As readers, of Darts World, will know there seems to have been an increase in the volume, and spite, in the abuse of players over social media. Rob Cross, Luke Humphries and Paul Nicholson are among those to have been speaking out recently.
Now the ‘players union’ the PDPA have stepped in to offer advice and support to players. They have introduced a simple guide to help those being victimised to deal with the instant problem and the longer term issues it can cause.
Darts World has reached out to cyberbullying and psychology experts in order that we may be able to suggest some positives solutions to this increasingly worrying phenomenon.
ROB CROSS has hit out at the social media abuse that “hurts” the top players including World Champion Peter Wright. The 2018 World Champion was on the receiving end of death threats to him and his family after winning the big one at the Ally Pally two years ago.
Now Voltage fears it’s getting worse after Kyle Anderson, Jelle Klaasen, Michael Smith and Paul Nicholson received more abuse on Twitter over the past few weeks during lockdown. He said: “It’s not acceptable in any way. I know it’s been spoken about so much by different sports stars and celebrities. But I don’t know what happened to the ‘Be Kind’ message after Caroline Flack took her own life.
“Look at recently what Ian Wright got. He’s a brilliant bloke, so funny. Yet the messages he got were just vile. “I remember how much horrible stuff got said to Peter Wright and his family a few years back. Yet he’s the nicest guy ever, never says or does anything bad to anyone.
“Trust me this is serious. It was the worst thing that happened in my career when I got the death threats, especially to my kids.
“It really hurts players and their families. I don’t think any of us deserve threats and accusations of cheating. My rule is that if you wouldn’t say something to someone’s face, then don’t say it. “Surely there are more important things in the world right now to worry about than abusing a darts player. “I notice that one fan had a go at Daryl Gurney and then apologised. I just wish people would think before they say something so vile.
“I’ve been getting horrible messages even during matches if I lose a leg. After the match, I look at my phone and I can see they’ve been sent at certain times when I was playing! “We all like a bit of banter and most of us will take the stick for a laugh, but not when it’s really vile. You can’t cross that line.”
Cross agrees with Nicholson that social media accounts must be verified with a name and address so the keyboard warriors can be identified by police. He added:
“It’s very sad because I don’t think that will happen. When you see what is said these days, I can’t believe nothing has been done yet.“
The sad thing is that it will stop sportspeople and celebrities interacting with the fans, they will just stop using social media. That’s not fair on the real fans who do give us great support.”
Voltage, last year’s World Matchplay and European Champion, has drawn Ryan Searle, Luke Woodhouse, and Daniel Larsson in his next Low6 Home Tour group on May 30. He also hopes he will get to defend his Matchplay title in late July, adding: “I know the PDC is making that decision by June 5. Obviously I hope it can go ahead somehow. It was my second favourite moment of my short career to win last year.”
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RYAN MURRAY is thankful he moved his dartboard out of his son’s bedroom so he can play two World Champions in peace!
The Edinburgh ace, dubbed Muzz Lightyear, will face Peter Wright, Jelle Klaasen, and Cristo Reyes in the next group phase of the PDC Home Tour on Monday night. He only got his Tour Card in January but has seen his debut year wrecked by the coronavirus crisis.
However Murray, 32, roared through his opening group in the PDC lockdown online home event and now has a dream draw. He said: “I was looking forward to the Home Tour. I’ve recently changed at home. The dartboard was in the children’s room but now I’ve moved it to my own bedroom.
“There’s no distractions in there. It was hard to play with my kids shouting to their friends while playing on the Xbox!“
The kids will be going out for a nature trail when I’m playing the Home Tour so I get some peace and quiet, no running up and down the stairs to to the toilet.
“We’ve got a tortoise but that’s the only pet and he’s not likely to give us any problems!”
Murray admits it’s been a frustrating time since achieving the ‘golden ticket’ of a Tour Card but is still buzzing for the future. He said: “It feels like every time I get so close to something, it always goes wrong. Thankfully I’ve now got this Home Tour to play in.“It’s obviously frustrating that the darts has stopped. I’d just got the Tour Card and was playing good. But I’m sure the PDC will sort it out so it’s fair.
“To be honest, the PDC and PDPA are in touch almost every day making sure all the players are OK, they have been fantastic. They always do the best for us.“
I’d qualified for two European tours but they are obviously on hold for the moment. That was something big I’d qualified for. It will happen hopefully at some point.”
Phil Lanning| 5-times award-winning journalist/publicist
IT’S Michael, er, Van Car Wash! The three-times World Champion is ready to return to the oche after the prolonged lockdown break by cleaning cars and vans.
