Fitness and Diet

Fitness and Diet
Hi There Darts Fans,

I'm going down a slightly different route with this months Tips and Hints! I have been over the basics for practice and counting and playing the averages, now for something that is often overlooked and sometimes laughed at! I will use a personal example and recent observations, just to give you an idea of what I mean. 2/3 years ago I noticed I was losing matches that I shouldn't really be losing. I took a big look at myself and thought 'what could be the reason?' I was practicing hard, my league darts were almost unbeatable locally, and small competitions were a breeze!

So what could be the problem? Quite simply fatigue and concentration. I had gradually been putting on weight and over the last couple of years, I had stopped jogging and going to the gym. It wasn't a sudden weight gain, but gradually I had put on weight, most would say "occupational hazard".

Anyway I decided to do something about it, I joined the gym, watched what I ate, and over the course of the next 8/10 months, dropped 3.5 stone (22 kgs). I felt great and my confidence soared, which led to one of the best 6 months of results I had had for several years; I was Runner Up in the Antwerp Open, I won the open Holland, I made the Semi-Final of a PDC Players Championship, I qualified for The Dessert Classic Las Vegas, I made the Quarter Finals of the World Matchplay - all this in less than 6 months.

I thought I had cracked it, then over the next 12 months, "old habits die hard", I stopped the jogging and hardly visited the gym. Then the realisation: 'I'm losing games I shouldn't again'. Why? I think due to the fact I had put half the weight I lost back on!

Here is the observation I mentioned earlier: whilst at a recent PDC event, I was waiting for my next game and a friend of mine was playing, so I took time to take a look. Whilst watching him I glanced up and down the line of 8 boards where the matches were being played and there were 16 darters playing their games. I didn't take much notice of who they were, but something stood out. I watched for a while trying to work out what looked out of place, then I realised 'it was me', 14 out of the 16 players were slim, looking fit and certainly did not look fatigued. There were 2 guys around the same size as me, struggling and losing. Then it hit home again. If you are content playing once a week in a local league and team, it really doesn't matter what you do about your fitness or weight, but if you really want to get on at a serious level, times have changed. No longer is it a 'fat mans sport', with mockery being given at the hint of needing to be fit or slim, but it has become a real professional sport, where fitness and concentration are making a huge impact. Just take a look at the 'new comers' playing in the World Matchplay this July. No more is it a pub game for beer monsters lol. I will be back to the jogging and the gym. 'Watch this space'

So my tip is, if you really want to get somewhere in darts, treat it like any other sport. Fitness and diet are a key part now, otherwise you will be left behind! Good luck!

Yours in darts

Matt Clark