Darts coach: be prepared
In 2013 I came across a quote that that changed the way I approached darts, among other things.
"Whether you think you can, or you think you can't, you're right." – Henry Ford
Even the most positive of people have doubts or concerns, your ability and speed determine the impact of the negative thought to eliminated, reduced or manage negativity to shape the impact.
If you catch a negative thought early, you can negate the impacts and regain a positive train of thought (not directly attached to outcome) getting back on track to achieve your goals.
Where you can't eliminate the issue, understanding management techniques such as intermittent distraction helps, or in extreme cases, by balancing your expectation Vs current state.
The last part seems heavy, but the reality is there will be times you can't escape life's circumstances that dominate every aspect of your day.
This is not to say don't try or be satisfied with poor darts, more appreciate the events of the day and the impact it will have on your state of mind and energy levels.
It's important to avoid overloading your emotional capacity.
If you are playing in substandard conditions, you're over stressed or unwell, it is unlikely you will play at your peak, take the time to relax a little.
Putting yourself under pressure to perform is where champions are made, as they rise up through adversity.
It is also the main reason people quit playing outright before their talents are realised.
At every point of a sporting heroes biography, they will point to a time where they couldn't perform to their expectation and wanted to quit. Through giving themselves a break and working smarter (not just harder), they achieved their goals in the end. It wasn't a smooth road.
Be mindful of your emotional capacity and give yourself a break if you need it. Not an excuse…..a break.
e.g. X scenario happened today which has impacted my potential to do Y, which may cause outcome Z. Because of the circumstance, you weren't be able to fully commit the bodies resources to the game.
If you stop here, it is an excuse.
Why did the issues impact you?
What could you have done while at darts to improve your position on the circumstance?
Could you manage the distraction in times you weren't playing?
Are you able to compartmentalise issues in future?
What can you do to make sure you eliminate, reduce or manage the issue (and similar issues) in future to make sure you rise above the current limitation?
This is a period of growth needed to progress, as the path to your goals won't be a smooth ride.
Your first plan may not work, however, perseverance is the key to overcoming obstacles. Keep searching for the solution.
The what-if scenarios and self-preservation process will always try and protect you mentally and physically and often you aren't consciously aware of the problem until it is well progressed.
It is often the reason a player will make excuses before matches, in order to reduce their mental burden if they don't reach their performance expectation.
During the match, you may succumb to the potential of "failure" of losing. Going back to our discussion on outcome vs process, if the focus isn't on your ability and what you're capable of, it will be difficult to find your confidence and bring yourself back in to the game.
During a game, there several factors to consider a lot of which require constant management and consideration.
This doesn't incorporate the technical and counting aspects of the game.
Compartmentalising issues is one of the best techniques for preparation. Prepare a series of responses to issues of the day to minimise or eliminate the distraction potential.
If something pops up, have a planned response to eliminate the distraction.
e.g. I have doctors in the morning……but that is tomorrow and not of concern now. Add a positive thought and refocus.
Fatigue requires a more in-depth preparation process, which has a lot to do with preparation, practice and diet. In this guide, we will only focus on practice, as we have discussed preparation previously and diet should be done in consultation with a nutritionist.
If your only exposure to "Experience" situations is a best of 3 match on a league night, you wont have sufficient practice for the tournament formats of your next goal.
e.g. Our events play Best of 11. I should practice playing all 11 legs, despite playing Best of 3 matches in league nights.
(All 11 legs, not an assumption of how many legs a Best of 11 would be)
If you want to play on the world stage, practice for the format you are playing. For example, the World Championship is Best of 5 legs, Best of 5 sets…but the final is Best of 5 legs, Best of 13 sets. This is your end game, not the first rounds, and your practice should be for potential, not expectation.
If you're playing in the worlds, you should be there to win the tournament.
Until next time