Category Archives: Ah – Hah Moments

Steve_g

steve_g  Fri Oct 19, 2007 8:55 am    George, since I started flight school, i have come on leaps and bounds, in the last few weeks i have increased all of my PB’s in the practice ranking games, and all because of the little word of advice you gave everyone some time ago, which in my own words read as, relax, remain calm and trust your mechanics. If I could do that, I found I was hitting my targets with more consistency and also what everyone wants, MORE ACCURACY!

 

I also like everyone else here at flight school am saying many thanks for your words of wisdom and encouragement.

 

Keep the good advice coming, am loving it all!!

 

Steve G.

P-man

P-man

Man I love Flight School.

 

Hi, My name is Greg and I am a dart-a-holic. I play in a social league team (4th highest league in our area) and I am a so-so player. Some good darts, but mostly bad darts…. I used to be one of those throwers who would just pound the board aimlessly for a long while, or would always try to better my PB’s and get HIGHLY upset and frustrated when I could not. I would practice for 2 hours at a time, and leave the practice board feeling terrible about my darts. I considered quitting on many an occasion. I would start off well, but by the end of the practice, i was angry, frustrated and could not hit the broadside of a barn with a banjo….

 

But then, this year, I decided to commit to FS. It took me a while to do so, I actually got the initial documents last year some time…

 

So far I have been following the grouping and accuracy drills and have done 3 sessions so far. the first one was a real eye opener, I had 6 targets (30 marks in total, 5 each in T20, T19, T18, T17, T20 and 2x Bull). Took me 40 odd minutes to complete, I thought it would take me well over an hour. it used to take me half an hour plus just to hit 1 mark in each T20 – T10 and 2x Bull in order. I still felt strong after another hour of focused practiced games (this had never happened to me in the past). 2nd session, T20 – T10 and 2x Bull, 3 marks each (36 total targets) took me 45 minutes to complete, this after an hour of playing a well ‘oiled’ bar patron who seriously got under my skin and irritated me. Yesterday was the 3rd session, D20 – D10 and 2x Bull. took me 37 minutes to complete. Now I was expecting a full hour or so as doubles are not my strong point. After these few sessions, I now have a plan to increase my targets over the next month or so, until I am hitting 60 total targets in less than 1 hr.

 

I have never felt more controlled and focused with my darts. The drills, the reading material, all of it are a huge help.

 

Now I know that I may not be setting any records with my performances, but to me, I am twice the player I was at the beginning of the year and can feel that there is a whole lot more to come.

 

I just want to say a huge THANK you to George for allowing me to use this remarkable tool.

 

Karl Hartman

No Problem as far as I am concerned. Go ahead and use the article. I felt that I learned a lot in Vegas and it has already shown up in my practice scores. I still have not hit over 500 in Bob’s 27 but it will come soon. I’ve topped a few other scores but do not want to post until I beat Bob’s 27.

 

I learned two important things in Vegas. 1. Nothing batters but the dart in my hand. 2. Throw at my own pace. Never allow someone to speed me up or slow me down.

 

I like the idea of having a bubble around myself. I threw some great games and lost to some very good players. I will do better next time.

 

Thanks for your help.

 

Karl

 

Not long ago, with the help of George Silberzahn, author of the book “How to Master the Sport of Darts.” I discovered a new way of practicing; well new to me anyway. I imagine many of the dart players out there are thinking, “Duh! What took this guy so long?” Ok, I can take a good ribbing now and again, no problem. Setting all that stuff aside, I have found the following information very useful and so I thought I would share.

 

For the past two years I have been hitting the oche fairly hard. I’ve been throwing darts 3 to 5 hours daily. Throughout this time, I have been playing two types of practice games, games against the board and statistic gathering games. Little did I know, but there was a third way to do it.

 

In games against the board, a player simply assigns a specific number of marks in cricket or points in 01 to the board for each round. This is a bit like playing an imaginary opponent who might score 4-marks per round in cricket or 85 points per round in the game of 501. The goal of the game, besides getting better at darts, is to beat your imaginary opponent (the board).

 

In statistic gathering games, the goals are a bit different. In these games the goal is to improve your statistical averages and when possible top your high score. An excellent statistic gathering game is “100 Darts at the 20.” In this game a player simply throws 100 darts at the number twenty (any target can be used) and then adds up the hits and misses. Triples count for three points and doubles count for two. Write down you finishing score and then try to beat it the next time you play.

