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!

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

DART ARTS: Vacillation, the Harbinger of Consistency

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

In world of the dart arts most players will vacillate between a consistent toss and the inconsistency that makes the darts fly off into side pies with low scores. It is the most frustrating aspect of the art of darts and the most critical obstacle one must traverse in order to gain a high degree of consistency in toss arrows. 

A good example is a description of the last two league contests I participated in where the first contest was my absolute best as to hitting the targets consistently except for one minor detail, all the high scores and closes in cricket there was always just one aspect that fell through the cracks. In the ’01’ games I could not hit my out and in the cricket game I faltered on scoring points so although the team threw the best darts ever we still lost. Second contest, we tossed the absolute worse darts ever but when it came down to the end short game we hit all our outs and scored and closed ahead of our brothers in dart arts to win the games, all of them that night.

Now, ain’t that a hoot, we toss bad darts and win then we toss some really good darts and end up losing. It comes down to consistency in tossing arrows with max proficient targeting that includes hitting outs, closing numbers and scoring high. 

Last night we got hit hard with both bad darts and huge losses, i.e., won two out of nine to lose the nights contest overall. Not that our opponents toss their arrows any better but the hit better than we did, bummer. 

I now appreciate it so much more to understand the true challenge in the dart arts, to achieve a solid target rich tossing of perfect darts - consistently, diligently and without all the baggage that comes with the conflict of self and others in a competitive environment. 

I would assess the discipline being 25% physical and 75%  mental, i.e., an adrenal stress-conditioned chemical mess that obfuscates our objectives in such contest. Our minds shift in an instant and our objective to expertise is to overcome the mental obstacles that rise up like a tsunami after an earthquake off shore. 

Some mental obstacles:
  • Positive Attitude:
  • Self-Motivation:
  • Creation of a System rather than setting goals:
  • Using positive self-talk:
  • Using Visual-Imagery:
  • Facing and conquering stressors and anxieties:
  • Emotional Maturity: Understanding frustrations that come with the discipline; acceptance of human fallibility; handling stress thus reducing adrenal effects; Positive relaxation; and FOCUS eliminating distractions and outside influences to remain in the game. 
  • Attitude, Motivation, Commitment, Objectives, Self-Talk, Visual Imagery, Effective tactics for stressors, emotional maturity, and concentration are all mental disciplines that make consistency and proficiency hallmarks and cornerstones of the dart arts.
So, what is the dart’ist to do? There are things you can derive from the above yourself but I would add in the following:
  • Have confidence in your skills: Confidence is the number one objective of your mental preparation. Confidence can be built in many ways, including from practice, preparation, game plans and the mindsets you maintain. To build confidence prior to competition visualize yourself performing successfully, and review all the reasons you have to be a confident athlete.
  • Prepare to cope with adversity: With experience, athletes learn how to cope with any adversity – with situations that could cause them to lose focus, confidence or composure. If you haven‘t experienced many adverse situations, you‘ll have to anticipate the challenges that might affect your mindset, and develop strategies to cope with each.
  • Fully enter the role of the dart’ist: On game day athletes need to set aside any life challenges or hassles, and fully focus on competition.  Use pregame routines to help you transition into the role of a performer such as, listening to music or getting a good stretch in.
  • Focus on execution: What you focus on prior to competition is critical to your mental game success. We teach our athletes where to direct their focus and how to improve their refocusing skills when competing. This helps them maintain focus on executing the present task successfully, rather than dwelling on mistakes or worrying about the outcome.
  • Finalize and commit to your game plan or strategy: In most team sports, athletes are given the game plan. However, athletes who participate in individual sports, such as running, golf, tennis and racing, must develop their own plans and strategies. It is important that you have a game plan and fully commit to prior to competition. Questioning or changing one’s game plan often causes athletes to play tentatively and indecisive.
In short, 
  • Always keep your attitude positive by visually imagining positive images of you playing well, at your very bets.
  • Use power words, positive words have a positive effect and will change the path of your darts.
  • Make your focus tight, narrow and in the present moment so distractions don’t shift your mind and body out of synch with your discipline.
  • Train, train and train some more, make your dart training and practice one that takes advantage of your every skill set.
  • Create objectives that float in nature so that you can learn to change and adjust while going with the flow. 
  • Scan you mind, scan your body and take stock of your attitude as to competitive spirit before, during and after a contest.
  • Detach yourself from the outcome, remain focused on playing the board. You, your darts and the board are the only challenge.
  • Breathe away distractions and use the breathing to relax and focus in on your target, toss and target rich board.
  • Enjoy yourself, have fun, relax and let your body, mind and spirit soar, to do what you have trained and practiced to do. 

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