 

 

 

 

Back Cover

darts-back-cover-sized3

What’s in “Darts: Beginning to End”

Contents

1.0-How it all began (the book)

2.0-What’s it all about?

3.0-Types of darts and dart boards

4.0-Selecting your equipment

5.0-Why should you practice? 

            5.1 How long will this take?

6.0-What should you practice and not practice?

7.0-How should you practice?

            7.1- Application of the basics

                        7.1.1-Grip

                        7.1.2-Stance

                        7.1.3-Aiming

                                    7.1.3.1-Spot shooting

                                    7.1.3.2-Parabola path

7.2- Physical practice part one

            7.2.1 Stroke – the long and short of it

            7.2.2 Group darts drill

            7.2.3 Power – the Finger-Wrist drill

            7.2.4 Accuracy drill

            7.2.5 Ten Ton drill – for only the best

7.3- Physical practice part two

            7.3.1 Games – SEWA skill measurement games

            7.3.2 Simu-ponent

7.4- Mental Practice

            7.4.1- Arithmetic

            7.4.2- Out Shots the easy way

            7.4.3- Cricket Strategy

7.5- Emotional Practice

8.0- DIY Flight School

            8.1- Analogy: Flight School to degrees in education

9.0-Being as good as can be

                       9.1- Little Things

                       9.2- When practice gets old

                       9.3- The scale of know

                       9.4- Dealing with the end of your career.

                       9.5 -Hustlers point of view

10.0-Soft Tip Specifics

11.0-Handling slumps

12.0-What’s a Yip?

13.0-Games

14.0- It’s 90% mental; the rest is in your head

15.0-The Ideal American Dart League

16.0- WYBMADIITY – Legends Speak

                       16.1 – Stacy Bromberg

                       16.2 – Dave Kelly

                       16.3 – Scott Kirchner

                       16.4 – Johnny Kuczynski

                       16.5 – John Part

                       16.6 – Marilyn Popp

                       16.7 – Chris White

                       16.8 – Darin Young Profile

17.0- Potential Legends Speak

                       17.1 – Joe Slivan

                       17.2 – Drew Tustin

                       17.3 – Mark Wuerstle

18.0 – Tournament Directors Speak

                       18.1 – Chris Bender

                       18.2 – Peter Citera

                       18.3 – Ron Marks

          19.0 – And finally …. George

Best Selling Dart Book 2004-2008 Out of print Dec.’08

how-to-cover1

by George Silberzahn

Darts is one of America’s most popular participation sports. Estimates of the number of Americans who regularly play darts range between 15 and 20 million. Yet until the publication of this book, there was no readily available source of expert instruction in the skills, attitude and study necessary to the mastery of this challenging sport.

The author, George Silberzahn, is an acclaimed master of both British and American style darts and has developed a step-by-step program that all levels of players will find of great benefit.

Included in the book are an informative introduction by Dan William Peek and interviews, insights and commentary from some of America’s legendary dart shooters: Joe Baltadonis, Conrad Daniels, Frank Ennis, Ray Fisher, Julie Nicoll-Jennings, Helen Scheerbaum, Bob Theide, Jerry Umberger and Danny Valletto.

“Finally, a book that not only teaches the mechanics of throwing darts, buy also how to improve your skills—and what a bonus having a section with perspectives from so many American legends, both men and women. Silberzahn’s book is a must read for any dart player!”

Jay Tomlinson – Publisher, Bull’s-Eye News

“What Silberzahn has done-and he’s pegged it smack in the triple twenty-is take his pen and create crystal clear images that will impart a lasting message to any level of darter. In chapter after chapter Silberzahn steps to the lectern and shares his knowledge in a manner the reader can almost touch and feel.”

Paul Seigel (Dartoid’s World) – Syndicated Darts Journalist

“There have been numerous darts books which pretend to be tutorial but George Silberzahn has gone beyond them all. For those who genuinely want to take darts seriously and learn what it really takes to be a champion then How to Master the Sport of Darts is a must have.”

Patrick Chaplin – British Darts Historian


A Whole Lot of Bits about Something
Dartoid’s World :: Column 153 :: January 1, 2004

You never quite know what to expect when you pick up a book about darts.
We’ll, actually you pretty much do. That’s the unfortunate thing. There is a boring, monotonous, similarity — a predictable, formulaic, uniformity — to many of the darts books in the marketplace. There’s a chapter about history. A bit about equipment. Another bit about how to hang a board. A bit about technique. A bit about practice. A bit about out shots. A bit about different games. A bit about the lingo of the sport. UGH!

Yep, it’s usually the same old, same old. A whole lot of bits about NOTHING.

Disconnected.
Unexciting.
Forgettable.

So as Delta flight 2002 edged its way out of the gate at Tampa International Airport I wasn’t expecting much as I leaned back in my seat and opened the cover of the newest addition to my collection of books about our sport.

Off I flew.

And so did time…

Five hours later, as what’s left of Mount St. Helens appeared outside my window and the 747 began its descent towards Seattle I was pleasantly surprised to find myself turning the final page of George Silberzahn’s newest offering: “How to Master the Sport of Darts.”
Silberzahn has produced a winner here. He’s figured out a fresh way to present old but important subjects in a very readable fashion. And then, for extra and extremely effective measure, he reinforces his main messages by yielding more than half of the space between the covers of his manuscript to first-person bits of wisdom from some of the legends of the sport of darts in America.

