Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Darts etiquette, is it dead ?


Those folk who have come across my previous blogs know i have touched on this a little in previous blogs, but i felt it was now worth me doing a whole blog on darts etiquette, which for the purpose of this blog and save me keep typing it out im going abbreviate to etq as i dont want to keep writing the whole word out to be honest.

So what is darts etq, is their a set guideline, well the honest answer i guess is no, there is not a set guideline but a unwritten code that i would hope all darts players would adhere to, however coming back to the game after a long stay away i'm wondering if it is still about.

Below are a few darts etq i feel make the game better if we all stuck to them.

Each game begins and ends with a handshake

We have a few variants to this as a fist pump or as our friends across the pond say knuckles, i think is also acceptable, and shaking hands at the end even if you have lost is also a given, however we have seen the pro players not do this also on stage. Its frustrating when you might have thrown 14 bloody match darts and not hit that double (i might also be speaking from experience here) but no matter how annoyed you are shake the opponents hand, this is not a fist pump or tap on shoulder moment they have beaten you fair and square a hand shake is the least you can do, lets be honest if we were jousting and they had beat you, well you would be dead and not able to shake hands so be thankful its not jousting.

Respect and always thank the marker after the game

No one apart from the PDC & BDO officiating team i guess, loves to mark a game of darts. In the pub some players will shy away from the marking duties as they cant add up or take away, but do it fine when they are playing, but without the person at the board your not getting very far in your match lets be fair so at the end of the game thank them, win or loose, go over and say thannk you for marking the game. I hate it when i call a game and go 

"Thats game in 2 darts"

Turn around and not one of the players i have just marked for have come towards me to say thank you, and it happens all the bloody time. I have played a game where i have been the away team my opponent has won i have shaken his hand and then walked over to the marker to shake their hand and they have gone

"whats that for"

Well its for been kind and marking the game of darts for us its the least you can do.

Try not to remove your darts until the marker has confirmed your score

This is a courtesy to the marker but also to help you, if you hit a 17 walk up to the board, confirm with the marker/ref that it is just a 17 and then rip them out the board like you wnat to chuck them in the bin, if you hit a S20,T20,T7 but the treble 20 is on the wIre and you remove them to quick the marker might have thought it was just another 20 as they might be thinking what the score is with the last dart. Help them out leave them in and conform the score with them.

Keep quiet and respectful whilst waiting to throw

So we all stand behind the player who is throwing and the last think they want to hear behind them is you f'ing and jeffing about your last throw, yes your darts were terrible, yes you can throw better but keep them thoughts to yourself in your head the player throwing does not want to here them nor does the whole pub or venue you are in, so stay quiet whilst waiting to come back to the oche.

When marking a few do's and dont's

Now yes we need to respect the markers, i have all ready touched on this element, but as a marker there are a few things you need to do as darts etq from your part
1 - When a dart hits the board dont lean in to see what its hit, any darts you are unsure about wait until they have thrown all three darts
2- Dont stand in the way too much, make sure that the players can see where you are marking, dont bloke the board
3 - Dont twirl the pen or rubber in your hand as they are throwing or take a drink of your pint (had that done before)
4 - If they ask you what is left, tell them what they have scored and what you believe it too leave so if they have 103 and hit T19 and ask you say " 57 scored leaves you 46" i had one guy marking once who would have said "thats 57 mate so you need a 6 for double top"
5 - Just be honest with them, if you are struggling to mark or add the score or take it away, say so early on or ask another to mark for you, you wont be thought of any less this way, and trust me the players will prefer you to do this so they can get a smoother game.

