DARTS: Sponsors take pressure off Smith's shoulders
6:00am Saturday 26th January 2013 in By Andy Warren, Deputy sports editor, email@example.com, @AndyWarren_
SWINDON darts star Dennis Smith is hoping a new relaxed frame of mind will help his darts do the talking when the PDC Tour resumes next month.
The 43-year-old has managed to recruit sponsors for the new campaign which will see all his entry fees, travel and hotels paid for, meaning he is able to put all his effort into getting it right on the oche.
Smith admitted the financial pressures of the game have sometimes had an effect on him during matches, and is hoping his new relaxed attitude will help him go one step better than last year when he missed out on a place at the World Championship by only £100.
“I played open tournaments and I have done exhibitions and also funded some of them myself in the past, and when you get to these tournaments you are sometimes paying out £500 for entry fees and hotels and things like that, so it isn’t cheap,” he said.
“That is a lot of money to come out of your own pocket, and it puts a lot of pressure on your mind because you need to cover the money.
“But now I can go into the tournaments and it is all about darts, and you are not thinking, ‘ that I can’t afford to miss a double for financial reasons’.
“Sometimes it makes you play well, but doing it for nine months is hard. You have to pay out £1,000 for entry fees sometimes, so if you have a blank month when you don’t win anything you can start to worry.
“If the top guys get beaten in the semi-finals it is not too bad, and it is not as if they are thinking that they have wasted their £200 entry or the £60 for their hotel.
“You have got to be relaxed when you go to the tournament and not have any worries, and I am looking forward to this year because of the kick up the bum I got after missing out so narrowly.”
Smith is also aiming to get himself into a more regular practice routine, both at home and at the Fox and Hounds pub in Haydon Wick.
“I am a grinder and I am a fighter, and I will never give in, and as soon as things start I will be doing four or five hours a day,” he said.
“I want to get into a proper routine, doing my stuff at home and then coming down and doing four or five hours of good practise, and then be ready.
“Sometimes you can get into a rut, and you can start talking to people and miss out on practice time.
“I have the board at home, but I have taken them down because if they are there I won’t practise, and it will force me now to go out and do some proper practise.
“I am working up to a nice rythmn now and I am looking forward to getting started.”