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Aidan got the chance to meet his darting hero, he didn

The History Maker - Brendan Dola

Posted: 11.10.12 in Throw Like A Pro Blog category

Aidan got the chance to meet his darting hero, he didn't want an autograph-he wanted to know how to "Throw Like A 9 Dart Pro"!

‘Don’t meet your heroes’, they say. It will only be a disappointment.

Well with this man, it could not have been more of the opposite. I am not in the darts scene long. But it doesn’t take a genius to figure out a certain man has had a huge impact on Irish darts. When many think of Brendan Dolan, they remember one record breaking night and a historic week which saw the little known Irishman propel himself on to the world darts scene.

There is plenty more to Brendan Dolan than last year’s epic nine dart leg and his run to the final in the 2011 World Grand Prix. He has consistently performed on the PDC Circuit for many years now. And when he took the time to speak with me this week, I began by congratulating him on his success, and acknowledging that when he wins, it’s not a big surprise anymore. So where did it all start for Dolan?

“I am playing since I was very small, when I was four or five there was always darts in my house. I was very good from a young age because it is all I did. I would come home from school, and if there was any homework done, it was finished in a half an hour because I had to go and throw darts.

“It was my brothers. My dad threw a bit but I didn’t see him much. The brothers were very good, they played to a high standard locally, and then they played the County games. One of them was an International as well.

“With the stages you go through, as soon as I could play in the pub, I played in the pub. As soon as I felt relaxed in that, which might have taken a year to feel totally comfortable, I went to the Counties. It took a while to get comfortable there, and then I went on to play the Internationals. Everything was a stepping stone for me.”

I was intrigued with how Brendan spoke about the various stages you must experience, and become accustomed to before transferring to the next level. His first performance in the PDC was not last year, like many think. In fact, Dolan made his PDC debut 10 years ago, with a number of factors contributing to his minimal participation.

“I jumped pretty quickly from County to try my hand at this [PDC]. The money wasn’t there, so I only used to play a few competitions every year. I have been a PDC member since 2002, played only four or five tournaments for the first five or six years. I was always in the Top 80. Then the rules changed and you had to go to more tournaments, and I did.

“Any money I was winning went to cover the next trip away. That’s the way I played it for basically two or three years. Until last year, when I got the lump in the Grand Prix, I was never comfortable. I always had the pressure of playing for money. This year, I don’t have that pressure.”

When I started playing darts, I was amazed with the popularity of the sport in Ireland. In one week, Dolan managed to shine the lights of the world on just how good Irish darts players can be.

“This time last year was an eye opener for people. Everyone knew Irish darts players were good, but they never carried it through. Many will say there were better darts players that never pushed it. The likes of Tom Kirby and Mick McGowan would have been the first to have a certain amount of success in the PDC.

“Of course, at home you had Jack McKenna who is a legend, and John McGowan who was coming through in the PDC. It opened doors for people to think about it but the money wasn’t there. It took a long time to make last year’s break through.”

Swiftly becoming a stalwart in all PDC TV events, how has Dolan adapted to life as a professional darts player?

“For me, I now believe I can mix it with the best.

“Beating Phil Taylor for the first time ever, now I know I can do it. When you are given opportunities, you need the mentality that you can take them. Confidence is high.

“For me, confidence is 30% of the game. I have watched people on the PDC Circuit, and they are unbelievable dart players. On their day, 11, 12, 13 darters not a problem. It’s about having the confidence to do it against a ‘name’. That is what makes people shake, and doubt themselves.”

“I reckon our arms are equally as good as each other.”

This is a really interesting statement. When you look at the mechanics of darts, it makes sense. Our arms are the same. So what is it that make the best players in the world just that? According to Dolan, our head space plays a pivotal role.

“Phil Taylor has the confidence of 20 years behind him, that’s why he is still up there. And he has the hunger. Taylor has done everything, but he still wants more.

“You walk in to your local league, and you’re playing for the first time, and you play well. You don’t know anybody. Then you come up against someone you know who has played at County level or whatever. The next thing, you play well until you get close to the finishing line.

“You doubt yourself, the hand starts to shake. You doubt yourself. You think about having the chance to beat him rather than thinking about actually beating him. That’s where you get distracted.”

“If you don’t go in thinking ‘I am going to hit this’.... You won’t hit it.”

Dolan finished by advising on the amount of practice I should be looking for in order to improve my game. I have got some great insights as to how some of the professionals approach the practice board, and it varies.

“You would have to throw for two hours at least per day. It gives you the extra bit of confidence. Practice with one or two people, it will make it easy to pass two hours. The better player you are up against, the better you will throw.

“Thats why I came in to the PDC, even in the early years. I just wanted to play better players.” 

You can folllow Brendan's progress at his website: www.brendandolandarts.com


Meet Aidan:

Aidan has been a fan of darts since a young age, although he didn't pick up his first set if arrows until he was 23. In that time, Aidan has been dedicated to finding out what it takes to become a professional. He plays with two club teams in his County in Ireland.


Aidan documents his ups and downs of improving his game, and explores some of the unknown, yet crucial elements of darts such as nerves, confidence and much much more.

Aidan teamed up with the Darts Performance Centre ahead of his battle with Raymond van Barneveld 12 months ago, a relationship which he admits has "helped me to focus on certain areas that needed improvement, and the support from Paul and Andy guarantees will make you a better dart player".


Aidan throws a 21g DPC dart. He loves to tell people that he has now lost count of the amount of 180s he has thrown. His highest checkout in a competitive leg is 130, and the closest he has come to a perfect leg was two maximums before crippling under pressure to finish out with a 15 dart leg.


His plan is simple: to be a Pro! Follow his journey right here!

Aidan welcomes any feedback, advice or questions. You can find him on twitter:

@A_Farrelly or email: throwlikeaprodarts@gmail.com






Author: Aidan Farrelly ( throwlikeaprodarts@gmail.com )

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