A conversation about old dogs and new tricks

Improving your game after years of playing.

 

From: George [mailto:challengegeo@comcast.net]
Sent: Saturday, September 11, 2010 5:35 AM
To: Gary Subject: Thanks for asking about FS
 

Thank you for your interest in Flight School. Please read the attached.

 

—– Original Message —–

From: Gary  

To: ‘George’

Sent: Saturday, September 11, 2010, 3:18 PM Subject: RE: Thanks for asking about FS

Hi George;

Thanks for your prompt reply. I have purchased, but not yet received, Darts: Beginning to End. Are the practice drills mentioned in your e-mail attachment set out in the book?

I have been playing for over 20 years in leagues and tournaments. I am interested in learning how to improve my competition performance, particularly in tournaments against top level players.

Thanks, Gary

 

From: George [mailto:challengegeo@comcast.net]
Sent:
Saturday, September 11, 2010 5:02 PM

To: Gary Subject: Re: Thanks for asking about FS

Hi Gary, yes there is a chapter “DIY Flight School” and the drills and techniques are all there also, along with a whole bunch of other stuff I hope you find of interest. I’m around too; if you have specific somethings you think I may be able to help with.

I’ll wait until you get to go through B2E (my nickname) to see if you come up with anything.

And thank you for your interest in B2E, George S.

 

—– Original Message —–

From: Gary  

To: ‘George’

Sent: Thursday, September 16, 2010 6:43 PM Subject: RE: Thanks for asking about FS

 

Hi George; 

I received B2E today and began with the accuracy drill. I believe this will be very helpful to me and I thank you for your book and advice. I started out with 6 numbers and finished in 15 minuets. Therefore I will begin adding numbers as you suggest, aiming toward your standard of 14 numbers in 40 minuets.

 

Prior to B2E I used other practice methods I still find useful. I particularly like going around the clock on doubles, double down (sometimes called half-it and a variety of other names) and “29” developed by Bob Anderson (according to John Lowe). In your opinion is it harmful for me to use these other methods along with accuracy or should I keep at accuracy until I progress to the 10 ton drill? 

Thanks, Gary

 

From: George [mailto:challengegeo@comcast.net]
Sent:
Friday, September 17, 2010 6:57 AM

To: Gary Subject: Re: Thanks for asking about FS

 

I wouldn’t say your practice methods are ‘harmful’ but instead, un-necessary. In Chapter six of B2E I talk about distractions and competing with your self, and have Flight Schoolers comments on these things. I think this is really important as you will see.

Chapters five and six are meant to head off mistakes I’ve seen so many make and improve a person’s prowess at the game.

The tendency of many, if not most dart players is to jump right in and start practicing. Diving into chapter seven stuff is what quite a few do. That can lead to missing the prowess growth knowledge and understanding stuff which is beyond the physical act of shooting a dart. The chapters other than seven are where all that ‘stuff’ is written.

Let me know what you discover and what else I may help with.

George S.

 

—– Original Message —–

From: Gary

To: ‘George’

Sent: Wednesday, September 22, 2010 2:00 PM

Subject: RE: Thanks for asking about FS

George,

I have now read ch. 1-9 of B2E and am practicing the grouping and accuracy drills. I find both helpful and am trying my best to adjust to the new practice routine. The most difficult challenges I am facing relate to competing with my self and focus/concentration. Sometimes during the accuracy drill I find my mind drifting to distractions involving the mechanics of my stance, grip and stoke instead of simply spot shooting and feeling my stroke.

Also I occasionally want to check my progress by playing 501 several times and checking my PPD average, playing SEWA practice games, etc.  When I do this it is difficult to resist trying to beat my personal best. I guess improvement in these areas will come with time.

Part of my challenge is associated with the fact I have been playing competitively for over 20 years and am already one of the better players in my 3 county area (e.g. I have represented my league in regional ADO 501 & Cricket events, won league titles and MVPs, local stuff like that).  I have been working on my grip, stance and stroke for many years in a continuing effort to improve. However, I know, from competing at tournaments against top level players and then watching those players advance to the later rounds of the tournament, that I am far from “good”. Accordingly I will keep at the drills suggested in B2E and see if I can make a break through to the next level.

