Author Archives: Jamie Barron

#JB47 The Greatest Event in the World

Saturday, January 9, 2016
Column JB47
The Greatest Event in the World  

I feel absolutely honoured that I had the opportunity to attend the Alexandra Palace again this year and it was even better than last time. What a tournament. Jamie1What a sport we have in front of us to delight millions of people around the world. All we do is throw an arrow at a sectioned board – but it is more than that. The excitement is incredible and the talent is undoubted. How much better can it get?

I read a few weeks ago how the World Championships at the Ally Pally has this overwhelming power to keep drawing you back to watch the event and after visiting two years on the bounce I can confirm this is true. I want to go back more than ever and see what Christmas 2016 has to offer.

In contrast to last year, this time around I had bought tickets for the Quarter Finals and in particular the Evening Session. This meant I watched throughout the tournament, passionately cheering on my favourite players in the hope that I would get the chance to watch them play. Therefore, I was delighted to watch the last night of darts in 2015 to discover arguably my favourite player, Peter Wright, had made it to face my mother’s favourite in Adrian Lewis. This only added to my excitement before travelling down to London early New Year’s Day morning.

The night began through getting the London Underground to Wood Green and following a flock of chickens up the hill to the Palace which is simply mesmerising as soon as it is in sight. Lighting up the top of the hill, it provides views across London with an electric atmosphere. Jamie2Heightened security checks this year meant entrance to the Palace took slightly longer but once inside the invigorating passion ahead of another night of darts was unavoidable.

“Darts is my religion and the Ally Pally is my church” is a phrase often written on darts memorabilia and it is now firmly established as the home of PDC Darts. The Alexandra Palace has a long history from originally being named after the Princess of Wales, Alexandra of Denmark, who married Prince Edward in 1863. Then, in the 20th Century it became home to the BBC despite being damaged during the Second World War. However, as the home of the World Championship it is now as famous as ever and I firmly believe it is an absolute perfect fit for the most perfect tournament.

In the build up to the darts, the good spirit and gentlemanly nature of the game was present despite the drinks flowing. Legends of the game Eric Bristow and Keith Deller kindly signed our programme and the security inside the arena were in the spirit of the night, handing out the hats and scorecards to fans and dogs alike. (Yes, there was a real live dog in the arena!)

As we took our seats I was delighted to discover they were just as good as last year even if I had been concerned by the layout change to incorporate an extra 500 fans into the arena. We were sat in the family stand to the right of the stage and the best fancy dress I witnessed has to go to the German lady dressed as Little Red Riding Hood to our left with her boyfriend as the Big Bad Wolf! It was incredibly refreshing to witness the large range of fancy dress and the diversity of nationalities amongst the crowd. The German representation was in full force in particular and there were even a few German songs on the night. I have seen many bloggers, commentators and tweeters criticise the PDC crowd in the past but I think it is incredible for the game, while I was present they remained respectful to the players throughout and were in good spirits throughout the night.

The darts action kicked off with Michael Smith vs. Raymond van Barneveld and although I expected this to be the weaker of the two matches, it was completely mesmerising throughout. As the crowd got behind the Dutch favourite with regular eruptions of “Barney Army!,” his comeback surged on as he completed a comeback 5:4 victory and created a goosebumps moment for me with his powerful celebration. One of the key changes I have had personally throughout this competition is my love for van Barneveld which has grown stronger with each win. Although I had wanted to see Michael van Gerwen on my visit to the Palace, I found myself cheering on “Barney” in his historic last 16 tie with the World Number 1. Don’t get me wrong, I have always had the upmost respect for what van Barneveld has achieved in this game but it wasn’t until this tournament where his skill, composure and gentlemanly nature was there to see that he has become one of my favourite players in the world.

