Darts: a game where participants compete with one another by throwing small arrow like devices at a target that is round and has numbers and sections and an inner bull with an outer bull and so on. Darts now refer to the standard game with a specific bristle board design and a set of rules. Rules that are general to the game and rules that govern games like, “501,” “301,” and “Cricket.”

Darts is a traditional pub game that was and is commonly played in the United Kingdom as well as other places in Europe and across the pond here in the America’s.

Wikipedia tells hits history in a terse form, i.e., “The dartboard may have its origins in the cross-section of a tree. An old name for a dartboard is "butt"; the word comes from the French word but, meaning "target". In particular, the Yorkshire and Manchester Log End boards differ from the standard board in that they have no treble, only double and bullseye, the Manchester board being of a smaller diameter, with a playing area of only 25 cm across with double and bull areas measuring just 4 mm. The London Fives board is another variation. This has only 12 equal segments numbered 20, 5, 15, 10, 20, 5, 15, 10, 20, 5, 15, 10 with the doubles and triples being a quarter of an inch wide.”

There have been a variety of darts created over the years but the most common today is the tungsten dart. There are electronic darts but for this blog and for my efforts in tossing darts I remain a steel dart fan and enthusiast. I am recommending a book for novice darters but only because it appealed to me and my studies and rest assured most of the dart books out there are outstanding. In short, find one if this one does not fit your needs and get it. I can tell you when I started to play over twenty years ago, before I laid down my darts in 96, I tossed darts for several years without knowing some very important and critical mechanics, etc., of the dart game. As I take up once again my steel darts I have found a fountain of information to help make the game both enjoyable and competitive. Enjoy, diddle for the middle and let the darts fly!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Dart Art Fundamental Principles

Blog Article/Post Caveat (Read First Please: Click the Link)

Every discipline, especially those involving the physical, has fundamental principles that make for a mastery of that discipline and this is true of the dart arts. The Physiokinetic Fundamental Principles for the dart arts are, “Breathing, posture, centerline, spinal/body alignment, structure, relaxation, centeredness, body-mind, centrifugal forces, peripheral vision, tactile sensitivity, rooting, adrenal chemical cocktail, and the multiple methods of tossing/throwing darts, i.e., [shoulder, elbow, wrist, aiming, retraction process, acceleration, release and follow through; the darts and wobble.].”

Adhering and encoding these principles into a primal conditioned response will provide the darter a procedural memory sub-routine that will consistently work while tossing darts in practice, for training and in a competitive environment. 

Other fundamental principles that will contribute to your mastery of the dart arts will follow explanations of the physiokinetic principles involved with emphasis on those dart throwing principles or sub-principles (multiple physiokinetic methods of the toss of physiokinetics. 

Breathing: Stress is countered by several physical and psychological efforts but breathing is really the key. Breathing in a combat way works for combat as well as all other stress inducing conditions such as emotional, i.e., fear or anger, etc., and those tensions states of the body as a result of those stresses. Breathing deeply, slowly and rhythmically and from the diaphragm produce counter chemicals in the body and brain that at least reduce those adrenal chemicals and effects to a manageable level. It is best to breath in this fashion a few minutes before entering a competitive session or game. It is also a best practice to breathe like that as needed between each session at the oche line and if you feel undo tension and effects of adrenal stress-conditions you can take a moment to do a combat breathing moment to steady yourself and balance your mind and body just before the throws. 

Posture: Assuming the proper posture promotes the flow of your bodies energies such as blood flow and when coupled with breathing oxygenates the blood that feeds the muscles, tendons, and other body structures to maximize energy flow and feeding of the body. All things necessary for professionals to optimize their abilities, skills and resulting actions. You will couple your posture with your structure as explained in other aspects of dart art physiokinetics.

