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Brigitte Neumann Every time we think we talk to ourselves. These inner dialogues influence what we do. Mindpower is the best access to our psyche and the most important starting point for concrete sports psychology. Even before you give in in a match you already have resigned inside. But it also works in the reverse: you can manage to talk to you that you are able to reach your limits in darts. When you are capable to condition your mind to your goals you will be on the highway to success. Examine your inner dialogues during a match: Are they supportive or do they hinder you? To find out I recommend some kind of mind record best during a practice match. Wright down after the match everything you did think before, during and after your throws. Most interesting are those situations you made a mistake. Later you can sort your thoughts in: Supporting, relating to purpose thoughts and distracting, irritating thoughts. Checking your record you'll probably find out that successful throws are related with the positive thoughts and mistakes with the negative thoughts. Probably you´ll have a problem at the beginning. To observe yourself while thinking is not easy. You can put up a video camera while playing and afterwards compare your thoughts with your body language and your behaviour at the oche. You can only start to improve when your really know what's going on in your head.

Based on the results of your thoughts record you can develop your own individual mind practice.

To develop your own mind practice. Your thoughts influence your subconscious and that works exactly to the instructions given by you. You have to phrase those instructions clear and distinct. The subconscious doesn't understand the word "not". When I tell you, you should not think of a pink elephant what will happen? You'll see exactly that pink elephant, don't you? So you start your mind/thought practice with exact, simple and positive words phrased in present tense. During competition the thoughts should apply to your task. For example:

Instead: And again lost a match it could be: That's my match!
Instead: Well, once again a mistake it could be: That's no problem! Carry on.
Instead: I hope there'll be no more faults it could be: I am totally focused
Instead: I am horribly nervous it could be: I am calm and relaxed
Instead: The crowd is irritating it could be: Watch out! Focus on the board.
Instead: That was brilliant by my opponent! It could be: Play your own match!
Instead: The match just walks out on me it could be: I can do that and I'll manage that!
Instead: That's getting tight! It could be: Stick to it, keep it going, give all!

During a match you should never think at the result and might be consequences. Really just throw one dart after the other and enjoy! Looking at your thought record you'll see it's not easy not to think. That´s the reason, why you should try to learn to change your thoughts from negative to positive, precise and task related. Stay patient with you, probably it will not work perfect from the beginning. When you catch yourself thinking negative or irrelevant switch on a kind of thought stop. Just they either inside or loud:"stop"! That will interrupt the negative cycle and you can start thinking positive again. Look in your thought record which are the most frequent negative thoughts and think about a positive phrase instead. This phrase you should tell yourself several times during a day for a few minutes for about twelve weeks as well as before falling asleep, before practice and during a match. That's the language your mind will understand! Drumming those phrase or phrases into your mind will set free till then unknown powers. Those instructions to your mind and subconscious will be a very important mental help for you. You`ll only really see the results of this mental practice, when the phrases are really stored in your mind, when they come up automatically. So better start with it now and practice. Perhaps you could note your progress in some kind of diary of success, that will help to motivate you to stick to it!

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