Tournament day preparation
Tournament preparation is underestimated and neglected by many dart players. Not enough players know how to prepare and I am not saying my routine will work for all but it is important to have one! Throwing darts at the board is just not enough.
I recommend getting as much sleep as possible the night before the tournament. On the morning of the tournament, I recommend eating a good breakfast cause your next meal might not be easily available or edible. Don't leave showering and getting dressed for the day until the last minute, as you want to ensure your warm-up is not interrupted with ironing or locating a shoe.
Always, get to the dart hall as early as possible to register, which will save you the stress of long line-ups. Also, it gives you time to become familiar with the dart hall, if needed. Once I am done with registration, I am back in my room preparing, which I like to do at least three hours prior to the first event. I travel with The Nomad Dartboard which is a compact and portable one piece dartboard that hugs to doors and walls.
Preparation doesn't just mean practicing darts either, it also means focusing and getting in the right frame of mind. It is quite difficult to do this in a dart hall as there may be too much socializing and it may be difficult to find a board available. Additionally, in my room I can warm up more quickly compared to waiting 3-5 people deep on a board in the hall.
For me, my warm-up varies depending on how I feel. Some days I may feel good after 30 minutes, if so only a few darts every 15 minutes just to stay warm is all that's needed. However, if you didn't get a good nights sleep, not feeling super confident or your arm is tight from playing the previous day, you may need a lot more prep time, which is why I recommend at least three hours.
I find music and a roommate/buddy is a plus to help with my warm up. Not only does it help with getting in the right frame of mind, it can be good fun. In addition, playing with someone else can add that little bit of pressure which helps prepare you for the days matches. We typically work on finishing with games of 121 or 170. If cricket is the first event of the day then racehorse is my game of choice.
It is good to head over to the dart hall 15-30 minutes before the first darts are to be in the air for any last second fine-tuning. Be confident and know you have prepared properly.
Finally, don't worry what your opponent is hitting during warm up. Focus on positive thoughts such as beating them based on previous matches or you know you are capable of beating them. Or else take notice of their style (i.e. jerky release which may break down under pressure). If everything looks silky smooth, you can usually be confident you're in for a battle, so be up for it.
Lastly, have fun and enjoy the game win or lose.
Keep 'em straight! Chris White
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