Darts Psychology: Michael Van Gerwen – Winning!

It’s day four of the World Darts Championships and the seeds are tumbling. Rob Cross. Michael Smith. Ian White. And of course ex-champion Ray Van Barneveld. One seed who remains is defending champion Michael Van Gerwen. But it could have been so different. One set down and under the kosh to Jelle Klaasen, Van Gerwen had to find something to get him out of a hole. Something which the other seeds couldn’t find. Something which is the preserve of champions. You could see it in his concentration. Mid-way through the second set with the pressure mounting, the champion turned on […]

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Darts Psychology: Dave Chisnall – Finals!

And so Michael Van Gerwen defends his World Grand Prix title in Dublin. In the process denying Dave Chisnall his first major darts prize. That’s five final losses now for Chisnall. Of course, getting to fie finals is a terrific achievement. But your darts career will be known for the silverware you have won, not the finals you have graced. Of course playing MVG in a final can feel daunting. You sense that you need to bring your A Game. Anything less and Mighty Mike will be all over you. But the danger with that mind-set is that you end up […]

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Sports Psychology: Adrian Lewis – Champion!

So Adrian Lewis has successfully defended his darts World Title. Winning the title once is an outstanding achievement. To repeat the win, shows that it wasn’t a fluke, or ‘lucky week’. The further Lewis advanced in the 2011-12 competition, the more he spoke of himself as being ‘World Champion’. He was tapping into the powerful mindset of being champion. It’s the trait that helps champions to win repeatedly. They know they are the best in the world at that time. That no one else can beat them. They may not be playing the best, but their mindset is tuned to […]

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Sports Psychology: Paul Nicholson – Dana!

It’s the third round of the World Darts Championships at Alexandra Palace. And Paul Nicholson is simmering. He has just come off stage, having lost 4-1 to Kim Huybrecht’s. And he’s blaming Huybrecht’s girl-friend Dana Verhaegen for his unexpected loss. Regular big-screen close ups of the pretty Verhaegen, proved a lure for the women-hungry beer swilling crowd. Leading to boisterous wolf-whistles and other shows of approval. This, plus an instinctive dislike of Nicholson’s so called ‘bad-boy’ image, gave the man from Chorley nothing to feed off emotionally. Of course he’s wrong to pin the blame on the North London crowd. […]

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Sports Psychology: Simon Whitlock – Expectations!

It’s the first round of the World Darts Championships at Alexandra Palace. Former world finalist Simon Whitlock is playing Dennis Smith. And Sky are hyping the game up! Whitlock has recently broken his ankle. How will he stand the test of a long drawn out game, against the slow-throwing Smith? This is a potential upset in the making. But Whitlock, instead of being hampered by his injury, is set free. He throws the highest average of the tournament to date, to put Smith to the sword. Sky’s Rod Stubbs, is gurgling with incredulity. What Stubbs has failed to recognise, is […]

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Sports Psychology: Wes Newton – The Justin Pipe Effect!

It’s the second round of the World Darts Championships at Alexandra Palace. And the match between Fleetwood’s Wes Newton and Taunton’s Justin Pipe, is hotting up. At two sets all, Newton is allowing his irritation at Pipe’s slow and deliberate style of play to show. Behind Pipe’s back, Newton is tapping his watch, Alex Ferguson style, to let us know that he is unhappy with the West Countryman’s speed of play. Then Newton feigns falling asleep, as his simmering frustration gets the better of him. Of course, with these distractions, the world number five’s game suffers, and he crashes out […]

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Sports Psychology: Raymond Van Barneveld – The Will To Win!

It’s the first round of the World Darts Championships at Alexandra Palace. Five-times champion Raymond Van Barneveld is a hot favourite to beat James Richardson. Richardson is competing in the Worlds for the first time. He is given no chance. But those discounting the brick-layer, have overlooked his form and emergence in the PDC. The professionals recognise his ability and threat. Barney on the other hand, is a star on the wane. He’s been there and done it. And doesn’t seem to have the desire to get himself up to do it again. His meek surrender to Wes Newton in […]

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Sports Psychology: Adrian Lewis – Concentration!

It’s the first round of the World Grand Prix at Dublin. And World Champion Adrian Lewis is cruising. Five legs in a row against John Part. Lewis is looking the real deal. Then with the match beckoning, Lewis switches off. He lets Part back in and suddenly instead of closing out the match, Lewis is struggling. One all becomes two-one, as Part takes the game in an unexpected about-turn. From cruising to victory, Lewis is heading home. He’s fallen into the trap of assuming victory. It looks as if Lewis hasn’t thought through some varied match strategies in advance. He’s […]

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Sports Psychology: Dave Chisnall – Underperformance!

It’s the first round of the World Matchplay at The Winter Gardens, Blackpool. And Dave Chisnall has finally found some form. Unfortunately, he is 9-1 down against Watford’s Mark Walsh. Chisnall picks off a couple of legs to keep Walsh on his toes, but it’s come too late to turn back the tide. Chisnall is out. After his semi-final performance in the UK Open at Bolton, many judges expected Chisnall to at least match his performance at The Reebok. After all The Reebok was Chisnall’s first TV event since he joined the PDC. He appeared fearless and unperturbed by pressure. […]

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Sports Psychology: Mark Walsh – Motivation!

Mark Walsh has just destroyed Dave Chisnall in the first round of the World Matchplay. Normally, the winning player is taken up to the Sky studio, for a post-match chat with Dave Clarke. Unsurprisingly, we don’t get to hear Walsh’s post-match analysis. In face we rarely do. When he beat Alan Tabern in the second round of last years World Championships, the man from Watford was interviewed somewhere on the floor by Dave Clarke. And Walsh let Clarke know directly what he thought of Sky’s evasive interview policy. ‘We love you really’ was the sycophantic Clarke’s feeble response. But Walsh […]

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