Coaching Clinic

Coaching Clinic 1 – The Dreaded Drift

We were contacted by one client whose frustration was mounting with his constant drift into the five. The usual advice administered for this problem is a shuffle up or down the oche. This is not the answer, on occasions it may work for a short period but generally the flaw is elsewhere.

On inspection of the video our client lined the dart up with his eye in text book fashion, this “plane” or route to the board was perfect. However, he then drew the dart back prior to release to almost adjacent to his right shoulder (a different plane and route to the original) and then at the release point he tried to bring the dart back to the original aiming point creating a third route to the board!





Coaching Advice

We advised our client to ensure he was central on the oche which should help the “across the body action” that he had developed due to his aim. We also suggested he draw the dart back but retaining the original “eye line” (eye, dart and target) and not veering off to the shoulder area.

Client Feedback

The client worked on our advice to retain eye contact with the dart and got a positive result almost immediately –“I focused on shortening my drawback and this improved my aim, it felt as if I was returning straighter down the line, I won 2-0 and had a total of 2 darts at the double!!

The Coaching Clinic is run by Paul Gillings and Andrew Humphrey

The Darts Performance Centre is a resource to assist dart players of all standards play better darts. The site is arranged as an on-line coaching manual. There is advice on technique, nerves, psychology, goal setting, practice games, an area to log your statistics and an interactive area where your darting questions are answered by two sports scientists, one with 30 years dart playing experience! Membership is just £25.00 per annum.

Posted in darts, Darts | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

The Premier League and 180’s

Every Dart Fan loves a 180!

The treble twenty, hit three times in successive throws, one hundred and eiiiiiiigtteeey (in your best gravelly voice) is the holy grail for power scoring for any darts player. It does not necessarily mean success however. A study I carried out for my final project for my sports analysis studies entitled “The Search for Performance Indicators in Darts” (yes, I know catchy) demonstrated that there were other crucial factors that determined whether a player won a darts match or not. The amount of 180’s did not actually feature in the most crucial areas of performance-more of that another time.

Nevertheless the one hundred and eight is rightly held in high esteem in darts and we have put together some analysis of how the “180” has fared in The Premier League so far this season.

Fig 1 – The 180 League table

Player Week1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Total
Anderson 6 3 7 2 4 3 3 6 34
Taylor 2 7 3 1 4 5 6 3 31
Whitlock 5 4 4 4 2 4 3 4 30
Lewis 6 5 4 2 3 3 4 3 30
Jenkins 5 2 1 1 6 3 4 4 26
Barney 3 1 1 2 3 5 2 5 22
Wade 3 6 3 1 0 3 0 5 21
Webster 4 2 2 3 3 3 1 2 20

When are we Playing?

We have argued several times that it is an advantage to know when you are playing, however, the players don`t always agree! Terry Jenkins was the latest player to dismiss the notion that it is an advantage to know exactly when you are playing in an interview with “Dave” recently. Maybe there is another reason Terry is known as “The Bull”!

Our argument is that you need to be prepared to win a darts match. You need to combine your emotional state, your concentration and focus at exactly the right moment, for example when you step on stage to play your match. Ideally you will play first, perfect, with Sky Sports on board the first game is choreographed to the exact second, wonderful! A player can be prepared.

As the evening wears on, however, it becomes more difficult to predict when you are going on. How often do we see players make a late rally just as you think the game is drawing to a close? You are just about to make a dash to the fridge for more supplies when a player starts a come-back, very annoying!  But spare a thought for the next guys on, they could be doing whatever they do to get themselves in the zone when the come-back starts, even more annoying than not being able to grab yourself something cold from the fridge!

Ok, we have said our piece, how about some statistics to make Terry and the rest of the players take a bit of notice. Here we have the games that produce the most 180’s – Starting with match 1 each week through to Week 8

Match Week1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Total
1 7 5 9 5 9 6 4 11 4 (1 tie)
2 11 11 7 5 8 8 8 8 4 (1 tie)
3 8 9 5 3 3 9 5 8 1
4 8 5 4 3 5 6 6 5 0

Over the eight weeks so far, the first two matches of the night have produced the most 180`s in seven of the eight weeks. The only exception to this rule was the Taylor V Whitlock game in week 6. The last match of the night has never produced the most 180`s. A coincidence?

We will be back next week…

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

PDC Darts World Championship – Blog 9

If Only…

The incorrigible “Crafty Cockney” gave Peter Wright absolutely no chance last night , he told an amused Dave that they were betting on how few legs “Snakebite” would win as opposed to  whether  he could win, how we laughed…

Ultimately Eric was right but Wright didn`t lie down and dye as was predicted. He even won enough legs to take a set off “The Power” and had numerous chances to hit a winning double.  “Snakebite” will reflect on a brilliant tournament and we doff Taylor`s hat to him, however, over the next few days the two biggest words in professional sport will keep coming back to him, if only!

Armchair Practice

One of our dedicated clients of the Darts Performance Centre made a guilt ridden entry in his training diary today- he has been watching more darts that he has been practising them. We have demonstrated though that players of all standards can learn from watching the best. The FA promotes the idea of young players watching the stars of the Premier League play as an effective learning tool.