Between the matches on the night, a quick trip to the toilet proved to be one of the most stressful moments of the night! Standstill surrounded the entrance and exit to the toilet as hundreds of men screamed “There’s Only One Phil Taylor…” at the top of their voices. I am all for a bit of a sing-a-long but the great man hadn’t even made it to the quarter finals this year and I was anxious to make it back to my seat for my favourite two walk-ons in darts! Thankfully, I achieved this with around 30 seconds to spare and I wasn’t disappointed as Peter Wright jumped his way along to our side of the stage. Although this match wasn’t as thrilling for the audience, it was still incredibly high quality and I loved seeing two of my favourite players on the big stage. Unfortunately, as a Peter Wright fan I was disappointed at his 5.2 defeat but my mother went home happy and so did the fans we met all the way back in the hotel chanting “da da da da Adrian Lewis!” up until their stop!

Reflecting on the whole tournament now and I truly believe it is the best world championships in my living memory. Gary Anderson may not have had to overcome Taylor and van Gerwen this time around but he thoroughly deserves to be two time World Champion and threw some exceptional darts throughout. It is incredible to read that he struggles so badly with his eyesight and maybe even more incredible to some people that a teetotaller is now two time world darts champion! This win for Gary Anderson now puts him up there with the darting greats and just as it seemed like darts was getting easier to predict with van Gerwen sweeping the floor through much of 2015, this reminded us that we never know what to expect. We got first round shocks, another 9-darter and astonishingly close games with the van Gerwen-van Barneveld and Chisnall-Wright games being amongst the best ever seen on the Ally Pally stage.

It may be argued that we have seen darts offer up this drama and entertainment on previous occasions but a real unique talking point of this year’s tournament was the performance of Phil Taylor. The 16 time world champion appeared noticeably out of character throughout his time in the competition from his first post match interview in particular and it really was no shock when Jelle Klaasen knocked him out. There have been questions for years about how long the legend of our game will continue and these questions are now stronger than ever before. I’ve learnt from previous mistakes that it’s always risky to say Taylor can’t win another major tournament but I do very much doubt whether it can be achieved.

Penultimately, the Premier League Lineup was announced straight after the Sid Waddell Trophy had been presented and I hope you are pleased to know I am actually happy this year! I am excited to see what these 10 players have to offer and very surprised that there isn’t a more unpredictable wildcard this year. As a Thornton fan I am delighted to see him back in and by picking the top 10 players in the World Rankings it makes for a much fairer decision. I was surprised however to see the early odds for the tournament pitting Gary Anderson as third favourite coming back as defending champion and back to back world champion! This only shows what a competitive field of players we have today but I feel that van Gerwen has something to prove again. Despite everything he has achieved in the game, he hasn’t won the Premier League for 3 years now and the same will be said heading into the World Championships next winter respectively.

Finally, although I am excited about the Premier League again, my greatest love in darts will continue to be the World Championships at the Ally Pally and I am already counting down the days until the tournament returns. I may only be 17 but have been lucky enough to travel to various cities across the world including Rome, Los Angeles and Las Vegas but London is definitely my favourite. Jamie3There is nowhere else I would prefer to go to watch the darts. I have simply seen the greatest city, the greatest tournament and the greatest entertainment in the world and I beg all of you to get your tickets for the darts.

NOTE: To see all my photos and watch my videos from my night at the Ally Pally please go to Jambo’s Darts.

Column #JB46 It’s December Again!

Monday, December 7, 2015
Column JB46
It’s December Again!

Many months have passed and thousands of darts have been thrown since my last article back in the middle of summer. Now the dark nights have set in, the gloves are out and we are getting ready for The World Championships again! In my four month sabbatical from airing my darting views, I have had the busiest months of my life through keeping on top of my A Level Studies and applying for university. It is strange to imagine that this time next year, all being well, I will be at university in a big new city. However, what I have discovered in these last few months is that I am ready for this challenge but whatever happens, I always come back to darts.

