Goal setting is one of the most important tools for any player looking to improve their dart game. Determining your weaknesses and setting a plan to improve them is the number one thing you can do to become a better player.
It is not just enough to set these goals. Once you have them you must create a plan to achieve them. When creating a plan it is imperative to know your starting point and track your progress along the way. This is why goal setting and planning go hand in hand.
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What Is Goal Setting?
Goal setting is determining an area in which you wish to improve and defining the desired improvement in that area. In the case of darts, it can be getting better at a certain game, a certain number, improving consistency and more.
It is important to note that goal setting is not the same thing as planning. Your goal is the desired outcome and your plan is how you will achieve that outcome.
Why Set Goals?
Goal setting is important because it defines the desired outcome for improvement. It gives you a target, it gives you motivation, and it reaching your goals gives you satisfaction.
Because a goal provides focus, it reduces wasted time and effort. As you hit your goals and set new ones, you can see a measurable change in your skill level.
The SMART Method For Goal Setting
The most common method for setting goals is the “SMART” method. It defines the key elements that every goal should have and following “SMART” will increase the likelihood of achieving your goals.
SMART is an acronym. It stands for
Specific – Your goal must be specific. Getting better at darts is not a specific goal. Getting better at 501 is more specific, but getting better at doubling out is even better.
Measurable – Your goal must be something you can measure. You have to be able to see the improvement to know if you have improved. Most goals you set in darts will be easy to measure.
Achievable – Your goal must be achievable. This is also easy for darts. We know what is achievable and what is not. You can not throw an 8 darter in 501, that is a bad goal. Throwing a 9 darter is an awesome goal.
Realistic – You must be realistic with your goals. Do you have the time and resources required to reach your specific goal? Setting an unrealistic goal will result in failure and bring up all of the negative emotions around defeat.
Timely – You should set a timeline for your goals. This helps you stay on track and forces you to try harder to reach the desired outcome by the desired time.
What Goals Should I Set For My Darts
Everyone will have different goals for darts. If we are using SMART we know the goal should be specific. So if you want to get better in a certain game, you should determine what are the key elements to get better in that game.
The first step is honest self-evaluation. If you want to improve your 501 game you need to determine where you are lacking. Are you missing the triple 20’s? Are you horrible at doubles? Knowing where you are weak will tell you where to improve.
There is nothing wrong with setting multiple goals. In the example above, your main goal may be to get better at 501, but you can also have a goal of improving your consistency at the 20 which will ultimately help achieve your main goal.
Defining Your Starting Point
Before you make a plan, you should determine where you are at. If your goal is to improve your triple 20 accuracy, what is your current accuracy? If you don’t measure it first you will not know whether or not you have improved.
For simple goals like this, I recommend a simple test. Something like a 100 dart census. Throw 100 darts and count how many hit. I like this test for a few reasons:
- It is enough darts to give a good average
- It can be done relatively quick
- Using 100 as a base, it is very easy to convert into a percentage
- It allows you to recreate the exact scenario once your training is complete to check for improvement
- If your goals are long term, it is simple to do regular checks and track your progress along the way
Setting A Plan To Improve Your Darts
We have talked about goals so much but how do you reach them? You need a plan. Unfortunately, there is no 1 set plan I can provide here. The amount of goals in darts is limitless so the plans would be as well.
Once your goal is defined you must determine a route to reach that goal. It could be something as simple as adding an extra playing session each week or playing for 3 hours instead of 2.
But if you are looking to improve in a certain area, most plans will involve practice routines. There are tons of games and routines designed to help improve in certain areas of the game.
What Is A Darts Practice Routine?
In darts, a practice routine is a game designed to develop your proficiency in a certain area. Most practice routines in darts can be played by 1 player and they focus on a specific target or skill-set.
What Practice Routine Should You Use?
You want to use a practice routine or routines that are directly in line with your goals. There are practice routines for all aspects of your darts.
If you are looking to improve in a specific area and don’t know where to start, feel free to ask in the comments below. I will help you get started.
Staying Motivated To Practice
Let’s face it, practicing the same thing over and over again can be boring. This is why I strongly recommend seeking out the best practice routines for your goals.
A routine turns practice into a game and takes some of the monotony out of continuously going after the same target. In fact, you may find some of these games more fun than the actual game you are training for!
Several routines can be used depending on your goals so you don’t have to stick to one routine. Not only will switching things up keep practicing interesting, changing the pace and putting yourself in different situations will also help your progress by avoiding stagnation.
If you have more than one goal, practice should never be boring. You can go back and forward between goals, between games, plenty to do.
Reassessing Your Goals
Once you have reached the end of the time you set for improvement, what next? Well, this depends. Did you reach your goals?
If you hit your goals, that’s great, but don’t be discouraged if you did not. As long as you are seeing improvement, you are on the right track.
In most cases failing to reach a goal is most likely caused by an unrealistic target. Goal setting for darts is tricky, but you will get better at determining your rate of growth as you go. You can use the knowledge gained from your results to set more attainable goals next time.
Regardless if you hit your goals or not, this is the time to reassess and set new goals. They can be further improvements in the same area or something completely different.
The important thing is to keep setting goals and keep working towards them. There is no doubt that planned and recorded progress will make you a better player. Keep at it!