Putting your name down for a mark

If you are in a pub in general the rile of thumb (love that phrase) is, if you put your initials up on the board you are requesting to mark a game and then play the winner of the game you mark. Similar in pool when there is a match on you might pop 50p or a pound on the table to play the winner, in darts its the same. When i started playing i would walk in the pub sunday dinner and there use to be 7 initials up before me, so i had to wait but if you walk in a pub and 2 players are playing ask them if you can put your name down to mark and play. 
Now this can also go one of two ways and i have had this happen, if the players are decent players they will say no problems carry on their game and then shout you to mark when that leg is done and you will enter into mark a game with the idea of you play the winner.
However more and more now when you approach two players and say can i pop my name down to mark and play you will no doubt be greeted by

"were just playing between ourselves sorry"

Well not exactly, yes their is no written rule but in darts etq you are allowed to put ya name down to mark, they dont own the board if i a pub its just the same as a pool table but ya money down to play. When i was in Bridlington last year i entered one of my fav darting pubs and two blokes were on the board and i went over and said pop me name up for a mark and play please chaps and was told they were in a best of 21 series and were ok. I continued to write my name down on the blackboard and stared at them with contempt i guess you might say. I then went and got my drink from the bar and waited for them, they continued to play and mark their own games, and didnt like it when i corrected them. They then packed up and left, the landlord of this pub come over and said to me that i should have just started marking  and then played, which yes i guess now i wish i had but what was the harm in me marking a game, for them to be honest i would have been happy to mark more than one but it was not to be.

So if you are playing your mate on the board and a player comes along to play and pop their name down remember, its not your board its good darts etq to let them mark and play.

These are just a few i have bug bears about off top my head there are of course many more, including if you are just watching in a pub and the first dart the player throws hits a T20 dont then shout out good darts let them hit all 3 in the board first, but all in all lets just be respectful of the game and the players.

Till we chat again, enjoy your darts and mind that oche folks.



Twitter - @wayupna - @dartsinstoke
Facebook - facebook.com/dartsinstoke






Saturday, January 4, 2020

Practice is not making perfect..


So they saying goes "practice makes perfect" but im starting to debate if this is true or not.

Recently my game has not been going up but down, in fact my game and darts average is going down quicker than my mortgage this month. I'm putting the time in on the practice board and i have not changed my darts or routine, however when i have come to play i cant recall now the last time i won a game and the last time i hit a double on my first attempt.

So lets chat about my practice routines, when i go to the board weather it be at home or in the pub i go via the same routine

100 Darts at 20
5 games of High-score
100 Darts at 20
2 games of Bobs 27
JDC Routine

and then i play a few legs of 501 and the odd leg of 1001

This is my normal practice routine, someways i will mix things up and add something different in using the GoDartsPro website perhaps play a game of A1 or doubles lock, just to keep it all fresh, so currently i'm getting good amount of time in at the practice board. Generally im throwing for about 70-80 minutes with the odd break for a drink and a snack, but im not seeing any results on the match board. At the moment im only playing in one league in the week so im putting the lack of competitive darts down to the poor play from me, but still i should be doing better in them games i feel with all the practice time i put in i should at least be seeing a double go in or a W in my column but no its just not clicking for me.

Take my last league match i played i hit the bull when i wanted to hit the 25 to leave me tops, so i was left with 15 a score of 15 not a fantastic leave i agree with you, but i was also coming back to the board to take it out i had 3 darts in hand to take a leg, something i cant recall last time i had chance to do this. I followed my normal outshout i would go as posted on the dartsinstoke checkout page ( https://www.dartsinstoke.co.uk/darts-checkouts ) yes single 3 for double 6. 

I already know i will get a rift of comments from players saying no Shaun 5 for double 5 or single 8 for double 4 as that is also a progression you would be use to, but single 3 is a nice dart low and then you can reset and go for the D6 if you hit single 6 you have already got a marker down in the 3, at least thats my thinking.
I come up to throw and THUD a single 17, great my opponent wants 52 they will take this out i'm thinking but he does not and i get a second chance at the checkout first dart this time hits the single 3 and i compose for the double 6 and....... miss with both my darts in hand, my opponent comes up and had left tops and takes it out, and another defeat for me and another darts night where i have not taken a leg.

I shake hands with him, and the marker, alwasy be nice and thank the marker folks, and i walk over to where i was standing, tip my head to my teammates who i know are all saying why did he go that way for 15 and get my darts walk to the spare practice board in the venue and i throw for single 3, hit, throw for double 6 and guess what hit first time of asking.

WHY !!!