Unfortunately I haven’t been able to watch as much darts as I would have liked in the second half of 2015 but I have been consistently taking to the dartboard myself. You may remember I mentioned playing on Webcam Darts online previously and in September this year I was offered the opportunity to join a darts league. Being able to play consistently has developed my game as although my averages haven’t particularly improved, my competitive match skills have. I have just completed my last game in the league and am probably going to finish in second place after winning 8 out of 10 matches. Playing in the league has been thoroughly enjoyable and after only winning two football matches this season has given me the opportunity for some success!

As this season is nearly finished, if anyone wants to get involved next season go to https://www.facebook.com/groups/591097500994100 or if you are interested in playing Webcam Darts to get some game experience go to https://www.webcamdarts.com, I couldn’t recommend it enough.

While on the topic of amateur darts, I am also interested to hear if anyone watched the recent darts series, ‘One Hundred and Eighty’ on Sky1. Although slightly cliche at points, I thought Davina McCall and Andrew Flintoff did a great job of presenting, with Flintoff’s passion for darts exciting to see. Featuring two professional darts players on each episode, watching this programme would be another recommendation this Christmas time. Back onto the professional game now and last time I wrote for you it was the dawn of the World Matchplay. I ended that article saying I wouldn’t back against Gary Anderson winning the Triple Crown but almost from the moment I uploaded that article, Michael Van Gerwen has taken the darting world by storm. The World Matchplay appeared to be the trophy he had always desired after tearfully losing to Phil Taylor in the 2014 tournament and since he beat James Wade 18-12 this time around, it appears to have driven him on even more to assert his power. Van Gerwen is seemingly easing to victories right now and is streets ahead of his rivals heading into the biggest tournament of the year. Mighty Mike had a dream November, winning all four of the main tournaments including the Grand Slam and Players Championship Finals.

The only man to have stopped Van Gerwen on this incredible major run is Robert Thornton who in the Grand Prix Final beat the Dutchman 5-4. Thornton has had a very solid year since being dropped from the Premier League however, rising to number 6 in the PDC Order of Merit and hopefully with a strong World Championship performance, he can’t be left out again.

Another two men who have grabbed some of the headlines away from Michael Van Gerwen in the last few months were BDO players Andy Fordham and Martin Adams. After everything Fordham has been through it was fantastic to see the big man back on the big stage hitting a 180 with his first three darts. It may be unusual to see the BDO players get such a positive reaction from a PDC crowd but these two players had the character to light up the tournament. Off the oche they also provided talking points with their war of words with Phil Taylor and Peter Wright respectively. Adams made it the further out of these two players before being knocked out by Kim Huybrechts in an exhilarating second round match which finished 10-9 to the Belgian. I have personally never been a supporter of any campaigns to try and merge the two rival darting organisations but after this tournament a part of me was starting to change its mind.

All in all however it has undoubtedly been Van Gerwen’s autumn and anyone backing any other player for the World Championships would be a brave man. After relinquishing his crown to Gary Anderson last year, I believe he will become a two-time world champion.

I have got my tickets, I am ready to go and now the darts will do the talking.

 

#JB45 Jambo’s BAAAACK! (And 17!)

Friday, July 17, 2015
Column JB45
Jambo’s BAAAACK! (And 17!) 

It’s nearly two months since the Premier League Finals where Gary Anderson claimed his second major triumph of 2015 – and I again got it all wrong on the prediction front! Between then and now there has been no shortage of entertainment as van Gerwen won in Dubai, Taylor in Japan and Thornton only last weekend in Germany. However, my highlight of the recent schedule was no doubt the fantastic World Cup of Darts.

Before this year, the World Cup has never stood out for me as one of the highlights on the darting calendar, but this year felt different. Admittedly with the doubles format and lesser known players the averages and standard was lower than we come to expect on the PDC circuit but this didn’t affect the atmosphere in the Eissporthalle, Frankfurt. The German crowd were incredible throughout and really helped lower ranked countries such as Hungary and New Zealand progress into Round 2. However, it was the Hong Kong team of Scott Mackenzie and Ting Chi Royden Lam who stole the support of the German supporters and millions of fans across the world. After knocking out Wales in the first round they went on to overcome Republic of Ireland to make the Quarter Finals despite Mackenzie’s crippling case of dartitis. It was Scotland who finally stopped them in the Quarter Finals and it was the Scots who went on to face England in the final.

