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FAQ - Mental

For the mental game also read the many mental game articles.

I wanna learn more about visualizing and "the 
quiet place" i have read the text about it but 
it issn't realy clear to me yet.Is there other
texture about it?and which book is the best book 
for a dart player whith artikels about technics,
tension,vivualizing ect?how long does it take 
before visualizing and the quiet place are going
to work?does it work when you do it just before
you go to sleep?and what if you fall asleep while
you are visualizing?that where the qustions for 
the moment!   later!

Hi Bas,

visualizing pays off in long term. How long you need is individual, but I would say 2-3 months at least. Doing it before you go to sleep is okay, I also did this.

A book especially on mental darts is AFAIK not available. Very good mental books are the ones written by american James E. Loehr. One I have read is titled 'Mentaltraining im Sport' in German. The books by him are very common, so they should be available in dutch.

What do you think of good luck charms in a game? 
I guess you know the ruling Embassy world champion Ray 
Barneveld. He has several good luck charms and habbits 
that help him play well. I personally believe in the 
beneficial influence of good luck charms. But I believe 
it's not the charm itself that does the work but it's 
pure your own thinking that it helps you. It works just 
because you believe it will work. Yesterday I played a 
league match and in bad times I kept on thinking about 
one person (a girlfriend of mine) to give me some kind 
of strength. Maybe it sounds a bit stupid, but hey it 
worked for me at the time! But I also experienced situations 
in wich I was throwing bad and started thinking about some 
good luck charm and my game just got worse. 
Then the thinking had a bad 
influence on my concetration. 
You are exactly right. Good luck charms help you because you believe they help you. There is nothing to say against them, they only shouldn't overvalue anything else in your game - imagine you need your lucky socks, and those socks are ruined by the washing machine, you will have to play without them. If you reach the point were you lose because you believe you lose when your good luck charm is missing, then you've gotten too far.
In your article 'a single problem' you said that you hit the double bull 
because everybody including yourself would understand it if you missed. 
Looking at myself, I think I would definitely miss the double by throwing 
a single bull or something like that. Thinking that I don't HAVE to hit 
it, just makes my selfconfidence go away and something inside me says 
'it's to difficult, so why try so hard?' That's actually the same feeling 
I get when facing an opponent stronger than me. If I see that he's well 
ahead and he keeps on throwing good darts, I start thinking like 'He's 
just to good for me' and at that point he has actually won the game 
because I give up, again by thinking 'it's to difficult, so why try so 
hard?'. I'll try the visualizing technique from now on. Maybe it works. 
And I'll also keep in mind to see it as an oppotunity to show my strength 
and win the game afterall. 
The bull thing is a trick on thinking. You won't hit a target when you try too hard - see negative energy and 'must hit' thinking. The trick is to let it flow mentally. You hit better when you don't try hard and simply let it come. On the other hand this 'simply let it come' or 'let it flow' thinking has nothing to do with half-concentrated arrow tossing, which I think is what you are referring to. The key is to simply throw it - with nothing else in mind than 'now I'm throwing this dart on the bull'. Not 'now I hit it' or 'Now I miss it', just 'now I throw it'. Of course you want to hit it, you want to win and you hate to lose, but at this very moment these things are out of thinking. It's a thinking paradox - the dart is easy because it is too difficult, and it will be in because everyone understands if it is out. In a perfect mental state you can have this sort of thinking on every target you aim at. A player capable of this (I don't think anyone, no matter what playing stregth, is completely capable of that) would have enormous playing strength... at least I think so. Maybe I have a special access to such problems because thinking paradox and paradox in human behaviour is a thing I love to study and think about, and in mental issues there are a lot of surprising and paradox situations.
A few weeks ago I was on the Dutch open tournament (for the first time) and 
I got out in the first round. But I really shouldn't have. I took my first 
leg quite easy but then the nerves came in. Not only my hand was shaking 
but my stance leg also. And it wasn't really the shaking that made me 
throw bad. I would have thrown my tons anyway, with or without shaking 
hand. But the problem was that I started thinking about the people 
watching me, what if they saw me shaking like a leaf!! Boom, my whole 
concentration was gone and I went down 3-1. Well just to bad, but how do I 
control those nerves the next time? I just play league for about two years 
now and I know I am starting to deal with the nerves better and better 
every week but I want some kind of technique or something to help me 
control it. 
That's a thing of controlling your thinking. You can use e.g. 'The Quiet Place' (TDT issue 1) to control nerves, but you will also have to develop thought control. There are no easy exercises to achieve this, it is a process of experience and trial. E.g. whenever you discover thoughts that shouldn't be there at the moment (see also 'energy') then say a mental 'stop' to this thought. You will have to learn to keep an eye on your thoughts during a darts match. Awareness of your thoughts is step 1. Then you will have to check the thoughts if they are negative and destroying (thinking of the crowd is negative and destroying), and finally - and most difficult - you have to learn how to stop them. A good strategy is e.g. saying a mental 'stop' whenever you detect such bad thoughts. If you do this for some time, the thought is likely to be stopped subconsciously. It will also be a good idea to develop your own 'check list' just like the one given in the 'mental quickfix program' article. You can modify this checklist to the problems that are most common in your game. And, of course, don't chicken out because you had these problems in the dutch open. Your first time in a big tournament and the chance to win a match there is just an experience - you wouldn't be human if you wouldn't have had problems there. It is an experience you can use to learn, visualize and think about what went wrong (and, of course, what was okay!).
hi,i currently play in three different leagues. each league 
is 10 weeks and playoffs. my problem is i throw well in all 
three leagues (10-0 / 10-0 and 8-2) in my singles. now we 
are in the playoffs and i lost all three nights in singles.
the teams i play on are counting on my wins / need my wins 
to win the championship and move up. i dont know you iam 
unable to get in (double in). when i get in i get down fast 
and out. i just strugle so hard to get in. do you have 
technigue that can help me?
thank you,brock
Hi Brock,