This is the frustration with the game, i know i can hit them, i know i have the ability but it just does not flow when i need it too, every player has the same feeling im certain, but what part of the mental side of the game can help me get over this and take this practice game to the actual match-board.
I see and know players who dont practice darts in the week, they turn up on their respective darts nights throw a load of alcohol down their throat and win games 2-0 with a 70+ average, where as me i put the time in to practice and try to get better but its not helping me, i wonder should i not pick them up for a week and role up to darts night and just throw i cant be any worse than i currently am doing but that is not me, i dont have that switch i can do this, if i have not played for 3 days i get worries i will forget my throwing action and also i can see a difference in my throw when i dont throw for 2 days.

I begin to now question where my darts path is going, and what i need to change to get back to playing well and winning legs, because my fear currently as i write this, is that I'm going to fall out of love with the game again that i have just got the love back for, however i will no doubt sit and watch the BDO darts today and comment to MrsR at some point

"I will be there one day my love, i think i could give him a run for his money today"

True comment or me just been a fantasist !

Till we chat again, enjoy your darts and mind that oche folks.



Twitter - @wayupna - @dartsinstoke
Facebook - facebook.com/dartsinstoke


Sunday, December 29, 2019

Another knockout & another day of mixed feelings


So its the festive season which means that local pubs across the country will be looking to get the local darting communities in the venue by offering a darts knockout. This is not un common at all, you tend to find at this time of year darts knockouts pop up in most places as i type this blog there are about to be two more knockouts set to start registration locally to me. 

So its a good opportunity for players to see where they are at after what in most cases will be a break in play in the local leagues, but you will also get the pro players turning up who are looking just for some practice ahead of attending the Q School or looking to re start the BDO season (if that goes ahead!) and then you will get those who have seen darts on the TV and fancy a chuck to see what its all about.

So with me coming back to playing only this year and been out of action for 4 months with my injury this was to be only my second knockout i have attended this year, was i coming into the day playing well. not at all, i had lost my last 2 league games  which i played which was over 3 weeks past since i played and thew a competitive dart, i had been missing doubles that i know i can take out and the frustration of the game was starting to eat away at me a little. The dart knockout at The Cuckoo in Barlaston was a good opportunity for me to network and chat to others about DartsInStoke as well as have an enjoyable afternoon playing darts.
I had not been the venue before but i know the reputation of the venue was very good and they had 6 boards in the venue to be used, 6 board most pubs have 3 but we are using 6 boards possibly so i felt the day would be smooth running's. The venue itself is a lovely place nice beer at decent prices, and the boards were set out well 3 to the far end where they would normally play pool i guess, 2 more at the end of the bar and one more which was tucked away in a corner by the door. The organiser had decided to leave one board for practice which was by the door on arrival, good move no one likes a darts ko where you cant practice.
When i walked in the venue it was as expected lines upon lines of players waiting to throw their practice darts, some q's can have up to 6 or 7 players waiting to have the chance to throw you three darts and then wait maybe a minute and half before you throw again. Some players use this opportunity to spot there throwing points on the oche on each board where as others pick the board they do not want to be on due to poor light or perhaps its close for people walking past all these factors can effect the way people line up to practice. 
Myself i had been at home on my own board doing my own practice my normal routines, 100 darts at the 20, followed by 30 darts and seen what my highest score can be, and then finish on some double practice games like Bobs27 or 420, i always try and practice more on just my throw as when you practice doubles you cant practice the pressure you are under when your at the board and need to hit D18 or D3.

Back at the venue i went via my normal attending a comp routine, first get a beer and see how it tastes and what price its going cost, then find the control desk and register this event was £5 entry which is the norm i think for most pub darts knockouts these days. After that you have the hardest decision to make do you join a q for a chuck or loiter with intent at the bar, i choose to do the later and stood at the bar chatting with folks i had not seen for years, i felt my practice at home was enough for me today and i was also feeling confident with my throw that i did not see the reason for throwing darts and then waiting minutes to throw again.