While watching the final I found myself confused over which team to support. Born to an English mother and Scottish father, I have always considered myself very English with a strong sense of patriotism. However with my favourite players also on the Scottish side I strangely began watching with neutrality. As I did this I realised that as a nation England are possibly less patriotic about darts in comparison to other sports. Whether this is because we have been used to dominating the sport for many years or because of the individualist nature of the game I think it is rather sad. Certainly if darts was able to become an Olympic sport I think this could change.

Finally on the World Cup, my lasting memory from that tournament will of course be the incredible game between Belgium and Australia in the Quarter Finals. Of course we all have come to expect antics from Paul Nicholson and even Kim Huybrechts, however I have never seen a darts match with as much aggression and intensity as this. Even though they seemed more interested in getting under each other’s skin than getting the darts under the T20 wire for large parts, this made for an incredible darts match. It may not be what every darts fan wants to see but I think darts needs these players, characters and games to continue attracting its ever increasing fan base.

On a personal level, since my last post it has been the longest I have gone without writing and I have been working hard to improve my own game. I feel I have made improvements so much so I am thinking of looking into the prospect of joining a local pub team. I think this was highlighted today with a 5:1 win on Webcam Darts averaging over 47 and finishing with a 64 out-shot. I would recommend webcam darts to any aspiring player as an excellent way to get more experience of playing competitive games against opposition of varying qualities.

In addition to playing more darts myself, in the recent weeks I have finished my first year of sixth form college, turned 17 and started learning to drive!

Furthermore, I have started visiting universities such as Leeds and Newcastle looking into the possibility of studying Psychology at University starting in September 2016. Although I have always wanted a career in journalism, I have loved studying psychology and would like to take that further as this still leaves the opportunity for further study relating to the media industry in the future.

Next on my agenda currently however is getting tickets for the World Championship at the Ally Pally again this winter. After going on priority sale last Monday they are officially released for general sale this Monday. After such an incredible experience last time I am itching to walk into the Ally Pally once again so if anyone has any available tickets please let me know!

Otherwise, I look forward to fighting it out with all of you on Monday morning to get the best seats in the house.

To finish, I can’t leave you with anything other than a build up the World Matchplay which all kicks off again tomorrow. Not many darts fans will argue that the Winter Gardens in Blackpool is one of the best venues in the world and this event is admired as the second best by most players on the circuit. Am I going to make a prediction for this great tournament?

Nah… that’s a mug’s game!

I think it is as wide open as ever before this year and I am excited to see how players such as Benito Van De Pas and Joe Murnan can do in this great event. Of course we all know Phil Taylor’s dominance at this event over the years, he loves the long format and the atmosphere but I think he must defend his title here to prove that his career is not drifting to a close. Gary Anderson is at the opposite end of the spectrum to Taylor at the moment, in the form of his life and looking to become only the second man to win the Triple Crown (WC, PL and WM in the same year). Can he do it?

I wouldn’t back against him…

Column #JB44 The Premier League Finals 2015

Thursday, May 21, 2015
Column JB44
The Premier League Finals 2015

After 16 weeks of competition, this season’s Premier League has finally reached its conclusion. Tonight, the O2 awaits one of the highlights of the darting calendar as the four best players this year go head to head. Incredibly, this year’s finals line up contains the same nationalities as 12 months ago, with Dutchmen Michael van Gerwen and Raymond van Barneveld retaining their places alongside Scotsman Gary Anderson. The newbie at the O2 is Dave Chisnall replacing fellow Englishman Phil Taylor from last year’s line up.

In my previous post, there was three weeks to go until the Top 4 were decided and it looked to be an incredible race to the finish between Phil Taylor, Raymond van Barneveld and Adrian Lewis. However, in a slightly underwhelming finish to the league phase, van Barneveld secured his place with a week to spare.

