The WI is our inspiration to help you play better darts this month.
We were contacted a few months ago by Linda, from the Colden Common Women's Institute darts team. The WI are a very diverse organisation and have an active darts scene too. The ladies from Colden Common were used to winning. They practised together once a week but they were not being as successful as they once were.
We had an excellent training session over a few hours and we would like to share what we focused on and let you decide if you could benefit from some or all of what we did with the ladies, either with us or by following our advice.
We started by asking everybody to be open minded to our ideas. Some of the ladies had been playing for many years but it is easy to get stuck into habits, if there are bad ones then you will not ever improve. First up we got everyone sighted using the Winmau SightRight. This is an excellent bit of kit. It lines you up so you are central to the oche. I always use the same line when quizzed why we use this - If you are standing central and throw straight there is only one place the dart will land - in the 20! Lesson over!
Now throwing the dart straight is not as easy as it sounds, we all know that. So next is the video analysis of the players throw. When we do our full analysis on players who visit our coaching room these normally last for around 45 mintues. When there is a team there is simply not time to do a full analysis. However, I have an excellent app for my IPad and there are plenty available for all phones and tablets.
We would urge all players to have a go at this. Slow motion is best and a view from the side and front are the key positions. You will be amazed what you can pick up about your throw using a bit of technology. Another tip, try and do your self-analysis with a team mate. This way you can both learn about each other's faults and keep an eye on each other during practice and matches!
We also do a kit session. We emphasise that despite there being a darts shop under our coaching room this is not a "hard sell". The ladies tried a number of flights/stems combos to see if a change of kit could bring a positive change of performance. One major area, in particular for the Ladies was moving up the weight of darts, sometimes quite dramatically. One went from 24g to 32g with great success.
Our bodies change as we get older and our strength diminishes. Trying to get a lighter dart to the upper part of the board takes an effort. But, with a heavier dart and the same throwing velocity the darts have more momentum to get to the board before dropping. Again, we would urge anyone who is going through this to try a much heavier dart. The principle would also work for junior players.
We wrapped the session up with some practice games which we will discuss next month. What happened next? Well, we got this email:
Hi Paul. I am sure you remember us coming to you for darts training earlier in the year. I am delighted to tell you that the Hampshire Federation WI Darts Tournament Finals were played on Monday and we won!!