It’s the first round of the World Darts Championship, at The Alexandra Palace. Gary Anderson is playing Jamie Caven. Anderson is a class act. He has what it takes to become World Champion. If not this year, then sometime soon.
When he’s in the groove, he looks unbeatable. The darts flow from his hand, and the scoring is heavy. But when he slips from that easy groove, then the doubts set in.
Anderson should have the match with Caven well wrapped up. But he doesn’t. It goes into a deciding set. Anderson prevails. But it has been a scrape and a scare.
A first round match at the Alexandra Palace, is seemingly fraught with nerves and tension, for all the good players. Even if they come into the tournament feeling good. Up for it. In good form.
Then the moment they take to the big TV stage, they suddenly feel the pressure. The pressure of the dreaded early exit.
It hits you. Right there and then. Suddenly your arm, which was as loose as a goose in the practise room, tenses up. Doubles, which you have been hitting with your eyes closed, become elusive. What should have been a straightforward match, becomes a struggle.
And its all because of having created the wrong mental focus. A focus based on fear. Fear of losing. Fear of the early exit. Fear of having to watch the worlds biggest darts tournament on TV.
Instead of having a fear-based focus, around what you don’t want to happen, why not create a focus around what you do want.
How you want to play. What you need to do to throw well. Your game plan. Your processes. All simple mental strategies, that will enable you to stay clear-headed. And embrace the occassion.
The more clear-headed you are, the easier it is to throw well under pressure. And throwing well under pressure, is the goal of every darts player.
Now that Gary Anderson has got through his first-round match, his fears may dissipate. But, it really shouldn’t be such hard work, for such a class player.