Grow your darts IQ: establish two good habits

Written by
Raymond Smith

Today we are going to recap the last few weeks lessons and paint a clearer picture of why science will make progress possible through understanding math.

Hopefully, this will set the tone for the other sessions, where we explore various topics at a high level and forge a new process, before bringing everything together at the end.

I could give you the whole picture upfront; however, from my experience in coaching, this often leads to information overload or the knowledge retention of critical elements is missed.

These guides provide an opportunity to make practice more meaningful, removing Fad Traps or throwing around buzz words that may have you feeling great about the short term.

The Shot Team’s goal is to get you playing your best for longer, bringing everything I’ve learned over my 20+ years without the form slumps and frustrations.

Progressive building of your game through growing your dart IQ is our aim.

So back to it!

In one of our previous posts we used math to make our progress possible, however using the math had some readers concerned when I indicated we are looking to peg in a single dart or we need 3 triples a leg.

To reach 25.05 average, we are looking for 20 dart per leg. That was as far as we took it last time.

Let’s dig down another level to make the plan easier still.

In 20 darts, I am suggesting you need to hit 3 major targets in a leg, or 1 target every 6.67 darts to reach your 25.05 (75.15) average. Now it seems a lot more doable?

We discussed the practice games and how each game builds a discipline to help you reach a goal. 60+ on 20’s build better lines to reduce bad darts.

Doubles practice is a critical element to success.

Frustration puts more of the focus on hitting a treble 1 in 6 darts to progress while the higher tier variations work on forcing more focus to push through the higher side of 26 (80) barrier.

We have our practice routine, with a clear understanding of how our practice will help our journey.

Let’s get a start on the mental game by establishing 2 good habits.

Habit 1. Breathing.

Under pressure, the first thing you lose focus on is breathing. Your conscious mind starts taking on more of your emotional response, much like a stress reaction.

This will cause a chain reaction, and before you know it, stress creeps in, and you move to nervous or anxious territory.

In one of my many tours of medical facilities, I read a great article on the rise of breathing consciousness in people with mental illness. It suggested breathing could combat anxiety and nervous tendencies. As it was a part of my game I struggled with, I gave it a go.

Over the next month I noticed a sharp rise in my concentration and confidence, as the anxiety was almost non-existent in many of my games.

Unfortunately, the amount of oxygen you need is subjective, and everyone’s lungs are different, so you will have to play around a bit to find a relaxed point.

I work on 2 breaths at the encroachment line. 1 as my opponent throws their second dart and another as they walk off the oche to retrieve their darts.

(Please don’t make your breath audible or use this advice as a license to engage in gamesmanship.)

I take another deep breath as I toe the oche and set up my throw, releasing my first dart as I exhale. Deep breath each dart after. If I’m not ready to throw before I get to exhaling, I wait for another breathing cycle. (unless my body says so)

After taking my darts out of the board, I move back to the encroachment line and start again.

Habit 2 – Positive Conditioning

While I am doing my breathing, I would start on my positive reinforcement process. I tell myself;

“nice and easy, nice and straight, 1 in 3.

If I hit 1 major target 1 of every 3 darts, I will win most games.

This comment has multiple purposes, used to put myself in a strong position mentally.

Positive mental conditioning, with the confidence of meeting your expectations (the math) and an opportunity to deliver on our expectation, is how we will make progress possible.


  • 1 in 3 is above your current target goal but sounds achievable.
  • You will win a majority of games just hitting 1 in 3.
  • Opens up avenues to get confidently aggressive.

Mental Conditioning by suggesting;

  • 1 in 3 is okay, and you are taking the pressure off your first dart.
  • Changes your mindset from I must, to I can.
  • You believe you are more capable of hitting 1 target every walk.
  • You are less likely to tighten up on darts.

Happy darts

Raymond Smith

EST 1970

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