Category Archives: Ramblings

What consistency

Still on target

 

Here’s what I hear you saying: you are trying to compensate for inconsistency with more practice. When you are off there are two choices as I see it: accept it’s going to be a bad night or get your stroke back in line.

 

 Instead of concentrating on where you want to put a dart you might be spending too much energy thinking about how you are delivering the dart. I think it’s a discipline thing since you may already be able to “feel” and “know” your stroke. I think you already have the dedication you need since you know you have good follow through and are conscious of keeping your elbow up but miss low and lunge!

 

I suspect your inconsistency can be fixed with the right practice routines. Over time the right routine will diminish the periods of when you are “off” by perfecting your stroke during practice so it’s as natural as breathing.

 

 In the beginning of yourself it took you nine months before you could breathe on your own, but of course you didn’t have your concentration interrupted very much during that time, so this beginning of your dart self may be similar.

Just throw the dart

Odiesnitch:

 

 The only thing I can think of that I might have started doing is bending my wrist back more than a couple of months ago. The wrist motion isn’t sloppy, but there is more movement than say back in September. Is there such a thing as too much wrist drive, from the standpoint of range of motion, not power? One other sign that I’ve been bending my wrist back more is that I’ll hit my chin with the flight, at full draw, a dozen times a night. Any ideas?

 

George to odiesnitch:

 

The problem you have may be thinking about how you are delivering the dart. If your concentration is distracted even a little bit the effect will be seen in where your dart lands. When you practice, and certainly when you compete, try focusing on your target only. Ignore your hand and arm. You may be at the point where you just let it happen. Exaggeration of any movement or position is, most of the time, contrary to your natural tendencies and, with bending your wrist, that may be what you are trying force. Sometimes the hardest part of things is shutting off your thinking and going with your instinct, which may by now include the elements of your dart delivery that your natural stroke wants.

 

It takes understanding

It takes understanding

 

Jan 2008 You know? Tae posted an excellent line, where he brought into focus something I’ve been seeing for a while. It has to do with “when the student is ready, the teacher will come” and “How To Master The Sport Of Darts” being a manual for how to go about learning our game more than being just a read.

 

I’ve been told so many times that someone has read and reread “How To” and just recently the reason for that struck me. All along I’ve believed “How To” is packed with great stuff but I’ve not seen the work as someone who is looking at it for the first time. I’ve just finished reading it. Haven’t done that for a long time. And bam, the light came on (or penny dropped as some say).  It required a certain mind set when I read it in order for me to see what I’ve taken for granted all along.

 

It’s like me while I was trying to make a come back at the game. There are bunches of things I used to just take for granted with my game but now have to work at making them come to life. It also explains why I’m asked about video once in a while too. Opens a whole nuther perspective to me. Thanks to everyone for all your great questions!!

 

Tae wrote: LOL…

 

I loved hearing that from you George. It’s totally my own experience. I read something one year and think I understand it. I go out and do it, practice it religiously until it is perfectly natural. Then I go back a bit later and read the same stuff and it means something different. Not something different in print or even in action but rather in feel. It’s as though one grows into an understanding of what is actually meant. Our understanding improves just a bit behind our ability. First we hit big numbers and then we chase those big numbers. Eventually our understanding of how we did it in the first place catches up to what we have been doing and then we hit some bigger numbers. The writing is all there but our understanding of the writing improves with our ability to throw our darts.

 

June 2009 With all that’s been included in it “DARTS Beginning to End” will provide many more Ah – Hah moments and opportunities to read through looking for the answer to the issue of the moment.

 

Get a Grip

On gripping the dart.

 

I try to discourage paying attention to things which may not be a difficulty for a particular person (if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it). Bringing a subject up might just be enough to get someone thinking about (distracted by) something they need not bother with.

 

My suggestion follows the basic premise of everything I try to do in FS: deal with what you must but don’t loose sight of the fact that darts is mainly instinctive. Thinking will kill your game if you are not careful.

 

The way Phil Taylor holds his dart is about a far from ideal as it can be, but look what he’s done with it!! Thirteen times world champion.

 

A person’s effort to improve their game may be commendable, for certain, but might they, at times, dwell on something that may not yield a good ROTI (return on time invested)? My perspective is that fine motor movement, such as what works the fingers, has to be innate in order for it to be used effectively. Concentration on gross motor movement, such as what works the arm, will allow the other fine motor movement “stuff” to develop on its own.