Thanks again, Gary

 

From: George [mailto:challengegeo@comcast.net]
Sent:
Wednesday, September 22, 2010 2:02 PM

To: Gary Subject: Re: Thanks for asking about FS

Hi Gary, I know this is a new twist to the kind of practice most people are used to but in its simplicity lays its effectiveness.

A1 and A2 will smooth out your stroke and spot shooting will become a natural part of your focus of concentration as you continue to use them.

You may find that A4 is no longer necessary except as a warm up exercise before beginning A2. When you’re at A2 your darts will group as part of that practice regimen.

As you become used to not testing your self against your self and begin simply sticking a dart in a target you will gain an absolute knowledge that you will stick ‘this dart into that target’ or come bloody close, simply because you’ve done it so repetitively.

This phase of practice is quietly letting you know that shooting every dart the same is something you do and when you take this practice knowledge into competition (the third phase of practice) you will experience the results. 

I find no difficulty with playing a few games of 501 or SEWA practice games now and then since you understand what competing with your self is and how detrimental it is to your improvement. 

Also, recognizing how your stroke and dart delivery feels is not a bad thing, so long as you don’t dwell on it, since I believe that will be how you will ‘get it back’ when you go a bit off and that will get you through to the next round in competition.

Welcome to Flight School Gary, I know the next level is well within your reach. Please keep me in the loop; I’d like to be the first person to recognize there is a rising star on the PDC scene.

Your friend in darts, George S.

 

 

—– Original Message —–

From: Gary

To: ‘George’

Sent: Monday, September 27, 2010 1:29 PM

Subject: RE: Thanks for asking about FS

Hi George; 

I am continuing to follow the accuracy drill with success. I am doing 12 numbers (all doubles and triples as instructed) in about 35 to 40 minuets. I plan on continuing this practice routine, increasing to 14 or 15 numbers as I progress. 

In the foreseeable future I may move on to the ten ton drill. When I am ready do you recommend adding the ten ton drill to my accuracy routine, replacing accuracy with ten ton, or alternating these drills on different days? Considering the fact I do not have unlimited time to devote to practice, should I simply stick with accuracy for now and leave the ten ton drill alone? 

One of the constraints I face is the amount of time I can devote to practice. I read the section in B2E regarding sacrifice. I understand that the level of proficiency I achieve is directly related to the amount of practice I put in. I also recognize that there is a balance to be achieved between darts and the other things I want to do and have to do. With that in mind, I appreciate accuracy because I can predict the amount of time I will need to devote to practice and then allocate the time in my day. With the ten ton drill the amount of time needed to complete the drill is somewhat unpredictable (I tried the drill using only one number to get a feel for it).  

Thanks for your assistance, Gary

 

From: George [mailto:challengegeo@comcast.net]
Sent:
Monday, September 27, 2010 1:43 PM

To: Gary Subject: Re: Thanks for asking about FS

Great news, Gary, your progress with A2. I think A2 can forever be part of your practice since once you have your stroke perfected it will allow you to keep it sharp.

 A3, as you already found out, is a different animal. You can use this to raise your level of competence you have with your perfected stroke while you continue to keep it sharp with A2. You can still control the amount of time you spend at darts only now you’ll do it with how many numbers you set up. You’ll learn how long one number will take and will be able to work from there. A practice regimen that has the amount of A2 and A3 which you can finish within your available time should work out just fine.

Keep my in the loop please.

Your friend in darts, George S.

 

—– Original Message —–

From: Gary

To: ‘George’

Sent: Wednesday, October 06, 2010 8:31 PM

Subject: RE: Thanks for asking about FS

 

Hi George;

Thanks again for flight school. I am now consistently doing 14 numbers on A2 (all double, triples and bull) in 30 to 35 minuets. I am really starting to feel improvement in my ability to hit a desired double or triple on demand. In fact, I expect to hit the required target as needed. I have been seeing improvement during league play, especially on out shots. Soon I will start incorporating A3 at some level into my practice routine.

