Devon “The African Warrior” Petersen
Devon Petersen is a South African professional darts player. He has reached the Last 16 on two occasions at the PDC World championships. He’s popularly known for his on-stage dance moves to his walk-on tune of “Waka Waka” By Shakira.
I was lucky to meet Devon at the Qatar Open. I’ve always admired him for what he has already achieved in the sport, for the way he carries himself and the way he throws them arrows. So I couldn’t sit still – I just had to ask him a few questions.
How long have you been playing Darts?
Competing for 15 years.
How did you get into the sport of Darts?
My family is a dart playing family. Started playing when I was 10 years old.
What are the hardships you’ve faced in your darting journey so far and how have you overcome them?
Leaving my family and loved ones in South Africa was a big challenge but I understood its part of the path of become successful and living my dream. I’m happy now and my game is also at a level that I can compete with the best in the game.
What is your practice schedule when approaching a tournament and when not?
Scoring is a big part of my daily routine and also combination finishing. 501 in 15 darts max. 41-100 for finishing.
Help us look inside your head – How different is your mental approach towards a practice session and a game?
I focus on my consistency of the throw and pay attention to breathing techniques to remain calm.
Most darts players have a schedule before match day or on match day, some call this superstition, others call it routine – What do you do to get yourself ready for match day and how do you think it helps you?
All my prep is done before match day but a week before a Major event I would practice 5-6 hours per day. Mentally prepare with motivational videos. On the day of the game I like to be at the venue 4 hours before my match.
Darts is mental game as many people who play it eventually realize – How do you fight back when you’re down in a game? Is there any way in which you can explain – How to handle pressure in such moments?
Darts is 90% mental…. So all the preparation is done before the game. Practice reduces pressure. Understanding and believing in your ability reduces pressure. Focus on the goal at hand which is 501. We can only conquer the mountain one step at a time.
What are the most important aspects of a player that a newcomer should try and learn if they want to get into the sport of Darts?
Having a repeatable throwing technique as this gives you a better rhythm and consistency.
What’s your fondest memory so far in the time that you’ve played Darts?
Turning my career around at the world champs 2019
What memory do you regret or wish you had a do over?
Miscount at the World Cup of darts against Wales.
What’s your darts nickname and how did it come to be?
African Warrior. I decided on it as I understood I carry Africa on my back like a warrior.
What darts do you use?
Devon Petersen. TRINIDAD 22gms
Who is your favorite Darts Player?
What’s your favorite double?
What’s your favorite finish combination?
Father time is undefeated – When it’s all said and done and you do retire from the game what do you wish you had accomplished in the sport?
Leave a legacy and infrastructure for more African players to become professionals in the sport and take it even further than I have.
Your last thoughts – Do you have anything that you would like to say to whoever reads this interview?
Remember whether you believe you can or can’t – YOU ARE RIGHT!!! Hard work and discipline carves out the path for success.
If you want to get to know Devon you can add him on – Instagram – imthedevonpetersen or Twitter – @devon_petersen