I was updating the FAQ section (by the way, check it out, 3 new Q&As), when I re-discovered this very interesting mail. Then I remembered how long it took me to respond (hopefully) convincingly, and as I read this response again, I found the problem is that basic it's worth a single article.
I read your article on the white area, quite interesting. My name is Darren Kam and I live in Calgary, Canada ( a hot little dart bed if I do say so myself) and we have a different Philosophy on the matter. we find if you ignore the other persons shots and score there really is no problem of Psyching ones self out. We go on the premise that it is the other persons score and there is nothing you can do about it. It basically comes down to you vs. The board. The only person you have to beat is yourself. But most important is have fun. you could be at work. Thank you for your time, Darren KamDear Darren,
Thank you for your mail.
You are talking about a very basic problem: Should I play against the board or against the opponent? It's one of the really big questions, most controversial even amongst players of high standard, and there are practical and, as I want to say, philosophical approaches to it. Here is the point of view I advocate:
First the practical. It seems that ignoring the opponent's play is a good way of keeping cool and win. Main problem here is that it is nearly impossible not to get influenced by the opponent. A key point to a good performance is awareness. This awareness has to be understood broadly, it means involvement, focus and being by sins, sensoric ability to feel one's own throw, and so on. This is absolutely necessary even for playing alone, because it goes together with the energy state. High positive energy requires awareness, fun requires awareness, and from sport psychology we know we can only give 100 per cent on high positive energy. But how can I really be aware of things going on when I'm ignoring something? You would have to ignore only your opponent and his play, which is highly difficult (I'm going that far to say it's impossible). As you can see we have two things working against each other - the need for high energy which requires high awareness and the need for limited awareness required to ignore the opponent. Even if you really manage to exclude the opponent completely from your head, there is finally one situation you can't ever ignore and have to deal with: the opponent's game shot.
For a short summary of the above:
I've had some very valuable discussions on this subject amongst fellow players, and I'm ready to get further into it, if you like!
Karlheinz Zöchling,Vienna, 7 September, 1997