Darts: Phil Taylor – The Power of Nine

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So James Wade takes another TV title, with an accomplished display, to see off the spirited challenge of American, Gary Mawson. But the UK Open will be remembered, for a classic nine dart finish from Phil Taylor, in his fourth round match with Jamie Harvey. This is the fourth time, in five years, that Taylor has produced the perfect nine dart finish, at Bolton.

After securing, thirteen world titles, you might expect Taylor to be slowing down in his quest for excellence. But he appears to doing just the opposite. Clint Eastwood said in an interview recently that, ‘Some directors did remakes of their movies at the end of their careers. I prefer to surf a new wave, rather than an old one’.

Taylor has not lost his hunger for development, which is usually the first thing to go, when a reigning champion has become satiated by success. He has not lost the desire to put the hard hours of practise in, that creates the foundation for success.

In all sports, there are always deeper levels of mastership to be attained. Deeper levels of concentration; focus; confidence; belief; and flow. The flow state…where the game plays the player. Where the throwing of a dart becomes effortless. Where the player knows exactly where they want to throw the dart…and it goes exactly where they have projected. No trying. No effort. Simply a player at the very top of their game.

It’s this exalted state, that the top player wants to experience again and again. A feeling that cannot be attained in everyday life. The hard practise is worthwhile, in the knowledge that these supreme moments are the reward.

Some players may never experience these feelings of supreme confidence. But for those that have, they turn up to play, in the hope that today will deliver such an experience of unbeatability.

And the more of them you have of those moments, the more you want them. That’s the drug of peak performance. And the reason why top sports professionals, can find it so very hard, to draw the curtain on their careers.