 

Around the World is another good “Statistic Gathering Game.” Throw three darts at each of the numbers 1 through 20, counting triples as three and doubles as two, and then the bull. Add up the number of hits, get an average score, and then try to do better the next time you shoot.

 

It was my urge to “do better the next time I shot,” that drove me to SEWA Darts.com, a dart site created by Erik McVay and my online meeting with George Silberzahn. (I hate to just plug George here because there are a lot of great players over at SEWA and loads of excellent practice advice. Unicorn Darts is a sponsor of the site and I have received assistance with my game from people like John Part, Bob Anderson, Steve Brown, and more.) There is always someone at SEWA who can answer my questions or tell me to stop thinking so much and just throw more darts!

 

As it happened this time, George S. and I were discussing practice routines; actually, I was describing mine when George made the following suggestion. “Using the cricket numbers, 20 through 15, go around the board and hit a 7-mark in each number and then finish with a 4-mark on the bull. Once you start a game, you must stay at the oche until you finish it.”

 

Ok, that was easy enough. The first game took me about 45 minutes. These days I can finish the game in 10 to 12 minutes. There is improvement. But more than improvement, there is a new way of thinking about being at the oche. A new way of practicing! I enjoyed this way of practicing so much that it has bled into all my other practice games. I have dubbed it, “Performance Based Practice.”

 

Performance Based Practice (PBP) is the third way. It is about expecting a specific level of performance from your mind and body as you play. Once a goal is set and a dart player steps to the oche, he or she may not leave the oche until the goal is achieved. (Setting a realistic goal is quite obviously important or a player might starve to death at the oche.)

 

This is my understanding of George’s advice. Tell yourself that you will hit 7-marks in each of the cricket numbers and then do it. Do not leave the oche until you have accomplished the task and this way of thinking has absolutely changed the way I practice has now found its way into all of my practice games.

 

Here is how PBP works with games against the board. Let’s say I am playing 501 and I know I can throw a 15-dart game but I don’t do it that often. I decide I will throw a 15-dart game (or three 15 dart games if I’m feeling particularly brave) before I leave the oche. (Obviously one may choose his or her own objective.) Then I throw as I normally would. My imaginary opponent is still someone I want to beat he helps to keep me involved in the game, but I must keep playing until I hit that magic 15-darter. I would do the same with 100 at the 20, around the world and any other game I chose to play. Set a goal and do not stop playing until that goal is achieved. In cricket, I give the board 4-marks per round. I play until I have won three times. These days I am winning 1 or 2 out of five. Nevertheless, if I have not warmed up properly or I am a bit off my stride, I can spend hours at the oche knowing that I am capable of beating the board and not doing it until I dig down deep and force myself into throwing the darts I know I am capable of throwing.

 

Nothing is more frustrating than missing shots and wanting practice to end when you have made the commitment to remain at the oche until the desired behavior is achieved. Statistics and high scores are fun to talk about but it sure is easy to throw a lot of off games when the expectation of performance is missing from practice. If pain is gain, there is no better way of torturing yourself at the oche than by expecting a specific level of performance. Missing games by a single shot can cause waves of frustration mirroring that of missing an important shot in a game. Expecting performance that does not easily come can carry a darter to the point of physical and mental exhaustion. And when the goals are met! There is a flood of accomplishment and pride in Knowing a game was well thrown and that will go far to carry a darter into the next practice session.

 

I wish you luck and skill with your practice.

 

Karl M. Hartman (AKA: Taechon)

 

Joskibob

Joskibob Kandahar, Afghanistan Fri Nov 30, 2007 3:52 am   K soooo I’ve done 2 sessions today.. The first one was very frustrating. I was just trying to group darts and work on my drawback. Trying to get it in a straight line… then I sent an email to George and at the very end of it he put “Everything good comes from the forward motion of your stroke. Everything done before that has no effect and isn’t worth worrying over.”

 

After reading his email I did another half hour or so and was drawing it back the same every time. And all of a sudden things started clicking and somehow someway (I have no idea how) I’m actually making descent groups. Even hitting 2 triples in one series of 3 darts (is there a name for that?) Not to mention that once I relaxed and focused on the target and not my drawback I was doing it in a straight line fashion.

 

I think my mind was relaxed but, my body was stiff. I kept trying to shoot in unnatural positions. My elbow was to high and my shoulder was to stiff… which was causing it to jerk real hard at the end of the throw.

 

Any who that is awesome. Darts just got even more fun and relaxing for me. WOOOOO thanks dude!

