The Big Interview with JOHN PART

Unicorn Darts prize winners:
Brian Kelly, Charis Mutschler and Matt Davis
All win their choice of Unicorn Darts.


From Bobby Jones, USA : How does travelling internationally affect your ability to throw darts?

JOHN PART : I guess I'll never be sure of the answer to that. I have considerable experience with the long travel now, and in most cases feel happy and confident when I do play. I think maintaining a positive attitude about it is one of the keys in dealing with the travel.

From Brian Kelly, USA : My question to John is that Ive noticed lately that you have been partipating the Bullshooter World Finals put on by Arachnid Inc for soft tip darts. How do you make adjustments for going from majority steel tip play with a heavier dart to a one time a year tourney only allowing you to play with 18gm soft tip ?

JOHN PART : I've played in several of the Bullshooter World Finals in Chicago. I figure that the difference in throwing distance, as the soft tip line is 8 feet, makes up for some of the weight difference. I think that as a fairly hard thrower the rest of the difference is made up.

From Matt Davis, USA : What do you do to concentrate on your throw, and how do you keep it up each and every dart?

JOHN PART : Focus on the target is the primary thing to think about. Anything about the particulars of the throw can be a distraction. So concentration is held on the target. In practice situations I may try and establish a solid stance and shoulder under the eye, with the arm straight through.

From Ron Wilcox, Canada : John, Rocky here from Ontario Canada, your home province. How often do you see Youth darts in the different communities you play in and do you think youth darts are on the rise?

JOHN PART : I rarely see youth darts played myself, but I see plenty of evidence of organized youth darts around. Darts has the rare problem of a sport/activity that is participated in by many more adults than youth. With most other sports it is the other way around, except maybe golf. In any case, kids do seem to really enjoy playing darts when they get the chance. Interest in darts in general seems to be on the rise, so I am sure it will follow with the youth.

From Arthur Martell, USA : We always have this great debate about talent vs practice, In your opinion do you think someone could compete against some of the best in the world by just practicing and trying there best everyday, an extremely dedicated person, or do you need the natural talent?

JOHN PART : Talent and practice are both important. The problem for a dedicated player without much aptitude is that there are many very talented AND dedicated players. Of course, don't be too quick to decide you are not talented. Sometimes it takes a period of development for talent to show through.

From Gregg Tong, USA : John, dart website forums are filled with lamentable stories from league players who can't achieve stable consistency with their game. What do you think are the keys to being able to throw a dart the exact same way every throw, especially from throw to throw within a three-dart turn and when you have to pause or move your position on the oche to change angles in the middle of a throw?

JOHN PART : As I stated in an earlier answer I think the key is to always be well focussed on the target during the throw of the dart. Think of it like locking in on target and not letting go until the dart is there. Of course the predictable companion answer is to practice until your arm just about falls off.

From Charis Mutschler, Germany : Hi John, there are many upcoming young players now and many astonishing well balanced matches between, what one perhaps could call, carefree nature and experience. As you know all stages of a darters development, what would you say is the benefit of the carefree nature and where experience is more helpful?

JOHN PART : Enjoying the game is an important element of success, and I think the newer players almost always have that enjoyment factor in abundance, even if they are scared out of there wits. The experience is helpful in exploiting the mistakes of the opponent, and grinding out wins, where perhaps they were not expected or especially deserved.

From Shawn Plume, Canada : Hi John, I would first off like to say if I didn't see you play at the Embassy Worlds in 1994 on TSN here in Canada I would have never picked up the game. My question is after many years of playing with friends I decided to start playing leagues and tournaments and I want to improve my game by practicing 1 to 2 hours a day. What do you think is the best way to practice and what games you play when practicing?

JOHN PART : The practice session should begin with some target drills, like around the board on doubles and/or triples, or hit 50 triple 20s, or some other common target you find is crucial. These drills should not require any more scoring than what you can do in your head and are meant to warm you up, and tune you up. The main portion of practice should be games of 501. When I won the Embassy title in 1994, my practice routine just before going over there was to play best of 11 501 against a set number of darts, like 18, and if I won, play the next set against 15, and if I lost, against 21. It was simple, but effective.

From Jo, UK : What's the strangest place you've ever played darts?

JOHN PART : I played an exhibition game on the main stage of a country music festival in Camrose, Alberta. To top it off, there were tornado warnings and the accompanying breeze. Talk about double trouble! I did manage a 180 though.

From Jonathan Russell, UK : When you started playing how did you improve your game?

JOHN PART : I just practiced or played as often as I could, including breakfasts, lunch breaks, and any other spare time. There was a book called All About Darts that I had a copy of that gave me a few ideas, and the needed sense of humour to cope with the tortuous game of darts.

From Jeff Patton, USA : Was there a defining moment in your early career when you knew you had what it takes to be a World Champion?

JOHN PART : I did have a sense of a destiny in the game, and still do. I cannot say as there was a particular moment that made me believe. I will say that I was fortunate to start when there were still many of the great North American players of the 80's in action, and rubbing shoulders with them certainly helped give me the belief I needed in myself. I was produced as a dart player by the North American game. Between my experiences in Canada, and on the tournament trail in the U.S.A., I became the player that was capable of winning World Championships.

From Dave Hall : If you could have a 'fantasy team' to take on the world, who would you like on your team? Young and old!

JOHN PART : A very open ended question! I suppose the number on the team could be any amount? But to play against who? I'll make a few assumptions. I'll assume you mean current players, and not all time. I'll assume I'm on a “rest of the world” team against an English team. I'll pick six per team, trying to mix it up a bit:

English Team (alphabetical order):
Bob Anderson
Adrian Lewis
Kevin McDine
Dennis Priestley
Phil Taylor
James Wade

Rest of World Team
Gary Anderson
Raymond Van Barneveld
Jelle Klaasen
John Part
Roland Scholten
Mark Webster

(this was definitely the hardest question!)