Well, this is it. My last darts blog. It has been an awesome and fun two and a half years writing about darts and interviewing players, but as the old saying goes: “All good things must come to an end.” And so, I thought it would be a fitting ending to go out with a BOOM! Literally, and figuratively. What better way to go out than with a player interview with Mr. Boom! himself, Joseph Huffman. To be honest, this was supposed to be done a few months ago, but with moving, wedding planning for my daughter and thoughts of a new grandbaby coming in December, there just were not enough hours in my day. My apologies to Joe!
So, let’s get on with it. I had sat and talked with Joe about darts, what he has been up to, and what were his future plans while we were sitting around at the Charlotte Open. Everyone has mentioned how he is so quiet. Well, he sure wasn’t on that occasion! He had been having a phenomenal year so far, coming off an impressive showing at the Virginia Beach Dart Classic. It was then that I decided that the world needed to know more about Joe Huffman.
As the interview stages progressed, along came Vegas and the PDC. Joe had a great showing there as well, so I wanted to give him the opportunity to share his feelings on the event with everyone. He has accomplished a lot over the years he has been playing, but he is so quiet and unassuming, that many people don’t really know who he is other than he is a really good dart player that wins a lot.
Now, here is the opportunity for the world to get to know a little bit more about the man they call “Boom!”
Joe currently lives in Maryland with his lovely wife, Jenica. He throws 23 gram Stowe Buntz darts, with L-Style L3 flights and L-Style Carbon shafts. Joe is currently sponsored by Bit of England, Horizon Darts, Defiance Darts, Extreme Darts, and a good friend, Fritz. Joe is currently looking for a barrel sponsor to be able to shoot with his own set of barrels (hint-hint sponsors out there!)
How long have you been playing darts for? I have been playing darts for 15 years.
Do you have any nicknames? I have multiple nicknames such as “Joey Boom Boom”, “Tuff Huff” and “Joe Hits a Lot of Trebles”.
How many hours do you practice a day? I try to practice between 1 to 2 hours a day, but more if possible. I like to practice scoring, my doubles, and all my triples and I will play 121 and Cricket 28. I also take into consideration what I was missing at my last big event and try to work on that.
Do you practice with anyone or by yourself? I mainly practice by myself. I look at it as no matter if you're playing singles, doubles or triples events, it's just you and the board.
Are you superstitious? Are there things you will do or certain clothes you will wear based on prior wins? I am a little superstitious. I do the normal stuff like tap everybody's hand and my partner's last. Whoever touches the ticket first turns the ticket in every time. Bu I also mainly think that if you throw good darts, you're going to win if you don't, then you’re going to lose.
What’s the best advice anyone has given to you? The best advice I have been given is that to stay positive and that there is positive and there is perfect positive. There is practice and there is perfect practice. You must have a goal every time you go into the dart room to practice. If not, you just are throwing darts at a board.
Everyone has their own frustrating moments when trying to be a better player. What is your frustrating moment? My frustrating moments are practicing and practicing for hours and at the end of your session, you don't feel like you've gotten any better. Another frustrating moment is practicing your doubles and then when you get to a tournament, you miss them all.
As a top player, what challenges you? Wanting to be the best player in the world.
What motivates you? The Love of the Game motivates me and wanting to hit a perfect game every time motivates me as well.
Thinking back to when you made a leap in results/consistency, what thought process or form helped you to reach the next level?
Thinking back what has helped me with my consistency is a lot of practice…more than usual. My wife being so supportive and also telling me to be positive is a huge help too. For example: I was in the Vegas tournament and I wasn't doing well at all. The last event before singles, I gave her a call. She told me to be positive. Even if you lie to yourself and I did, I would tell myself you got it or you'll get it next round and I ended up in the finals against Joe Chaney and that has changed my outlook on how I throw darts now. I am more positive and I am winning more.
What is your most favorite event that you have competed in?
The PDC in Vegas was an amazing experience. I can't wait to get back on the Stage and play the best in the world again.
What has been the greatest moment or win of your darting career? I think the best has been the World Cup in Turkey. It was such a beautiful place and there were such great dart players there. I would love to make another World Cup.
A few years ago, you won a spot to compete over in England for the first time at the World Masters. What was that like for you to earn that spot? It was so awesome to earn the spot to go to the World Masters! I had just won the regional and I knew I had a few months to get practice in and I practiced and I practiced. To win that spot was surreal and it was such an awesome experience that I will never forget.
When you first went over the England to compete, what was the greatest part of the experience? The greatest part of the experience was getting to play darts at that high of a level and to see where you compete with these top players. Also, it was great fun rooting on your fellow teammates. And we were in such a beautiful country that you've never seen before. I love playing against all the top players, but I always like beating the players that achieve high goals overseas because in some ways, I feel like if they can do it then I just beat them, so I should be able to do it too.
When you get called to a match, do you have different thoughts based on who you are called against? Yes I have different thoughts on who I get called against. The top players I don't worry about because I know what I have to do to beat them. It's a player that I I don't recognize their name that I have to worry about more because you never know what they're going to bring to the dartboard. I used to be one of those players no one knew.
Do you get nervous at all? How do you handle the nerves and anxiety of a tough match? I really don't get nervous anymore, but when I do, I tend to shoot a lot better. It's when I don't get nervous I seem not to shoot as well.
Is there one particular player that seems to get you every time you play against them? As of right now there is no player that really has my number, but there's are a few players it almost seems like it's who's turn is it to win today because I'll beat them one time the next time they'll beat me. So it goes back and forth, but a few years ago there were a few players that would constantly beat me no matter when I met them in the tournament.
What title do you really want that has eluded you so far? The one title that I really want is the East West All-Stars 501 championship because I have won the Cricket Nationals. I have won spots on the America's team and World Cup team, but I have not won the 501 National title.
If money, work, and home life were not an issue to keep you from competing anywhere in the world, what event would you like to go compete in? If money and work wasn’t an issue, I would love to live in England and compete against the best because I know it would make me better. And who knows, maybe I could be number one in the world.
What does the dart adventures for Joe look like for the next year? Next year, I'm hoping to make many more of the top tournaments, hopefully all the Nationals and I really want to shoot more soft-tip tournaments, to try my hand in that area of darts.