The responses to my previous article on dartiteous have been numerous, varied and valuable. I have received e-mails from sufferers and non sufferers offering advice, encouragement and passing on their experiences. Also from other readers asking me for help and advice!
Now I am no expert on the subject. I know the problems I had in researching material when I first discovered I had dartiteous some time ago. There is just nothing out there to help you. I have only found a passing mention of it in a couple of articles and web sites, but certainly no details of it's various symptoms, causes, and potential cures. I suppose though, I have now accumulated quite a bit of information on the problem. I have certainly spent a lot of my time chatting to other players during matches about dartiteous and picking their brains for their experiences and encounters with it. This along with the e-mails received and following e-mail discussions does amount to quite a lot of useful stuff on the subject.
All I am able to do is maybe get down some of this information and pass on some potential solutions that may help some players who recognize they have the condition. Even if someone thinks..."That sounds like a good idea, I'll try that"...it may help, and any help is better than none! However, dartiteous does not have a definite pattern, and can hit individuals in all sorts of ways...What is right for one person may not be right for another!
I have mentioned in my previous article that the problem only seems to hit the seasoned darter, and I am now even more confident in saying that this is nearly always the case.
So, I have split the information into these three categories; symptoms, causes, cures. Have a look and see if there is anything you recognize that may help you or a colleague.
One or more of these symptoms may be suffered from:
- Lock up at the back end, or during the backward motion in your throw.
- Hesitancy at the back end of your throw (i.e. not as bad as above, but may develop into that).
- Your backward motion "stutters" or is not smooth.
- A feeling that you will fall forward as you release your dart.
- Actually falling forward or stepping over the Oche when throwing.
- Loss of balance or a feeling of unsteadiness as you release your dart.
- Your release point is all over the place resulting in snatched and pulled darts.
- You cannot let your dart go at all!
- Jerky release and follow through.
- Loss of concentration, i.e. unable to work out numbers and checkouts.
- Sweating, dizziness, nausea.
- Loss of confidence.
- A feeling of 'rising' tension in your whole body that 'erupts' in your throw.
Again, difficult to link specific causes to specific symptoms for an individual player, but these are all the possible causes that have been related or suggested to me. Some of them are contradictory which just goes to prove again, not everything is the same for everybody.
- Playing too much
- Playing too little!
- Taking the game too seriously.
- Getting too stressed about a match, or even a friendly game.
- Stress, including from other sources outside darts, creeping subconsciously into your game.
- Your throwing action is wrong or the mechanics of your throw need attention.
- Your darts are too heavy/light/short/long!
- Too much to drink.
- Too little to drink!
- Not relaxed enough.
- Worrying about your performance.
- Worry about letting people down (partner, team)
Good luck any sufferers. I hope something here can help you.
- Think more of the forward motion and release of your throw, and do not let any thoughts of the backward motion enter your head. Your throw may feel "snatchy" and as if you have no backward motion at all, even though you will.
- Change and experiment with different throwing styles for a while. It may be that a change of grip, stance, and action may be the answer.
- Change your darts. Going heavier seems to be a popular one. This may be because you can actually generate more of a feeling of really "throwing" rather than "lobbing" a much lighter dart.
- Tell yourself motivational and positive things such as...'Just Do it'. (I'm sure that phrase belongs to somebody!) Anything that will boost your confidence.
- Get yourself to relax with 'I don't care where the darts go' or a similar sort of phrase to generate a couldn't care less sort of attitude. This one worked for me! This was summed up as "A relaxed attitude of alert indifference" by one of my e-mail buddies (Thanks Drew).
- Just play an average game instead of trying to play a perfect game all the time.
- Apply the "Tin Cup" theory...move your baseball cap round the wrong way, move your change from one pocket to another, untie your shoelaces. Anything that will work as a diversion tactic against the problem and make you think of something else! You might look a plonker on the oche, but who cares if you stick a 180!
- Stop playing as much or stop playing completely for a while. This one was a popular answer, and has had some success with me. One guy I know stopped playing for 3 months, then went back, and no sign of dartiteous at all. I couldn't do that though, so I just cut down on the practice and dropped myself from the team for a bit, and that has helped.
- Play more - totally contradictory to the above, but a couple of players have told me they drastically stepped up the practice and effectively "played through" the condition.
- Don't take your finishing and performance seriously, keep away from people that analyse your game and make a point of telling you where you went wrong, or even where you went right! It's a game, and should be fun.!
- "Some people think darts is a matter of life and death, some people think it's more important than that!" - Keep away from this thought and mind set!!
- Remove stress and tension from your game where you can, including external sources. Outside influences such as stress from work, domestic problems, forthcoming important events (e.g. getting married, moving house etc.) can be the cause of dartitus.
- Don't think you are letting the team or a partner down before you start. You are not!
- Try NOT concentrating on targeting at all during practice or social darts and just try to get a nice smooth throwing feeling in the general direction of the board!
- Before you play darts throw something quite heavy, such as a rock, as far as you can with your dart arm for a while, till it hurts! Indoors or in the pub immediately before you play is not recommended! Watch out in the pub car park also!
- Don't drink as much alcohol or drink more. One of these may be right for someone! I know which one I'd pick! This came from a friend who knew a guy who was one of those players who relaxed with a few beers and played better as a result, and people told him so! He was positioned in the team as last man because of this, but the beer got a bit excessive, his game went downhill, and the dartitus set in. He packed in the beer altogether on match night and the dartitus eventually disappeared.
That's all I can put together at the moment. These are all genuine ideas that have been submitted or told to me, and have apparently helped to cure somebody somewhere. I wish it was that simple to pick one and you're cured, but it's not. My recommendation is try a couple, try a few, try them all. Whatever works for YOU! Any success or improvement for anybody as a result? - please let me know.
Dartiteous Meets Abbott and Costello!
What's it all about then? Is dartiteous a psychological/mental thing or a physical/mechanical thing. My opinion is that it's a combination of all these things and others, that you never expected. An unwelcome intrusion in the sport that you love! I know it's Mind over Matter, and your brain not talking to your arm properly, but...
Why can't someone let a dart go properly! It's so simple!
No it's not!...It is a culmination of years of working out all those checkouts, all that practice, life at home, life at work, your thoughts and feelings at that moment in time, what someone just said to you, what someone didn't say to you, the lights, the board, the oche, how you think you're going to play, what you had to drink or eat, even what you are wearing. All this exploding in a fraction of a second as your body carries out an action that it has done repeatedly thousands and thousands of times before, in a synergy of co-ordinated yet delicate multitude of beautiful muscle movements. The feeling of release...and you know, you just know, that the dart is right! The almost perfect but silent arced flight of the dart follows. That lovely 'Dufff' sound as your dart parts and sinks into the fibres of the treble twenty! Ooh! It's almost like sex!
Now a lot of smutty innuendoes could follow here, but I will resist. I've also just realized what could be read into that statement about the state of my sex life!? Never Mind!
I know what the Dartiteous problem is..."We are only human". Susceptible to all of life's trials and idiosyncrasies. Accept it and throw!
Throw where you Look, and Look where you Throw,