Warning: Trying to access array offset on value of type bool in /home/devdw/public_html/wp-content/plugins/wp-rocket/inc/3rd-party/yoast-seo.php on line 13 THE PRACTICE BOARD Archives • Darts World Magazine
Welcome back, to our practice board feature, with a fun game that is easy to play, but hard to master. On eof the most important things to remember in practice session is to have a few drills or games that are both helpful and fun:
The Putting Green
Single dart accuracy, last dart pressure, board use and decision making.
Scoring & Play:
The scoring is simple: 1 point for a treble, 2 for a double, 3 for a single and 5 if you miss the segment completely. The aim, is to score as few as possible. The twist is only the last dart thrown counts!
So, if you throw your first dart and if it lands in the single segment you have a decision to make. Accept the 3 points? Or, throw again?
If you choose to throw again you risk missing and piling pressure on your final dart. If you chose to gamble, perhaps by going for an obscured treble, you risk adding a 5 to your ‘scorecard’.
We play this as a warm up drill, or fun finish, first go for numbers 1-9. A perfect ‘round’ would be 9 trebles and score 9 points. However, even the very best don’t get near that often.
The back nine (10-18) can be played either afterwards or as a break from a more serious session.
From my recall the best ‘front 9’ was 14. A thirteen has been managed on the second set and the best continuous round was 29. Jamie Caven was a master at this drill as was former News of the World champion Paul Cook.
Enjoy the game and let us know how you get on via @Darts_World on twitter or darts World Magazine on FB.
It’s no secret that Peter “Snakebite” Wright is one of darts most prolific practisers and throw perfectionists, leaving no stone unturned in his quest for playing perfect darts.
Red Dragon Darts asked Peter to share his thoughts around practice and specifically how you can benefit from his extensive knowledge, just as it would seem Dimitri van den Bergh did following his 20-week sabbatical in the Wright household.
Focused Objective Practice
Peter said “Before every practice session I simply pick up any set of darts and literally throw anywhere round the board seemingly not aiming at anything letting my mind drift and my arm relax to a point I’ll stop and know the warm-up is complete.
“The reason for this is that to get the most out of practice you have to be in a focused, relaxed mindset that can let you feel what it is you really need to work on.”
After Peter’s first seemingly untargeted practice, he returns to the board with a more heightened feel of what it is he’d like to achieve in the next session.
Peter told us “So many times I have no idea what my second session will look like, and it’s quite often over 20 minutes since the first session and I’ve had maybe a coffee and something to eat.
“But when I return for the second session my subconscious guides me into what I’ll practice next, for example I may end up doing single doubles round the board or trying to get back-to-back 180s, but the one thing that is always the same is that this second session is also very short and never over 20 minutes.”
The Best Practice Session is Maximum 45 minutes
Quite often Peter will return for a third session that again is always at least 20 minutes after the second session, where Peter now comes to the board with real specifics in mind and this third session is quite often where Peter’s hardest and best work is done.
Peter said of this third session “When I get to the third session of practice my mind is crystal clear what I’m going to be working on and how many sets I’ll be working with.
“No session at this stage is ever the same as I have many go-to games that enable me to fine tune where I need my throw to be, but there is always the same principle of this session that it is targeted and as focused as if in a televised game.”
Asking performance coaching expert Stephen Feeney about the patterns of Peter’s practice, he said “This gradual building of focus and intensity is an excellent mimic of what Peter could face on any given day on tour, his ability to feel what he needs to do with his game has developed over 20 years playing at the top.”
Time Scaling your Practice
To get the best out of your darts practice it makes sense to try and sync up your form to the times you need it, as opposed to trying to be brilliant and feeling great every day, which we all know is impossible.
Peter’s approach to practice is extremely cyclical around key televised majors and the demands on his time of being a modern darts professional.
