In some games you are behind, in some games you are in the lead - a dartplayer's usual business. Both situations have their own typical mental consequences. The most common situation is that the (supposed to be!) better player is in front. That's a normal situation which both players are "used to". In most cases the weaker player resigns at some point of the match, and then it's all over. It usually is easy to see who is behind only by looking at the players' behavior. The behind player will lower his head and shoulders, usually shake his head or even nag or grumble. Well, only a mentally weak player would do so.
In such situations where you are a way behind it is important to think about what your look is like. Check yourself for what I mentioned above. Do you look like a loser? Then you normally are a loser. The player who is in front is expecting this. Raise your shoulders, raise your head and step to the oche in full confidence. Don't care about the standings in the match. Just look like a winner. Your opponent will recognize your confident look and maybe (if he is mentally weak) begin to think about why you look as if you were in the lead. And this is your chance. Once you get your opponent to think a little more than usual, he may lose his balance. Of course you will have to throw some good darts to close up, but if you look strong and confident (even if you actually don't feel strong and confident) real strength and confidence are often coming to you. If you look like the boss on the board it's not unusual that you in fact will become the boss!
Of course this needs practice. So take care of your behavior during
dart matches. Ask a friend to watch your play. After the match he can tell
you which impression he had of your behaviour. After a while it won't be
difficult for you to recognize yourself what effect your look has to your
opponent, and then you will be able to control it properly.
In the next issue of TDT we will look on situations where the weaker player faces himself with the unusual situation of being in the lead, which surprisingly puts him usually in trouble.
Karlheinz Zöchling, Vienna, July 7, 1996