Daryl Gurney: Darts players have to act like sportsmen now

Daryl Gurney is prepping for the Champions League of Darts, and we talked with him recently to find out how he copes with the pressure of the pro darts...

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The PDC are making darts more professional every year.

If you do something wrong, you get fined. We can’t go for a jolly-up, we’re proper sportsmen now with the money that’s involved in the game. We’ve got to treat ourselves like sportsmen and we have to act like sportsmen, because darts is probably one of the biggest growing sports now in the world.

Darts – William Hill World Darts Championship – Alexandra Palace, London – 20/12/14
Daryl Gurney during the walk on in the first round
Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Steven Paston
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Out of the millions of people watching at home, half of them are probably children and some of them’ll aspire to be darts players, so they don’t want to see us doing stupid stuff on TV. We’ve got to carry ourselves right, set an example to young players and people getting into darts.

We’re showing them that this is a good place to be instead of coming on and it just looks like fat boys on TV.

We’re getting more professional.

Darts – 2013 Ladbrokes World Darts Championship – Alexandra Palace, London – 15/12/12
Daryl Gurney celebrates winning his first round match
Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Steven Paston
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Don’t get crowded out

Honestly, sometimes you hear the crowd, sometimes you don’t. I don’t know what I’ve done to Dublin people, because they booed me in the Grand Prix. When I was in the Premier League there, they loved the walk on singing Sweet Caroline. As soon as the music stopped they were shouting for Barney.

But I think it was more like because everybody loves Barney.

You can’t be loved everywhere. You’ve have to take the rough with the smooth.

With the TV coverage, I’m used to playing on the BBC because I was in the BDO. It’s probably going to be the same audience for the Champions League of Darts that watches it, so there won’t be any difference to me.

Unibet Premier League Darts, 3 Arena, Dublin 1/2/2018
Daryl Gurney with Raymond van Barneveld after the game
Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Tommy Dickson

If you’re playing on a national stage, you always try to do your best anyway. It doesn’t matter if there’s a hundred people watching at home or a million, you’ll try the same.

Winning the mind games

For me, 90 per cent is mental and the extra 10 per cent is how good your throw is. Some people are a lot more natural than I am, I have to force the dart. It’s not a very natural throw. People like Adrian Lewis, Gary Anderson, Michael Smith, they’re all very talented, so they’ve gained a percentage on me straight away.

I do two hours practice every night, whereas I think Mike Smith does about five, it’s a regime he’s got himself into. But for how natural he is, he shouldn’t have to play that much. He’s gifted and natural.

Mentally, you have to go through the bad times to learn from them.

The way I’ve always done my career in the last five years was I always have to make baby steps to make one large ones. When you’re well ahead in a leg on a finish, instead of just going up and wishing you had it, make sure you’re going to hit it.

Unibet Premier League Darts, 3 Arena, Dublin 1/2/2018
Daryl Gurney throws his darts flights into the crowd
Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Tommy Dickson

Sometimes you rush, you get a little bit nervous about yourself and your heartrate goes up and it’s like a surge, you get a bit of a shake in your hand. So then you could end up missing. Stuff like that matters.

Every year since I joined the PDC I’ve wanted to improve. Obviously last year was my best year. I’m going to find it very, very hard to improve from that. My goals are that I want to win a European tour this year, I want to do well in all TV tournaments and possibly do better in what I’m doing so far this year in the pro-tours.

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