Darts Coach - Mental Game Training - Part 1
Darts - Mental Game Training – Part 1
The two sides of the coin.
We're going to get into some thinking that will hopefully unlock more of your darts potential.
Over the last few weeks, we have looked at lightening the load of expectation by
- Using math to control your emotional responses to progress, understanding that higher averages are attainable.
- Better understanding our darts gear.
- Practice routines.
- Establishing good habits.
Today we will talk about the complexity of your mental darts game and talk through why nerves and panic set in.
We will work through 3 parts on this subject over the next few weeks, and try to tie them together at the end. Please feel free to message the Shot team if you have any questions.
There are two parts of the mind, controlling everything we say and do, commonly known as the conscious and subconscious mind.
The conscious mind is your internal dialogue and physical prompting to move muscles to deliver action. The subconscious mind takes care of breathing, blinking, etc. with both parts taking care of all your needs.
So what does this have to do with darts?
Think of your body having an "inbuilt calculator" that governs your movements. These include minor adjustments that you have to make, for example, the way your body angles for walking on uneven surfaces or walks downstairs without having to think about where you put your feet. Your subconscious is taking care of all the calculations your body needs to keep you moving.
Have you ever walked down a set of stairs and started focusing on steps 2 or 3 in front of you and nearly tripped or missed a step?
This is your conscious mind trying to take control of the scenario and your bodies movements. The reality is, you probably haven't thought of the mechanics of descending stairs since you were an infant.
Your mind becomes fixated on the outcome, forgetting there is a process involved, and now the brain is receiving mixed signals from the conscious and subconscious mind.
Apply this to a darting standpoint. It would be impossible to control consciously every aspect of your dart through at the same time. It takes 38 muscles to send a text message, can you imagine how many muscles are used to hold your body posture in place and throw a dart?
However, in the heat of a game, your conscious mind is more alert and can read situations better. You can forecast outcome potentials such as being behind in a game and when you are shooting for a winning double for example.
In this heightened conscious state, your body engages a "fight or flight" response, which will ultimately take suggestions from the most rational mindset, until you gain ownership of your emotional reaction.
You become singularly focused on the outcome of your match, with the conscious mind taking over control of throw management.
As your subconscious is trying to make the necessary calculations to deliver the process required to get the outcomes…your conscious mind is adding in more calculations, and the end result is you get nervous.
While your conscious mind starts calling all the shots and your subconscious mind is trying to scramble to deliver the dart, nerves set in as the subconscious is working overtime, with the first thing you forget to do is continue breathing correctly.
You may find panic setting in as an automatic physical response. But the rational minds suggests there is no danger and you worry about nerves instead, not realising your breathing is either shallow or even holding your breath for extended periods.
This is why one of the first techniques you learn in relaxation is breathing.
Muscles need oxygen!
We need to learn to shut off the conscious mind when we play and trust our internal calculator. Also known as hand/eye coordination.
If you drop your hand 3mm during the throw, you won't consciously notice, however, your body will automatically adjust.
Here's another good article about the power of your sub-conscious and sport performance.
Part 2 Due Soon.