 

Hello Coach. Here are some pictures of two different grips. First picture is one way I hold the dart and that would be from start to wrist snap. Second two would be the start, and then I curl the fingers back and PUSH the fingers forward at the wrist snap. The second way seems to be the most accurate. Do you have any input as to which way may be better than the other, or, I guess I should say is one a Bad habit over the other? Thanks.

 

From: George Silberzahn

 

Try this. Pick up a pen and write something. Now, drop the pen and throw three darts at the dart board and think about how you are holding the dart as much as you thought about how you were holding the pen when you were writing. How ever you are gripping the dart when you did this is the way you should always hold the dart. There is no best way other than the way it just happens. When you begin your “Group Darts” and “Accuracy” routines your focus needs to be on getting the dart to go into the hole. What your hand, fingers, arm and wrist are doing are none of your business, Lol. The photos are interesting and none appear to offer a better chance at getting the dart to behave during it’s trip to the board.

Draw Pardner

Draw Pardner

 

I don’t make a very big deal out of this in the book or routines all I say is “everything good comes from the forward push of your stroke.” I leave this alone because it seems most people have a “draw”  as part of the “way they do it” and if they really study what they do they’ll see what you have seen. In my “draw, pause, launch and reach” suggestion the “pause” is there to do exactly what you’ve mentioned: the stroke starts at that point. All the different antics that go on prior to that pause add nothing to the accuracy and control over delivery of the dart. What with all the rhythms, meters, timings, etc. different people use I think it best to just leave the subject alone until someone discovers it themselves. So long as you know about it you can use it, then forget it, so it’s not a distraction. It’s a more heat than light kind of thing I figure. I’ve seen many a shooter without a draw at all but I’m not so sure trying to eliminate one will help either. If that is the “way you do it,” that is the way you do it. Thanks for the topic and chance to talk about this. As for me? I use that pause to focus on the hole I want the dart in and can dredge up a short burst of very high level concentration on each individual dart. The pause is where I start the thrust of my dart into the hole I see and it’s clean, simple and effective.

Distractions

To George

 

I was working on breathing tonight. Exhaling on the release. I seemed a lot more relaxed during practice and my scores were fairly good. This begs the question, just how important is breathing to your game. When do you do it? How do you do it? So how important is breathing to your game? 

           

From George

 

One upmanship, “banter” and other joking little “tricks” to distract the lesser aware players were part of the whole thing at the time I was playing serious darts. And one of the more obvious “tricks” that would sometimes be used was to ask, during the warm up before the match: “Do you breathe out when you shoot? Or hold your breath?” Or some other silly question. The wiser players laughed and said something about the questioner’s ancestry, or family. The unaware would either consider what was asked or wonder why such a thing would be brought up, but they allowed their focus to be distracted, big mistake!

To take from something in my past: keep your eye on the doughnut not the hole.

Darts a Sport

Dear “DARTS Beginning to End”…???……How can something that you do while drinking and smoking be called a sport? Bar activity or game, maybe, but not a sport. Answer me that!

Aboveitall

 

Appropriate question aboveitall. Why should darts be considered a sport? Short answer? I have not the foggiest idea. But then I don’t know why golf is a sport since a lot of practitioners of that “sport” drink and smoke. I also don’t understand sports “authorities” condemning the activity simply because of the venue in which it is contested. In fact I have no idea what the requisites are for an activity to qualify as a sport or even who does the defining. Synchronized swimming? Ice Skating? Pool shooting? Bowling? Fishing? Lots of “games” are already sports aren’t they?

 

My dictionary says: Sport n 1a: a source of diversion: RECREATION b: sexual play c(1): physical activity engaged in for pleasure (2): a particular activity (as hunting or an athletic game) so engaged in.

