Darts: Raymond Van Barneveld – Attack!

It’s the TV break in the second-round match between Raymond Van Barneveld and Brendan Dolan. Barney is two sets to the good. But he is playing poorly.

During the break, his Dutch pal Co Stompe, comes to have an encouraging word. Next thing we know, at the start of set three, Barney has thrown a beautiful nine-darter. The Alexandra Palace is delirious!

So what did Co Stompe say, to have such a catalytic effect on Barney’s game? He told him to attack! To throw the darts in a more assertive way. Clearly brilliant advice. But what does Co Stompe mean?

Often, when a player is out of form, they throw the darts, hoping they will go in. There is no intent. No commitment. No sense of certainty.

What Co Stompe was asking Barney to do, was to trust himself. To go for his shots. Aim to hit. Rather than ‘not miss’. An attacking mindset, not a defensive one.

And as a multiple world-champion, thats exactly how Barney should perform. Every time that he plays. But self-doubts create uncertainty. And uncertainty creates a mind-set, based on hope rather than champion-like intent.

Maybe Barney’s nine-darter will give him that elusive sense of certainty. Or at least it will show him how he has to think, if he is to become champion of the world again.

Posted in Darts Psychology, Sports Psychology Blog.