My Premier League predictions have never been very good over the last two years but this time I was pleased to see van Barneveld evade my jinx and make the Top 4. It wasn’t just me who succeeded in this prediction game however, with more votes cast for van Barneveld to reach the Finals than any other player in my side poll. It was incredible to see the legend that is Mr. Taylor miss out on the Premier League Finals for the first time ever and are we realistically now seeing his reign of dominance come to an end? He may have won the 9th Players Championship the weekend after missing out but the real test will be at the World Matchplay in July to see whether over the longer format, he can still win the major trophies.

Despite this aforementioned underwhelming finish to the league phase, again the entertainment, quality, and drama of the Premier League has been incredible. I believe it is unrivalled for Thursday night entertainment and I am delighted to note I have the opportunity to put my feet up and watch the finals tonight with no other distractions. Again however, for the 3rd year running there has not been a 9-darter in the Premier League! It is literally mystifying with the quality being so high but when anyone reaches the D12 this year it appears like a magnet repelling the darts away. I’m not going to predict there will be a 9-darter tonight so let’s just forget about it… maybe then it will happen?

What will definitely happen tonight is that our Premier League Champion 2015 will be crowned and I now believe that, excluding the World Championships, it is the most challenging tournament to win in world darts. It relies on players performing consistently week in week out testing both ability and equally mental strength. The travelling for the players is one thing but to play the best players in the world every week is a huge challenge. I believe that the right four players have made it to the O2 however, with the World Number 1, World Champion and Reigning Premier League Champion all involved. Most darts fans will agree that Dave Chisnall has certainly been this year’s surprise package but with his majestic scoring and form, who says he can’t upset the apple cart and steal the crown himself?

This year, I am not going to make the same mistake as last year however, I think that Raymond van Barneveld will become the only man besides Phil Taylor to successfully defend his Premier League crown. When van Barneveld is confident, he can seem unbeatable and if he gets off to a good start I would not like to back against him. That’s just my opinion though… I have added a new poll down the right hand column at Jambo’s Blog and I want you to tell me who will win this year’s Premier League.

So the lineup is decided, the predictions are done and the O2 is set. Get your drinks poured, your feet on the sofa and prepare for a night of incredible darts. There’s only one thing left to say…

Let’s Play Darts!

Column #JB43 The race for the O2

Monday, April 27, 2015
Column JB43
The race for the O2

It may have been the London Marathon last weekend but the only race we’re interested in is the race to the O2. After another incredible Premier League campaign, we are heading into the final 3 weeks with all 8 players still mathematically in with a chance of making the finals. You may remember that when the Premier League line up was announced I was critical of the decision to include Dave Chisnall and Kim Huybrechts in particularly. Despite this initial uncertainty, it has undoubtedly been one of the best Premier Leagues we have ever seen. Chisnall has proved me and many doubters wrong, currently holding second place in the League and even though Huybrechts was eliminated, he was no doubt a worthy competitor.

Once I got over the disappointment of Peter Wright being eliminated in Manchester, I decided I just wanted to appreciate the quality of the darts for the rest of the tournament. You can’t help but admire the quality of this year’s darts. It is simply breathtaking. Already in this tournament there have been 50 ton-plus averages, five 110-plus averages and 345 180s! Every single player who has taken part in this year’s Premier League has achieved a 100+ average in at least one match. The entertainment has been rich and the drama intense. So much so I am craving another trip to one of our major tournaments. If the serious drama wasn’t enough, I would also recommend these fantastic clips of the Betway Trick Shot League, in which all of the Premier League players participate: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F5E2H9MkQDM, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hJnQr7rHmHo, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lFUdVfl3YTE, and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CEiXrPbcFWc.