Centerline: This is a line that runs, metaphorically and symbolically, from the apex of your head/skull down through your body out the bottom of the spine toward the ground. Your structure and posture will ensure that the line is straight and balanced so that when you assume your stance at the oche line it is positioned properly for energy flow and efficiency so that when assumed you can lock that position steady for the throw(s) to come. All things in balance means efficient and proficient action and in the dart arts that means consistent throws of the dart to the intended targets of the board. 

Spinal/Body Alignment: Our bodies are built to work on the skeletal and muscular system and efficiency of movement, energy expenditures, flow, rhythm and cadence all rely on how efficient we are in the use of both in movement or a combination of movement and non-movement as played out in the dart arts. How our feet connect, see rooting, to the ground, how our legs are positioned for stability and support of the upper body, how our torso is set and positioned by the setting of the hip girdle, waist, upper body and shoulder girdle and finally into the arms, neck, head, etc. toward effective movement and energy transmission to throw the perfect dart consistently each time (a lofty goal in the dart arts). 

Structure: Refer to the above where our skeletal system supported and stabilized by our muscular system as fed by our circulatory system, etc., provides us not just the platform to launch our missiles, oh I mean darts, to the intended target. Other principles effect that process as well. Stabilization along with effective movement of the arm for the dart arts provides us the foundation that allows us to control and throw. We combine structure and posture and alignment, etc. and that all takes practice to master.

Relaxation, Positive Relaxation: No one body is ever completely relaxed or we would simply lie dormant on the ground in a bundle of bones, muscles and other chemical stuff. In order to combat stress tensions in our bodies and minds we need to keep our muscles, etc. as relaxed as humanly possible while maintaining our stance and other mobility functions to walk, run or throw darts. Positive relaxation is about keeping stress effects of the chemical dump from over tension our bodies and causing our minds to suffer from the chemical dumps effects as later described. 

Centeredness: This is not just about using and applying the physical from our body balance point, a point about two inches below our navel where the balance and stability of all human bodies resides, with slight variances dependent on gender of the human, so that we function in an every changing and moving environment of human existence including the practice and application of the dart arts. One of the mental and physical manifestations that help us achieve that immovable mind, a mind inured to common distractions of competition, etc., is to focus our minds on moving from our center and another way is to breathe the combat breathe with our minds focused on that center point of balance of the body that is how the mind remains balanced and immovable. 

Body-Mind: This is the connection, a darter as well as any other disciplined profession, that is based on how the mind leads the bodies actions and the bodies actions can and does lead the mind. It is a state of mind through practice, training and both training and real life practices that build the mind and the mind builds the body to react accordingly but at the same time the same process builds through its applications the body that influences the mind through feedback and experience supporting and supplementing the foundation that will support the profession, professional and dart arts (in this case and article).

Centrifugal Forces: This is better explained through the methods to be discussed later in this article but in short it is that force applied through the process of the throw that manifests in the ‘parabolic flying arc as the arm throws the dart to the board. 

Peripheral Vision: Critical aspect of tossing darts well, i.e., when we actually ‘throw a dart’ we will sight on the intended target with our direct vision and then apply peripheral vision to see our arm position, the dart aligned to the target, and to the process of the backward movement or cocking motion of the dart so we see it peripherally as it come in position adjacent to our facial cheek, etc. Again, more in the methods section to follow.  Peripheral vision is important because while remaining totally focused in the intended target that peripheral vision will maintain the entire process and phases of the dart throw from grasping the dart from the dart holding hand, to the aim point at the release point, to the cocking process and finally the the release and follow through. 