 

Well, here’s my take. If being a sport requires competition then darts most certainly qualifies. If being a sport requires a certain amount of dedication, practice, knowledge, physical dexterity, coordination and desire to achieve, then darts certainly qualifies. Every “sport” is a game to start with, then becomes a sport somehow. All “Games” that are sports have amateur type competition as part of their overall attraction and some even have handicaps built into the amateur part. Handicaps are great for helping a “game” to grow in quantity of participation but really bad for a “Sport” which is the quality measurement of a game. Let’s not confuse playing at darts with competing in darts. Handicapping a dart league could meet a criterion of being a game as opposed to being a sport, I suppose, since handicapping destroys the very essence of sporting competition where the best are tested on an equal field. The essence of competition though, trying to win against an opponent, is just as fierce with or without handicaps and can be argued to be more intense

 

I called a radio sports talk show and asked the question: “Why do the Olympic organizers refer to their event as the “Games of the (pick your number) Olympiad” and what are the requisites for games to be considered a sport?” The hosts responded that anything that involves competition can be called a sport. Poker can be described as a sport. They referred to the Olympic events of Synchronized swimming and Curling which are considered sports and from there on denigration of such types of competition became the center of their interest. The topic, and I, were cut off quickly when I mentioned the UK recognizing darts as a sport and they learned I was connected to our “sport.”

 

Here’s another point of view. According to Glenn Remick (ADA President). Fox TV and ESPN people define a sport by whether there are professionals playing the game. No “pros”- no sport! No sport – no TV time. It’s all about the image!! In order to be considered a professional a person must be certified as such by an organization which governs the conduct of its members, penalizes for infractions and collects statistics. This organization must be national in scope and anyone it deems a professional must have statistics to support the ranking the “pro” has within the organization. Earning a living at something does not qualify the “something” as anything but a vocation or avocation, nor does having that “something” as a vocation or avocation qualify a person for being a professional at it. Amateurs play “hobbies” or “leisure time” games where there is no path to professional standing. It hasn’t anything to do with how much money there is but it does require a “pro” to be at it full time. Full time may be defined by the organization governing the sport but should at least be three quarters of the year. Active competition for a full year is not required, some of that time may be promotion of the sport.

 

From Patrick Chaplin (darts historian of the UK)

 

In the UK there’s always been a problem defining what exactly a sport is. It seems to depend on who’s asking and what the motives are. As you probably know it’s taken at least ten years for darts to be accepted as a sport by the four UK Sports Councils. The SCs had argued darts down on the basis that there was ‘insufficient physical effort’ involved. So why was pistol shooting and archery accepted by those Councils and the IOC (International Olympic Committee)? I always thought it was a classist thing; working man’s game and all that – and I still believe that to be the case.

 

I suppose you can say my only interest in the question “What is sport?” is how it applies to darts, but during my own research I have had to take a wider view and have come across a number of definitions of ‘sport’. However, from a scholarly perspective the Encyclopedia of World Sports edited by David Levinson and Karen Christensen (Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, Inc., 1996) Volume I, pages xvii and 247-249 offer definitions of ‘play’, ‘games’ and ‘sport.’ It’s a good starting point if you want to pursue the point further.

 

Input from Dartoid: “My view is that until chalkers are required to go topless none of this really matters.” (I hope I have the quote correct)

 

Dan Patrick Peek, Author “To The Point: The Story of Darts in America

 

One author’s discussion of the definition of sport, pages 65-70.

 

I’ve taken the liberty of extracting some of this five page, in depth look at our subject. The full discourse is available within the pages of the book.

 

“What the dictionary definition does not note is perhaps the most important differentiation between game, or exercise, and sports. The difference is that sports have a culture in addition to the rules that games and exercises have. Games and exercises have rules and requirements of play only. Sports are games or exercises that have developed additional requirements having to do with things like a special language and style and methods of expressing emotion. A sport is created by the development of a culture specific to the contest of skill or strength from which it arises.”

 

“The tricky thing about the sport of darts is that it may be the ultimate example of what happens when civilization is brought to bear upon a blood sport. There is something of the ab origine about darts, something “from the beginning.”

 

“Sport, even those that break the bones of or sometimes kill participants, is nonetheless “civilized.” They are contained, they rely on some form of justice and they are played under rules established by a wider society than that of merely the participants – if nothing more global than the “house rules.”

 

“When we examine darts from a point of view of its being a “civilized” blood sport, the chivalrous protocols and strictly required courtesies that are characteristics of most kinds of darts games make a great deal of sense. Perhaps posing darts in this light may even help us to understand from whence comes the sense of compunction, of moral hesitation, which seems to dog the sport.”

 

To sum up: like a lot of things about our sport, once you start looking at it closely you find much underpinning. Darts is not, repeat not, only a kids game done for occupying one’s mind with distraction from life’s tedium. It turns into a serious and important outlet for our basic competitive urges, for which the need can not be overestimated. Everything a sport requires is present in our game, except the blessings of the sport media.

