How to get out of dart throwing slump in the middle of a match

What to do when your darts game falls apart during a match.

Every dart player – even the pros – go through times when their game seems to deteriorate; where they can’t seem to do anything right.

Know that this is totally normal and is just a part of being human, We all have outside stresses, physical highs and low and biological rhythms that will cause to  to have bad days (and amazing days!)

Here’s a few ideas to help you when you catch yourself in a slump. These are for when you’re in an actual match. Ideas for breaking longer slumps are in another post.

1) Calm down:. The calmer you are the better you will throw. Concentrate on controlling your breathing and think about something pleasant, like your last vacation.

Take an extra few seconds at the oche or while waiting to throw to just get in a couple of good, deep breaths.The goal is to slow down your heart rate and minimize any nervous jitters you may have.

Don’t get mad. Remember that we all have bad throws and nights and trust that it won’t last forever.

Put all your focus on what you want to hit next and the outs you need to achieve. Think of your next 3 darts and all the possible out combinations you might have (“if I hit T20 my next dart is at S18, but if I hit S20 my next is at T18”) This will keep your brain focused on the game and not on your performance

2) Don’t make adjustments Staying focused on the numbers you need to win the current game is the only thing you should be thinking about right now.

This is not the time to “go back to” your old stance or try that new grip you’ve been working on. Adjustments to your game should occur at the practice board not in live games.

A slump is a psychological issue, not a mechanical one so you need to work on your head not your hand.

3) Let it go. So you threw some bad darts. Big deal, life is short, move on. I guarantee that you will throw better darts in the future. Look forward to those moments.

Also remember, one thing that even the best player in the word can’t change is a dart that’s already thrown. Keep focused on the next dart, not the last one.

4) Believe in Yourself Have you ever thrown a perfect dart? A perfect Ton80? 3 triples in cricket? That’s all the proof you need to know that you are capable of throwing perfect darts.

  • You can hit what you need.
  • You will get your next out.
  • You are ready to win your next game.

Positive self-talk is essential for any competitor – Use it.

What do you do when you’re in a slump? I’d love to hear your tricks for getting out of a slump, especially during match time.

The Focus of Phil Taylor

Phil Taylor plays better the more pressure he’s under. Here he throws his 2nd 9-dart out of the match for the win.

Phil Taylor focus

Another Taylor legend – two nine dart games in a single match. Not in a tournament…in a single match.

As usual Taylor continues to set the bar for every dart player in the world.

The lesson that I think people may miss here is that when he hit the second 9-darter he was shooting for the match. At 7-7 tied with James Wade (who is himself one of the all-time great darters) Taylor was playing match game against a player who held even with him for the last 14 games…    [Correction: I realized that this was not match game but rather a race to 10. Changes nothing…]

Phil Taylor focus

What continues to amaze me about Taylor is that he simply does not crack. Ever. And he always plays his best when he’s under the most pressure.

At his level, it’s not about darts anymore – it’s mind-control.