Tactile Sensitivity: Touch sense, some of us are dominant to the sense of touch. Most humans are sight sense dominant and that is good especially in regard to targeting through primary sight and then the use of peripheral vision. In the dart arts tactile sensitivity is about the feel of the dart throw, i.e., how it feels as we toss darts. I know that when my darts go astray I can tell that my movement, grip or lack of follow through or any combination is at the core of the bad throw because I can actually ‘feel it’ at the moment. You would think that feeling it would allow me to stop, get back on track and then complete the throw but another factor of mind-to-body/body-to-mind is involved. Our brains have this delay that is not apparent consciously, each sense takes a certain time-span to reach the cognitive parts of our brains, to extract past experiences to meet up with sense input, compare and the decide validity before actions are taken. This means if your tactile sense triggers a mind perception of a bad throw by the time you act on it, it is too late. But, it is great to tell you before throwing the second or third dart or before taking the oche line for the next three that you need to make some adjustments to correct and throw better darts. As you practice and train; as you practice in competitive environments you will create a greater tactile sensitivity and the best of all worlds is your body and mind will encode primal conditioned procedural memories well enough that your mind will remain mind-no-mind immovable mind state and the body will act in an autonomous way to throw good darts. 

Rooting: Read more in the methods section below, refer back to structure, stance, alignments, etc. and then consider how you currently walk up to the oche line, assume your position, ready your darts, aim, cock and fire the dart to the intended targeting. Rooting is connecting solidly with the ground to stabilize and lock your body so that your arm can perform a consistent and efficient throw to its intended target on the board. 

Adrenal Chemical Cocktail: When the body or mind is stressed our bodies release adrenaline and other chemicals that are meant, by nature, to throw us into a state of ‘flight or fight’ and that means setting the body and mind in a state that best meets our human survival instincts or what we depended on in those early years as hunters-n-gatherers on the Serengeti plains hunting and gathering and protecting our families and tribes - survival. Not much in that department has evolved since those early days on the plains and our bodies don’t discern the difference of then to modern times. All stresses tend to send us down that road and that is the obstacle and problem you must solve to put those very things into use for the dart arts. When fear and other emotional triggers hit a lot of our physical ability along with dexterity, vision, heart rate, etc., go way out of their normal functioning ranges and our jobs through such knowledge and understanding supported through training and practice and experiences are meant to bring our body-minds down into a range where our actions and functions are appropriate to attain our goals, goals in the dart arts is to throw the best darts possible and to achieve our dart arts goals what ever they may be to each individual darter. 

Multiple Methods of Throwing Darts: The Shoulder; The Elbow; The Wrist; Aiming; Cocking or the Backward Movement; Acceleration, Release, and Follow-through [in addition the darts and the wobble]. These sets of methods are necessary to achieve mastery in proficient throwing of darts especially under the pressures and stress-conditions of adrenaline, fear and facing unpredictable obstacles in a competitive environment of dart arts. These that follow are from, i.e., “Hat tip to <Dart Base Web Site: http://www.dartbase.com/technics.htm> as the inspiration for this methods to follow.”

The shoulder: This is the only point in the whole process that doesn't change its position. So you must not move (that's a DON'T, yes!) your body when throwing. The only throwing action comes from your arm.

The elbow: It stays in position when moving the dart backward, and on some point in the acceleration phase starts to go up, the elbow must be raised in the later phase of throwing.

The wrist: Wrist action is an often discussed subject. In the animation there is not much of it, so you see it is not absolutely necessary. But most pro players use wrist snap because of one reason: It helps in acceleration. If you do wrist snap the tip of our 'whip' (which is, actually, uhm, the dart) will go faster, and therefore you will be able to move the other parts of the lever system slower, thus put less force in your throw, and this will improve accuracy. But there is one danger in wrist snap: It's one more thing that must be controlled, and so one more source for errors. While most experts and pros use it, I wouldn't recommend it to beginners that don't have the natural gift to control it.

Aiming: Put your eyes, the dart and the target you want to hit in one line. Focus the target, not the dart. Use aiming points on the target if you like, or aim in a different way, but: Aim!

Backward move: Do this, but don't do it too fast. If you find it comfortable, you can and should move back as far as possible. You can avoid slamming into your eyes or nose by pulling back beside your cheek, that depends on your personal technique. 

