Newly crowned World Darts champion Michael Smith drops in on Wigan primary school
With a trophy bigger than some of the pupils, the new PDC darts champion of the world dropped for a motivational chat at a Wigan school.
Michael Smith posed for pictures with the youngsters of Holy Family RC Primary in New Springs and fielded questions from both staff and pupils.
The 32-year-old from St Helens defeated Michael van Gerwen in an epic final at Alexandra Palace earlier this month which included what is considered to have included the best leg of darts ever played when the Dutchman missed out on a nine-dart finish but Smith then went one better.
It is the highest point so far in the career of the now world number one nicknamed “Bully Boy” (on account of his being good at hitting the bullseye – he admitted to his young audience that he is not so good on the doubles at the bottom of the board!)
He told the children that he first took up darts after breaking his hip playing rugby at the age of 14 and being laid up at home for eight weeks.
His motivation stepped up a gear when he won his first minor tournament and landed a £100 prize.
Michael said he practises for between three and five hours a day, seven days a week and that one of the keys to success is to keep control of your emotions and not let an opponent get inside your head.
In response to one question from the pupils he said that he had taught himself in the last year to cope much better with playing a bad shot.
Having also been a runner-up in several high-profile tournaments over the year, Michael also said that these disappointments only made him stronger and more determined to win.
Headteacher Stephen Gallagher, who introduced Michael to the school, said: “It was an absolute pleasure to have Michael visit us at the school.
"He has inspired our children by identifying to them that anything is possible if you work hard and try your best.”
Michael’s visit was arranged because his young niece is a pupil at Holy Family School.