So 1:30 comes along and the draw has been made, its now a nervous wait to see if you have to mark one of the first 5 games, this is normally done via either the folks who got a bye or as volunteer markers, on this occasion it was the folks with the bye, this would then also give you a good indication of when you were drawn normally the folks with the bye are near the bottom. The event had 50 players so they needed to whittle it down to 32 and we see the pre lim games start, these can be a pain for a player if you go out in the pre lim its frustrating as you cant even say you went out in the main rounds but this is the way of the game sorry to say. 
The chaps i attended the event with went on early and both won their opening games which then put them into the last 16, i however were still waiting for my fist game to come up. If you recall from my last blog of a knockout i attended i had to wait nearly 2 hours to play my game and that was with only 20+ players this event had 50 players i was getting worried that history would repeat and as it past 3:30 i was correct i still had not played, i had stood around now for 2 hours, at one point i even decided to join the snake to get some practice darts in, just to remind my brain what i was here to do. If i had sat down it would have been the end for me my legs were already starting to hurt from been on them for now nearly 5 hours if you include my practice at home, i had only one other thing to do drink and chat and watch football. 
I plan my next blog to be about drinking and darts i see players get better with drink and others like myself not see any benefit and then there are them folk who after 2 pints can even see the bloody board. With me i just drink and try and keep my mind active i play chess, i use to take a book with me and read but on this occasion i decided not to take a book so played chess on my phone whilst waiting, and then at 3:43 i hear them words 

"Board 2 Steve Rushton Shaun Rogers, Board 2"

Ok now i and my opponent were both sure he said board 4 but it was 2 he assured us, we arrive at the board to start our warm up. I dont do this normally i like to place my drink down get a beer mat and place it in a place i can return after my throw and flip it, strange but it helps me to concentrate for some reason between throws i have done it for years, it use to help i dont think it does anymore. I had my 9 practice darts and wanted to now play, if you hit a big finish in practice or a 180 it counts for sod all at the end of the day so i dont tend to go for them. As i turned back around there was still no marker, how hard is it if you loose stay and stand by your board ready to mark the next game, its not rocket science folks. Then as i was just sorting my mat and pint out a bloke appeared and said them words every dart player dreads to here

"I will do my best but im not to cleaver!2

Well unless we have Rachel Riley or Carol Vorderman marking who is but we all try and help and do our best but we all know the basics at least (or you would hope) we threw for bull and i started the match, good start and hit a 85 to open with, however my opponent who i recall from my previous darting days hit a 125 he was a damn fine player i knew i needed to keep pace on scoring to stand a chance and then hope the doubles gods were with me. But it was to be a distraction that knocked my rythem out and that was to be the marker, he had been putting my scores on my opponents side and vice versa I had not had that done on me before.
I know i should but i dont tend to look at my side of the score board until i know in my head i'm on around 200 points but on this occasion my opponent was constantly correcting the man with the pen, this is not me been bitter it might sound it but its not it just knocks you out of sync when you come walking back from the board and they are correcting scores or making sure that scores are put on the right side. 
Then in leg 2 the best one of them all, my opponent starts and hits a very nice 180 so lets see 501 take away 180 is.. 411 is what the marker put down he wrote down 411, now i'm coming up to throw and i have seen this and fair play to the chaps behind me they were not going to say anything until i had thrown but i have seen this now do i correct him now or after i have thrown, should i correct him its not my job to do so, but at the same time if i dont now then he will have to work out what ever i have hit and then replace the other score so i said 
"check that mar mate"
And my opponent told him it was 321 as he was usnure what the score was, so i stepped back up and hit 45 would it have been better if i had not looked and just thrown who knows.

After this i decided to try and get my rhythm back but it just did not happen for me, the constant start stop was annoying, i had let this get inside my head and then when i thought in leg 3 i was on around 174 i looked and was only on 297 i looked at my scores above and he had but me a 25 down and a 26 when the scores i hit were 45 and 66 so help me god, i could have said something there and then i guess but they were many darts back so where was the point.
My opponent took out a lovely 85 to win 3-0 and i shook the markers hand and got the expected 
"sorry about that"
Ahh what ever i wanted to say, but no me been me i went dont worry happens to us all.

I then stood by the board with my pen and eraser ready to mark the next game. Marking the game after you loose is embarrassing sometimes, the players playing on this board know that you lost just and are out but they are not going to console you nor is the folks you come with you pay your money you take your chance you now need to concentrate on the mark giving them the best game experience possible and then you can walk away and think what went wrong with you today.