Cricket

Dear George, My favorite game is cricket and I love to whup up on the weenies that think they can play it. I win by more than my safety margin most of the time and my record is a lot more wins than losses. There’s a couple of pansies on my team that give me a hard time just because I get bad breaks when somebody pulls shots out of you know where and I can’t get enough points to cover their luck. How can I overcome luck??? That’s what I want to know. I loose a few games because some jerk gets lucky, so what? I don’t know what to do when it’s not my fault. It’s just how the game goes, right? So how do I get these team members off my back? Big Banger

 

Dear Big

 

Wow! It’s the lucky shot thing. This seems to do in many a player but you appear to have an especially difficult situation. Let’s separate your problem into parts to make it simple, I’m that kind of guy. 

 

First, about your bad luck. There is no luck connected with the way you play your game. The only kind of luck associated with winning darts is when you happen to catch a really good player a little off and you get more turns at the line than you would normally get. What the opponent does has nothing to do with how well you play. It’s either in or it’s out and you put it where ever it is. A missed shot has nothing to do with luck.

 

Next, let’s look at your not knowing what to do about a competitor’s luck. Not seeing the actual game(s) I have to make some judgment calls here. Being that you appear to be pre-occupied with scoring points it might be that you leave yourself open for a “lucky shot” to do you in through not closing frames against your opponent. Your concern with this situation after having the “lucky shot” made against you sounds as though you experience what I call distraction from your game. There is something you can do about that. Anything that diminishes concentrating on hitting your target is a distraction which must be controlled. Cricket offers an opportunity for distraction which is embraced by many, many players: score points or close frames, which to choose on this turn, with this dart?! So – unless you enjoy helping the other person win you must deal with this!! Stop being distracted, concentrate on and carry out your strategy!!!  Most of the time, when ‘score as many points as I can’ or ‘get three marks up on my opponent’ approaches succeed it is because the skill of the opponent is less than the person with the approach,

 

There, I’ve explained the principle of mastering Cricket. Now you know and I can go back to contemplating the sound of one hand clapping.

 

No – wait. Wait a minute. Now that I think about it I’ve left out a few details and there may be some people who don’t fully grasp the concept, so I guess I’ll do a bit of detail. Simple stuff though. Don’t want to put a strain on a brain that’s out of condition when it comes to thinking. Not that yours is.

 

It appears to me, Big, you don’t have a strategy, though you think you do. And you sound like a point monger- big disadvantage. Your game is in constant flux and decisions are made during a turn at the line. Not good! There’s lots of opportunity for distraction. So what’s the most simple and best strategy? Right, it’s the one that’s the most simple and best.

           

If you have any doubt about the wisdom of your choice of target you will be second guessing yourself as you shoot the dart, even if you don’t know it – huge distraction! See, here’s the thing: alternatives give opportunities for second guessing. A good planned strategy eliminates alternatives by committing to a specific shot being the right choice in advance. Confused? Don’t be.

 

Since there is such a difference in point of view among dart nuts I’ll touch just a bit here on what both sides can agree upon. I’ll leave how you get it done for when you read my book.

 

Given enough turns every opponent will make a great shot; the better the opponent, the greater the chance of a great shot; great shots should be expected from dart shooters (as opposed to dart players); minimizing the number of turns limits the chance of a great shot (“lucky” turn); one ill placed dart (dumb shot) may add another whole turn for the opponent; every wasted dart benefits the opponent.

 

Staying on the offense keeps you in charge of your game, reduces the effect of a “lucky” turn, and helps with the next turn and final outcome. If you place your marks well, you will have minimized an opponent’s advantage. You must be patient and wait for the opponent’s miss: stalk them.

 

Point mongers tend to panic if they can’t pad their lead. You must be patient against every opponent. You must believe in your strategy. You must reduce the impact of a “lucky” opening shot on the outcome of the whole game. You must wait for your opponent to miss then calmly pounce on it, attack it, bury it, annihilate it,(sorry about that, I got carried away).

 

You just don’t want to play dumb and help the monger. Think of it this way: in oh-1 if your opponent opens with a ton forty, or ton eighty your resolve solidifies and you attack in an attempt to take as big a bite as you can out of that opening shot, right? You don’t panic and run screaming into the night. You press for your own “lucky turn.” And most times your opponent will play a much weaker shot the second time at the line so you’ll be prepared to take control of the game when that happens.

