A conversation with David Haines

From: David Haines

To: ‘George Silberzahn’

Sent: Tuesday, June 12, 2007 11:43 AM


“Sorry, a couple of minor notes that will (possibly) be helpful in fixing me. J


When I’m on I feel that I have good follow through, when I’m off, I don’t.

When I’m off I miss low and lunge.

When I’m on, I am conscious of keeping my elbow up through the throw.”


From: George Silberzahn  
Sent: Tuesday, June 12, 2007 2:32 PM

On the 8th I sent you a message with attachments. I’m re-sending that Part 1 now, with the attachments.


From: George Silberzahn
Sent: Tuesday, June 12, 2007 7:28 PM
When you read Session 1 you will get my general belief as far as multiple sets of darts is concerned, and I’ll take a shot at what you’ve told me below.


Here’s what I hear you saying in your message of June 12, 11:43 AM and your response to Part 1: you are trying to compensate for inconsistency. 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.  You may already be able to “feel” your stroke; and “know” your stroke. If so, you should be able to get it in line. I think you already have the dedication since you know you: have good follow through, miss low and lunge, am conscious of keeping my elbow up!”


I think it’s a discipline thing. 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. 

I suspect your inconsistency can be fixed with the right practice routines, which I believe is “Group Darts” and “Accuracy.” Once you get into the “Accuracy” routine you will find that in order to complete a session you will have to correct what ever flaw you’re struggling with or you will be in front of the dart board when the funeral director comes for you. Over time this will diminish the periods when you are “off” by perfecting your stroke so it’s as natural as breathing.

It only took you nine months to learn how to breath in the beginning of you, but of course you didn’t have your concentration interrupted very much during that time.

“After 4 years of shooting with ‘magic’ darts, (literally bought them off a guy I was playing because from the first time I threw them I was noticeably better than I had been before) I decided, somehow, that I needed an equipment change. 5 sets later, I’m changing all over the place.

Two weeks ago I had Jeff Pickup make me a set that are the same basic shape (pencil) and weight (roughly 23.5) as my old darts, but DEAD smooth and with a small notch where my finger and thumb go toward the back of the dart.  These may end up just being my practice darts – here’s what I like about them – If I do not cock my wrist on the throw, I cannot hit the board with them. As long as my form is on, they are on the money – no compromises”.

It’s like I said above: another nine months may be called for. But pick the dart that you’re taking with you and stick with it. That thought: “I wonder if I’d be playing better if I had that other set of darts” will kill you! Get rid of it, it’s a distraction of the biggest kind.

“Conversely, I can throw my 25 g John Parts and always be close, but never feel like I’m having the highs and lows I get with these.

I leave myself in your hands, sorry for going on.”

As I wrote in Session 1, and everywhere else, a dart combination is just an object and it does not change. Once you have a combination which allows the dart to stick straight out of the dart board you are done experimenting with darts and combinations except in very rare situations like life changing events, this includes the march of time, or you just want new darts. Baring those exceptions it is time to either accept your inconsistency, or do something about it. So the things you are describing may not be dart related, they may be David related. When you pick up a new set of darts you center your focus on all the right things as you “test drive” the darts, but as you get used to them you revert to your old self, with an inconsistent stroke.

I hope I’m not being too harsh. Your friend in darts, George S


From: David Haines

To: ‘George Silberzahn’

Sent: Tuesday, June 12, 2007 4:59 PM

Thanks George,

No, you’re not being too harsh, I can handle it.

Let me know what I have to do next…



From: David Haines

To: ‘George Silberzahn’

Sent: Wednesday, June 13, 2007 9:23 AM


Thanks George,

Yes, I’ve read through those sections and they are both helpful and reinforcing.  



From: George Silberzahn

Sent: June-13-07 8:42 PM
Hey, it’s me again. This time with some drills.


From: David Haines

To: ‘George Silberzahn’

Sent: 2009

George, Hi.

It’s me, David Haines again.  I attached our previous conversation, from like 2 years ago, for reference.


The purpose of this note is just to thank you for all your help. I’ve implemented many of your recommendations regarding release and stroke, got off my issues (for the most part) with equipment experimentation and knuckled down with a slightly modified version of the Accuracy drill at the centre of my dart training.


While I hadn’t had as much time as I would have liked to practice over the past year, I did continue to work on things, with a special focus on “spot shooting” and accuracy, as well as a determined effort of self-analysis when it comes to winning, losing, and handling pressure.


While my progress was gradual for much of this time, with the usual fits and starts that can be expected, I did achieve a very real breakthrough a couple of months ago, and this has been massively evident in my play, my confidence, my ability to perform under pressure, and my league and tournament results.


I’ve gone from being a good A player to being somewhat more than that. Certainly not a Provincial threat at this point, but good enough to knock off seriously talented players in short format games.  In long format matches, players who would consistently win 70 percent or more against me are often left packing their darts and wondering what the heck happened.


In tournament play, I am finding myself reasonably relaxed, as opposed to a bundle of nerves. This is because I KNOW I can hit that target if I just focus on it.  When I get my mechanics out of my head, look at the target and just let fly, the results are there, more or less.


At this point I’ve been invited into super level leagues and higher level local tournaments. This is a real achievement for me and is opening the door for further improvement. I would not have been a candidate for this a few years ago.  The challenge now will be upping my practice level, and my game, without getting stale or discouraged.


I don’t say these things to brag, George, just to say “thanks.”


Hey, I know I was the one who did the work, but you provided me with some excellent direction, and I appreciate it.

Thanks again, David


From: David Haines 
To: ‘George Silberzahn’

July-09-2010 9:14 AM

For an update,

My game is continuing to progress. I continue to use the accuracy drill(A2) and the 10 ton drill(A3), and it has helped my concentration and game ability. My results in practice and in competitive situations continue to improve as I’ve moved past being self conscious and overly analytical at the line into really believing that I’m going to hit the target, then going ahead and hitting it.


Now that I don’t compete with myself, my ppd’s and winning percentages continue to improve because my practice is pretty much ALWAYS productive.  My concentration on doubles in the accuracy drill is paying massive dividends in match play, and I look forward to seeing how far FS and my own work can take me.

Thanks again, David

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