Apologies on the lateness of this blog I’ve been a little busy of late. This week’s blog is a little different. I was recently emailed by someone asking for my opinion and I thought I would make my thoughts this week’s blog. So thanks to Dave.
If anyone else needs an urgent query answering, if I can’t answer I do have access to someone who is even more knowledgeable than I. Though to be fair, that’s not hard.
1 – Advice on playing in the rain and keeping your average.
Playing in the rain is a great leveller. For players that throw the stick rather than let it slide through their hands it shouldn’t be a problem. Issues arise when the stick gets wet and sticks to your hand. Keep a beer towel in your bag at all times and as soon you’ve thrown give each one a proper dry even if they look OK. You will find that they should have dried enough to throw again. Of course once dried you should store them in the car or under the table not leave them in the rain.
If you are at home you should always have a dry bit of carpet to put on the floor for the match. This is so important. How many times do people complain that they don’t like playing in the rain but then neglect to provide a dry area in the shed. Surely, that’s common sense.
Some people get their sticks drenched and find that easier because then it’s uniformly wet through out the stick. Me? I use the beer towel works every time.
Keeping your average up is better answered in 2.
2 – Does practice make perfect, I threw 4 4 4 in practice and X 1 2 in the game. Is it all in the head?
Practice does indeed make perfect but not really on game night. If at all possible use another time, I like to throw on a Sunday afternoon if I can. Too much practice right before a match tires your arm a small amount and you either drop short or over compensate and go over or are wild. 3 practice throws on a new pitch is the maximum. 2 on a pitch you’ve already thrown on. Once to loosen the arm and another to get your eye in. NEVER EVER throw a 6 in practice I guarantee you a blob and a low score. If you get your first 3 throw the next 2 away and try for the 6th. You’re just wasting dolls here.
The reason you get more when practicing is because you are more relaxed, even if you think you’re doing everything the same, little things like not extending your arm as much or, letting go of the stick a fraction sooner than you would normally. Get someone you trust to stand behind you during practice and get them to watch, or better still get your digital camera and film your throw on Sunday afternoon that’s when you will be most relaxed, sounds silly but it will give you a good feedback.
I’ll use golf as an example.
Nick Faldo and Seve Ballesteros.
Both great players but Nick Faldo before playing would hit 500 balls to get his eye in and get his muscle memory in tune. Every time he played he did this. Seve Ballesteros never did anything like it, he was a natural and didn’t need to.
There is a good proportion of it in your head as well. Go out there and really concentrate on getting that first doll. Once you get the first your confidence goes up, it’s all about that first doll, I can’t stress that enough!
With respect to keeping up a decent average I would say the more time you think about it the worst your average will become. You end up putting too much pressure on yourself and as a result end up with a poor score. In fact the best way to score well is to be relaxed and concentrate on getting that first doll, then the second and so on. I never think with three in the bag I could get a 4 here. Rather I think, “I just want one more, just one more” Think of what you need now not what you need for a good average.
3 – Should I sand my sticks?
Sanding sticks is personal preference I never do unless I have splinters. From question 1 if you slide the stick in your hand then it needs to be smooth, if you throw the stick without sliding it at all then don’t bother. However, some players use the sand as a psychological tool to get them in the zone before they throw. It’s less about the actual sand and more about the focus it gives the player, a ritual if you like.
4 – I play well in the team but in the singles I go to bits
Singles competitions are the absolute pinnacle of what makes a good player a good player. Every player is nervous in the singles comp it’s just how they show it.
To get around it you need to put yourself in that position loads so that you feel at home there. And always try to be as relaxed as you can, even if you really aren’t. It’s no surprise that you see the same old faces in the singles competition. They’ve, literally in some cases, been doing it for years. It becomes second nature and they are able to play through the nerves, even use it to their advantage.