The only thing we’ve missed so far in this year’s competition is a 9-darter and I’m beginning to think there is a Premier League jinx! It is now 3 years since our last Premier League 9-darter and I couldn’t believe Michael Van Gerwen didn’t achieve the feat in his 7-0 whitewash of James Wade on Thursday. If he is able to average 116.90, surely he can stick them last two darts in the treble 19 and double 12! Thursday night summed up the madness of this year’s Premier League in all honesty. After Gary Anderson lost to Stephen Bunting 7-1 and van Gerwen had whitewashed Wade 7-0, who would have predicted an Anderson victory over Van Gerwen in the last match of the night?

It now seems a lifetime ago when we began the Premier League but that was the basis of my last poll. The results of this poll showed that readers were torn with 50% of you agreeing with me that you were unhappy with the Premier League lineup. There is now a new poll (at http://jambosdarts.blogspot.com). I want to know who you think will make the O2. Michael Van Gerwen has already qualified and barring a major turnaround, Dave Chisnall and Gary Anderson should also be there. The current table below also shows James Wade and Stephen Bunting probably only have a very slim chance of qualification and this leaves it to the 3 big guns. Phil Taylor, Raymond Van Barneveld and Adrian Lewis look the main challengers for that 4th spot but who do you think will make it?

Premier League ranking

Throughout this year’s Premier League, Phil Taylor has remained pretty consistent in the middle of the table. Whenever Taylor appears to be finding form and showing glimpses of his true ability, he seems to take a step backwards. He no longer appears to be able to graft out the wins and even when he averaged over 115 in week 7, he still lost to Raymond van Barneveld. Despite this, he still currently sits in the top 4 spots but with Van Gerwen, Anderson and Wade still to play it’s going to be a tough task for Taylor. Is it unthinkable that the legend of our game will miss out on the Premier League finals for the first time?

Taylor

Raymond van Barneveld has a very similar record to Taylor in this year’s Premier League with both players losing as many matches as they have won. However, the key difference between them is that Van Barneveld has an extra game on Taylor and he is hitting form just at the right time. With 3 wins in a row against Taylor, van Gerwen and Chisnall respectively, he is in an excellent position to pinch the fourth spot. A feat none of us would have predicted only weeks ago when he narrowly avoided relegation. van Barneveld has Anderson, Lewis, Wade and Bunting to play and if he can get 5 points from those games, I think he will make the O2.

Barney

Thirdly, Adrian Lewis has also given himself a chance of making the final 4 despite a relatively inconsistent campaign. Similarly to van Barneveld, he was also in the relegation dogfight earlier in the year but he has come through that to mount a serious challenge. After 3 wins and a draw in his last 4 games, he is also in a similar position to van Barneveld. Their clash next week looks very tasty but with Chisnall, van Gerwen and Anderson all still to play, has Lewis left himself with too much to do?

Lewis

All in all, I find it very difficult to predict who will make the O2. Darts is now so unpredictable it is almost putting tipsters out of business! However, cast your minds back 12 months and I discounted van Barneveld even when he made the finals and went on to become the Premier League champion. I am sensing déjà vu. After another late push towards the top, I simply can’t back against van Barneveld after his recent winning run. Raymond van Barneveld is my outside bet to become the only man other than Phil Taylor to retain his Premier League crown.

Barneveld

Can van Barneveld retain his trophy?

 
 

#JB42 The Definitive Darts Coaching Manual

Sunday, March 22, 2015
Column JB42
The Definitive Darts Coaching Manual  

After reading Jamie Caven’s excellent autobiography which was co-written by David Kirby, I decided it was time to read another of his books. Again after reading one of David’s publications, I felt much more knowledgable about a sport I already thought I knew a lot about!

If you have read any of David’s books before you will know that he writes in a professional style but with informal features which appeal directly to the reader. David’s tips and advice will be able to benefit any darts player of varying ability across the world. Although it is a short book of only 70 pages, this allows you to quickly take in the key information which is communicated in an effective and concise way with key points emphasised throughout.