The World No 1 is lined up to take part in the first Hannover Drive-in Darts Gala on June 24 against Dutch pal Raymond van Barneveld, German star Max Hopp, and South African Devon Petersen. It will be a four-hour open-air exhibition event with German families paying a maximum of €61.50 (£55.33) to watch from the safety of their own cars or vans. A limited number of punters can pay the VIP top price of €181.50 (£163.28) which involves a space in the first row, a sticker, a photo by their car, and their windscreen cleaned before the show by one of the four stars.
The Gala is a madcap way of bringing back top-class darts following the Covid-19 sporting shutdown. Players will do ‘walk-ons’ in golf buggies through the car park, there will be big screens erected and fans can tune into a special radio frequency for commentary. The only time fans can leave their cars is for toilet use, but they may be encouraged to honk their horns with each 180 hit. On the oche, players will observe social-distancing rules with one official rotating a ‘Stop-and-Go’ sign before each throw.
The event, which will be run by PDC Europe, will be held in a huge car park next to the stadium of Bundesliga 2 side Hannover 96. MVG has also hit out at Phil Taylor for suggesting that he could lose his top spot in the sport to Peter Wright. The Power recently claimed that Snakebite could take the mantle as the main man as MVG gets used to life as a father of two children. But Van Gerwen hit back at the 16-times world champion believing he makes big comments to “stay in the spotlight”.MVG told Bureau Sport:
“Taylor has always made statements like that about me, but I have always been very correct with him.
You know what it is, I am the only one who has made it difficult for him over a long period of time”
He was never used to getting such competition and he was never able to digest it well. He has always seen me as a major threat “I think he does this to stay in the spotlight. I’m breaking more and more of his records and before you know it, people will have forgotten about you; which is probably quite difficult for him.”
Phil Lanning| 5-times award-winning journalist/publicist
DARREN WEBSTER admits he has turned to Sporting Chance for help to get himself through lockdown. The jovial oche star has struggled with several issues over the years after losing his two-year-old daughter Millissa through illness 20 years ago and suffering so many injuries.
But the World No.26, who won his recent Home Tour group, has paid tribute to the backing he has received during Mental Health Awareness Week. He said:
“I struggle with the lockdown. I can’t sit still for too long. I went to see someone from Sporting Chance which was set up by the PDPA. I’m on medication for it. To lock me up is ridiculous.
“Don’t get me wrong, I control it quite well. But I can get down. I’m lucky I’ve got the missus, the dogs and my daughter here. Some people don’t have that. That can do more harm than good. “I have to keep my mind busy. Last night I came home, went to sleep on the couch, and then was awake from 3am to 7am and I’m just sitting there and my head go mad. I overthink, I go over things in my mind.“I’ve been to every one of the Sporting Chance discussions organised by the PDPA. I’m the only ever-present, a 100 per cent record. Whatever they talk about, I’ve got everything.
“I was really bad when I first went last year. I don’t worry about stuff. My missus reckons I’m a cross between BiPolar, ADHD, Autism and Tourettes!
“The guy at Sporting Chance explains a lot to me. He basically said what I’ve done is in the past my body and mind has shut the door and thrown the key away on stuff that has happened to me.
“Lockdown started well for me. I decided to do out my new practice room and whacked my thumb which had blood pouring out of a 10mm wide wound. I closed it all up for the picture I put on Twitter. “My Twitter feed will have to have a graphic content warning. I’ve either got a black eye on it or a bleeding thumb. It’s healed now though, I did it myself, I didn’t want to go to hospital.
“My way through all that was work, keeping myself busy. So I can go mad if I allow myself to think too much.“If I could go fishing I’d be OK. Some people like golf, I can’t see a problem with that. People are pouring into airports unchecked, but we can’t go fishing on our own. That’s very frustrating.”
Webster, 51, eased past Bradley Brooks, Scott Baker, and Andy Hamilton in the online streaming event. He played in his new practice room which he had to re-build after complaints from his neighbours because of the thudding noise! He added: “Thanks to me doing my practice room I’ve got a great set up now. I’ve got the tripod for the phone to film it. I’m now glad I spent the first week of lockdown doing it all up.“I had to change it all around after I’d finished it because the neighbour was moaning at the thudding of the darts noise. “I then had to spend £400 on echo insulation plus acoustic plasterboard on plus carpet. I spent over £500 in total just so the neighbours can’t hear the thud. They spend less on the Ally Pally than I did on my practice room!
