Darting Essays – A Coaching Critique, by David Kirby

This publication is number two in a planned pentalogy of darts books written by Central England Darts League player David Kirby. David’s first book ‘The Definitive Darts Coaching Manual’ was brought to our attention last year and is reviewed¬†here.

12 months on and Darting Essays picks up where TDDCM left off by introducing a number of short essays to further explore the techniques and ideas laid down by its predecessor.

The book’s opening pages outline the concept behind the series, giving the reader David’s insight on how he anticipates the individual reading materials will fuse together and provide structured darts learning to maximise a players potential.

With the explanation covered it’s straight into twenty eight interesting finishes – designed to make you consider alternatives to what is perhaps the usual school of thought.

For example, you require 25 – easy S9 D8. David asks why not S17 D4? The obvious answer is D8 along with D16 is a well practiced and favourite double for many players.

David’s argument (presumably) is that straying either side of a fat 9 doesn’t leave an outshot, and even worse a treble in those neighbouring beds busts the turn. A sloppy throw at 17 falling short may score 3 or 9 which still gives you two darts at D11 or D8.

So perhaps it’s all about percentage shots then, but is not backing yourself to hit the single too negative? Under pressure perhaps the percentage shot is the right one for YOU. I’ve highlighted this example but the other 27 suggestions don’t deviate as far from convention.

The book moves swiftly on to planning your progress from pub (getting into your first darts team) to super league and beyond, suggesting alternative ways to gain the edge in your game including but not limited to Yoga and Hypnosis.

This concept is then expanded to suggest possible alternatives to alcohol for assisting with composure and nerves.

Youth darts gets a brief examination as does concentration, etiquette and finding/bringing on new players. Whilst dealt as four separate subjects, anyone looking to setup or get involved in youth darts could learn from all of the latter which cover around 8 pages in total.

The same could be said of other chapters for example where the pros and cons and ways to initiate the sponsoring of a young player are evaluated. The sponsorship theme is also revisited later on in the book where the business affairs of a pro/semi-pro darter are explored.

Seasoned pros could glean something from Darting Essays as it presses home the importance of having multiple sets of darts. I would take this a step further and suggest players at any level always carry spare barrels in their darts case to mitigate any incidents. Are you listening Mr Pipe?

I’m not going to regurgitate the entire content of the book here as this would be unfair on the author, however I would like to single out two more sections that struck a personal chord; the 10 minute practice and playing from cold.

A young family, a full-time occupation and involvement in other projects conspire together to minimise my own time behind the oche, therefore I will be incorporating both these sessions or variations of them into my own practice.

One could argue that the range of topics covered by the book’s 87 pages means they can’t fully be dissected and analysed. Mr Kirby himself would probably acknowledge this fact and point out that past or future books in the series have/will plug the gaps.

Equally, there are some aspects to our sport that are subjective and vary from player to player making definitive answers unavailable or not applicable, even in these instances a helping hand or two along the way to provoke thought can’t be a bad thing.

Like TDDCM, Darting Essays retails at just £5 so I would implore you to make the purchase and defy anyone not to take something away that enhances their own game after reading this book.

Darting Essays is also available from amazon as an ethingy – Kindle Schmindle this reviewer likes a proper book!

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