Peter explained “When big events are approaching it’s very important to have a clear approach to the practice needed and when you need to get your throw in peak feel, this is really hard to do as the natural approach is often to over practice and burn yourself out, which I’ve learnt the hard way.
“However, this does not mean you don’t put in some serious hours,
it just means serious hours are more focused and require more effort.”
Following many bio-mechanical studies around other sports and even including musical performance, it is widely concluded that anything over three and a half hours of practice can be detrimental to performance.
Writing in the current edition of Darts World (order here) our ‘Resident Coach’ did not mince his word with regard to the attitude of many, mainly men, with regard to women’s darts. Today news from the PDC makes his article even more timely:
If there is one thing that has annoyed me whilst being involved in darts it’s been the treatment of women players. For the last ten years, I have listened to all kinds in nonsense regarding the myriad of supposedly informed opinions on female darts players.
Now you might think I refer to the obvious kind of sexist or chauvinist stuff that used to be uttered behind the hand or under the breath. You know, things like “well they will never be able to compete with the men” or “ it’s not their fault there physically inferior/weaker/smaller” or “ women are not as competitive, they lack the will to win, they just don’t have the killer instinct”.
Well, although that attitude certainly did exist, less so over recent years, it was not, in my view, the worst sort of discrimination out there. Worse was the idea that women’s darts should become some sort of parallel world. The ladies would play in their own events, within their own code or format and try to develop a separate tour and professional structure. Add to this the clamor for massively increased prize pots (even equal prize money) and I suppose you could call it the ‘Billie Jean King Model’.
Now don’t get me wrong, Billie Jean is something of a hero of mine and her efforts to overcome discrimination and prejudice whilst developing the Women’s Tennis Association broke down barriers that needed breaking. But see, darts is not tennis………..
Read the full Article in this months Darts World(570) order yours here while stocks last.
One of the most grating things to hear in darts, from commentators and pundits especially, are references to ‘the most naturaly gifted’ or ‘a natural ability’. What makes it even more annoying is that often they refer to the players such as Adrian Lewis or Michael Smith and omit players such as Steve Beaton and Gary Anderson.
There are two reasons that this type of phrase is annoying, and often simply wrong, the first is that it decries the huge effort and sacrifice made by players and makes it seem as if they simply have a ‘god-given’ gift that was discovered overnight. The best example of this is Michael Smith. He is often referred to as gifted or blessed. Yet, I know for certain that he has practiced for many isolated hours from a very young age and battled a variety of difficulties, including broken bones, in order to get to the heights of the game.
Similar can be said for Adrian Lewis who is in the middle of a battle to recapture his very best performance level. But if you listen to the pundits it should be a piece of cake. ‘The most naturally gifted’ is applied to Adrian because of the apparent ease of his throwing style. Yet, it is not easy if you think it is, try it! Adrian has also worked for many long hours, including years with Phil Taylor, who was a very demanding practice partner, to work up to his peak. But, if you buy the naturally blessed line, his back-to-back world titles were simply presented to him due as some kind of divine favor.
The second reason for my annoyance with such comments is that they are based on a false premise. Nearly all those described as naturals are quick, fluid, and easy on the eye. Yet, Steve Beaton has been playing in almost exactly the same way for close to forty years. He seems rarely injured and is as fluent as any player to have ever played. the longevity of Steve’s career and the fact that so little has changed would suggest that it is his that is the most natural, to him, action and that the mechanics of other players’ throws lead to injury, loss of form or deterioation over time. Steve is reputed to be a decent amateur golfer which may indicate that he has a very good hand eye co-ordination and an ability to transfer this into a reliable swing.
Much of the above comes down to the ‘type of throw’ a player succeeds with. Smith and Lewis are the most successful examples of what I call ‘trust’ throwers. They trust their hand-eye coordination and spatial awareness and then hone the skill through hours of rhythmic practicing. I suspect that this is especially effective if learned early and honed through many solo hours in the bedroom, barroom or garage.