The same can be said of darts, what about these areas of excellence that we have noticed over the past week or so that those “grassroots” players can try to emulate:

The mental toughness of                                                             The Power

The finishing (backed up by hours of practice) of                               The Wizard

The focus of                                                                                       Jyhan Artut

The power scoring of                                                                     Gary Anderson

The tenacity of                                                                                  Adrian Lewis

The resilience of                                                                               Mensur Sulovic

The dedication to his pre-throw routine of                           Dennis Smith

The 3 Dart Average is Most Interesting

We are naughty aren`t we? Regular followers of the blog will know we don`t really like the 3 dart average, its relevance to a darts match is blown way out of propotion and we argue its only job is as a guide to how many darts a player needs to win a leg.

Last night Taylor finished with a three dart average of 98.07. His other statistics are also interesting. His 9 dart average is excellent, over 110 (usual service resumed), however, his doubles were an impressive 38%. Impressive? Well it is for the majority of the players competing in the event but it is below what Taylor can achieve and this is why he appears to be not quite back to his best.

The reason that the 98.07 average is of interest is that it means, statistically, Taylor needs a shade over 15 darts to complete a leg, in other words a player hitting a 12 darter against Taylor`s throw or a 15 darter with his own throw has, for the first time in years, got a chance of winning a leg from “The Power”.

Posted in darts, Darts, PDC Darts | Leave a comment

PDC Darts World Championship – Blog 8

Darts Performance Centre Heroes – Number 3

Mensur Suljovic and Mensur Suljovic Junior – What a Guy and What a Little Guy!


Shhh, Don`t Mention the “P” Word

Oh dear, the name of Wayne Jones and the word practice popped up in the same sentence again yesterday.  We mentioned in a previous blog that Jones was not keen on practising his darts skills. The commentators yesterday even suggested that not bothering with practice actually suited him! Hang on a minute, he lost, convincingly!

Dedication to practice is one of the most fundamental components of a great player, it underpins all the other skills a player possesses. Yes it can be boring, yes it is hard work, and however, if you work out a schedule and timetable of fun and challenging practice games that focus on the core skills and that can also measure your improvement, if you do all these things, practice can be motivating. You can even add non-dart throwing aspects into your regime, aspects such as fitness training and the like.  Wayne has done very well to clamber up the rankings bearing in mind his practice regime, in a quiet moment over the next week of the championships he may contemplate how far he could have wandered with a bit of hard graft.

Don`t Take our Word for it – Vince has the Final Word on This…

Work and sacrifice, perseverance, competitive drive and selflessness are the price one must pay to achieve any goal that is worthwhile.

Success is the result of dedication to an ideal of working hard to correct weaknesses-working hard to understand what is required for success and working hard to achieve the goal of being perfect.

That Special Place

There were two things we liked about the Sulvojic match. The first a lesson to all players, play your own game. Yes your opponent may be getting bored and the crowd restless but who cares?  Don`t ever get bullied out of your own routine.

An upshot of Mensur religiously following his pre-throw routine was that James started to get distracted. Rod mentioned his “special place”, a mind-set he would utilise in certain circumstances, such as when there are lengthy pauses between throws. At the Darts Performance Centre we advocate the more clinically named “The Waiting Room”, it`s basically the same principle that Rod has suggested.

We encourage players to relax, coach and visualise their next throw when they are in this area (not all at the same time). If you would like to know more about this idea there is no waiting at the Darts Performance Centre, you can sign up for treatment for your darts immediately.

Posted in darts, Darts, PDC Darts, Sport | Tagged | Leave a comment

PDC Darts World Championship – Blog 7

It`s a gift

The Darts Analyst received some interesting books as Xmas gifts this year. I received “Probability for Dummies”, although I had already worked out that I had a 77% chance of getting it (yes I have really been waiting since Xmas day to tell that one!). I also received a book of quotes by Vince Lombardi, arguably the best “American Football” coach of all time and I will share some of his wisdom with you over the next week or so.

No Time like the Present

OK, let`s kick off with this quote. Jackpot did his usual drift into “Jackpot Land” half way through his match last night but recovered brilliantly to win comfortably in the end. Dave ticked Lewis off for this and “Jackpot” took his criticism in his own mild-mannered and disarming way. The quote we have borrowed is a fundamental lesson for all darts players and perhaps should resonate with Adrian Lewis after last night:

“Success in darts is not so much of talent or opportunity as it is concentration and perseverance”

Hair Today but will he be Gone Tomorrow (or the day after)?

Peter Wright surprised a few `armchair` fans yesterday with his victory over “The Asset”  but it was perhaps not so much of a shock for any PDC floor tournament regulars. I have seen him play at a few of the PDC floor events and once in a professional capacity against a player I am associated with, Anthony Urmston-Toft. It was one of those classic PDC floor matches that Anthony was often involved in, just as I thought Anthony was in with a shout of winning, these really top players move up a gear. At four all “Snake Bite” took out a 100+ checkout on the bull (his second bull finish of the match) and then completed a 14 dart leg on his throw to win 6:4, quality!

