The last few months have been a huge transition phase in my life. Not that I haven’t traveled before, not that I haven’t gotten a new job before, not that I haven’t played the World Championships before, not that I haven’t moved houses before. But… I had to do all of that last month. Yes, I did have my rock of a brother helping me which was the only reason why I didn’t blow up.
So, among all this I went and played the World Championships. I really wanted to forget the first time I played on that stage and it wasn’t easy to let go of that. There are always positives that you can make out of a bad situation. You know, I can only move up from there. I’ll get used to the crowd now. Oh, I am not playing the opening game of the tournament!! Wow, there are quite a few ones.
None of them work. I had to practice my ass off throughout the year. The amount of mental notes and preparation, the toughness that I had to build, maintaining a routine for close to a year whenever practicing. It’s hard.
You can never stop learning, it’s quite easy to learn actually. It’s hard to put your learning into practice. Last year’s Worlds and the Q-School right after showed me what I lacked – which was everything. So, where do I start with? Anyone? Yes, I got a ton of prescriptions to a disease which I supposedly had. But, I just wanted to diagnose myself first. I noticed quite a few problems and I just started working on them, go through my own concocted routine where I’d then compare myself to a previous time.
I changed my darts 3-4 times last year. Changed my throw and stance about twenty times at least. By November, I had four throws with varying degrees of difference with what I use now. Now it was comfort and longevity. By now, I had started working and making the time was hard but it had to be done. 4-5 hours a day isn’t enough at times. I do understand when some people say that you need just an hour of proper concentration and yada yada…. But when you’re going for the World Championships and you’re not anywhere close to being one of the best – you take every second of extra practice you can get.
Then of course – match day arrives and we all know how that went. Did I play well? Nope. Did I disappoint myself? Yes. Did I achieve what I worked towards the whole year? Yes.
My whole practice throughout the year was about averaging 90+ on that stage that I vowed to get back to. And honestly I thought I wouldn’t be able to get close to that with the inconsistency at which I was playing. I portrayed that same inconsistency in my match as well – but it’s one of the many things I still have to work on.
I had to prove to myself that I could do it. And now, I know I can. This is my year – I have lofty goals but I know the line between confidence and insanity. I’ve practiced loads last year and now I have a better understanding of what parts of my game I need to hone into.
Juggling darts and the type of work I have is something I need to work on. Missing tournaments and travelling to different parts of the world without the perks of having sponsors. Putting in the hours of practice to not only maintain but also get better and try and overshoot my goals again.
Yes, it’s hard, it’s really hard. But I’ve been used to this for such a long while that now, it’s a habit.