Bradford darts player Joe Cullen says a better mindset equals better results

YORKSHIRE MARKSMAN Joe Cullen says he is working on a new mindset, after firing out a warning to world darts’ elite.

LADBROKES UK OPEN 2020 BUTLINS RESORT, MINEHEAD, PIC;LAWRENCE LUSTIG ROUND 5 JONNY CLAYTON V JOE CULLEN JOECULLEN IN ACTION

Cullen produced the finest performance so far in the Professional Darts Corporation’s ‘at home’ competition, sweeping through his group with a tournament-best average of 106.65.

The Bradford ace, ranked 16 in the world, defeated Keegan Brown 5-2, Gerwyn Price 5-3 and Bradley Brooks 5-0, confirming his place in the last 32 before the final match was played.

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Despite a reputation as one of the most natural talents on the PDC circuit, Cullen has frequently under-performed, winning only three ranking titles and reaching one major semi-final, but his display this week was an indication of what he could do if he gets his game together on a consistent basis.

Joe Cullen celebrates during his match against Corey Cadby during day five of the William Hill World Darts Championship at Alexandra Palace, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday December 19, 2016. See PA story DARTS World. Photo credit should read: John Walton/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Editorial use only. No commercial use. Call +44 (0)1158 447447 for further information.

Cullen, who describes himself as “pretty lazy”, believes he is a match for anybody in the sport in terms of talent, but admitted his mental approach sometimes lets him down.

“It’s the mindset,” insisted the 30-year-old, known as Rockstar.

“I knew it before the lockdown, I need to improve my mindset to an elite mindset.

“A couple of years ago I got to the quarter-finals of the World Matchplay and the semis of the Euros and I think I sort of just rested on my laurels.

“I was thinking ‘I’ve done all right now, that will do us’.

“Obviously the money pays well, but the big, big guns don’t think like that.

“Like [Michael] Van Gerwen, I think he celebrated his World Championship for less than an evening; he just could not wait to win again and again and again.

“I think that’s where I lack a little bit, the mindset, but I am trying to put it right.”

Cullen’s stunning performance came a year to the day after he scored a hat-trick at Leeds United’s Elland Road ground, playing alongside Noel Whelan in a sponsors’ game.

His cousin Karl Boyes is a former pool world champion and Cullen admitted he needs to focus all his energy on darts if he is going to crack the top-10.

“Prior to lockdown I’d practice darts in the morning and snooker in the afternoon,” he revealed. “The greatest don’t do that; they are constantly dedicated to one sport, but I love all sports. I need to get that this is where my bread and butter is and this is where I need to concentrate all my efforts.”

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