Darts, like any other sport, has its share of strange happenings during a match. I have seen and participated in many of these. There have been times that an individual or team totally collapses after one round or game; incapable of throwing well the rest of the night. There have been times that an individual or team makes a tremendous comeback to win the game or match after it looked like there wasn't any chance of making up the deficit. Even more strange is an individual or team, after dominating most of the night, begins the self-destruction sequence and ends up giving the match or tournament away to the opponents. A vast majority of these can be summed up to mental lapses by the defeated.
Never Give Up - Here is the scenario. You are playing x01, double out. You are sitting on 100 and your opponent is on 32. You throw your first dart at the triple 20 and hit a single 1, leaving 99. Knowing that there is no way of checking out at 99 with 2 darts, you blindly throw your remaining 2 darts at the board, mentally conceding the game to your opponent. My question is, why on earth would you do something like that? Sure, your opponent is on a one dart out; however it has to be hit. And believe me, it is easier to hit that double when you realize that your opponent has been defeated mentally. Why make it even easier for your opponent?
In the scenario above, don't give up. You have 2 darts remaining. A well-placed triple in either of the remaining 2 darts, you can leave yourself with 20, 24, 32, 36, 38, or 40, all one dart outs. This will put just a little more pressure on your opponent to hit the game ending double. This will also send a subtle hint to your opponent that you haven't quite conceded the game just yet.
Never Let Up - This happened to me about a year ago. I was throwing in a local Singles Cricket tournament. I had my opponent beat. I had 20's through 15's close. I think he only had 19's closed. I also had about 80 points. After closing the 15's, I thought to myself 'I've got this game won' and let the mental aspect of my game take a vacation to Tahiti. At this point, if you had bet that I would have won the game, you would have lost your wager. Instead of throwing the proverbial 'Thermonuclear Darts', I suffered from a 'Thermonuclear Meltdown'. After 2 rounds, my opponent had closed bulls, scored 100 points, and closed my 20's, while I didn't hit a single mark. And it didn't get much better after that. I attempted to get back to my earlier form, but to no avail. Four rounds later, I had lost the game and match, thus eliminating me from the tournament.
There are times during a game or match that you know that you have your opponent beat. Instead of putting your game in cruise control, continue to maintain the mental focus and intensity and get it over with. Since you have backed your opponent into the corner, do not let him or her escape. Also, do not take any game for granted. It will come back and haunt you more times than you might think.
If you are behind in a game and you are going to have a turn coming up, don't give up. Make you opponent beat you. If you are ahead in a game and your opponent has a possibility of throwing again, don't let up. Either win the game or make it even harder for your opponent to make a comeback. American Baseball Hall-of-Famer Yogi Berra once quipped, 'It ain't over till it's over'. The quote may sound little silly, but until the final double in x01 or the final mark in Cricket is hit, the game 'ain't' over. Don't let a negative or defeatist attitude determine the outcome. Leave that to the dart.