“Every day I get up at 6am and don’t sit down until 9pm. I go to work all day, come home and have my tea and then practice with Jack Main for two hours. That’s what I have done for five years non-stop. But obviously we can’t do that now either.“I’m the biggest motivated person you’ll meet in your life. I practice every night of the week with Jack. He works on a building site like I do, no matter how knackered I am, I will practice for two hours every night.
“But now my head is telling me we might not play until next year. I had all my trapped nerves and tennis elbow last year, so I felt it would be a good idea to rest my arm completely during this time and try and get fully fit again.
“Then when I know darts is starting again, I’d start to practice properly again. I have been having a throw, but not two hours a night. “I don’t think we’ll be playing darts again this year. I can’t see them allowing mass gatherings in time for the World Championships even. I hope I’m wrong though.”
Faversham Darts got in on the act of web-based lockdown events by hosting a series of match-ups last night, including several county players and a guest appearance from recent Remote League winner and former PDC World Championship last-16 contender, James Richardson.
Over £500 was raised for the NHS through player and viewer donations, not least of all Richardson himself who pledged £5 for every 180 thrown and £2.50 for every 140. He threw plenty, and almost crowned the night with a 9-darter – missing double 12 to gasps from the Faversham hosts.
Darts has thrived in these strangest of times. The home entertainment of the traditional pub sport has hit new levels of interest with boards and accessories flying out of the factories and livestream tournaments all over the internet – the world waking up to the fact that you don’t need to be in the same room as someone to have a good old tungsten tussle. Faversham made their admirable attempt at putting a spectacle together for darts fans, bringing a couple of ‘undercard’ games before the main event which pitched Richardson against Kent County A player, Peter Allen.
The undercard games were as much a technology test for the organisers as anything – overcoming a host of technical issues in trying to dual-stream the event across both Facebook and YouTube, before settling on one channel and hitting full flow by the time the darts got really interesting.
Richardson was imperious against Allen, leading to an offer from the organisers for viewers to bid for an opportunity to play him as an encore. It was one of the undercard stars and another Kent County A player, Ryan Hope, who despatched Jamie Preston 7-0 earlier in the evening and who clearly had the wind between his sails, that stepped up to the challenge for a bid of £50. The encore didn’t disappoint, delivering 11 more 180s between the pair (6 for Richardson, 5 for Hope) and a ding-dong contest that eventually Hope clinched 10 legs to 8 with an impressive 3-dart average of 92.
In an act of pure sportsmanship, Richardson conceded the darts back to Ryan in one leg when the computer scores were out of kilter, to avoid having to reset the match stats. After all, this was about putting on a charity show for a great cause, giving local darts fans some entertainment and letting a few players blow off some cobwebs.
Well done to all involved. Let’s see some more of the pros mixing it with grass roots!
The guys at Winmau have teamed up with Mathematician Harm Nieuwstadt to launch a new way to test your self against the best. The Darts World ‘Coach’ thinks its a very accessible way to get an idea of where your game is and how you compare to the world’s elite:
We are always searching for methods to help darters all over the world, so when we were approached by the World’s finest Darts, Mathematician Harm Nieuwstadt, we jumped at the chance to work with him on this fantastic project.
Your dart accuracy can be represented by a single number anywhere between 0 and 3.
This number is called the Darts Deviation Value (DDV).
Simply the lower your DDV number, the more accurate and precise you are in throwing your darts.
The World’s top 16 Elite Dart Pro’s have the lowest DDV of all dart players ranging between 0.6 – 0.8 depending on current form.
You can find your own DDV by carrying out the following simple test:
Measuring your DDV: The Nieuwstadt-Test
Throw 200 darts at a treble of your choice and count the number of successful hits – this can be done over multiple practice sessions.
Divide the number of successful hits by 200 I.e. 35 / 200 = 0.175
Multiply the number (0.175) by 100 to get the percentage of darts that successfully hit the treble: 0.175 x 100 = 17.5%
Bounce outs count as a throw so do not re-take them.
When you have your percentage draw a line across the graph below to find your DDV.
Note that you should be able to get a percentage of 5.5% or higher to be able to use the graph, otherwise head to the Winmau Practice Zone.
I.e. 17.5% would give a DDV of 1.6
Of course your accuracy depends on the occasion, so if possible, do this test a couple of times on different occasions until you feel that the tests represent your average accuracy.
Then take the average of the DDV you got from the tests to get your average DDV.
Now you’ve got your DDV where do you stand against the top 16 in the World?
Let us know how the test went for you.
(Test Compliments of H.A. Nieuwstadt, Analysis of the dartgame, Mathematics Today, Vol 43, No. 4.)
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