 

 

Mon Dec 10, 2007 3:10 pm    Well I finally got my groupings tight like a proper shot group. I finally started doing the accuracy drill. I picked 4 numbers T20, D16,T15,T18. It took me very long to finish up 5 hits… 1 hour and 15 minutes. But I finished and I finished strong. Around 1hour and 10 min in my concentration and focus basically shattered. I realized I through 6 darts at the board and was hardly focusing on what I needed to throw at. Soon after I re-grouped acknowledged that I was not going to hit my last 20’s without focusing (not to mention it was Sunday and everyone was watching football in the common area right next to my room) I really dialed in on the 20. I mean like more focus than I have ever had on one single number. Drew back shot a dart at the trip 20 and HIT! WOW, IMAGINE THAT. Picked up another Dart and said “good shot just like that one more time” Drew back focus – focus – focus… shot and another trip 20!!! I’ve hit two darts in the triples before but not the 20. So I did the same thing and just – JUST slightly above the last 2 darts but was more than satisfied that I was able to regroup, re-focus and acknowledge the fact that my brain was tired.

 

George is very correct. That the real training is when your going for those ones that you’ve been chasing down the whole practice session. I didn’t realize until last night how important “focus” is. To me it’s become more important than anything else. It seems like everything else pretty much comes naturally already.

 

Thanks again George. Your practice sessions have already provided me with hours and hours of enjoyment.

Jon Robinson

From: “Jon Robinson” June 18, 2007 2:54 AM

Subject: Re: Yips

 

Dear George

 

Thank you so much for your help. I must apologize for not responding to you earlier but my wife gave birth to our first baby boy on Friday (3 weeks early) and I have been in a spin ever since. However, I did manage read your notes whilst I was sitting in the maternity ward with bubs waiting for my wife to come out of recovery after her cesarean. I have also done some practice on the finger/wrist exercise and have found it extremely useful.

 

Firstly, without sounding like I’m blowing your trumpet I was astounded by your incredible sense of understanding about the mechanics of darts and the problems that dart players experience. You have taken me from a position of thinking I was a hopeless case and that my problems are so many and varied I should give the game away to a place now where at least I don’t feel alone and there is some hope.

>>

>> I was also fascinated with your spin on practice. I have spoken to many old and wise dart players and they have said to me practice is good only if it is the right type of practice such as setting goals and practicing at hitting targets like the triples, doubles and pegging out. However, I have always said to them that I there is no point me engaging in that sought of practice unless I can hit the target. To make an analogy with golf there is no point in trying to learn how to fade and draw a golf shot unless you can hit the ball properly in the first place.

 

The real buzz for me however was to read and learn about the finger/wrist drive. You see I am a self taught dart player and in the early days I relied heavily on the information I gleaned from a little book written by John Lowe many years ago about the basics of darts. I never thought that the power in a throw was generated primarily from the action of the wrist and fingers. I always thought that it came from the thrust of the forearm. I am now wondering if my physical problems (i.e. tennis elbow and tendonitis) are the result of straining and trying to throw the dart firmly at the board caused by poor form.

 

I have been practicing the finger/wrist drive and if I concentrate really hard it works very well for me. Unfortunately, my flawed throwing action is ingrained and hard to shake and it will take a lot of dedication/commitment yet to overcome. I hope I’m up to the task. The re-focus on the basics has also helped my yips and given me a new lease of confidence – I hope it continues. Although there appears to know real definition of dartitis – for me it has come from a loss of form which has sapped all my confidence. Mentally, when I approach a game I am very negative and expect to lose. I have developed a stutter in my forward push to release the dart accompanied with a late release and loss of power. The finger/wrist drive approach has given me a more positive mind set because I know I have a lot of power in my wrists.

 

All I got to do is concentrate on that aspect of my throw and ignore the negative thought of not being able to get the dart to the board which has been the undoing of my game.

 

George, if you have any other literature which dissects the dart throw I would love to read it. Also, I would also appreciate any advice/information on how one builds confidence. Is all this information available in your book because, if so, I can’t wait till I get a copy of it? Can I become a member of your flight school?

 

Kind regards, Jon

John Evans

Good day George,

 

     I was kind of thinking that it is time for you to take some responsibility for what you have done. I made some changes to my practice routines including cutting down the number of targets in the accuracy drill and getting rid of all the clocks including the one in my head. Refocused on stroke and consistency and started working on what I call “No wasted darts”.

