Scunthorpe darts player Dave Ladley aims to get tough to help secure tour card
DARTS ace Dave Ladley has vowed to be more ruthless at the oche as he attempts to secure a PDC Tour Card for the next two years.
The Scunthorpe arrowsmith today started an intense four days of competition at the Tour's Qualifying School in Wigan, where he is one of 300 players attempting to secure automatic entry into the £5 million circuit's main events.
After keeping himself busy by testing out a few changes to his game during the festive period, the 37-year-old insists he has a relaxed approach ahead of a busy start to 2013.
"I've made a couple of changes during the break," he explained.
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"I've slowed down my approach and a few other little things which should help me a couple of per cent.
"I've had a rethink about my approach, because I've always been too soft.
"I need to be more ruthless. You can still be a nice guy, but just not so decent at the oche – you can always be nice after the game.
"You spend a lot of time watching other players and it can drain you.
"The standard of the PDC is so good, so when you're watching someone throw 120s or 140s it can do your head in.
"I've got myself a routine to try to take my mind off that, so I concentrate on what I'm doing rather than the other player.
"I sort my darts into a certain order, which takes up about 20 seconds.
"All I want is an extra five or 10 per cent – that can be massive in this game.
"The more pressure I'm under, hopefully the more I should see it work."
Players are awarded points for matches they win during qualifying, with the last four of each day's competition earning Tour Cards.
The remaining nine places available are allocated to the players with the most points over the course of the four days.
Ladley missed out on a Tour Card a year ago, having been knocked out by the eventual winner on three of the four days.
But the number of competitions he has been able to play in during the past 12 months means, though he'd prefer to, similar disappointment will not be as big a worry.
"I'm quite relaxed about it all, so if I only end up doing what I did last year, it's not a great worry," he continued.
"In the end I only missed one tournament, so it wasn't that big a deal.
"If I won a Tour Card, I think I'm doing well enough to keep doing it.
"I'm always a positive person, but I think I'm starting to get into my prime now. I should be for the next 10 years.
"This year is a big year. There's a lot of European tournaments so I do really want to get one.
"You can earn twice as much money on the European Tour, they are big tournaments, and money is what it's all about in the rankings.
"I've worked out how much I need to win to get into the World Championships. That's my clear target."
Three-time World Championship finalist Peter Manley and 2008 Grand Slam of Darts semi-finalist Kevin McDine head the list of players taking part at Qualifying School.