David FatumThe SCORPION

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Toe Line Disappoinment Revisited

Handling Disappointment

Revisited from 2009

I first wrote this article back in 2009 when I was playing the PDC Tour, it fits in nicely with the Dartitis article and how to be better in general so enjoy!

How do you handle disappointment on the toe line?  I had just finished two weeks on the PDC tour (4 events) and already you hear people saying how poor they are playing or the results they have received. I was talking with James Wade and he was saying how bad he was right now, number 3 in the world who made a bit over 600K US last year playing darts feels like he sucks. So it does not matter if you are a league player or someone that travels the world playing darts everyone suffers disappointment but how you handle it will separate who you are.

 I had just left Gibraltar, a British island south of Spain, feeling horrible about my results that weekend and all down about my play.  As I said EVERYONE feels this at times but what is your plan to change it? Will you talk to everyone who will listen and tell them how you are struggling? Do you say I guess I just do suck? Or will you be the person that says “Ok I I shot bad but I am still a good player.” What you do when you have these feelings is what will separate you from a basement player, a league player or someone that travels the world playing on TV.

I had a night this last season in darts where I had shot 5.7mpr in Cricket one week and followed it up with a 3.3 the next week. So what did I say when asked what happened? I said “I am playing great! Just because I shot bad tonight does not mean I am not a good shot does it?” Of course it doesn’t. I went home and practiced every day and shot 5.4 the next week again. I am traveling so much right now (was only in the US 36 hrs last week before Gibraltar) that some times I won’t be as fresh or as ready as I want to be and you have to accept that some results will be less then perfect but it does not change the player you are.

Now how do you change your negative feelings after a bad loss or bad week in darts? First, do not acknowledge it!!! You are what you tell yourself you are. The number one thing I try to share with other players in Masters is “YOU CONTROL YOUR THOUGHTS!!!!” When you get nervous or are feeling negative about your game it is because of the thoughts you ALLOW that little voice in your head to say to you. Remember it is YOUR voice so CHANGE THEM to positive thoughts. You NEVER have a shot to win the game, you just have a target, just like any other to hit, it just happens that the game ends when you hit it. If you go up there saying “just hit the double16 to win!!” your brain may go “if I miss I will lose” and YANK in the fat 8 it went so off you go feeling disappointed. Whenever you talk about winning your brain will bring losing into the conversation as well. So what do you do? Do what I do, shake their hand walk away and say “it won’t happen again because I am going to practice even more this week.” If it is a really bad loss take a few minutes to reveal in your disbelief by yourself (do not stand there and talk about it as it is over already) then move on to getting better. If you decide to talk about it and tell everyone how you are struggling then you are just reinforcing those negative thoughts making them the dominate belief you have of yourself.

If you do not learn something about your game every time you play then you are not paying attention or wanting to be better. A very hot player on tour right now has hit 2 finals and 2 semi-finals in the last two weeks making about 15K US which basically makes him at least another 30K minimum by qualifying for all the TV events so I asked what changed? “I am keeping a journal” he replied. WOW, I have had practice journals but never thought about all that but that’s professionalism if I have ever seen it. He tracks how much sleep he is getting at events, what/how much he drinks, the food he eats, the hours/what practice routines he does and how well he felt while playing and the thoughts he felt when losing. Through this info he developed a system to help him prepare to be a champion and now he is. I have written articles in the past about goal setting and having a plan but Mark Dudbridge has done this perfectly and is now achieving at the highest level.

So when you get negative about your game, do not verbalize it, change it. Go home practice harder, have a plan and change the thoughts you have until all you have is positive pouring out of your ears. Good luck and perfect practice makes perfect not just plain practice.

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