If you are like me and play in inter-society leagues and competitions, you will quickly realise that your mindset is the most important key to success. I am currently playing for University of Manchester in the NUDL West league and have participated in 2 UDUK (University Darts UK) Big Weekenders, which is the biggest annual university darts tournament consisting of Singles and Team events. Hence, I have a fair share of experience in playing competitive darts.
The following tips do not help you improve mechanically as a player. But they help mechanically good players reach the next level and less talented players pull off upsets:
Don’t be toxic
I have seen a number of players get angry at their opponents after they lost or when the opponent celebrated after hitting a good shot. Physical fights and beer throwing are not uncommon to see.
Darts is entirely down to individual performance even in team events. If you lose, you only have yourself to blame. If your opponent is a complete jerk, just ignore him and focus on your game. Similarly, taunting your opponents is an equally atrocious way to act.
Do not be obsessed with your opponent’s progress
Although I mentioned previously that you need to keep up with your opponent’s pace in terms of scoring, always remember that the game is not over until it is over. Focus on what is within your control and do your best to throw consistently. Your opponent may not be able to take advantage of a big lead.
Throw only when you are ready
This sounds too obvious, but some people rush through their darts without realising. Unless you are taking an unbelievably long time to throw your darts, there is no harm taking longer than usual to ensure your throwing arm is steady. In UK’s cold weather, I also suggest wearing a jacket while playing because shivering will affect your accuracy.
Be confident of your own ability
I notice that some players change their throwing technique deliberately or unconsciously when attempting to check out. They either throw too fast/slow or change their release point. What usually happens next is their dart goes way off the intended target.
You should be confident enough of your own throwing technique and stick to it every time you step up to throw. If not, you probably need to analyse your throwing technique and see if some slight adjustments can improve your consistency.
Accept your mistakes
Maybe you just keep scoring low or missing the doubles. Sometimes you hit bottoms in your game. It is important to realise that you are not perfect but you can climb back up if you learn from your failures. I have seen some people quit darts entirely because they just keep losing.
Look at mistakes constructively and think about what you can do differently next time. But avoid getting frustrated about the fact that you are not the best you can be because you will end up learning nothing.