Acceleration: Not that crucial as you might think. Do it naturally, and don't do it too fast or with too much force. Do it smoothly in one move and all the way to the follow-through. Remember the elbow coming up. IF you do wrist-snap, then your hand goes forward in this phase until full extension of the whole arm in follow-through.

Release: As wrote above, with the right throwing this comes naturally and is no big problem. If you have troubles with the release point, then most probably you do a technical error, don't raise your elbow or don't do follow-through. This is the critical point for your wrist-snap. The hand must be in the correct angle to the forearm here.

Follow-through: A very important thing. Best way to follow-through is to end up with your hand aiming at the chosen target. A typical error is to let your arm 'fall down' after the release. Just keep your arm in the straight and slight upward position for a moment, just like in the above animation, and you will get the feeling for follow-through quite fast.

The dart: The real object of our desire is last here. Remember to guide the dart along the parabolic curve. In geometric language, your dart must always be in line with the throwing parabola's tangent in the point of intersection of your hand and the parabola. Keep your attention on the following things: The dart points up in the aiming position. This angle is increased in the backward movement, and it then decreases steadily in the acceleration part. When the dart is released it is nearly horizontally, but still points up a bit. In every circumstances a dart that points down in any of the throwing phases is bad, bad, bad! You got it? That's another DON'T!

Wobble: Almost every beginner's dart wobbles considerably. Pro's and expert's darts hardly ever wobble. Wobbling can have the following reasons:

  • The dart is accelerated in a curve that's rather anything else than parabolic.
  • The dart's flight-shaft system doesn't meet the aerodynamic requirements. Use standard form flights and middle length shafts for a first trouble-shooting.
  • Somewhere in your throw there is a noticeable 'yip' of the arm.
  • Most probable: The dart points downwards somewhere in your throw.
  • Highly unlikely: The dart points too much upwards.

Note: Dart Base dot com is a great site with great dart art information way beyond this article. I highly recommend reading the sites materials to enhance and expand on what I write herein, enjoy the site!

Next, other fundamental principles to enhance your already considerable skills in the dart arts:

Principles of Theory: Control, Efficiency, Natural Action, Reflexive action.

Control: Control in the dart arts is about self, our control of our mind and body along with the resulting darts as they are thrown. Control is transferred into that dart to achieve a parabolic arc to the intended target of the board.

Efficiency: Attaining an efficient body and mind where the body performs according the the physics of the position, rooting and the throw; efficient control of the fingers; the hand; the wrist; the forearm; the elbow; the upper arm; the shoulder girdle. This is the primary force behind the efficient throws proficiency in a physics sense while our minds must achieve an efficient mind-set and mind-state that does not detract from the goals of the physical body. 

Natural Action: How the body functions in relation to how one controls the body to throw and control the physical and psychological - all a collective mutually beneficial connection of all fundamental principles to achieve a single goal - to hit the intended target with a dart.

Reflexive Action: Training the mind and body to where the process of the dart arts is encoded into procedural memory that is triggered as a primal conditioned response to standing on the oche line, facing the board and beating ourselves to hit and win. 

Principles of Technique: economical motion, active movement, positioning, angling, speed, timing, rhythm, balance. natural and unnatural motion.

Economical Motion: In the dart arts that, for me, is about maintaining structure, posture, balance and the mechanical process of actually throwing the darts where any unnecessary deviations from the absolute minimal effort and process is maintained for efficiency and proficiency and consistency for every dart thrown. 

Active Movement: Focus on the movement of the throwing arm while maintaining a static position elsewhere unless movement becomes necessary to make adjustments in zeroing in on an intended target. I liken this to the sighting in used in marksmanship of the rifle where the front sight is fixed, i.e., the view down the arm to the intended target on the board while maintaining the darts in hand at the start point, that point for me where the release happens and before the cocking action back to my cheek, and moving the back foot in clicks, so to speak, to adjust the landing point of a dart. 

