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This blog is not about anything other than the things I want to write about.
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Darts: Statistics and Practice
This is a post I am almost hesitant to make, as I think I am very much about to go against the grain. I may be wrong, but I strongly suspect that people who have the same feelings as I do about practice statistics are very much in the majority, and I would recon that this would include casual player and pro alike.
That being said, I still believe that keeping statistics of your practices is a bad idea and ultimately works against you getting better.
The normal refrain, in defense of keeping practice stats is that it allows you to track your practice so you can see when you get better and that it is a motivational tool.
Now once in a while having a little challenge for yourself may be fine (and possibly even helpful) but when you do it every practice, that is no longer a practice, it is a contest. Actual games against a living breathing opponent is where you want to have your contests. Practice should be about learning and nurturing both skills and self confidence. Of course in practice as with games you will be looking to execute with precision, but it is also in practice where you must cultivate the attitude and mental state of never ever being afraid to miss or make a mistake. Making it a contest puts you in much more danger of getting down on yourself, and changes the focus almost solely on outcomes and not on the process.
As for the notion that it helps you track progress, this is mistaking the finger pointing to the moon, with the moon itself. You will know you have made progress when, over time, your scoring starts to become more consistent and you start beating people you could not beat before. That is the progress that you truly should be looking at, and even then I would urge you to scrap any kind of 'I need to be better TODAY' mentality.
This of course brings us to the need some people have to use practice statistics as a motivational tool.
I think this is an investment with diminishing returns, and one that allows too much negativity and bad mental habits in the long run.
Quite simply put, if you want to go as far as you can possibly go, you have to decide how far you want to go and pay the price, and the price is time in front of the board.
If you need statistics to keep motivated then ask yourself why that motivation does not come from within?
You shouldn't need to eliminate practice games from your repretoire altogether, as they can be fun, just recognize the difference between practice and a practice game.
Some people may find that without the challenge of making it a contest, that they simply get bored or find the practice becomes a chore.
Now each of us is different as unique human beings, but speaking for myself, I don't look at practice as a chore, but rather as the price of admission for getting better, and I take pride in my commitment to getting better.
Sometimes what motivates me is that I am NOT motivated, because I know that practicing even when it is not easy to do so, is a champion attitude. At least, that's how I see it.
In the end these are just my opinions, but I hope they might bring some thoughtfulness to how you yourself approach darts, whether you agree or disagree!
Thank you for reading!
Dave 'The Abominable Throw Man' Sproull
Also if you are interested, not darts related, but I did a review of Graham Hancock's 'Magicians of the Gods'
I also have a new darts article in the works!!