Silberzahn has a way with words. He paints pictures. And his pictures work. Here are just two examples:

“It was a clear steel-blue day. The firmaments of air and sea were hardly separable in the all-pervading azure; only, the pensive air was transparently pure and soft, with a woman’s look, and the robust and man-like sea heaved with long, strong, lingering swells, as Sampson’s chest in his sleep.”
Oops. Sorry. That was from Moby Dick. Talk about getting stuck with a really big dart…

Here’s Silberzahn on concentration and aiming: “There is a difference between focusing your concentration and trying to aim: focusing helps and aiming hurts. You can’t aim a dart anymore than you can aim a ball you throw. You can focus your concentration, thus the landing point of your dart. Picture a laser beam from your eyes to a spot within the bulls-eye. Got the picture? Okay, what you are going to do to “aim” the dart is to draw the dart back toward your eye along the laser beam, pause ever so briefly and thrust it forward along the laser beam, directly toward the spot at the other end, reaching into that spot.”

On spot shooting in particular: “Spot shooting requires locating a shadow, tuft, indentation or something of the like that catches your eye. Locating this spot requires concentration. If you shoot a dart at the whole board without looking at any specific part of it, your margin of error is the whole board. If you look at the whole frame, your margin of error is the whole frame and half of the adjoining ones. If you look at the whole triple, your margin of error is the whole triple and the area adjacent to the triple. If you look at only a very small spot, your margin of error is reduced to its lowest and your accuracy increases.”

Okay, Silberzahn’s no Melville. And I’m no Dave Barry.

But this is darts, damnit. Not the classics. Not Pulitzer humor. Silberzahn’s prose gets the job done damn well! Even if mine doesn’t. What Silberzahn has done — and he’s pegged it smack in the triple twenty — is take his pen and create crystal clear images that will impart a lasting message to any level of darter. In chapter after chapter Silberzahn steps to the lectern and shares his knowledge in a manner the reader can almost touch and feel.
(And make no mistake about it: Silberzahn has the knowledge. This is an expert darter who averaged more than fifty on an American board and, once he switched to a bristle board, at one time or another put the whoop-ass on everybody in the very next paragraph.)

Then, as if to say “Hey, if you still don’t get it, don’t take it from me — listen to these guys,” he hands a big, fat pad of paper and a brand new pen to nine of the most accomplished darters ever to step to the line in America: Joe Baltadonis, Conrad Daniels, Frank Ennis, Ray Fisher, Bob Theide, Jerry Umberger, Danny Valletto, Helen Scheerbaum and Julie Nicoll-Jennings.

Sadly, many of these names are unfamiliar to the mass of those involved in darts today. But not one of them is unknown to the likes of Eric Bristow, Cliff Lazarenko, Dennis Priestley, Phil Taylor, John Part and so many others. In their day every single one of these American darters has taken the best anybody in the world has had to offer — and come out on top. Some of them are still winning today.

Sure, there’s a book or two (or three) out there by John Lowe. Jocky Wilson’s got a story on the shelves. So does the late Leighton Rees. And Bristow. Even Phil Taylor is due to publish soon. But nowhere in darts literature can a reader find between the covers of just one book the array of advice — and vivid career reminiscings — the likes of which Silberzahn has assembled.

To the extent Silberzahn has a way with words so, it turns out, do each and every one of the legends he features. I count several of them as friends and was struck with how alive their writings were. I was mesmerized. As I turned the pages and shared their memories and emotions, war stories and regrets, and absorbed their advice, I felt as if we were sitting across from each other, sipping a beer and contemplating a game.
Lessons I’ve already learned made even more sense.

From Nicoll-Jennings, on the advantage of weighted darts: “If you throw a ball of paper into a trash can, if you don’t throw it hard enough it either won’t make it to the trash can or it will float from left to right, but if you throw a little pebble towards the trash can it will go exactly where you throw, it does not float, and that’s the difference between light and heavy darts.”

Daniels on technique: “I watched basketball players shooting fouls and thought about the comparison to my dart stroke. I wondered why a great basketball player would stand at the line and bounce the ball a few times before he shoots it? These are the guys that are the best, the ones who do that. The ones who just go up there and throw it aren’t. I started a rhythm to my stroke by pumping my hand, slowly so I was already in my rhythm by the time I started to draw the dart back, rather than hold the dart out there and watch my hand shake. I saw that the biggest mistake that most dart players made was not enough extension of the arm, not enough follow through. I made sure my arm and hand ended up pointing at the target. When you watch a great basketball player that is exactly the way they do.”

Fisher on losing: “Whenever I’d lose I thought of it as a learning experience, a way to improve my game. I would get mad but I didn’t let it get to me. Losing made me mad but I didn’t say anything to my opponent. I’d go sit and get over it. You know, it happened, so it happened, you can’t worry about things like that because it won’t do any good.”

And Umberger on perhaps the most important lesson of all: “One thing I tell people about darts, is don’t do what I did, do what I say: practice. I was never ready for a tournament and if I had it to do over again I would have been. I won, but if I’d practiced I could have won more.”

Yep, George Silberzahn’s “How to Master the Sport of Darts” is crammed to the gills with the usual — but every message is presented in a uniquely refreshing and memorable way.

The book’s a whole lot of bits about SOMETHING.

You’ll find it impossible to put down.

From the Field, Dartoid

What’s in “How To Master The Sport Of Darts”

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The Second Booklet – 1981

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What’s in the Second Booklet

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