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Shifting Momentum
by Frederick Everson

One of the great things about any game of darts is that you can come back from a long way. I lost a game in a blind draw recently that I thought my partner and I were going to win. We were halfway through a game of 501 double in, while our opponents had just barely got started. And even after they did double on, they struggled with a couple of poor throws.

Then one of my opponents throws his first dart at the 19 and hits a treble. He normally shoots at 20, but a couple of low scores up there prompted a change of target. He followed the first dart by putting the next two in the same bed. All of a sudden the game is even and the pressure is on my partner and me. We didnít exactly fold like a cheap umbrella, but that 171 threw my game off and we never recovered.

It happens all the time. Sometimes all it takes is three good darts to derail an opponent who is charging toward gameís end like a runaway train. Which is why the really good dart players never say die. They hang in and keep pitching, looking for a break or a mistake by the opposition.

The best way to answer a big hit by an opponent is not necessarily with a bigger hit. That would be nice, but itís a low percentage play. Take that 171 I mentioned paragraph before last. It was unlikely I would top that, so there was no pressure to equal or beat it. What I want to do in this situation is come back with a rock solid throw of my own Ė a 60 or a Ton is a great answer to big hit. It shows your opponent you are not going to fold the tent, and bounces some heat back at him. A lot of times you will see players follow a big hit with a crummy throw, so just try to stay in the game

In the í01 game, how often do you see a player or a team jump off to a big lead only to falter on the out double. The Ton 80ís and Ton 40ís and such are nice, but so is a steady stream of solid 60ís. That type of play puts pressure on the leaders when it comes time to end the game, and pressure can cause errant darts. Sometimes you can just see the momentum shift.

Itís all part of the mental game. Focus on what you want to do with the dart in your hand, and try not to think about what your opponent has done or is going to do. The more you throw for yourself and the less you throw against your opponent, the easier this unflappable consistency becomes. And thatís hard to beat.

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