the problem seems to be that now in the playoffs, when things really start to count, you are putting more pressure on your shots. Especially the double to get in is on higher pressure because it is so important. You should read TDT's mental section, especially the fist one on 'tension' and the one on 'visualizing'. You should work on your tension problem by techniques such as 'the quiet place' and additionally establish visualizing exercises with s focus on the double in problem.

What do you think off when you throw ?

ie when playing poorly i start to analyze my 
action and start playing poorly because im no 
longer concetrting on where my darts are going. 
sometimes i just think if a dart is to low then 
adjust with the next one etc. 
what would you recommend ?
It is important that you don't have to think of technical things in matchplay any more. You have to achieve a skill where all technical things are automated. This means a lot of solid practicing. It's also important to practice before an event or a league night has started. I personally only feel comfortable when I have at least practiced 1 hour prior to an event (e.g. the pros are practicing several hours before their world championship matches, this actually means a longer practice before the match than the match itself lasts!). Therefore all technical 'adjustment' must be done prior to the match!

When you don't have the time to practice before the event you must of course do adjustemnts in matchplay, but this is - as you said - quite difficult, if not impossible. The only thing you can do is mentally. Just don't care of misses and take them as an encouragement for doing better in the next throw. For mental adjustments refer to the previous article 'Mental Qickfix Program'.

	Do you think visualizing can help me be more
consistant?I'll throw one game,in leage play,
like a champion, then the next game like I've 
never picked up a set of darts before in my life.
It's very frustrating. I just seem to have a 
tough time staying focused through the whole match.
I'd appreciate your input.

Thanks,John Gjertsen..New Orleans,La.

Consistancy is the magic word in every sport and the goal of every training plan. Therefore any type of training will help you in getting more consistant.

Your difficulties with staying focussed can have different reasons, but the most probable one is a concentration problem.

Visualizing is of course an excellent tool to work on any problem, including yours. If it really is on concentration, you may find it difficult for a while to improve in visualizing 'cause this technique itself requires much concentration. If you visualize regularly for some time you will find your concentration improving quite naturally.

So do it, you will find it useful anyway.