Hypnotising, The Answer to Nerves? – From the Archive

You may have heard of modern dart players experimenting with a number of psychological techniques. Hypnosis has been linked to a number of elite professionals, over the past few years, with Raymond van Barneveld having a poor experience related to it a few years ago. On the other side, Glen Durrant is said to have benefitted from such therapy.

As if to prove there is nothing new under the sun I noticed the following article in a back copy of Darts World 1976.

The Lads From the Red Lion Won’t Take a Trance!

I’ve often been accused of playing darts as if I was in trance, but I didn’t think anybody actually meant it. In future, though I won’t be so sure.

I am reliably informed that a number of teams are considering the possibility of hypnosis to play better darts.

Original article appeared in 1976 – Nothing new under the sun!

Just what the average league rule book says about this I shudder to think (over to you Dr Darts) but what I would like to know is this; Does it Work?

The team that started all was The Red Lion ay Brackley Northants. Just after Christmas, they were thrashing about, fourth from bottom of the Brackley & District league, and desperately seeking a way to win matches.

Landlord Bill Foddy suggested taking the advice of local hypnotist Bernard Askew who had helped people to stop smoking. Bill’s son Tim, who is a member of the team, tells me:

“We had a team meeting about the idea but decided not to go ahead. Apparently there could not be ‘mass hypnosis’ and it would have to be done individually.” “I suppose we thought it might have looked silly, so we decided to fight on without the aid of hypnosis.”

I wish I could report a happy ending to The Red Lion’s brave decision. Alas, they have now dropped to third from bottom of the league. Thus we are no nearer to knowing if hypnotism could be the answer for darting dunces.

Other sports have experimented with hypnosis, with mixed results. International athletes have reported that it can help after injuries, by giving confidence. But when Stockport County football team were hypnotised, just before a match, they lost 2-1.

A specialist gives a clue: “It is not magic. Hypnosis may help you to relax or sleep better, but it cannot make a five-minute miler into a four-minute miler. Training is what really counts.”

So, there you have it. If I should happen to be playing darts with a glazed look in the eye, please don’t ask to borrow a fiver. I may not have the power to refuse!


Originally published in Darts World No.46 (May 1976)

Edits: Darts World – CJH