In some ways, this is true of MVG as well. Starting at such a young age and succeeding rapidly ensured that there was no time to question his natural instincts or build a more modeled throw. His throw is therefor totally natural to him and has been tuned to the point of near-automatic delivery. But he is rarely if ever referred to as a natural phenomenon. He even recently bought into the ‘natural’ myth himself, by suggesting that Michael Smith has more ability/talent than he does.
There is, however, one way in which the term ‘natural’ can be applied correctly. If by natural you mean a method that comes totally natural to the player, is proven almost immediately to work for that player, can be broken down into elements that can be tried, copied or mimicked by others and is simple enough to both reveal everything but not quite how it works.
That natural but it then requires a huge effort to hone and maintain it. The natural must be harnessed, filtered, and then focused on the goal.
From the start of these Covid affected times Darts World has sought to give credit to those, within the darts ecosystem who have stepped up to provide players, and fans,, with extra opportunities to help out.
Winmau have put together a threesome of free/trial offers that will boost your practice performances and may improve your game. Amongst them is SwitchBlade, a game which Darts World introduced to the world a few weeks back. Great to see our friends giving it an even wider audience!
With more people playing darts at home right now than at any other time on earth, we want to make sure that your putting your time to good use and progressing as well as you can. This treble of FREE games developed with our amazing partners GoDartsPro will make sure you have the easiest way to play some really exciting practice games that add a real edge to your game and understanding of how to get better – good luck we hope you enjoy them and as ever feedback always really welcome.
Tips for what can you take from Michael’s dedication to the game?
The World No 1 has offered a handful of strong pieces of advice. Darts World’s resident coach is very impressed: “It’s unusual for the top players to give such good information. Often the just say generic things.
“These five offerings are things that can be seen to work fir Michael and might also be practice for improving players.”
1. Perfect the set up
Michael used to have a habit of getting offline as a youngster and in fixing his set-up position allowed him to become a consistent winning machine. Try very slow motion back and through darts throws to see the true line of your dart aim.
2. Obey your natural rhythm
Great Rhythm is something Michael has always had from a young age, and has been extremely careful never to mess with it. His throw has a start and a beautiful finish with no bits and pieces inn-between. See your throw as one movement not separate pieces.
3. Start smooth forwards
Another area Michael has perfected is the transition. The shoulder stabilises the throw so make sure it stays stable as you smoothly accelerate forward.
4. Stick the finish
Michael’s trademark is his sublime extension and throw finish showing perfect balance and power. That can’t happen without a lot of good things happening in your throw first, so stick your finish.
5. Find your weakest link
A few years ago Michael found that his mind was wandering halfway through many games. Identifying that this was linked to focus and stamina Michael got himself ready for the dip, so find your weakness and make it a strength.
Lockdown has given many people the opportunity to practise their darts in new and interesting ways. It has also given some of those who operate online systems a huge amount of information on how people practice and what can help.
Mixing up your practice Darts is all about the right mind-set. That’s why you need to practice games and routines that you enjoy. But they also need to be suitably challenging. Their difficulty-level must be right for your current level and you need to want to do them over and over again. You need to gain some wins under your belt. Might they be just small wins? A win might be just a proper score or getting through your favourite routine swiftly. That’s how you learn to win, because your biggest opponent and nemesis has always been and will forever be yourself.
Practice only fully focused This is easier said than done with family, work, social media fighting for your attention. That’s why your training sessions need to be short to be able to be fully focused. Leading productivity experts discovered through extensive research that a human first burst of full concentration lasts approximately 25 minutes, and requires a short break of 3-5 minutes before attempting a second burst of focus. After your first 45-60 minutes of practice it’s time for a longer break of +30 minutes to maintain peak performance.
Practice needs to be fun After two or three focused practice sessions (2 x 25 min) do a longer break (at least 30 minutes) I suggest you do a round or two of the ongoing challenges on GoDartsPro.These challenges are a fun way to practice and put you under more pressure since you want to score better than the other members. Try to reach the leaderboard and try to stay there until the challenge is ended.