Positioning: Where we place or lead and back feet to ground ourselves and any movement to adjust that posture and structure to adjust the darts landing point on the board. Once you gain a consistency the positioning will be mostly exact except for the need for minor adjustments. 

Angling: Using the front foot and leg as a balance point, moving the back foot/leg to adjust the angle or direction of the body, arm and darts so they move minutely at the strike point on the board to adjust that in zeroing in on your intended target. Since 501 is the main game played in a lot of tournaments once you achieve this goal your position and angle should remain static and true since the main target is the trip-20, at least until you get to 170 that is the first score where you can use just three darts to go out. 

Speed: It is less about speed and more about rhythm and a certain cadence that is applied to the throwing arm that should be consistently applied. Speed does allow for energy and power in the throw but often that is more about the wrist and fingers apply that enhancement necessary for the additional oomph necessary to send the dart along the appropriate parabolic arc to the target. The speed once found for each player should remain constant once the act of tossing the dart starts and should only change at the cheek when the forward motion is applied and coupled with wrist and finger assist to add or enhance energy and force to launch the dart effectively to the intended target. 

Timing: Cadence, taking the time to set the grip, set the body at the oche, bring focus on the intended target, bring up the arm into position and aim through the dart, begin the throw with proper speed and rhythm and finally to launch and release with follow through to hit the intended target. Each darter must find and maintain that timing, i.e., a rhythm along with cadence where, in my darts, I take milliseconds between each act to assure my eye and mind that I am applying my fundamental principles up to that point where the dart is in flight to the intended target. All to often darters tend to speed up their timing when hit with adrenal stress-conditions and hurry their throws, etc., often resulting in a bad throw with lower scores and a need to throw more darts and so on. 

Rhythm: Find a strong, not muscular but stable and correct structure, alignment, etc., regular repetitive pattern of movement and speed and cadence that will repeatedly and consistently hit the intended target each and every dart - a good, solid and lofty goal. 

Balance: Balance in rooting, balance in the body through structure and alignment along with other principles and maintaining a stable and solid position, etc. to allow the arm to accomplish its mission, to throw good darts. 

Natural and Unnatural Motion: To achieve a dart art where you can achieve the best model using the bodies natural motion, a motion most comfortable so that you are not straining and holding positions, etc., that are not natural to the human body except where absolutely necessary. Using the mind and bodies natural movement, i.e., hinge joints bend as designed, ball joints rotating and moving without undo strain on the skeletal and muscular system and position, structure and alignment that allows a freedom of movement of both the mechanical and the physical, i.e., blood, energy and other internal natural phenomena of human anatomy. It has been proven that the mind will encode and retain and use taught conditioned responses and actions if they closely mimic and follow natural motion of the body and limit unnatural motions unless necessary to attain goals like hitting the intended target. It must be understood any unnatural movement or motion is subject to naturally gravitating toward natural motions and movement thus resulting in changes that may not result in good darts. Unnatural means, no jerky motions; no hesitation; once committing to a throw follow through naturally and completely and without interruptions or changes or other movement outside the throw you developed. 

Principles of Philosophy: Mind [mind-set, mind-state, immovable mind, etc.], mushin, non-intention, yin-yang, oneness, zanshin, character, empty cup, inner peace.

Mind: Mind, our mental faculty and our ability to achieve an immovable mind is absolutely critical to any discipline, especially the dart arts. Our entire existence and world reside in the skull and through the activities and functions of our brains. In this sense I believe our world, actions and deeds are “Matrix” like. Even when we receive sensory stimuli our brains will first pull memories to compare and when the memories vary from the stimuli, the sensory input, the brain will choose your previous memories or a hybrid synthesized from both with dominance of memory in the brain holding dominance overall. This makes the process of analysis and synthesis critical to practice, training and applying the dart arts. The better you train and practice to encode conditional responses from procedural memories the better your darts over time. These things are what make for the need for a lot of practice, both in solo and in association with others, that will properly encode a synthesized process of throwing darts with the least of external and internal influences. As that process studying the fundamentals and principles of dart arts especially as taught by professional darters will go a long way to making that analysis and synthesis of dart arts abilities the best you can achieve - over time. In the end, whether you throw well and whether you defeat the board and as a side benefit beat all those other darters depends solely and exclusively on how you approach and perform training, practice and application of dart arts, no one else regardless of expertise or mastery can do it for you - it is all on you making the mind critical to the dart arts. The rest that follow expand and support this theory, hypothesis and belief. 