What is your opinion of a champion’s choice board (1/2 wide doubles and triples) as a practice tool? Gary

 

From: George [mailto:challengegeo@comcast.net]
Sent:
Thursday, October 07, 2010 5:40 AM

To: Gary
Subject: Re: Thanks for asking about FS

I am not a fan of spending money which doesn’t need to be spent and that is how I feel about “practice” dart boards. If you are using the ‘spot shooting’ technique your target is already as small as you can make it. I don’t see an advantage to a smaller double/triple bed since the hole is the same size. Some believe it helps them see a larger target when they switch from the “practice” board to regulation but I’m of the opinion you should practice the way you’ll play.

Thanks for the update. Congratulations on your progress. I’m particularly pleased that you are enjoying competition more as a result of your practice work. Some struggle a bit taking practice habits into competition (emotional practice).

George S.

 

—– Original Message —–

From: Gary

To: ‘George’

Sent: Monday, October 18, 2010 7:41 PM Subject: RE: Thanks for asking about FS

 

Hi George;

Well, I am still enjoying flight school and continue to progress with A2. I typically complete 15 numbers in 27 to 35 minuets.  I believe the most difficult challenge in achieving my goal is emotional practice. I live in a somewhat rural area and seldom get to play against good ADO tournament level competition.

In my prior communication to you I stated I have realized improvement during league play. However, although I am improving and winning, I notice that nerves during competition sometimes cause me not to play as well as I practice, particularly when my opponent is skilled and/or the stakes are high. It is more difficult for me to “put the dart in the hole” under such circumstances despite being able to do so in practice. Of course, I am aware this phenomenon is common. My opponents also have the same difficulty. And I have observed “wobbly knees syndrome” in some world class level players, especially when they play on stage against the likes of Phil Taylor, James Wade or Raymond Van Barneveld.

In your opinion, is consistent solitary practice the best way to improve at the emotional aspect of competition?

Thanks, Gary

 

From: George [mailto:challengegeo@comcast.net]
Sent:
Thursday, October 19, 2010 5:40 AM

To: Gary
Subject: Re: Thanks for asking about FS

Your control of your stroke is a very good thing, and I believe it comes from your work with A2. 

In response to your question “is consistent solitary practice the best way to improve at the emotional aspect of competition?”: You seem to have achieved the goal for A2: perfecting control of the flight path of your dart; so now A2 becomes a tool for maintaining your edge and you should be ready for A3.

The prerequisite for A3 is a perfected stroke and the goal of A3 is confidence in your ability to use your perfected stroke under pressure. I suggest you stay with A2 as you ease into A3. This is the best path to overcoming “wobbly knees syndrome” and being able to “put the dart in the hole” against the toughest competitors you can find.

As for shooting pressure darts, “I notice that nerves during competition sometimes cause me not to play as well as I practice, particularly when my opponent is skilled and/or the stakes are high.” What do you think causes you to miss: (1) is it because you are over excited? Or (2) is it because you are afraid of choking?

If it is due to (1): Being excited is why we play the game, isn’t it? Enjoy the tingling, the rush! I hope you never lose it! If it is (2): It would seem that you have a confidence problem. If that is the case, A3 along with A2, should let you work on fixing that. Take your practice attitude with you to the oche and shoot the shot just as you do every practice session. Your A2 and A3 practice will pull you through.

From “Beginning to End” of Flight School you are learning confidence in yourself in all aspects of the game. You gain confidence that you can score heavily and hit any out as well. Flight School will not take away from knowing you have a pressure shot to make but your work with it will give you the knowledge that you can hit that out, or triple, at any given time, taking away any fear you may have.

The more you play against better competition the more confidence you will gain in these pressure shots. Competition is practice for competition.

Your cheer leader and fan, George S.

 

 

Leave a Reply