After one of the most abject performances of his career at the Grand Slam, fears of the demise of Raymond van Barneveld are again being voiced as his fall from grace continues at a worrying rate.

It seemed that the Dutchman was showing some good form as he turned up for two Players Championships (a rare occurrence in itself) last month, reaching a semi-final and a final and seemingly playing well.

However, it has been an entirely different story in Wolverhampton as, in a group he was fully expected to win, he lost all three matches and finished bottom with no points and a minus seven leg difference.  The opening night defeat to world number 66 Ian White really setting the tone for his woeful performances over the next two matches.

Barney has dropped to eighth in the PDC Order of Merit, his lowest spot for nearly five years and it could get even worse for the former world champion as Paul Nicholson is breathing down his neck and a run to the final of the Grand Slam for the Asset would see him overtake his Dutch rival.

The problem for Raymond appears to be confidence and self-belief, which sounds ridiculous as the man has won five World Championships, two UK Opens, two World Masters and countless other trophies, but nevertheless, it is the issue.

The head shaking and despondent expression that appears on the face of the 44-year-old could not be in starker contrast to the look of steely determination and words of self-motivation that the likes of Ted Hankey and Nicholson have displayed on our television screens over the last week.

It could be that he has simply lost his appetite and motivation for the game, the old problem of where do you go once you’ve climbed Everest? Well Phil Taylor certainly has the answer to that question, and with a role model for the sport like him around it seems inconceivable that others would just lose interest.

The way to cure the problem can only be found inside the head of the man from Den Haag, and if it can be resolved then there is no reason why Barney can’t go on to win more major trophies.  The man is without doubt one of the greatest darts players in history, if only he could meet one of the greatest psychologists…

Phil Haigh

Twitter follow @philhaigh_

Photo courtesey of Lawrence Lustig/PDC

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One Response

  1. Paddy O Sullivan

    Barney’s demise all started when after winning the ’07 World Championship, he returned with a set of porcelain machined darts for the Premier League. It took him a year to realise he made a big mistake. He has been tinkering ever since, stems, flights, barrels. Even the Matchplay where he left his darts in Holland, he managed to get a replica set and then started using them since and throwing terribly. With incessent tinkering comes a drop in confidence as it is much easier to blame the tools when things don’t go right, rather than the fact you are looking for a magic sollution that is not there. Go back to what won you 5 world titles Barney, that’s why we all love you as a darts player. The ’07 final was one of the best matches i have ever witnessed.