4 TIME US NATIONAL CHAMPION
|Nickname: Great White Shark||Barrel: Shot! Chris White Signature||Dartslive|
|Date of Birth: 11/28/1971||Shaft: Cosmo Carbon #4||Magic Man Sports Apparel|
|Current City: Clayton, CA||Flight: Fit Flight Chris White Signature||Shot Darts|
|Dominant Hand: Right||Tip: Fit Point Plus||Fit Flight|
Excerpts from 'DARTS Beginning to End' by George Silberzahn
“I grew up in Whitby, Ontario, Canada. I have always considered southern Ontario to have the strongest contingent of players in North America.
I got started in darts with my family; definitely, my grandfather was a really good player and played until he was in his middle sixties. Everyone from my mom, dad, grandparents, aunts and uncles all played darts. When I was about six years old, my family would have a little in-house league where they would meet with their friends once a week to play. I found myself always watching. By the time I was eight years old I was playing quite a bit, and started playing in the youth dart league in my area when I was probably about 10 years old. They have a really good youth dart organization in Ontario.
I believe dart players are made, not born. I believe you have a little bit of natural talent but after that it's just hard work. When I was 14, 15, 16, I remember playing four hours a day. I came home for lunch, practiced for almost an hour and then back to school. After school I would be back on the practice board again as it was just what I wanted to do. You really have to have the dedication to practice. Practice until your arm falls off, practically. You see some people who are great out of the gate, like Eric Bristow, who was really good early in his career. For me, not to say that I was a poor player early in my career, but I think that once I hit around 30 I became the player that I am now. I think I play better today than ever. I have more experience. I learned how to play under pressure better. As I got older, things that used to bother me when I was in my 20s don't bother me now".
The Move to California
In the summer of 1998 when I was 26, my wife Kelly and I moved to Foster City, California. We were going to come down here for five years or so and then move back to Toronto but we had the twins, fell in love with the Bay Area. So, we've been here for 11 years now.
Then I went back to work remodeling homes. So, for the most part, I'm a dad.
My other real passion is fishing. I own a bass boat and I do a lot of bass fishing. When I'm not playing darts I try to get out at least once a week, on weekends.
I love the competition. Like everyone, I love the winning feeling. Winning titles is the main thing. Certainly the money is getting bigger, but I never played for the money. There certainly wasn’t enough for me to make a living at it unless you are one of the top Dart players in the world and can do the circuit in England.
I started playing soft tip down here, probably four years ago now. I don't play any steel tip leagues right now. I play once a week now, the Medalist soft tip league, which is a doubles league. I have to play in this league, as you need so many games played in league to qualify into the Medalist World Championship.
My nickname is ”Great White Shark” but I didn't really get it until I got to California. Maybe it is because of the ocean or just because my last name is White. When I first moved here everybody was impressed with my game and they started to say “Have you seen this Chris White guy? He is great.” Then, people started to call me the Great White which became the Great White Shark and the nickname stuck. When I first moved here, I was so head and shoulders above everybody locally. However, the players have vastly improved since then. There are plenty of great players in Northern California too, but I am talking about my local league especially, coming from Ontario, where players were so strong and down here, it was so weak.
The hardest thing is traveling and leaving my family. When I was over in England for two weeks it was tough to be gone for so long and then all the other weekends back and forth, especially living on the West Coast. Since most of our bigger tournaments are on the east coast or in England. It seems every flight is six hours minimum.
Kelly, my wife, is a big supporter of my darts and a fan of the sport. We been together since I was 19 years old. Since I began playing darts competitively Kelly has supported me and if not for her I wouldn't be doing as well as I am. Kelly is not a dart player but she used to come with me to a lot of tournaments and watch.
I sacrifice time with my family to play darts and I guess that would be the biggest sacrifice of my dart career. There is definitely a lot of hours on the board out in the garage, practicing for the big tournaments. You are giving up a lot of your family time.
I’ve had younger people asked me this question loads of times, what makes you better than other players? They say they play other guys and they play really well but when they come up against top players, they don't play as well. Or they play great at home but don't play well at tournaments. I tell them they have to realize how many quarter finals and finals that I have been in before I really started to feel comfortable being there. Like before my younger days when I would get to quarterfinals I would be nervous and I would be pacing, but now I've just been in so many I know how to handle it. Chalk it up to experience I guess. I mean all the guys, Gary Mawson, Darin Young, Johnny Kuczynski, Larry Butler or Ray Carver; we've all been playing 20 plus years now.
I am a kind of a rhythm player. So when I'm playing against someone who is the same kind of player that I am, I can get into sort of a rhythm, which seems to produce better matches than where one player is really slow and the other is more of a rhythm player.
To throw consistent darts, you need a comfortable and natural grip that works for you. It's important to reproduce the same grip, shot after shot!
My suggestion is to keep the weight of your body on your front foot, leaning slightly forward with the back foot secure on the floor. However, do your best to keep your body perfectly balanced with as little movement as possible for best accuracy.
The throwing action must be smooth with the same arm movement each time. Also, follow through with your arm pointing at the target on release.
Focus only on the intended target and block out all other distractions around you.
How To Improve
Once you have the basics in place, practice and keep playing as much as possible.