It’s Monday night at the Winter Gardens. The first round of the World Matchplay, and local boy Wes Newton is tackling Kevin Painter.
Wes reckons, there are around three hundred of his fans in the capacity Blackpool crowd. This should be a good thing. But by the eighth leg, Newton is seven-nil down.
There is no rhythm to his throwing. Good darts followed by bad darts. The harder he tries the worse it gets. Its only by the eighth leg, when he has nothing to lose, that Newton finds some sort of form. But by then, its far too late. He loses 10-3.
Maybe having so many family and friends in the crowd, has worked against him. Put too much pressure on him. Not wanting to let so many people down. Not wanting to disappoint people.
Better to think ‘Great, I’ve got good support to draw on. But I’m playing for me’. That way there is no expectancy. No extra pressure. Just you, the darts and the target. Clear thoughts every shot.
When you have people to please, then there are too many extra thoughts vying for attention. ‘I mustn’t do this’. ‘I mustn’t do that’.
With experience comes learning. Wes Newton’s first round Winter Gardens defeat, will have felt terrible. But if the Fleetwood man can take the learning from it, he will be a stronger player.