All in all the game i marked was very good, shame the chap had a bounce out on bull to make it all level, you dont mind games that go the distance but we all prefer a 3-0 mark. This was not to be my only mark of the day, when i went to watch the chaps i come with i marked the board for one of them and that game was a pleasure to mark also, irony was the chap who beat me was playing again so soon after perhaps a 10 or 12 minute wait between games, if only, but the guy he lost to was on fire with a 17,13 and 16 darts leg to win the match, i even had something never done before i polite ask for a score check, normally you just get "whats that score" or "whats that leave" but this was a true gent of darts, "can i get a score cheek please young man" restores your faith in darts etiquete a little.

Once this was done it was time to thank the organiser of the event which i always try to do, having run darts knockouts myself i know how much time you have to put in and effort to get things going right. Its not there fault i have to wait 2 hours to play, if you have a load of slow players in the pre lim games and early 1st round matches it can be a nightmare and when scores are been put in worng and folks have to correct stuff also when players win and go for a fag or the bar for a drink and dont inform them they have won its difficult and hard to get a good flow going. However the control desk did there job perfect for me, moment a board is free next game was on it straight away. 
I would happily attend the venue again for another darts knockout and im sure with the facilities the venue had there will be more darts knockouts been held at The Cuckoo Pub in Barlaston and as always DartsInStoke are more than happy to help support with advertising of these events.

So thats me done for 2019, what a roller-coaster year its been for me, from leaving football to come back to darts, then leaving darts when i did my injuryy to getting the love for the game back now, who knows where 2020 will take me hopefully i will see more wins and play more competitive games, what ever happens you can be sure the DartsInStoke blog here will be getting the brunt of my joy or frustration.


Till we chat again,  Happy New Year to you all, enjoy your darts and mind that oche folks.



Twitter - @wayupna - @dartsinstoke
Facebook - facebook.com/dartsinstoke

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

How did i get started


I was thinking back the other day to when i picked my first set of darts up and what i did to get myself submerged into the world of darts. 

It was whilst watching the 2007 Grand Slam of Darts on TV that i caught the bug for the game of darts, the week after i went out and brought a set of darts from ASDA yes a supermarket was where my first set come from. They were just a steel set of darts which were probably about 26 or 28g in weight they were a real heavy dart i recall. I then brought a board and im not ashamed to say the board i got was a cheap double sided board with more staples than a normal office stapler can hold.

Yes this above is similar to my first ever dart board, i recall setting it up in my front room much to my wifes dismay i think. The darts i had brought would make such a noise when they hit this board and leave such a hole it was terrible but it was my starting point in the game. 
At night after work i would walk across my local pub The Albert Inn where i would use the board they had up the corner of the pub which to be honest was worse than my cheap board but it felt good just trying to play darts. After a few weeks playing on my paper board i went out and for some reason i brought a cheap electric soft tip board, well i say for some reason the main reason was because of all the holes in the wall. The soft tip board was nothing special like we have on the market today (i.e. The Target Nexus), you could only play 501 and just by yourself there was no playing the computer or a 2 player game just 1 mode of 501, however the darts were really light and it didnt feel fun to play and again the e noise was terrible. 

I then had to make the decision did i enjoy playing darts, Yes i did so that meant one thing and one thing only create a proper set up in the living room and play properly. Bare in mind at this time i was only playing at home also not for a team or anything like that i just enjoyed playing darts, when i got in from work it was a good way to unwind and also allowed me space from having to watch the normal TV shows that are always on.


So as you can now see from the picture above i had mounted the board to a piece of wood which i had felted brought a surround and to the left was also a white board. My computer was to the right which i also used still for scores using no1 scoring software ( link on the website - https://www.dartsinstoke.co.uk/darts-training) this set up really helped me out it was not as loud as we felt it was but im sure our old neighbors would not agree with me. This set up then allowed me to practice on a regular basis and eventually give me the confidence to approach my local pub and ask them if they had a space in the darts team, the week later after i asked i was signed and won my first ever game in the league and the rest is well history and lead to where im at today.

