After an amazing few days of darts we are struggling to separate fact from fiction!
I've had a Shocker Dave
I had been really looking forward to the Matchplay but so far I have been well below my best. On Saturday I missed the matches as I had been at a coaching day in Wolverhampton. We had eleven players come along to Rileys in Wolverhampton, a record attendance and a really enjoyable day. A big thanks to Mick for rallying the Rileys darts team to come along. I did record the matches but you can't help but have a sneaky look at the results and it's just not the same then is it? On Sunday disaster struck. I was laid low with an awful bug and couldn't muster the energy for any darts then or Monday, yes it really was that bad! Thankfully I was back in my rightful place on the sofa last night.
One of the effects of the virus I caught is that my temperature was higher than normal. A side effect of this is that the higher temperature can apparently affect the parts of your brain that trigger imagination and fantasy that leads to surreal but vivid dreams. For example I woke up convinced the room was full of carpet samples that needed organising. I also had an incredible trip in the back of a London taxi, with two grandmothers, who were Welsh - I didn't leave a tip! The most extraordinary trick though my mind played on me and talking of not leaving a tip, mind, this is so daft you will think I am making this bit up, was that three of the Sky Darts team (Rodders, Bristow and Mardle) predicted Barney would win the Matchplay! How bizarre is that?
The sporting (as well as the business) world are full of successful partnerships. To give you a very up to date example the South African commentator on Test Match Special reported (during their mammoth partnership) that Kallis and Amla preferred batting together rather than with any other player, it showed too! In darts, pairs partners can spark something in players that somehow enable them to perform better than when playing solo.
When Joe Cullen started hurling his darts last night I watched in amazement as his technique didn't seem to match his profile, that of a young star that had made it onto the Matchplay stage. However, the most important thing I have learnt since being involved with my coaching partner, bio-mechanist Andy Humphrey is never to under estimate the skill and muscle memory of a dart player. They can sometimes seem to do the impossible, complete a task successfully, like win a darts match against a very good opponent, without seemingly having the correct tools for the job.
That said a rock solid technique is fundamental to success, Taylor haters look away now but it is a fact, The Power's throw has evolved over the years and is as close to perfect (in our opinion) as you can get, and he has done all right hasn't he? Last night Cullen's chalk was to Justin Pipe's cheese and The Force demonstrated the benefit of having a superb technique. "Tayloresque" you could argue, he also seems to favour his left eye to aim the dart as Taylor does, bringing it slightly across his face as he sets up to throw.
Gwynnee is the commentary box was onto the technique side like a flash, I felt like I had a partner in the commentary box as he dissected the flaws in Cullen's throw, the mastery in Pipe's all without patronising and leaving the floor open to debate. Well all I would add is this habit of not aiming the dart was one of the first flaws about dart player's technique we noticed when we first set off down the darts coaching road. It was amazing how many players did it. Yes it can work, exception to the rule and all that but results will be sporadic. Nevertheless, more often than not the player with the superior technique will win.