A while back, in our ‘Coaching Corner’ we highlighted a piece from Mikko Laiho and Winmau in which they highlight the ideal time to be spent practising and some of the reasoning behind it. To help those will too much time of their hands (due to Covid-19) they have re packaged the information in a more accessible style:
Although our resident coach does not agree with every word (how many coaches does it take to change a light bulb?…….) he certainly thinks it valuable and a great starting point.
If you have been trying, some of the many, new practise drills and games that have been dreamt up, you may be wondering where they came from. SwitchBlade, Middle For Diddle and Sprint (Pro) Half-It were developed by A.I.M:, to assist players they coach,and Kill Bull looks like a Mikko Laiho / Winmau game. Today you can hear, about one of the most famous doubles drills, from the man who invented it!
Now I must own up to a bias, Bob is a man after my own heart in many ways. He was also a seriously good player! As important is his understanding of the game and how to improve and or maintain your performance. It is no accident that Bob had a very long Professional career and still plays to a very high standard, in exhibition and competitive matches, aged over 70.
It may also be significant that Bob was one of the first to have a background in a different (athletic) sport. Gerwyn Price has repeated the trick in this era.
Bob’s first point is one of my favourite rules. Have an aim to your practice, don’t just throw aimlessly at the twenties etc. Bobs next tip is to focus heavily on finishing and hitting that double, his ‘Bob’s 27’ is legendary. Watch it through and give it a few goes. This sets your benchmark and then you should add it to your daily routine. Many players use it as part of their early session or near the start of a longer one.
If you want evidence of how this improves your game check out Bob’s efforts in the 1986 World Masters:
The Limestone Cowboy was as good as they come and, in spells, was outstanding! 151,120,150 & 154! Not often you see that even today. These were hit under serious pressure, on a round wired board, in a major tournament and in quick succession.
So if you want to improve your doubles/finishing listen to Bob Anderson!
This is what ‘Coach’ calls a development (or reset) drill. While high level players will play it as a warm up or settling routine, shorter sharper drills can be better for those at the top. Bob’s 27 gives equal focus to every double, great when your developing, whereas sometimes a sharper focus on those that are used most often is more beneficial.
Darts World will show you a few of these over the coming days and weeks.
Those of you that find yourself in isolation in the current time will no doubt feel like pounding your dartboard during this period. While the extra time will result in improvements to your game, and keep you moving a little, if you really want to gain maximum benefit you should institute some structure and possible some aims/goals.
The article below was written by Finnish practise expert Mikko Laiho who sadly passed away last year. Whilst some of the exact details are debated by other coaches, and academics, the template structure and the other information should prove very useful:
Practice Makes Perfect – How much should you practice at darts?
25 January, 2019
With televised darts averages seemingly sky rocketing, everyday players could question the hours needed to genuinely improve. It’s actually not rocket science, and is it really as hard as everyone seems to think? We’ll discuss the key factors around finding the right amount of time that you need to devote to your game in order to get measurable improvements.
100 % focused training
Before taking to the practice board it helps to fully understand how the human mind works around the key element of “Mental Focus” and how long we can actually stay 100% focused for, non-focused practice (all sports disciplines) has been proven to cause more harm than good around performance.
Two mini-sessions means a session
The Pomodoro Technique has long been accepted amongst management and production gurus as the gold standard of concentration and maximum work rate efficiency. Developed by Francesco Cirillo, a leading productivity expert, who 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 – which corresponds with strong statistical significance for the best darts specific practice where 50 minutes of practice is carried out including a break.
Best education is given in 45 minutes
A well-known fact is that Finland has one of the best education systems in the world, one of the main reasons being the length of the classes, which lasts 45 minutes. Whilst Darts is a physical activity and generally played by people above school age, the base to add a short break sets up the perfect frame work for your total practise session, no more than 45 to 55 minutes.
A break is as important as the practice
After your first 45-60 minutes of practice it’s time for a longer break of 30+ minutes to maintain peak performance And also the body, brain, nerves and especially hand needs to “cool down” fully. Naturally, the exact details depend on your age, physical form and health including throwing style, release and follow through so you will have to experiment what suits you.
If we compare time frames to relevant dart competitions, it’s quite rare that any single match (PDC best of 11) lasts any longer than 40 minutes without a break.
So, the best practice sessions are 20-25 minutes in one go, with a short break, then another 20-25 minutes and you’re done.
Time per day
During recording sessions with top level orchestral musicians in the 1980’s, it was proven that there was no benefit for sessions to run over 200 minutes – the results in accuracy faded hugely after this total time, during which they did have a 10-minute breaks every hour.
The most any practice day should be is 3.5 hours, which equals a maximum of four full sessions with proper breaks. If you are going for a big practice day then you will need to lengthen the breaks in-between each hour, making the actual practice day last almost 5-6 hours.
However, for vast majority of us it’s basically impossible to practice for a whole day over this length of time so to keep your aim 100% focused, enjoyable and interesting with 2-3 sessions of practice.
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At godartspro.com we spend all our time working out how you can have the most fun whilst practicing darts and getting better so if you want to learn more please say hello at: www.godartspro.com
Mikko Laiho (R.I.P – 29/4/2019) – World No.1 darts practice expert.
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