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.

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