What was also really impressive about Peter Wright yesterday was his interview afterwards. He was not really that interested in reminiscing about the match he had just played in or even speculating on who he would play next. He did, however, remind all of us of the necessity to not concern yourself about what your opponent did in the last match, “each game is different” we were told, good advice! His main thoughts were on becoming World Champion; he believes he can go all the way, the “Hair Apparent” for the PDC crown! This reminded me of a quote by Jimmy Connors, for the younger viewers of the blog, Connors was a handy tennis player back in the day.

“Never get negative about yourself, ok the other guy may be playing tough, he may have beaten you last time and maybe you haven’t been playing that well, but the moment you start thinking you are going to lose you are dead. I go in to every match convinced that I am going to win”.

Posted in darts, Darts, PDC Darts, Sport | Tagged , | Leave a comment

PDC Darts World Championship Blog 6

What`s So Funny?

The PDC World Championships has so far been a tournament of mixed emotions. We admired Dennis Smith for his ability to keep believing and keeping his frustration under control as double after double was squandered during his first round match. On the other hand we had Colin Lloyd who smashed his fist into the board such was his frustration at the standard he was playing at.

Tonight we may see another way a player copes with adversity. Kevin McDine laughs when he misses. I have seen him do it at the Player`s Championship floor events and he also chuckled at his own misfortune at the last TV event he was in. During this event the commentators questioned his commitment to try and win the darts match, which on the face of it was understandable. It does look like he doesn`t care if he misses, in fact it seems like he finds it all jolly amusing.

Don`t be fooled by his reaction. Of course he cares and he will be desperate to win this match. It is just his method of shaking off the frustration and he has found this `coping strategy` works well for him. I am looking forward to this particular match, Barrie Bates is a quality player too, whatever the outcome it should be a good laugh anyway!

Quickest Throwers

In `tribute` to the three Dutch players who played last night we have a `quickest thrower` list from the Darts Miscellany

Vincent Van Der Voort

Michael Van Gerwen

George Ewart

Ronnie Baxter

Jelle Klassen

Tony West

Adrian Lewis

Gary Robson

Steve Hine

Thanks to Matt Bozeat for permission to reproduce this list from his book Darts Miscellany.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

PDC Darts World Championship – Blog 5

PDC World Darts Championship Blog 5

Scouting for Professionals


Be Prepared! This is the motto for the Scout movement and also for professional darts players. We touched on the benefits of being properly prepared for a darts match and speculated that if James Wade wasn`t 100% prepared for Antonio Alcinas then there could be a shock on the cards. As it was “The Machine” was well oiled (in a good way) and left his “silly head” behind as Rod amusingly described the head belonging to James that ended up an alarming shade of red against Scott Waites recently. Rod was of course referring to Wade`s inclination to perhaps not consider the potential consequences of his pre-match routine. As it was James played brilliantly and left “Toni” looking ordinary.

Darts Miscellany


Thanks to Mike from Sheffield who came out of the hat to win a copy of the Darts Miscellany. Mike`s list was in celebration of the sponsorship by Ladbrokes and here is his collection of bookmaker`s phrases.

11/8                       Up the Arm

3/1                         Carpet

100/30                  Burlington Bertie

10/1                       Cockle

33/1                       Double Carpet

2/1                         Bottle

100/1                     Century

Aim and Fire


There were some brilliant analytical points picked up by the Sky team last night in areas that all standards of players can benefit from. Sid picked up on “The Prince of Wales” hitting the big number and then in a split second he had hit the double 12, leg over! This `rhythm` as opposed to momentum is a valuable weapon for a darts player. The key to it knows in advance exactly where your final destination is and being a skilful counter like Burnett or Whitlock is vital.

From a psychological viewpoint this method does have its benefits, there is no time for the anxiety to grow, there is no time to consider how vital the shot is and thus increasing the stress and for Richie Burnett this `natural` way of playing worked for him.

However, tonight we will most likely see the other side of the coin. Steve Brown advocates an approach we are also fans of at the Darts Performance Centre. He will stop when there is an important double to be hit. His method is to attempt  to completely relax and then focus solely on his objective of hitting the double, then he throws.

Then to add further fuel to the “what is the best approach` debate we have Jelle Klassen. He hasn`t just got his foot but his whole body in the “Burnett camp” when it comes to the contemplation of the shot routine! We will probably be all left pondering once again tonight at some point that if only Jelle slowed down a fraction when it came to hitting the double he may be a more effective player. But that`s how he plays.

So what is the best approach? Well first of all we would recommend getting your counting sorted out and not to throw a dart until you know exactly where you are heading. After that it is down to the style of the individual player and also whether they possess the skill of being able to shut out stress and anxiety, if you can at least you have a choice of which style to adopt.

A German Text Book


John Gwynne admired the German Jyhan Artut last night for his focus, we agree, despite the fact he lost. His throwing technique may not be `text book` but it`s not far off but he is like a statue when he throws. His eyes did not move from the target until the third dart hit the board. Also, there was not any “unnecessary” shuffling up and down the oche by the German, he let his skill and his darts find their destination, now that is text book!

Be Prepared

Posted in darts, Darts, PDC Darts, Sport | Leave a comment