Mushin: All this is a matter of Mushin, the mind moves from one thing to another freely, like flowing water. You can adapt to any situation in any given moment because your mind is not affected, not attached and not reactive to anything. This mushin triggers the primal conditioned response of our procedural intuitive zombie mind of sub-routine and functions encoded by training, practice and experience not hindered or distracted by our conscious mind. When you can let the mind go free it will become mushin (no-mind) and you can hear, see, taste and feel what is necessary without delays or loss of rhythms and tempo. 

Non-Intention: Non-intention is about removing any circuitous intentions that may intrude to distract from throwing well. It is how I explained how our intent can effect how we throw and how stress is handles that effects our throw. To achieve non-intention is to achieve immovable mind. 

Yin-Yang: Complementary opposites that cycle and merge. In a short terse obvious example is good darts vs. the proverbial slump where darter’s tend to fall from time to time. Yang is good darts while yin is bad darts and one hopes that balance is achieve to steady the throw into a consistent accurate throw each and every time. 

Oneness: Ahhhh, said the ancient Sage; the elder who sits atop the mountain of enlightenment who tells the student that they must become ‘one’ with the dart, one with the board and once with the dart arts. Oneness in this case is the oneness that is achieved in the act of the perfect throw, i.e., where all the principles and processes meet at this one point, the point of release and follow through, that launches each dart to the intended target. It is a mind-body interconnectedness that is like ‘getting in the flow’ of athleticism. It truly covers more than athletic endeavors and transcends those into every facet of life but for the purpose of the dart arts, it is the perfect flow that results in the perfect throw. 

Zanshin: It is interesting considering the perception of zanshin that when the characters/ideograms are defined it means, follow-through (e.g, in archery) in all probability in regards to Japanese art of archery. the first character means, "remainder; leftover; balance," and the second means, "heart; mind; spirit," another way to see this is that "Zanshin is the state of mind where one is able to proceed from the end of one movement to the next movement freely. It literally means being absolutely attentive to the next move right after the previous move. In zanshin the mind focuses completely on the body's movements. To be distracted by another's moves in a competitive situation is to lose zanshin; to stop one's mind from flowing from move to move while practicing is to lose zanshin.”

Character: In dart arts it is attitude and how well you relate to other darters. It is a form of etiquette that speaks to humility, confidence and ability especially as it relates to the social conventions and conditions of the dart arts, it is the honorable competitive spirit of the dart arts tribal socially connected culture. 

Empty cup: A phase necessary to achieve mastery, i.e., to discard preconceived notions and preconditioned responses allows one to take on a novice mind-set so that all the others don’t obstruct progress. In my personal situation that means emptying my mind of past practices and concepts in the dart arts so that I may improve and achieve higher levels of proficiency and, hopefully, mastery over my darts and the dart board. It is one of those Asian martial arts concepts that promotes enlightenment, unobstructed progress and the ability to dump the mechanical and allow for a more creative application of a discipline like the dart arts. 

Inner peace: A State of mind that becomes empty, unflappable and immovable, a place where your mind goes that floats and allows for creative instinctual action such as throwing consistently accurate darts. It means you are not subject to outside influences regardless and that allows a relaxed stress free mind that causes the body to follow in the stress free relaxed fluid rhythmic way of the dart arts. 

