Many professional dart players will have you believe that they do not have or need coaches. However darts coaches do exist, and many darts players do use them.
Just like in any sport, it is always useful to have someone to give you constructive criticism about your playing technique. Coaches are also great motivators and sources of support when times get tough.
Some dart professionals are against having coaches, this is mainly because of personal pride. But they may be missing out on some valuable advice and perhaps they are making their career development a lot harder than necessary by not having a coach.
Do Professional Darts Players Have Coaches?
Although most professional darts players do not have coaches, if you look far enough into their backstories many of them had access to some kind of mentor when they were first starting out.
This was likely to be a friend or relative, not someone coaching for the money. But undoubtedly having someone there to help you get to grips with the game and find your own technique is a huge help, especially for new players.
The trouble with not having someone to help you when you’re at the beginning of your darts career, or first entering league tournaments, is that it is easy to feel like giving up after you lose your first few games. There are many professionals out there that may have thrown in the towel too early if it wasn’t for supportive local mentors.
Should You Get a Darts Coach?
Well, as previously mentioned, darts coaches are a valuable source of support and wisdom. If you do not have any connections in the darts world and want to get some reliable, critical feedback then hiring a darts coach is probably the best way to go.
If you are new at darts and just want to beat your mates at a round when you’re in the pub, then practice and consistency are probably all you need, rather than hiring a coach.
But if you are a serious player who is dedicated to the game and is looking at making a name for yourself in professional tournaments, then there are many benefits to hiring a coach.
Not only are coaches experts, but they usually also have connections. Like any other industry, networking is really beneficial, and coaches can get you access to competitions, leagues, and tournaments that you may not otherwise know about.
How Much Do Professional Darts Players Practice?
To be a true professional, you have to practice every single day. Most professionals, even those with a lot of natural talent, practice daily.
Just like anything else, the more you practice the better you will be. Daily practice is a great motivator to become the best, the more effort and time you invest in something the more likely you are to achieve your goals.
The length of time professionals practice varies, but it is still a considerable amount of time. Top professionals like World Champion Phil Taylor, practice up to eleven hours a day!
Of course, you may not have this kind of time to invest, at least not yet. But as you get better and get recognition for your playing skills, sponsorships may start to roll in that pay you to play and practice.
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Most darts players consider competition to be the best form of training. Daily practice and having a coach or a mentor can only get you so far. Facing the pressure of competition is the fastest and most effective way of improving your game.
Playing darts against other players, whether it be a professional contest or a friendly match requires the right mental approach. It is different from playing alone in that the stakes are higher, and nerves can get in the way of your ability to concentrate and stay on form.
Being able to overcome this is half the battle of being a professional player. The more you put yourself in challenging situations the better you will be at controlling your nerves, staying calm, and playing your best game.
Competition training also gives you access to stronger players. Playing against someone stronger or with more experience will push you harder than playing alone. Many darts players simulate this situation by asking another player to play a few sparring matches to help give themselves that extra push.
Health and wellness are a priority to most professional players and they take up other activities to achieve balance and better mental clarity needed for a sport like darts, which requires intense focus.
Players like Bob Anderson enjoy playing golf in their downtime and Bobby George is an avid fisherman. These activities may not seem like they are very helpful for playing darts at all, but taking a break from practice to focus on activities that relax the mind can really help you when you return to the dartboard.
How Long Does It Take to Be a Professional Dart Player?
Depending on how many practice hours you put in, and whether or not you decide to invest in a coach, will affect how long it would take you to become a professional darts player.
It is estimated that becoming a professional can take between 1 or 3 years of consistent, dedicated practice to become a professional.
Natural talent does account for some of the time taken. Some people naturally have better hand-eye coordination than others, but precision of aim is a talent that can, and should, be developed. Professionals and World Champions do not rely on natural talent alone.
Having a coach will help you develop faster, and get you into those professional leagues quicker.
How Much Do Professional Darts Players Make?
Most of a dart player’s salary comes from cash prizes from winning competitions. Elite players in the PDC Championships can win up to $1.9 million per year from various competitions and sponsorships.
Cash prizes are won progressively, so even if you don’t win, you still get paid.
In most competitions, will reward you for making it for each preliminary round. Each round rewards you with a higher and higher rate of winnings. So, even if you only make it to the quarter-finals, you can walk away with a few thousand dollars in your pocket.
Of course, cash prizes are scalable. Smaller clubs and local competitions may only win you $50 bucks, but a win is a win, and we all have to start somewhere.
In short, professional darts players do have coaches, many professionals do not use them in the advanced stages of their career because the intense competition they face is usually enough to keep them on form.
However, in the beginning, most players do have some kind of mentor, a friend or relative, for example. Mentors and coaches are valuable sources of support, guidance, and knowledge.
If you have no friends or relatives that can help you, then investing in a coach is advisable, especially if you are looking to participate in professional competitions. Having someone to critique your game, and give you advice on how to improve is priceless.
Competition training is hard and time-consuming, but the payoff can be big. Just make sure to take care of your health and take some time out to help you readjust and improve your focus. Your game will improve if you can find ways to relax away from the game and find the mental clarity needed for focus-intensive sports like darts.