Let me tell you a little bit more about David Kirby. David is an author and playwright but his passion for coaching has undoubtedly played a major role in his life. For many years, David took part in coaching athletics and martial arts. He chose to write a darts coaching manual as he wanted to bring coaching discipline used within these sports to darts and benefit darts players worldwide. David has obviously implemented this discipline into his own game as he has himself played in and managed a successful county darts Super League team.

This book really is suitable for anyone with the slightest interest in darts either through personal improvement or through coaching others. I am a strong believer that in any sport the mental side of the game is as crucial to success as ability and David reflects this by studying both the physiology and psychology involved in being the best darts player possible. I, like many sportsmen, believe in the 4 Cs which are vital to ensure you have the mental strength to succeed: concentration, confidence, control, and commitment. Without any one of these your chances of success are substantially reduced.

Onto the content of David’s book which covers every aspect of the game. From practice routines, to warm ups and to finishing, David’s got it covered! The main message I took from the book along with all the knowledge I gained was that it really isn’t impossible to become a darts player. Through hard work and structure, anyone with the right commitment can improve their game. As David states throughout, there are many tips as to how to focus during games, keep a high level of concentration and maintain those nerves as well as how to improve your technical ability. But he recognises that everyone is different and some people prefer to practice and perform in different ways. Spend time on darts, perfect your routine and find your mantra and you are undoubtedly on the way to success.

My advice for darts fans and players reading this book is to thoroughly read the whole publication first. Take in what you can and focus on the key areas in which you think your own game can improve. However, this is not just a book you can read and then place on the bookshelf never to be touched again. It is an excellent reference tool for when you are planning your weekly routine, practice routine or playing the game itself. Some key areas of the book are the chapters on finishing and record sheets which can physically be used to help you calculate the best way to finish and to record your practice routines.

To finish, I want to explain the impact this book has had on me… 
 

I have played darts leisurely for around eight years now without making huge progress. Especially in the last year where I have focused more time on the dart board, my game hasn’t hugely improved. I roughly have a three dart average of between 40 and 45 and although I am capable of hitting 20-25 dart legs, I only consistently finish legs in around 45 darts or less.  

Whether this is due to sliding into the 1s or being stuck on a double, it varies every time. By reading David’s book, I was able to identify weaknesses in my approach and aim to improve them. I realised that although I couldn’t vastly change the amount of time I spent at the dart board, I could focus my sessions more. 

Therefore, based around David’s ideas, I have created my own practice routines and created score sheets to pin next to my dart board and record my improvements. So far I am pleased with the results and enjoy the sessions much more as they replicate the competitiveness of a match – always wanting to beat my previous best.  

I hit my first 180 in over six months last week and I hope I can transfer this form to my matches on Webcam Darts and in darts leagues in the future. One thing’s for sure, if you want to improve your game in any way, The Definitive Darts Coaching Manual will help you succeed.

 

Column #JB41 Mighty Mike is on a Mission!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015
Column JB41
Mighty Mike is on a Mission!

“Where have I been?”, you may ask and to be honest with you, I don’t know the answer! For the first time since I began writing this blog nearly 14 months ago, it is the longest I have gone without writing a post and I’m gutted I’ve missed out on such an incredible run of darts. I’ve had a very busy month from playing darts in France to more and more college work. I know many of you are sick to death of hearing darts stereotypes so please don’t also fall into the stereotypical view that students today have it easy! Over 200 pages of coursework for one subject would say otherwise!

It’s not just my busy schedule either that has prevented me from sharing my darting views recently. Strangely I felt like I had slightly fallen out of love with the game, whether this was due to my upset at the Premier League lineup or due to my favourite player Andy Hamilton falling down the rankings. I think within any sport it’s important to have someone to cheer on and when that player is struggling it’s a difficult time.

However, luckily this weekend, the UK Open restored my love for the game and reminded me why we all spend hours and hours playing and watching the game. It surprised me really. The UK Open has never been one of my highlights of the year, remember back to my tournament review exactly one year ago tomorrow where I was unconvinced of the venue and coverage of the event. But this year felt different.

