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     The psychology of practice

    General Dart Topicserik writes "Have you ever really thought about practice and how it impacts your darts?  Have you thought about practicing but really didn't want to record what you were doing?  Decided you didn't like a certain game?  Chose to change the rules to make it more  'fun'?

    I've been thinking about the psychology of practice for some time and one thing that keeps coming back to me is that it's very easy to succumb to the 'easy' or the negatives and very difficult at times to break through them.

    One thing that catches my eye a lot, and I know I'll catch hell for mentioning it, is the tendency of many players to modify the rules of 'Bob's 27' or just not play it because they don't like losing.  Losing is what I said too because the rule they change, like it or not, is the part where you must stop and go back to the start when you fail to maintain positive points which is technically losing.  (example, you start at 27, lose 2 on the 1, lose 4 on the 2, lose 6 on the 3 and 8 on the 4 and are sitting at only 7 points remaining when you miss the double 5 and at this point should start over but choose to change the game and allow yourself to go 'negative' so as to not 'lose').

    This game is hard, it's brutal and it's going to make you lose OVER and OVER again until you get better but many choose to either not play it or to change the rules and I wonder about that way of thinking.  I don't want this to be about Bob's 27 though so let's not get too deep in the woods here.  To that end I'll shift focus:  recording practice.

    Another tendency that I see in myself and in others is to not want to record a practice session because as soon as you start some darn switch flips in your brain and you began to shoot like crap -- ever do this?  I do.

    It takes me some serious effort to break past this barrier and not allow it to stop me from practicing but it only occurs when I've not been practicing for some time and am not playing well.  I step to the board and hit many solid shots on the 20s.  140, 180, 100 and so on and think "I should play 100@20's and see where I am at" and I begin and hit 45, 60, 24 and so on.  Frustration mounts and I seriously consider bagging the gig altogether.  But I know better!

    What's happening is the mind suddenly pushes me to try harder, to do better and I translate that into throwing harder physically, or softer, or with less direct release etc etc and suddenly I'm all over the place and pissed off at myself.  The key, I believe, is to throw through it, even if it takes months and to force yourself to record at least part of your practices on a regular basis so that at some point you will no longer have this 'oche fever' that causes you to try too hard.  It's very much like playing in a tournament where you practiced like Phil Taylor and played like Beavis after drinking a case of beer and eating 3 large pizzas.  What gives?  Simple:  your mind and mental state.

    I firmly believe that half the battle in darts is developing your mind to be competitive and to NOT change the way you play, throw etc, no matter what the circumstances.  Playing in a quiet room all the time might mean you change when there is lots of noise, playing without competition means you may not compete as well as you practice etc etc.

    The best bet, I think, is to force yourself to do the things you do not do best, to play the games you lost most often, to practice the way you perform the poorest and to try to get yourself to play the same no matter whether you are recording a practice or not, playing in a loud bar or a quiet room or shooting after two drinks vs stone cold sober.  By doing this I think you can bring your game to a new level and I can attest that I know it's worked for me when I was at my most competitive.

    Good luck!"

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    Re: The psychology of practice (Score: 1)
    by Budsy on Sunday, November 06 @ 10:44:25 UTC
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    Good read erik,
    First things first here erik in that its good to know you liked my avatar i have in that you have stolen such and it made me chuckle :D
    Anyhow erik and whomever is reading my post i tend to think that mentally all darters are slightly different
    im one of the fortunate guys whoms made for the stage as ive so often been told and I tend to make all the other darters nervous with the way i performim just very good and if your very good as I am then its always the opponents ive found whom are nervous v myself ..Instance when they see their name on the team sheet to be playing v myselfthen theyre beaten men as simple as ..i see them look towards the floor when they are told they are to play v me and hey that's a normal reaction in where i play my darts be it in the fife region or in the Edinburgh regiontheyre beat even before i take to the oche knowing they shall have to play to their level best and hope theyre going to get me on a bad day but at the same time knowing if budsy aka Stevie hits his A game then its game over and game to me ..i am not trying to let people think im big headedin which is not the case but just is facts im top drawer and well they know such .. Instance Ronnie couldn't win a game v myself in the club in recent times he has decided to try other tactics with shouting over my shoulder as im throwing as simply they all know if left to darts only then theres only one winner as fair games they have no chance often ive been in the cluband hearing someone pipe up " Stevie has won again " He is winning every game then he later gets on his journey back to the kingdom of fife with that wry smile upon his face as he does every single week ..When are you guys going to beat him as were all pig sick of the fifer going to town on the lotta you ..But its been just recently ive felt sorry for Ronnie and decided to throw a cple of games of late But if he is reading this post then its watch out as no more of such plus ive got my fav darts again ready for action ..You know Ronnie when i won 7 game to 0 v you and then i lwt you win one before i left on my travels so as it would make you feel a tadge better ..Yes i thought i was killing Ronnie with my phchology with winning all the time and so thought allow the man one game which was cool of me doing such ..Meantime im back with my favs and have decided no more me throwing any games and back to as it was before sorry guys ..

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