It’s the battle of the super-quick throwers. England’s Ronnie Baxter v Holland’s Jelle Klaasen. After a mere nine minutes, Baxter has captured five legs. He is on fire and Klaasen has no answers.
Then, comes the TV break. Time for Klaasen to gather his wits. And time for Baxter to lose his flow. Which is exactly what happens.
Klaasen wins six of the next eight legs, and an improbable comeback is on the cards. Only Baxter’s experience sees him over the line. But it’s close.
The TV break is often a thorn in the side, of the player in the zone. Suddenly their concentration is broken. Maybe they use the bathroom. Or go backstage for a quick drink. Perhaps they stay on stage, and throw a few darts, to try to stay in rhythm.
Yes, the best strategy is to stay on stage. Not just to throw a few darts. But to throw targeted darts. That is, to set yourself challenges. Doubles, trebles, finishes.
Darts that keep your mind active, and your throwing in rhythm. Keeping your mind active by throwing targeted darts, means that when the next leg starts after the TV break, there is a good chance that you will still be in the zone. Which means that you can pick up where you left off.
It’s when your mind switches off, or gets distracted, that the bubble of concentration that you have worked so hard to create, gets dispersed. You try to find the rhythm that you had before the break, but the harder you try, the more elusive it gets.
So – stay on stage and use the time productively. Aim to keep your concentration, and focus on the task in hand. You might be tempted to relax. But chances are your next leg will start with loose darts.