Dean Winstanley is determined to leave behind his nice guy persona as he looks to get his darts career back on track in 2016.
Winstanley concluded a difficult year on the oche with a first round defeat to Ronny Huybrechts at the PDC World Darts Championship before Christmas.
During 2015 the Swinton thrower reached the last 16 in only two events and the £10,000 prize money he collected after reaching the first round of the World Championship almost doubled his earnings for the disappointing year.
The 34-year-old is determined to spark an about-turn in form, starting by adopting a more ruthless attitude.
“I’m going to start hurting people and turn into a nastier person than I used to be,” Winstanley said. “There will be none of that feeling sorry for them. I’m just going to start punishing them.
“It’s a total change. There will be no apologising if I steal a leg. Now I’m going up to try my best and try not to give any chances.
“I’m going to show my darts ability.
“When things aren’t going right and you’re trying to be Mr Nice Guy, it doesn’t always work.
“So sod being the nice guy. It’s time to be the player that I used to be, go up there, play, then shake the other kid’s hand and walk off.
“It’s about getting up there to play darts, not to please everyone else, and to feed your family.
“I used to do it two years ago and I’m going to get back to thinking about myself.”
Since jumping to the PDC from the BDO, Winstanley has shown a trend of following a good year with a bad one, something he is hoping will continue into next year only.
The former Conisbrough resident is struggling to put his finger on the reason why he has performed poorly over the last year but believes it is due to several factors.
He said: “I’d like to say it’s because I’ve been trying my best to build my mate Wes Newton up because he went down and I think that’s not helped me much at all.
“But then I think it’s just a lack of form. I can’t put it down to much else than having a bad year.
“I think there’s been a bit of getting too comfortable as well. I hit the ground running when I came over and I think I thought it would all come to me. I didn’t reason I still had to fight.
“I think players have got better and I didn’t push myself to get better. I think I got idle.”
Standing idly by as form evaded him is not something Winstanley was willing to do.
Especially with wife Lorraine in such good form herself heading into the BDO World Championship this week.
“All she keeps doing at the minute is smash everyone to bits,” he said. “It’s getting a bit boring to watch her play and it’s very frustrating. Sometimes you wish she was a man so you could kick her.
“For me now it’s just work, work, work. Me and Lorraine have put more work in than ever.
“I’ve started playing golf for fitness, going to the gym and burn a few calories off to try and be a bit healthier.
“It’s about trying to eat right but I still love a Chinese for tea.
“I’ve started playing in a league again, just to get practice in.
“It’s been an every day kind of thing, trying new things.
“I’ve been down to Winmau to try to find an extra ten per cent from the dart. I must have changed my darts 50 times or had 50 different combinations but I always end up going back to my originals.”
Possibly the biggest disappointment of last year for Winstanley was failing to make all bar one televised tournament prior to the World Championship.
He qualified directly into the second round of the UK Open only to lose to relative unknown William O’Connor.
Rather than hide away from the televised events, Winstanley endured one in person to hammer home what he was missing.
He said: “I went down to the Players Championship Finals to watch my mate Daryl Gurney play.
“I took that as punishment to have to sit there watching him on stage.
“It’s been hard this year missing most of them because I made every one last year.
“But it’s also made me realise what I’m missing.”
Winstanley currently sits as 29th in the world with the rankings calculated over a two year period.
He has targeted a push into the top 16 by the end of the year.
He said: “The idea is that I’m going to stay in the top 32 and only get better, and not worse.
“It’s the first time this year that I’ve lost rankings, from 26 to 29.
“That’s what has hurt more than anything else but it’s just made me more determined for it to not happen again.”
Winstanley’s year will begin at the qualifying event for the first two European Tour tournaments on January 17 in Wigan with the season beginning in earnest with UK Open qualifiers on February 5.