At the beginning of the season, when I first joined the darts league, my hand always shook when I got down to a double. If I was comfortably ahead, my hand shook uncontrollably and I would start to feel my supporting leg go as well. Anyone know why this is? It’s took a while, but I think I’ve finally figured it out. I was afraid of winning.

Ok, so that’s as far as I got. I don’t know why I was afraid of winning but as soon as I started finishing legs, it went. I think Terry Jenkins has the same issue – not the shaking thing mind you. He plays fantastically, but when the chance is there, he doesn’t finish it. I mean, come on. UK Open. Jenkins 9 – 7 Lewis. What a match! He went on to lose against James Wade in the next round.

I’m sure my love for TJ has no bearing on what I’m about to say, but; he could have done it! He could have knocked Wade out! And he didn’t!? Am I wrong in thinking it could be fear of winning?

So I won a leg here and there, nothing to shout about. Then I joined the ladies league. I think I have lost 1 game since I’ve been playing for them. I won’t lie. It feels good. And it’s really changed the way I see things. I used to get really agitated when I threw bad darts.

Someone once told me not to show my emotions on the oche. So I listened to them and now 90% of the time my face is the same whether I score 26 or 140. I must admit I did have to chuckle when I scored a mighty 3 the other night! But at least I didn’t get angry.

I’ve seen walls, doors, boards and the ceiling get punched in fits on the oche when peoples darts aren’t going well. I’ve never been that bad, but I have chilled out considerably since I started playing darts. I still feel a need to win for my team, but I don’t feel I need to prove myself anymore. I used to make myself think it, but now I really believe it; I play for me.

I wonder if playing in a ladies league changed my darts at all. Most people say it’s a more relaxed atmosphere than men’s darts and maybe that helps, but isn’t darts fun where ever you play, whoever you play with? It really is a mind game. So many people think their opponent’s reactions are tactics to put them off, but in reality how many are just creating mental obstacles for themselves? Or making excuses for when they play badly?

There’s one regular who comes up to our local on darts nights. He has a booming, obnoxious voice and constantly talks rubbish. For some reason this guy gets under my skin more than anyone I’ve ever known. When I hear his voice and I flinch as I throw my dart, I’ll be cursing him under my breath, but at the end of the day am I not just creating the problem for myself?

Now I actively tell myself to chill out and let it go when I hear him. Only I control my darts, and taking responsibility is the best thing you can do. I know too many people who change their darts, or flights, or stance every time they throw badly.

Is this really the way to do it? I’m not ashamed to say it, but I nearly cried one night after playing badly for a couple of weeks. I thought I’d lost it. Whatever I had that made me throw darts well, I thought it was gone and it would never come back. But it did. And I’ve had good nights and bad nights since. I know what my good and bad darts are and if I have a bad night, I know that I’ll have a good night again at some point.

The Mystery Lady

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