So i have gone from the days of using a paper dart board with heavy darts to a pro set up for a non pub player to where i'm at now where when i moved into my new house i selected the wall that used to be our old outhouse to be my throw, and because im now better than i was 10 years ago (or at least i think i am), as you will see below i dont bother with the surround anymore and the throw i have created is a very nice throw.


The tablet next to my board allows me to practice against a computer algorithm using the MyDartsTraining app (again a link on DartsInStoke) as in the old house i have 3 spot lights that shine just onto the board and no where else in the house which allows for the best lighting option on the board. I have a drop in oche in the kitchen floor and im not sure if the wife even knows where the holes are for the oche, but if she ever does wear high heels in the kitchen i could be in alot of trouble.

Darts can consume your life, i use to play 4 nights a week and attend knockouts with friends at the weekends but now im at just 1 night a week where i want to still play 2 or 3 nights but the money tree at the end of the yard does not keep producing purple vouchers for me to go out 3 nights a week. However when i have a bad day or just want to escape the daily grind i can shut my kitchen door drop in the oche and practice and play as many legs of darts that i wish too.

So thats how i started out and how i got to where im at today, let me know in the comments how you started and what was your first board and set of darts.

Till we chat again,  enjoy your darts and mind that oche folks.


Twitter - @wayupna - @dartsinstoke
Facebook - facebook.com/dartsinstoke





Monday, December 16, 2019

Where's the Point



Now you might be thinking from the title this is going to be a blog post about me moaning that my darts are not going well and im hitting the 5 n 1's too many times in a match, well its not that will be in a future blog so you have been pre warned about that. This is about the points in your darts and why i feel its good to change them regular and also to hopefully get some good comments and feedback from other dart players if they agree with me.

So i had never changed my points on my dart until this year, yes i have had the same set of darts since 2009 and whilst i have been playing over the years i have never changed my points, the darts i use are Phase5 darts from Phil Taylor and unicorn. For years all i have done is rough the points up and sharpen them on a regular basis but then i started to notice many bounce outs and also the way my darts were entering the board did not feel right anymore. Naturally i looked at my darts and said its time for a change and brought a new set of darts, with new very sharp points which also had a little extra grip to them. The way i hold my dart my index finger tends to touch the point so the grip on the points was a welcome addition to the darts as i then had another point of reference as tio where to hold the dart. 
With my new darts i started to throw well again and see a little form come back in to my game, but then after a few months had passed the same demons come back to me the darts were not sitting right and they were falling out more. I spoke to some friends in the darting community and was told change your points then they clearly are not doing the job, but they were still sharp from me constantly roughing them up they were of good size still so i didn't see the need to change them again. However after playing in the local and spending more time picking up my darts i thought yeah lets change them and see what happens. I went out and via the DartsInStoke account purchased a dart re pointing tool, now locally to us here in Stoke there is no where you can get points changed no shops locally tthat sell points, so i purchased the tool for myself and also purchased some points, and purchasing points for your darts is not like purchasing pants or boxers, there are hundreds of differnet types and designs and feels and lengths it must have been how the wife feels when she goes to buy shoes i guess.

I eventually purchase the Target Pro Play Diamond Steel tip points in 32mm link to follow (https://www.target-darts.co.uk/accessories/points/diamond-pro-point-black) so after they arrived i decided to change my points in the new darts, not my original phase 5 darts but my new darts which were Andy Fordham darts, i followed all the instructions and was nice quick and simple, however when i started to practice i had the same issue as what Peter Wright had a few weeks back at the Player Championships my point stayed in the board what is this, this has never happened to me before, i then began to repoint the dart and yes it happened again. So after seaking advice from the community i was informed to drop a touch of super glue onto the end of the point but i didn't want this to happen again so i now proceed to re point my Phase5 darts with these points. I dropped a little glue on the point end and inserted them into my Phase5 darts and they were a good fit. My Phase5 darts now had new points for the first time since the great one had passed them to me all them years ago.
I stepped up to the board and they felt great but these are the darts i had not been using recently and last time i had they kept bouncing out so this was on my mind but i threw them at the board and like they had never left my hand a lovely 140, these were to be my darts moving forward. The points felt great as well on my index finger and they helped to weigh the dart into how i drop them into the board.

