Your Darts! The Most Important Piece Of Your Kit!
A few weeks ago there was a Sky Sports article asking "Why do players like Phil Taylor and Peter Wright change their darts? Wayne Mardle chipped in with his opinion. He suggested that players tinkered to try to gain a tiny advantage but was concerned that Wright was changing for the sake of it and was maybe looking for something that was not there.
My view is that it is unfair to tarnish The Power with the Peter Wright brush. Phil only changed his darts a handful of times during the 18 years he was with Unicorn (Phase 6 they got to). He is on his 3rd set since joining Target but he was right to change his kit three times since then. There was a significant decline in his performance and his 3rd (and hopefully last) Target set sees him throwing as well as he was before he switched suppliers.
Wright on the other hand seems to switch for no apparent reason. He hit a 100+ average one week in the Premier League and promptly switched darts the following week. Why? One theory I came up with for this seemingly inexplicable change of kit is that Snakebite has perhaps got too much time on his hands and suffers from new darts syndrome.
We have players come into the DPC shop who get new darts syndrome. They pick up a set of darts, throw a 140 and decide that yes, these are the darts for me. Nothing wrong with that, as such. Is this what is happening to Snakebite? The issue for him though is that he is such a high quality player he can practically pick up any set, throw it well and decide that yes, these will be my darts for the next 7 days! Just like the grassroots players though after a few poor games, (or maybe just one) the darts are ditched for the next great thing.
On the other hand we get the players in who tell us they have been using the same darts for 10, 15 or 20 years. Whilst this is the polar opposite to our new darts syndrome players, is this the way to go either? I would argue that after 10+ years the darts they are throwing bear little resemblance to the set they started out with. By this I mean the grip would have worn out completely, often the points are shorter too and there are cracks and bump from 10 years of tungsten labour.
I would also argue they had been guilty of tunnel vision; not allowing their darts to evolve as Taylor did, despite being pretty much the best player on the planet during the whole time he was with Unicorn. Our players with tunnel vision syndrome are not experimenting enough, as Mardle pointed out, you do have to seek out any advantages you can find.
So how do you get to being sandwiched between new darts man and tunnel vision man? I would suggest find a shape of dart that works for you, straight barrel through to bomb shape. Find a grade of grip that suits you-shark grip, sticky micro-grip or grooved and stick to your core principles. Change your flights, stems and points regularly-it's cheaper than changing your darts. Finally check the grade of grip regularly. If it loses its edge, off load the darts and replace them with a matching set or if you do want change, make sure your new darts have the same characteristics as your previous old favourites.
Evolution not revolution is the "Wright" way to approach your kit changes.