DW Resident Coach – The GDP folk have built a very interesting practice engine that can be both enjoyable and effective.
The tips above align almost perfectly with much of what I have always practiced. The timings are close although, with most players, I would reduce them to 20 mins and not 25 if possible.
Even with elite players I always try to end on good note or a fun game!
Original text by Go Darts Pro: Try their practise games and routine here: Go Darts Pro
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.)
A new Drill from ‘Coach’ and our friends at A.I.M: This time we’re looking to improve your BullShifting.
By now you should have got stuck into the selection of tips, drills and games that Darts World, and friends, have served up So its time for a few more. Today’s offering is BullShift, (Careful! We know what your thinking) we’ll let ‘Coach’ tell you more:
There are several situations during a leg where a dart at the bullseye can be very useful indeed. Whether its ensuring your end up on a two darter, instead of a three, or to ensure you have a finish at all, its basically a cover shot with two possible outcomes, this is BullShifting.
If you are on 201 and your opponent is not on a score where adding pressure might be relevant and you hit t20 s20, with darts one and two, this leaves you with 121 remaining and a single dart. A dart in either the 25 or Bullseye ,(a BullShift) will leave you with a handy two darter (either 96 or 71) whereas a single twenty or a stray (caused by a deflection, obviously!) will likely leave you with a tricky three darter including more complex treble possibilities.
In addition there are many other situation where two at the twenties and one at the bull/outer will be required. These may include shots at 170, 130 to finish or 90, 105, 130, 145 or even 170 to set up a finish.
So its important to be be a bit of a BullShifter with your last dart!
Although I like most drills to be based around five turns this one has to involve at least 6.
For each turn you will take two darts at the twenties and one dart at the Bullseye ring.
There are six possible outcomes if you hit the twenty bed twice & BullShift: 170, 145, 130, 105, 90 and 65. Each time you hit a score it is removed from scoring. As an incentive, and to give every throw mean, the Bullseye counts as 50, if hit with the last dart (LDB), even if you have repeated a score or not hit two in the twenty bed.
Turn 1: T20 T20 Bull – 170
Turn 2: T20 T20 25 – 145
Turn 3: T20 s20 Bull – 130
Turn 4: T20 s20 25 – 105
Turn: s20 s20 Bull – 90
Turn 6: s20 s20 25 – 65
Total – 705!
Realistic Run Through:
Turn 1: s5 T20 25 – 0
Turn 2: s20 s20 25 – 65
Turn 3: t20 s20 25 – 105
Turn 4: s20 t5 Bull – 50
Turn 5: s20 t20 Bull – 50 (repeat score)
Turn 6: s20 s20 Bull – 90
You can vary this drill a number of ways. But beware of driving yourself into a fit of frustration.
A tough variation is to list the possible numbers on the marking board, 65-170 inc and then give yourself a set number of throws to knock them all out. Example: use 10 turns and mark how many 65’s, 90’s etc that you clock. But also mark how many times you miss the twenty bed with either of your first two and how many last dart bulls (LDBs) you manage!
As you can see from the variations you can set your own level and then simply try to better your best. Total score after 6 turns, number of finishes hit after 10 turns etc. But here is a guide:
Amateur: 1 lower BullShift (65 or 90) and an LDB. 115 to 140
Pub Team: 1or 2 BullShifts and an LDB. 115 to 220
Higher: 2 or more BullShifts and an LDB. 250 or more
Elite: 3 or more Bullshifts and a LDB. 400+ (often!)
Who is the biggest BullShifter?
Top Score: 665 (145,130,65,170,0,50,105)
Fewest Turns: All six BullShifts were taken out in only 11 turns by a player who has flirted with the PDC top 32 but flew a little too close to the sun.
Enjoy Bullshift and let us know how you get on below or via @Darts_World
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