 

There now, see how simple? OK, OK, there are a million scenarios that can be discussed and this strategy can’t possibly fit all of them. Oh? I think it does!!! You just have to stop letting the fear of missing or of what your opponent will shoot next dictate how you play this game. Like my dad used to say: “don’t bleed until you’re cut.”

 

You should never, ever, base a decision on what to shoot for on the expectation you might miss. Not ever. That’s weak knees play and is dead end. Just like playing chess: offense wins defense looses. Better to go down attacking than in a corner whimpering.

 

The need for padding a lead is brought on by a few things: a desire to humiliate the opponent, fear of missing a shot, or belief that scoring points is greater advantage than closing frames.

 

First: If you have a desire to humiliate people no one wants you in darts. You need professional help so go get it and get out of darts.

 

Second: If you fear missing a shot and are seeking a comfort zone of many points to alleviate that fear there is a way to handle that.

 

Third: Belief that scoring is greater advantage than closing frames. Scoring points puts your opponent on defense so they can’t close (takes darts out of their hands). More points doesn’t always equal more defense.

 

Of course some people just know they will not hit what they want so it gets to be like the saying: “if they are really out to get you, you are not being paranoid”.

 

If you can’t hit what you want, tactics will not help you.

 

Final word to dart shooters: Missing is one thing, but dumb is on purpose.

Competing with your self

My thinking goes like this: I can tell you what I think is the “best” form so you can find out how the “way you do it” compares to that form. I provide the manner in which to strive for the best form if you wish to go that route. The choice of changing your stroke or sticking with your current stroke is then yours to make. No matter which choice you make I provide the means for getting your stoke to be  “as good as can be.”

 

The only thing you really need to “know” is that you can put a dart into a hole. When you “know” that you can begin to “just shoot the dart” or “just play the game.”

 

Getting to know you can put a dart into a hole is not something which you truly get to “Know” in a short period of time. It will take years of practice (all three types as I describe) and patience. A person has to accept that every dart shot during a session like “Accuracy” adds another brick in their wall of ability but the wall they are building is a mile long and a mile high. A whole lot of bricks!

 

Comment from an FSer

I would have to say this is my current struggle and it does effect my instinct/feel of the game to an extent right now because when I throw a wayward dart, my follow through is the 1st thing I start thinking about and in a match that is not good. I also have to put myself in as many pressure situations as possible as that is when my short follow through is more prevalent. I guess you have to be willing to accept a dip in performance when you work on making a change to something you have been doing for years and have had relatively good success with. Now with that said I am still working on building a consistent follow through into muscle memory (been about 2 weeks), I am also correcting a habit I have probably had for over 7 years. I will tell you this , when I can get into a match (take my mind out of it) my follow through is getting more consistent and higher scores are now the reward. Now when my mind starts trying to correct my short stroke, it does take me out of the game for a bit and I shoot below my average. However I just remember the games where everything was clicking and use that positive momentum to deal with the lower scores and keep moving forward. I am also video taping my throw while I practice. I have noticed that the practice is working and my stroke is longer more often than short. These tapes are allowing me to believe in my mechanics more, thus building my confidence. Sorry if this was long winded, while George’s warning is true, the risk is well worth the reward IMO.

Chuckle Philosophy

Chuckle philosophy

 

“Experience is the name everyone gives to their mistakes.” Charis

 

“If you shoot for the stars and hit the moon, it’s OK. But you’ve got to shoot for something. A lot of people don’t even shoot.” -Confucius-

 

My wife said I need to do something about my darting addiction or she is going to leave…… I am really going to miss that woman.

 

“Of all the things I’ve lost, I miss my mind the most.” Kyjosa

 

You can never rise above the image you have of yourself in your own mind. Shootwell

 

I can. I will! Juggernaut

 

If you’re normal, I intend to be a freak for the rest of my life… Chunky

 

Too old to take advice – too young to give it. 313

 

The will to win is important, but the will to prepare is vital. Usual Chaos

 

“I live my life, 3 darts at a time” Art

 

Those who dance are often considered insane by those who cannot hear the music. Skydiverjj

 

Life is so much more dramatic when its complicated. Enjoy the Journey! Taechon

 

“Everyone makes mistakes. It’s the quality of your recovery that determines whether you live or die.” Odiesnitch

 

Practice makes permanent. Only perfect practice makes perfect. mouser9169