     At the last minute I heard about all the players bailing out of the Oregon Open and not wanting the Tournament Organizers to lose their collective shirts I cleared my schedule and loaded up the car for the three hour drive to Portland. I had three goals going down and although they may not seem too significant they were my goals and I own them:

 

Make it out of my flight in the Friday LOD

At least one top 16 finish

At least one top  8 finish

 

All of the events were Modified Round Robin to Top 32 knockout except Doubles Cricket which was straight knockout and I entered 5 events (LOD, Cricket and 501, singles and doubles)

 

Results:

 

LOD – top 16 with a local guy who read about it the paper and decided to show up. May have been the best darts of the weekend for me but I was so busy putting out fires on the board that I honestly don’t remember much except that he was a really nice guy and I felt really sorry for him because he felt so overwhelmed.

Doubles Cricket – top 8

501 Singles – top 16

 

Highlights:

 

Had a GREAT time and successfully moved between the social atmosphere and competition.

First tournament 9 count since returning to the game

First tournament 180 since returning to the game

Two 100+ outs in 01 singles plus a dart at the double from 141, 155 and 157 in the 01 events

All goals met and I got home safe with money in my pocket

 

Honestly it doesn’t get much better than that. Thank you so much for everything you do it really does make a difference in the real world. Be sure to tilt one for yourself on this one because it wouldn’t have happened without Flight School and your support.

 

Sincerely, John Evans

IDart4Wins

IDart4Wins  : Mon Mar 26, 2007 2:05 pm    Just wanted to add my first impressions of flight school here, while it’s still fresh on my mind.

 

I just started today and received the info and practice routines, and I am very impressed with everything that I’ve seen so far. I was already doing some things similar to some of the routines, but Mr. Silberzahn reinforced my belief in these and refined the way I was executing them, along with sharing a bit of knowledge that I had never thought about in my mechanics, ( this after years of playing and self analysis).

 

I believe though, that the most crucial part of this course, for me at least, will be the priceless knowledge passed along from Mr. Silberzahn’s years of playing and experience, and his insight into the mental side of our sport, and how to develop that “mental toughness” and “confidence” that is needed to succeed.

I have his book on order at my local book store, and I’m jumping with anticipation every time the phone rings lol.

 

I’ll start incorporating the practice regimes into my own practice sessions tomorrow and report the progress that is certain to come in a few days.

 

Thu Apr 05, 2007 12:02 pm    Progress Report,

 

I started the flight school practice regimes, that Mr. Silberzahn sent to me, just a few day ago, and already I have noticed several changes in my game.

 

I think I’m getting old now and set in my ways, because I didn’t really want to change the practice routines that I already had set up, but I did shorten them just a bit in order to add the new routines.

What I do is, I practice for about 1 hour at a time, several times a day,(this ranges from 4 to 6 or even 8 times each day).

 

Since receiving the new routines and material from Mr. Silberzahn, I now start each practice by first reading over his material on concentration and focus and what kind of “shooter” you want to be.

 

This helps me “set my mind and attitude” in the right frame to begin with. ( I could almost recite this material by heart now lol.)

I then take about 10 minutes to work with the wrist and finger exercises, not only trying to hit the board, but actually trying to get a good grouping here too.

 

Then as I work my way out to a full stroke in this exercise I just continue for another 10 minutes; focusing on feeling my throw and grouping my darts.

 

So I spend a total of about 40 to 80 minutes a day on the exercises and 10 to 20 minutes on the reading material.

 

The results?

 

I now feel far more comfortable with my throw than I have in many years. A tremendous improvement in general control and “adjusting” of shots after a miss.  More focused and intense practice sessions than ever before. And a deep welling desire to play someone for money!!!!! lol. just kidding…I think. And last but not least…………Yesterday I hit 3 Ton80’s in 1 one hour practice session, and then another in a tournament last night.

 

I know it may not seem like too big a deal to some of you guys, but it seemed almost monumental to me after all the months of practicing, with just one 180 every couple of days or so.

 

So I have to give Mr. Silberzahn’s “Flight School“, a 6 star rating on a scale from 1 to 5 stars.

 

 

Greg HowlingMonkey

HowlingMonkey  Tue Jun 17, 2008 12:20 pm  I just wanted to take a moment to say THANK YOU George!

 

I received the first set of practice routines Sunday Morning. I have basically started at ground zero as my form had taken on a wrong turn somewhere . I was not using my fingers/wrist to power the dart anymore, relying on using the draw back of the forearm to power the dart. I will not go into where/when I received that advise but suffice to say it had detrimental effects on my game.

 

So on to the progress….