It was the first time that Minehead in Butlins has properly impressed me as a venue. Despite the board being a long way from the crowd, I thought they were excellent all weekend and especially on the Sunday where they were in great voice. In all fairness, they had no excuse not to be excited after Peter Wright’s incredible run to the final which meant they got to see his wacky walk-on three times in one day. As Stephen Bunting joined in with his ‘dancing,’ if we can call it that, I certainly was out of my seat! While on the topic of entertainment, what a pleasure it also was to see Devon Peterson back on the big stage as he rivaled Wright with his moves!

My only criticism of the UK Open again relates to the coverage. Many darts fans may disagree with this as I have seen mixed reactions on Twitter but I think Sky Sports are at the very top of their field. For me, switching from Sky Sports coverage to ITV coverage is like leaving a West End show to watch your local pantomime! The cameras are slow to react and often miss shots, the score is slow to update and give checkout options but most importantly, ITV coverage currently lacks that spark. Sky Sports have this ability to create drama. I honestly believe they could make a game of Conkers fascinating to watch! It’s the pundits, the commentators (Yes, I include Wayne Mardle), the VT’s and the music which all contribute to the excitement. Sky Sports have this passion for the game which ITV are currently lacking.

Back to the dart board however and it was an incredible weekend of high quality darts. ‘The FA Cup of Darts’ had everything it should. The underdog come good with Andrew Gilding reaching the semi-finals, there were almost tears on the big stage as Peter Wright overcame an in-form Phil Taylor but most importantly, the best man won. Michael Van Gerwen was able to see off 146 other participants to claim his maiden UK Open title.

Since I saw Van Gerwen lose his World Championship Semi Final, he has been on a mission to put it right. He has looked undefeatable at times to prove that he is going to be around winning darts tournaments for a long time to come yet! He has taken his game to the next level as despite his competition arguably being fiercer that ever, he is still able to come out on top.

Just after my last post, Van Gerwen went to Milton Keynes and triumphed over Raymond Van Barneveld in an all Dutch final to win the Unibet Masters crown and since then he has gone from strength to strength. He went on to win 3/6 of the UK Open Qualifiers in March as well as winning the first European Tour event of the year in Germany. This run is incredible when you also consider that Phil Taylor has been playing well with World Champion Gary Anderson also not to be discounted. Van Gerwen has certainly proved that he does not like losing, he is a worthy world number 1 and come January next year, I wouldn’t back against him regaining the Sid Waddell trophy from the hands of the Flying Scotsman.

To finish with, I wanted to quickly discuss the Premier League as the players start to look dreadfully at Judgment Night which is already on the horizon. The standard of darts again this year is ridiculous and I think it is only a matter of time before we see a Premier League 9-darter for the first time since 2012. Flicking back to the UK Open momentarily and both Phil Taylor and Andrew Gilding exited the tournament with a 108 average in their final match. This is becoming a regular occurrence now, players are averaging well over 100 in matches and still managing to lose. It makes me think how good can the standard get? If they continue to improve at this rate, will we begin to see averages of over 115 on a regular basis?

This standard is probably the main reason for the Premier League table being so tight. I believe that anyone in this year’s Premier League could beat any other player on their day and that is what makes it so exciting and unpredictable. I certainly won’t be making any predictions this year but as it stands, Dave Chisnall is certainly proving me wrong. He stands top of the tree with an impressive unbeaten record which includes an emphatic 7-2 win over World Champion Gary Anderson last week where he averaged over 110.

The Premier League continues this week in Nottingham before the players head to Barnsley for a weekend of Players Championship qualifiers. With the form of Michael Van Gerwen, it’s difficult to see past him over the next few weeks in particular. However, one thing for sure is that I am going to be watching every Thursday Night cheering on Peter Wright and Stephen Bunting, currently my favourite two players, and I would love it if they beat the drop.