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Gerwyn Price is going through a rough patch on and off the oche and says he'll be taking more time off to avoid burnout due to the rigours of the Premier League - with the new format adding to his pain.
Price has struggled since sustaining an injury to his throwing hand, and although the broken bone is on the mend, it's caused a psychological barrier that means the Welshman is struggling to release his darts correctly.
His loss of confidence in his throw, and resulting dip in form, sees him well down the Premier League table and nine points off fourth place - with the top four at the end of the season contesting the play-offs for the title.
The PDC have introduced a new format this year, with the eight Premier League players playing a short knockout tournament each week to claim weekly points and cash bonuses.
It's in contrast to the usual format of round-robin fixtures which saw the players in action just once a night, and the new format is something The Iceman hasn't really warmed to.
Price not a Premier League fan
Price has had some success in this year's event, most notably when throwing two nine-darters on the same night in Belfast during his one weekly win, but believes the workload is unsustainable.
"I'm not a fan of it," Price told Online Darts TV. "To play three games in a night and then go on to play the Pro Tour events at the weekend, it's not just about that night in the Premier League. I think it's just a little bit too much.
PRICE HITS TWO NINE-DARTERS IN ONE NIGHT 🤩
Gerwyn Price wins night three in Belfast… 🏴
— Planet Sport (@PlanetSportcom) February 17, 2022
"If it is going to be that format then it needs to be a bit more equal in terms of the draw. So I think they should go back to the old format of playing one game a night. "I think it's too much for the players to play all those games on a Premier League night. You wouldn't get Premier League teams playing three games a night, in football or rugby. "You prepare for one game, and you know roughly when you're playing, but with all the extra games it's just tough."
Too many tournaments so Price will take a break
Although darts in the PDC is thriving and producing more tournaments, Price feels there are too many for players at the top of the game and so is taking steps to avoid burnout.
The 37-year-old says that although events like the Premier League are nice to compete in, he prefers the big rankings events.
🗣 @Gezzyprice HAS HIS SAY on the new Premier League format | I'm NOT a fan of it. I think it just should go back to the old format
🎯 How the draw isn't even
🎯 Told not to box on medical grounds
🎯 The Schedule is too much
No holding back🎥👇🏻https://t.co/RTKHcwc4p6
— Online Darts (@OfficialOLDarts) April 26, 2022
"I love the Premier League and I'd love to get to the play-offs, but sometimes you just lose a bit of motivation, the crowd with me doesn't help obviously when you're playing week in, week out.
"But I love playing in the big ranking events, that's the bread and butter of the PDC, that's what earns your living. So that's what I'm looking at, keep up in the top eight, top four and that just makes everything else a bit easier. "There are too many tournaments, that's why I'm missing some events coming up because it's just too much and with this injury I'm burning myself out. "You feel obliged to go to every tournament and chase ranking points but I've realised you can't do that as you'll burn yourself out, so I'm going to have to miss a few ranking events, wait until the Premier League is over, then recharge the batteries for the big ranking events coming up later in the year."
Price just not right with hand injury
The hand injury that has blighted Price recently is not just a physical one, as he says it's mentally hampered his game as he struggles to release the darts correctly. "As soon as I knew my hand was broken those demons got into my head," Price added. "I just didn't know what to do for the best, I thought every time I was throwing I was injuring my hand so I just didn't know what to do.
"The hardest part of this game is the top two inches, throwing darts is the easy bit, it's the way you think about everything.
"And when my mind's not right, my darts aren't right, and that's the way it's been the last couple of weeks.
"So as soon as I know my hand's 100% then my mind will be 100% and I'll be back."
Premier League darts is just relentless - Price
While Price insists he's slowly getting back to somewhere near his best as the hand injury improves, he says the Premier League offers no respite to try and solve the problem fully.
The former world champion and world number one hasn't given up on making the play-offs, but there'll be a sense of relief when the Premier League ends, one way or the other.
"Every week I'm getting a little bit better - I just need the Premier League to hurry up and finish and then I can knuckle down and get into the ranking events. "The Premier League takes it out of you, it doesn't give you any time to relax or fix things, you're just constantly on the go. So I'm just looking forward to hopefully getting into the top four, but if not move on. "I haven't given up - I'm more than capable when my mind and my game's right but I'm not right at this moment in time."
Price also said his boxing career has ended before it even began - after pulling out of a charity boxing event on medical advice during his training, when he insists he didn't pick up the hand injury.
"I didn't hurt my hand boxing, despite what people think, and I've pulled out of boxing now on medical advice. I thought I could mix both when I was training for boxing but I think it hampered my darts game a bit as well as my hand. "But that's me done with boxing now and it's just darts from now on."
The article 'It's just too much' - Price not a fan of new Premier League darts format appeared first on Planetsport.com.