The Big Interview with PHIL TAYLOR
Unicorn Darts prize winners:
Kyle Thorburn, Nico Roets, Magnus Hilden
All win their choice of Unicorn Darts.
From Phillip, Canada : Phil what was it like to win your first world championship and when did you get a sponsorship by Unicorn?
Phil Taylor: Well, it was weird just to qualify for the tournament. I think I was the last qualifier who made it through, let alone winning it. I think you can imagine what that was like! I have been with Unicorn now for 7 or 8 years, it was 1998 I think I joined them.
From Kyle Thorburn, Alberta, Canada : Does the pressure of near misses have a cumulative effect on your game performance or is every dart for you just as important as the next dart and the previous one?
Phil Taylor: I play Darts like a snooker player in my mind. Like a Stephen Hendry if you like. I totally concentrate and focus on every single shot.
From Tungsten Kid, Canada : When I watch you throw, you appear to have a very noticeable way of exhaling when you release your dart. What do you do to control your breathing and is it something you do to control adrenaline or nerves ? Also,do you use grip wax ? I ask this because I see you reach in your pocket before throwing at times and assume it is some sort of grip assistance.
Phil Taylor: It's just my natural way of throwing. No intentional technique on my part I have just always thrown that way. And yes I do use grip wax.
From Nico : What do you think is the difference between the two big dart federations?
Phil Taylor: There are no differences in the players. Great darts players are great darts players. Obviously the PDC promotes Darts more and manages to get Darts on TV regularly.
From Undine, Holland : Dear Phil, what do you think about dart-workshops? It would be very good for unexperienced players (like me) if pros would give some tips of how to throw a dart correctly, how to prepare for an important match and so on. Or do you think for a dartplayer the only way to get better is just playing against better players?
Phil Taylor: Yes I think it's a great idea and I have done things like this in the past. Particularly in Holland where perhaps the coaching side of Darts is taken more seriously than it is in the UK. I also agree that you do have to play against good players in order to maintain and improve your game.
From Darryl Marshall : I play darts with my dad and I wanted to know where the best place to stand on the oche and how can you deal with the pressure ?
Phil Taylor: The centre of the oche. Always stand so you are dead straight. Dealing with the pressure comes with experience and we are all still learning every day. For example the Premier League is still new to us and that's completely different to what we have ever experienced before. So you are always dealing with new situations and new forms of pressure and it's experiencing these things that helps you learn how to deal with them.
From Anne Kramer, USA: What is the best piece of advice you received from Eric, that you could pass along to all the aspiring Americans?
Phil Taylor: Him telling me off for not practising enough! With Eric it was always about (and probably still is) 100% dedication and practice, practice, practice. Self belief as well of course. And he was always telling me "you'd better win because you owe me money!"
From Magnus Hilden , Sweden : How much of your practice is in the head like mental training?
Phil Taylor: Lots of it is in the head actually. But really its both mental and physical preparation. I think that's what it is all about being properly prepared. I'm already beginning to think about the next World Championships (2008) which is almost a year away and will gradually be working on my stamina and mental preparation in order to be ready. Everything I do is preparation to be gradually building towards being ready for the World Championships each year.
From Martin Bedborough : Phil, having been at the top of the darting world for so long, apart from the motivation of winning more World titles, what keeps you focussed, and what do you want to do once you finally retire from the game?
Phil Taylor: I'm enjoying it, I really am. Also the new names and new challenges they bring with them. Of course there's Barneveld but now we have the Klaasen's and the Van Gerwen's and there are great American players as well. More than enough to keep me motivated. Of course it's self pride as well. I honestly don't know what I'll do when I retire from the sport. I'll have a nice villa in the Spanish Islands I know that much!
From Unicorn Kid, USA : Dear Phil, I'm experiencing a difficult problem with my darts. I recently found a set of barrels from my dad's old darts. I started playing with them and found I was able to hit my triple 20's, 19's or any number I really needed. Then, I switched to my original darts and found that I wasn't able to throw as accurate. I use a 21g dart that feels very comfortable in my hand. These old barrels are 18g and don't feel good in my hands. My question is, would you rather throw a comfortable but heavier dart or a lighter but, less comfortable?
Phil Taylor: Always the most comfortable dart in your hand. You've got to be comfortable with what you are throwing or you'll run into problems eventually.
From Albert Bunce, West Midlands : I, like you, am a big family man. I know how hard it can be to find quality time to spend with the family with work commitments. Having such a big career which requires hours of dedication every day with fixtures here there and everywhere and especially the World Championships over the Christmas period, how do you find this quality time?
Phil Taylor: You have to make time, it's as simple as that. But of course you have to make sacrifices. Anything you strive for in life comes with sacrifices that you have to make. However it's been better since I have been a full time professional. In the early days I was working and then out on the road all the time, but this is what you have to do to get to where you want to be.
From Mick Carroll, Surrey : If darts had a mulligan and you where allowed a once only choice, which throw would you have liked to have taken again in any of your past matches and why?
Phil Taylor: Without doubt following up that 180 against Barneveld in the final leg of the World Championships with another one!
From Charlotte Burgess : Hi Phil, I am 17 and play for Andover Youth Academy and would like to become big in the world of darts (maybe another Trina Gulliver), how many hours a day should I be practising and do you have a practise regime that I could use?
Phil Taylor: I practice with Andy Hamilton at the moment for 2 ½ - 3 hours a day. I will probably increase this to 4 hours a day once I begin going to the gym every other day (I'm going every day at the moment). But you have to find the right balance for you, it has to be positive and beneficial practice or there is no point.
From Nico Roets, South Africa : I'm not sure how much time I need to put into training and exercise. 1) How much hours do to you spend in front of the dart board over week? 2) What physical exercises do you do to maintain your level of success?
Phil Taylor: As above. I'm always trying to better myself and become a better player and I'm working on my physical fitness at the moment. I'm doing a lot of walking and using a treadmill and doing bench exercises and I'm going to start with light weights soon. Also I'll be playing squash and swimming, so more physically active than I have ever been before and I'm really enjoying it.
From Pino, Netherlands: When I watched your dart matches, I notice that you have a whole special manner to hold your dart fixed. In contrast to other darters. It seems that your dart only rest between your thumb and indicate finger. And then the middle finger puts the dart sharp, and then proceeds the trigger. When you started with darts , did you throw already this way? Or is this the outcome of years practise?
Phil Taylor: I have always thrown exactly the same way, it's just my natural throw. I probably used to hold the dart a little further down the stem before technology improved the design of the darts.
From David Scaum : Now Barney has come across to the real world of darts do you feel relieved of any pressure of being the face of PDC darts or has the pressure increased on you. I don't mean any disrespect to any of the other players and the pressures they are under, it's just that every time darts was on Sky all the attention is on you and can anyone stop the Power but now the focus is on both you and Barney.?
Phil Taylor: It's a different challenge for me which is great. I like Raymond very much as a person and admire him tremendously as a player. He wants to try and do what I have done obviously and he is dedicated. He's made me work much harder .. and has probably put 10 years on me since he has come to the PDC!!
From Jan Willert, Germany : Dear Sir, although you lost the championship this year, I think we all won the beginning of a new era in the sport of darts- the era of the great matches between you and Mr. van Barneveld. In my opinion, the very difference in this final were the 21 180s of van Barneveld. Do you think so, too and will you try now to throw more 180s instead of the 19 you often choose?
Phil Taylor: My darts go in differently which means I use more cover shots if I am not happy with the initial lie of the dart. The difference between us was literally that last leg.