Principle of Chemical Cocktail: attacked mind, breathe it away, visualize it away, degradation of technique/skills, peripheral vision loss, tunnel vision, depth perception, loss of find motor skills, distorted perceptions, freeze, irrelevant thought intrusion, behavioral looping. 

Attacked Mind: When external stresses effect how the mind works to its detriment. Adrenal stress-conditions release chemicals under stress and distort the mind often considered a psychological and chemical attack of the mind. Proper training, practice and application with a good doze of experience goes a long way to control and avoid an attacked mind. 

Breathe It Away: Deep diaphragmatic slow combat breathing along with certain relaxation processes, i.e., consciously relaxing the facial muscles, the neck muscles and the shoulders triggers chemicals that will counter those of the adrenal dump. In the heat of competitive action such breathing will help the player become calmer and help keep their mind-state calm, collected and able. 

Visualization: In all things, all disciplines, where one has a goal of mastery the art of visualization becomes an intricate cog in the wheels of the discipline. There are not disciplines, especially in sport oriented ones, that visualization is not a a part of the practice and application. When you couple actual physical with visualization you get a type of cognitive encoding that can only be trumped by actual experience. In the dart arts that experience is in competition against the unknown of others playing against you. 

Degradation of Skills: This comes from two sources, first is the degradation of skills as a result of the adrenal stress-conditions of reality based emotionally driven chemical influences triggered by the brain from external stimuli like competition. Second, is the degradation of skills as a result of the practice and training undertaken. If you train, practice and experience darts as a hobbyist your going to find your expertise and mastery also subject to the sporadic practice. To achieve a state of constant and improving skills you have to devote the time and energy. The hours and days of consistent practice and training determine the degree and level of expertise and proficiency in the dart arts. Anything else means a degradation and stagnation of dart art skills. 

Peripheral Vision Degradation: When experiencing the adrenal stress-conditioned ramifications due to the chemical dump often our vision is effected and it often creates tunnel vision ergo making peripheral vision out of reach during a match, a game. There are practices one can use to counter the effects of the chemical dump that will lesson or completely bypass the effects on peripheral vision so necessary to toss good darts. 

Tunnel Vision: See peripheral vision degradation above. 

Depth Perception: When the chemical dump hits sometimes our depth perception goes awry, i.e., we see things closer or further away than in reality. If your depth perception is affected there is a good chance your perception of how far away, visually, the intended target could also affect the throw. 

Loss of Fine Motor Skills: When under the chemical dump effects all too often fine motor skills degrade to where you can perform just gross motor skills. If you toss darts then you need your fingers, hand and wrist to perform well and that movement is considered fine motor skills. Some darters find that they are unable to follow through, are unable to bend the wrist or flex the fingers that pull back and fly forward along the arc of the throw up to the release and follow through - all disruptive to the accuracy of the throw. 

Distorted Perceptions: Any time the mind is subjected to distortions of reality then the darts and what we perceive in that moment are affected. Say you toss the first dart and you perceive it hitting the intended target then on the second dart you throw again only to find at the end of your turn none of your darts hit where you were aiming. 

Freeze (dartitis): I call this freeze dartitis because this involves a condition where your arm, throwing arm, starts to fail to perform as trained. In many situations of fear or anger, etc., humans instinctually enter the flight-or-fight state of mind and body and in the dart arts you consistently fail to follow through or some other physical manifestation referred to as dartitis or what I would call, the freeze - an inability, out of your control, to perform the throw as practiced, etc.

Irrelevant Thought Intrusion: Stress can weaken the fortitude of the mind-set and mind-state leading to the monkey brain, that emotionally driven immature ego driven part of our minds, taking over driving the bus so that you end up running over things, leaving your lane of traffic and just making trouble for your darts and the throws you try to make. Thoughts of losing your darts, of losing the game and of how people will think you an idiot for missing the entire board when you throw tend to enter your mind becoming a major distraction. At these times that bad or cold coffee you had earlier in the day simply take hold and won’t let you focus. 

