This is a slightly strange time of year if you are a darts player, particularly one like me that has spent most of the last two decades playing in the Premier League.
Whilst this year’s break from the Premier League action was, in many ways, a welcome one for me (myself and Samantha had a new baby that I had barely had the chance to spend any time with), it has also felt very alien.
I am a competitor at heart, and I always want to win – as much as I probably moaned every week about travelling non-stop (Samantha will be nodding when she reads this), I do miss the sharpness and adrenaline that comes with being on stage week in week out.
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People always ask me if I watch the action when I am not playing, and in truth I don’t. I don’t watch tournaments that I am in (other than my own games obviously and sometimes I don’t watch them too closely) and I often don’t even know who has won if it’s an event that I am knocked out of or not entered for.
It is not sour grapes; it is just my way of coping with things and keep my focus on my own game and career and not what anyone else does.
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You can drive yourself mad looking at people thinking 'wow he’s playing well' or 'I’d have a chance against him' but the truth is you must make sure that the best version of yourself turns up.
It is the same mentality that means that I often don’t even know who I have drawn in big events until I get there. Although darts is relatively quiet for me at the moment (there has been a few Players’ Championships including two last weekend when I did reasonably well and threw nicely) it is only a matter of weeks before things hot up (quite literally if the temperature in Blackpool’s Winter Gardens is anything like last year).
I am fiercely determined to do what I always have through my career and come back stronger whenever my ranking has started to dip, and that starts here.
I am practicing with an old friend Aaron Monk who is quite local to me – his dad Colin was also a top dart player – and the added competitive edge to working with someone else helps.
Away from the dartboard I have been doing some interesting and fun stuff, some of which I can’t say too much about now (mysterious Mr Wade!).
A lot of it includes opportunities to do a bit more TV stuff, including some shows that sounds quite scary and out of my comfort zone!
Talking of out of my comfort zone, I have also recorded a podcast for Simon Jordan’s ‘Upfront’ show, where we talked about everything from being a competitor to mental health challenges.
Simon can be feisty with his questions (it’s kind of the point of the show) but he is well informed and a nice guy so hopefully it comes across well.
Look forward to seeing you all soon,
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