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With televised darts averages seemingly skyrocketing, everyday players could be questioning the hours needed to genuinely improve at darts. It’s actually not rocket science, but is it as hard work everyone seems to think?
We’ll discuss the key factors around finding the right amount of time that you need to devote to your game in order to get measurable improvements.
Before taking to the practice board it helps to fully understand how the human mind works around the key element of “Mental Focus” and how long we can actually stay 100% focused for, none focused practice (all sports disciplines) has been proven to cause more harm than good around performance.
The Pomodoro Technique has long been accepted amongst management and production gurus as the gold standard of concentration and maximum work rate efficiency, developed by Francesco Cirillo, a leading productivity expert, who discovered through extensive research that a human first burst of full concentration lasts approximately 25 minutes, and requires a short break of 3-5 minutes before attempting a second burst of focus – which corresponds with strong statistical significance for the best darts specific practice where 50 minutes of practice is carried out including a break.
A well-known fact is that Finland has one of the best education systems in the world, one of the main reasons being the length of the classes, which lasts 45 minutes. Whilst Darts is a physical activity and generally played by people above school age, the base to add a short break sets up the perfect framework for your total practice session, no more than 45 to 55 minutes.
After your first 45-60 minutes of practice, it’s time for a longer break of 30+ minutes to maintain peak performance. And also the body, brain, nerves, and especially hand needs to “cool down” fully. Naturally, the exact details depend on your age, physical form, and health including throwing style, release, and follow through so you will have to experiment what suits you.
If we compare time frames to relevant dart competitions, it’s quite rare that any single match (PDC best of 11) lasts any longer than 40 minutes without a break.
So, the best practice sessions are 20-25 minutes in one go, with a short break, then another 20-25 minutes, and you’re done.
During recording sessions with top-level orchestral musicians in the 1980’s, it was proved that there was no benefit for sessions to run over 200 minutes – the results in accuracy faded hugely after this total time, during which they did have a 10-minute break every hour.
The most practice day should be is 3.5 hours, which equals a maximum of four full sessions with proper breaks. If you are going for a big practice day then you will need to lengthen the breaks in-between each hour, making the actual practice day last almost 5-6 hours.
However, for the vast majority of us, it’s basically impossible to practice for a whole day over this length of time so to keep your aim 100% focused, enjoyable, and interesting with 2-3 sessions of practice.
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