Behavior Looping: When you know you have thrown a bad dart; when you know why you threw that bad dart; when you know what you have to do to correct that on the next dart you throw and then you just keep throwing the same bad dart over and over and over again in this behavior infinite loop that you just can’t break for some unknown reason. 

Some other considerations a person might also consider and train to cøntrol are as follows: A key point to a good performance is awareness. This awareness has to be understood broadly, it means involvement, focus and being by sense, sensory ability to feel one's own throw, and so on.

Playing the board vs. an opponent - it would seem to be competitive an impossible task and yet it is one of those abilities that many strive for just so they can win - against an opponent. So, how do you do this, well it is a matter of a mind-set that disgards an opponent while maintaining an awareness of his or her presence and to bring in those necessary experiences that are used to train and control the mind and the bodies reactions and actions when encountering the adrenal stress-conditions that a tournament and an opponent trigger by their mere presence let along scoring and dart mastery. 

It is creating through experience in exposure in stress filled competitive environments where your awareness becomes more of a unconscious, conditioned primal, action that ignores the opponent while accepting and embracing those triggered mental and physical manifestations that often destroy our game. It is like walking down the street and using both experience and gained knowledge of your environment so your mind detects things in a unconscious way triggering those reactive primal conditioned responses gained in training, practice and experiences so that you act and get inside the loop of orient, decide and action without the interruptions of the logical slower mind along with those emotions like fear or anger that also effect how you act in that same loop. 

When we allow distractions outside ourselves especially if you have not trained to lessen the distractions effects on mind and body you distract from proper application of the processes that make for masterful dart art tosses/throws, etc. I like to start training and practices with a mind-set and goal of throwing a perfect 01/cricket game therefore actually forcing my actions to compete with myself while creating an immovable mind that does not become disrupted by an opponents actions, words or darts. Too many times has it been experienced when an opponent tosses masterful set of three to blow away a persons mind so their efforts affected by the chemical dump from such things causes their darts to fly willy nilly and into the low score areas. 

Yes, you cannot truly and totally block out external sensory stimuli but you can control whether that distracts the mind from its primary goals in the game and make its detection merely a passing thought that you recognize, accept and then immediately discard without allowing emotional interferences so you can remain steadfast on your dart art processes of fundamental principles and so on. Your awareness remains steadfast with a critical awareness of those moments when the last darts are in play by you or your opponent therefore allowing, under your control, you to adjust to accelerate your darts to the win without being consumed by a need to win. 

Exposing ourselves to a competitive environment is a training tool that enhances your abilities and exposes you to a greater spectrum of obstacles that cannot be experienced in solo or socially connected known friendly playing environments. To truly achieve mastery you must expose yourself to the unknown and unpredictable just like in learning and applying self-fense of violent predatory attacks. 

It can be said that such goals of mind-set and mind-state cannot truly be achieved and in response it must be expressed that although it might seem to be the goal reality tells us the goal is not actually that end result but the path to that end, to achieve a state of mind that will allow us to reach not for the moon but out past toward the stars. In the process we achieve a Zen like state of mind that doesn’t truly remove the opponent or adversary completely and utterly from our minds but actually allows our mind to remain in a state of balance where effects of the adrenal chemical dump are limited to a level where experienced trained primal conditioned responses are implemented adequately to achieve your goals. The actions, reactions and effects are there but only to the extent of natural human responses from stress-conditions while maintaining an ability to act, mostly. 

If you accept blindly that something is unachievable then you limit your ability by limiting your mind and we should know and believe that when it comes to our mind there are no limits. I mean, if we allow limitations of our self and minds then how could we have created and achieved the agricultural, the industrial revolution, and the technological revolution that allow us to live, work and believe beyond what the mind sees, hears and feels?

“In order for any life to matter, we all have to matter.” - Marcus Luttrell, Navy Seal (ret)

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