 

I had the concept of the finger/wrist curl down fairly quickly, within 15 minutes it was like revisting an old friend I had not seen in a number of years. This was something I did initially the first couple of years when I started playing. All of sudden my darts had a WONDERFUL zip in them again. Alebit there was not much accuracy to speak of, I am happy to take any victory even the small ones we sometimes take for granted.

 

So I began working the grouping exercise, where ever the first dart landed I attempted to place the second and third dart as close to it as possible. My small victory in this exercise; I had to retrieve 22 flights from the floor to replace on one of the shafts, once I even had to retrieve two flights from the floor. Like I said I am happy to take small victories.

 

To Be Continued……

 

This is my first post of many to come.

Greg

 

Sun Nov 23, 2008 2:41 am    Post subject: Flight School Inspiration

Hi All

I wanted to take a few minutes to PRAISE Flight School and George. This program is a wonderful thing that George has given us and I am very thankful for his time and advise.

 

Now on to the reason for this post.

DISCLAIMER: This post is intended to hopefully inspire others to work with the program and is in no way intended as a “bragging” session. Well maybe just a little but not much .

 

Some background:

I shot league and tournaments for about 3 years in 1997-1999 then suddenly took a 7 year hiatus from the sport, yes I do consider it to be a sport.

When I began to shoot again in April of this year, my darts were “all over” the board. For instance, I would be shooting at the T20 and consistently hitting the 9 and 13, this was occurring for every number I was shooting at missing by 2 and 3 wedges. My form was absolute crap. No power, no zip, and quite obviously no accuracy.

 

I found Flight School about 3 or 4 months ago and promptly signed up and began following George’s drills and advise. When I started the accuracy drill the first night I choose 5 numbers, thought how hard could it be to hit 25 triples in an hour. Well an hour and forty-five minutes later I found out how hard it could be to hit 25 triples in an hour . However despite all the frustration I have continued to dedicate 2 hours per night to the Flight School drills.

 

The Present:

For the past week I have moved to 14 numbers in an average of one hour and 5 minutes for the accuracy drill. I am currently leading our league in MVP points, fourth in winning percentage, and ranked an “A” player, I started the current season ranked as “C” player btw.

 

One thing I did notice during the accuracy drill, I was clock watching and began to compete against the clock, this caused the frustration to begin to creep back into my practice routine. So now I remove my watch, cover all the clocks and turn the music off. I started to really get absorbed in the drill, no distractions and began to “listen” to my stroke, this was huge. I check the time before I start the accuracy drill and even look at it again until the drill is complete. This has made practice a lot more fun and interesting because it is always a pleasant surprise to see that you made or were very close to the allotted time.

 

Enough about that, lets all tilt one for George.

Wow that was longer than I intended.

Thanks

Greg

Effrim

Effrim

 

Thu Mar 22, 2007 11:13 pm    Post subject:  I have been using the drills he sent me for a couple of weeks. They seem to be helping, especially with my focus. I agree, they can be tough – at the end I really have to focus in to finish.

 

Also, I have not seen any ill effects in my competitive play. But, I get out and play competitively 3 to 4 times a weeks

 

Thu Mar 22, 2007 11:56 pm    Post subject: I wanted to thank everyone for their input. George is correct, there is a valuable wealth of knowledge here – and everything is appreciated.

 

To expand on what I said earlier – I typically shoot better in competition than in practice. But now both are improving thanks to improved focus, especially in my practice. Seems that I was not taking my practice as seriously as matches. But now, I realize the importance of not even wasting a dart in practice – which in turn will help my overall game. I don’t have the exact quote, but in his book George says something to the effect of: every dart you throw will either improve your game or harm your game, but will never keep it the same. (sorry if I am way off, but don’t have my “text book” with me). So I no longer waste my time or energy casually tossing at the board.

Draco

Drac0

 

Mon May 21, 2007 10:01 am    Post subject:  Well George, I really have to give you a big thank you for flight school.

 

Attended my first real, play for money tournament over the weekend and wasn’t really sure what to expect of myself. My league and practice games had improved, but was still well below the level I expected to meet.

 

Won my first match (501 best of 5) 3-1. The winning legs for me were 20, 21 and 19 darts. Most of the day went like this. I didn’t make it to the money games, but was very pleased to at least be able to be competitive on my board. Considering at the end of league last year I was averaging 32-33 darts a game this is a remarkable performance.

 

And I haven’t even moved from working on my mechanics yet. Just been working on getting the throw and follow through correct and groupings. Going to start working on accuracy a bit more now, and get the focus up as well.

 

Yet again, thanks George for the help with my game.

 

Cheers,

Mark