So my mind set now is that if i start to see the darts not sitting right and bouncing out again should i just look to sharpen the points or for the cost of just around £4.50 change my points, at worst i might change them 3 or 4 times a year so the cost is not going to be massive across 12 months.

I guess its all down to you as a player and how you approach the game from a psychology point of view, for me now if my game is not going well i will look to change my points and see if that helps to improve my game, so if your darts are not sitting right in the board and if you are having too many bounce outs i would suggest a change of points to you before you seek any other line of advice. 

Till we chat again,  enjoy your darts and mind that oche folks.




Twitter - @wayupna - @dartsinstoke
Facebook - facebook.com/dartsinstoke






Friday, November 22, 2019

Darts Coaching



Coaches, every sport has them football has them everywhere, cricket has coaches, athletics has them but does darts, well yes it turns out there are a few folks out there that are now offering this, so it got me thinking, does it work?

I have never been to a coach but i have had conversations with a few folks who do organised darts coaching. This is not a blog to say that there is no place for darts coaching, because i honestly think there is a place for darts coaching in the world. We as average darts players all want to improve our game and seek a little more perfection to the game and perhaps someone who can point out to us what we need to do can help with this but is this not just paying someone for them to tell you how bad you are doing something you thought you were ok at.

I thought this but then i did some looking into this with golf instructors/coaches, they tell you your swing is wrong or your delivery, stance etc and yes it helps players to get better i have seen this first hand when i went to research this, and these guys are not big pro names just chaps who have played the game for some time and been appointed a coach as they hit off a good handicap (which still to this day i do not understand) so i have played darts for several years can i coach, well no i have not done anything in the game was the comment i got but these chaps on the internet have never won a worlds or a PDC major, so what gives them the right to claim to be a coach.

I dont want it to be sour grapes, its not that, but i think i can help improve a players throw and their stance but how can i when im still only hitting a 58.4avg myself what makes the difference in them listening to my words, what gives me the authority to say i can tell them what they are doing wrong, when a coach somewhere can critic me.

So im not naming names but a chap on the net does darts coaching 1on1 sessions which he charges like £40 per hour for these take place at his local pub and from what i can see he will talk to you about your approach to oche, your arm level and body shape, but will it be a case of him telling you how he thinks it should be done and not just helping improve what you already have brought to the oche. When we coach football we dont tell a player what they are doing wrong and change it we see how they are doing it and take how they do it and manipulate it to suit the needs. that line got away from me a little there but i think you get where im coming from.

There is no regulation authority for coaching in darts there is no level 1 or level 2 coaching qualifications you need to take, so what makes a darts coach. If Phil Taylor is coaching darts i will accept this he is the greatest to ever play the game but if its a chap that has never played at a high level would i take his advice ? We can all improve and take advice on board but do we need to pay for this advice if its just another player who possibly just has a few more years playing than us.

Again im not saying that darts coaching is a nonsense idea, i think there is a place for it but all i wonder is what makes a coach if there are no regulated qualifications.

Till we chat again, enjoy your darts and mind the oche folks.


Twitter - @wayupna - @dartsinstoke
Facebook - facebook.com/dartsinstoke

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Now i remember why i take a book...


So after 13 weeks of injury recovery from a full Achilles rupture i decided to attend my first darts knockout in a very long time.

It was run at a local club by a gentlemen who has been raising money for Prostate Cancer research and has raised over 14k so far a fantastic feet i think you will agree. I had heard about his events and that they are run very well and are superbly organised and i have to say this was to be the case.

I arrived at the venue a good 40 minutes before TTO (Toe the Oche) as i had not been here before and wanted to see what the venue was like, i was aware of a few boards in use and yeah there was 4 boards to use all good quality and each with a raised oche always good, i have been comps before where its been a strip of tape on the floor that can get very argumentative.

So catch up with old faces i have not seen for months and in some instances years, i stepped away from darts back in 2012 and have dipped in and out since but now looking to stay involved more in the game. Back in the early 2000's a Saturday afternoon darts ko in the potteries would attract around 70-80 players some times and a average pub ko around 35-40 today we had just 25 players register, so it gets me wondering what we need to do to get players coming back to play in comps, i have discussed in previous blogs about players not been interested due to a PDC or BDO player might be there and they will win it, but who cares we are here to play darts and to be the best you have to beat the best.

