At American Craft Beer we ask the hard questions…Like does alcohol improve your dart game? Or is Oprah going to run for president?
Beer and darts have history and like hops a barley they make sense together…But it turns out the question of whether drinking alcohol can improve one’s command of the game (while right up there with important issues like global warming and world peace) isn’t as obvious…
Some scientific studies give weight to the idea that alcohol can improve one’s gaming ability (until it doesn’t) and we expect that many bar regulars and darts fans have seen both sides of this question.
Speaking to the BBC Professor Robert Adron Harris, from the University of Texas explained that drinking can “reduce anxiety and nervousness…so if you’re impaired by nervousness it can improve performance.”
And many darts professionals would second Harris’s hypothesis that drinking helped them perform better…Again until it doesn’t.
Some darts players are famous for drinking to steady their aim.
Andy Fordham, 2004 BDO Champion, would drink a hip-flask of brandy and at least 24 bottles of Pilsner (!) before starting a game.
But ultimately, drinking led to Fordham’s downfall. He collapsed on stage in 2007, and now only drinks non-alcoholic beer. And luckily there are some great non-alcoholic beers being brewed nowadays but while they might be tasty, we can’t speak to their calming abilities.
“Nervousness runs right through the sport, as does the belief that alcohol solves the problem,” Paul Gillings, who runs The Darts Performance Centre told the BBC. “Players totally believe that they can’t play unless they have a drink. It ranges from one drink to 10.”
Another reason according to the Drinks Business “why darts players are able to perform despite consuming large amounts of alcohol could be that they were simply already used to drinking in those quantities.”
And while we expect that there’s some truth to that, there is also the unfortunate reality that many heavy drinkers suffer from withdrawal when they curtail their alcohol usage and one of those symptoms can be shaky hands…so there’s that.
So yes for some darts players alcohol helps their game…again until it doesn’t.
And regarding Oprah’s plans to possibly run for president in 2020…she hasn’t returned our calls. But truthfully she never returns our calls.
Oprah Picture credit: Oprah Magazine