So we get to roll call at the event not something i have come across much where all the players gather together and the control desk call our names out like a register and we say we are here, a good idea but i can imagine with a few more in the room this would be a nightmare and time consuming. Then the draw is done on computer and verified by someone and we start with pre lim games due to the numbers, so we need to get to a last 16 which means 5 pre lim games these start across the 4 boards, now my thinking from the off was would it be better to use 3 boards and leave a practice board but thankfully we used all 4 as some of the games took a little longer than you would expect, in fact one game took over 40 minuted to be played and it is best of 5 first to 3. The best thing about a darts knockout is players of all levels and abilities can play against anyone, if it happens that 2 players who are of a less ability play each other then you are going to be in for a long game sadly, if two top level players play it will be done in seconds as they will be hitting big scores.

So we need volunteer markers to start with and shock no rush in people saying i will do it, but i stepped up, last time i attended a darts knockout i mentioned in other blogs i got up and left at the end and i felt bad about that so i stepped straight in and marked a game between two very good ladies dart players who tested my maths with some good 19 plays, the game was a 3-1 win and the darts thrown were good, and i knew if i had to play the winner in the next round i would need to be on top form but this was not the case.

So the game on Board3 between a young man and a lady took the longest and used 3 markers overall, this held up proceedings but this is what you have to factor in when you attend comps, not every game will be done in minutes. What i use to do back when i use to attend regular was take a book and sit and read whilst i waited if there was no practice boards in use, today i couldn't sit down as my achillies would seize up and also i had not taken a book, so watching the football on my phone was my option of choice. The event got moving along and most games were going the distance from what i could see and the moment a board was free they got the next game on so not much chance to get in and warm the arm up. I then got asked have you played yet, to which i said no i looked at my phone and it was 15:51 i had been here now nearly 2 hours easily and not played, i had a warm up on arrival marked a game and watched football that was all. So i was now getting a little tired of standing and waiting around now, however i was sure as some folks had played 2 games i must be getting close to playing, but as it turned out i was last drawn out and had a bye in the last 16 into the last 8 for me which meant i would not play for some time. This is the luck of the draw or in my case the unluckiness of the draw. So after i figured this out i was then just waiting to here my name, it had to be soon right and at 16:06 it was time for me to play my opening game, i had about a good solid 25 minutes warm up at the venue, a few hours at home before i arrived and i felt good to throw, then walking towards me was my opponent John Burgess a top level player but i still felt confident i have known John for a while and new that if i was to have a chance i could not afford to slip into the 5's and 1's. After a short wait we got our marker and we were underway.

John won the bull, easily might i add and he kicked off with a 85, i thought aup here we go i have a shot to get into the lead and we went .... T3, S20 & S5 sit down now Shaun i thought but sometimes it takes me a leg to get warmed up but not today if i hit a 60 he was hitting 100, if i managed anything over 80 he replied with something over 135.
This proved to me that i needed to step my game up and i was no where near as close as i wanted or thought my game was at, inevitably i lost 0-3 and it took around four and half minutes to loose. 
So i had been here for nearly 2 and half hours and just lost without getting to a double, thats darts for you thats the game.

I marked the game next as you do, i did not leave this time i stayed and marked it and it was a good qfinal game which had good scores and top checkouts.

So what did i take from this experience, my darts are not at a good level, they are a average pub level but comps and knockouts not yet need more time on the practice board. Is there a good darts comp scene in the area, yes i think there is still, 25 is ok but as i said to the runners i think there are more we just need to advertise them right, and last is the standard of darts in Stoke still as strong as when i stepped away from playing,, no, its bloody stronger than ever and the players playing are good, and for me to achieve something at local events well as Finch said in American Pie 2

"Efforts must be doubled"  

Till we chat again, enjoy your darts and mind the oche folks.


Twitter - @wayupna - @dartsinstoke
Facebook - facebook.com/dartsinstoke