Inside Dimitri Van den Bergh’s Mental Mastery that Inspired his UK Open Win

Dimitri Van den Bergh's triumph at the 2024 Ladbrokes UK Open underscores the importance of resilience and mindset in sports. Guided by his sports psychologist, Van den Bergh maintained composure, despite facing crowd hostility. His strategic adjustments and respect for opponent Luke Humphries highlight the spirit of sportsmanship. This interview with explores Van den Bergh's journey to victory and the role of mindset in his success.

Louis Hobbs
Louis Hobbs

Last Updated: 2024-03-04

Wade McElwain

7 minutes read

The Newly Crowned UK Open Champion

In a thrilling final at the 2024 Ladbrokes UK Open, Dimitri Van den Bergh emerged victorious against Luke Humphries, securing a momentous win that underscored his remarkable composure and strategic approach to the game. Van den Bergh, who was regarded as the underdog in the face of Humphries' formidable talent, defied expectations to claim the title in a match that showcased his growth as a player.

Mindset Shift: From Pressure to Reward

Reflecting on his mindset heading into the final, Van den Bergh shared insights from his conversation with his sports psychologist. Despite the daunting prospect of facing the world number one, his psychologist offered a perspective shift, framing the match as a reward rather than a punishment. Van den Bergh embraced this mentality, focusing on staying composed and relishing the atmosphere on stage.


“I was definitely a clear underdog in the situation, but he told me, it’s very simple. You’ve already made it to the final. Playing in this match is you’re reward, don’t look at it as a punishment. There is no shame in losing to Luke [Humphries] so just stay composed, relax on the stage and soak in the atmosphere”, he told following his historic win. 


Van den Bergh credited his sports psychologist for preparing him to handle the pressure of the final. Drawing parallels with professionals from other disciplines, including cyclists and pop artists, Van den Bergh highlighted the importance of mental preparedness in elite competition. His ability to stay focused and composed amidst the electric atmosphere of the final underscored his mental resilience and maturity as a player.


“I have never experienced a final like that. I was dominant against the best player in the world for most parts of that match. That wouldn’t have happened last year”, he further stated. 



Image credit: PDC

A New Tempo: Composure over Speed

The Belgian's transformation was evident throughout the match, as he maintained a deliberate and measured tempo, a departure from his previous style characterised by rapid play. This strategic adjustment, guided by his psychologist, aimed to minimise external distractions, and enhance his performance under pressure. 


As the tension reached its peak in the final moments of the match, the crowd's demeanour turned slightly hostile when Van den Bergh took a deliberate pause of approximately 30 seconds during the 19th leg. This unexpected delay left both the fans and Humphries on edge, anticipating Van den Bergh's next move. However, when questioned about the crowd's negative reaction, Van den Bergh remained unfazed, asserting, "No, I didn’t let the crowd affect me." His calm and composed response reflected his unwavering focus and determination to stay grounded amidst the intense atmosphere of the final showdown.



Image credit: PDC

Special Victory in the Face of Adversity

Amidst of this hostility with the crowd, Van den Bergh emphasised the significance of winning his first major PDC title in front of a live audience. Reflecting on the experience, he told “The crowd being involved still made it special. Winning my first major in front of many of loving fans is just indescribable. It’s a totally different feeling to my Matchplay win after covid that I managed to win.”


He contrasted this victory with his previous win at the Matchplay post-COVID, indicating that the atmosphere and presence of spectators added a new dimension to his achievement. Despite any challenges or conflicts, the thrill of claiming his inaugural PDC major in such circumstances was undoubtedly a momentous occasion for Van den Bergh.

Championing Sportsmanship

Furthermore, Van den Bergh expressed admiration and respect for his opponent, Luke Humphries, acknowledging his status as a world champion both on and off the stage. Humphries' gracious demeanour and words of encouragement during the match resonated with Van den Bergh, reinforcing the spirit of sportsmanship and camaraderie in darts.


Concluding the interview, he commended his opponent, underscoring the sportsmanship embodied by the newly crowned 2024 UK Open champion. “I just played my game, and how Luke reacted on the stage just shows why he is a world champion. He is a world champion on and off the stage. I’ve got a lot of respect for him. He even pulled me to one side and told me to let the moment sink in, and don’t think about anyone else but you and your family right now.”



Image credit: PDC

Time to Celebrate

As Van den Bergh celebrates his historic win, his journey to UK Open victory serves as a testament to the power of mindset and strategic adaptation in overcoming formidable challenges. With his sports psychologist by his side, Van den Bergh has not only transformed his approach to the game but also cemented his status as a formidable contender on the world stage.

Louis Hobbs
Louis HobbsLead Journalist

Meet Louis Hobbs, our esteemed authority on all matters sports-related. With a wealth of knowledge and experience, Louis effortlessly emerges as our go-to expert. His particular expertise in the realms of darts and snooker sets him apart and brings a level of insight that goes beyond the ordinary. Louis also holds a deep affection for all things related to US sports, with a special emphasis on basketball and American football, which stand out as his particular favorites. His content may not resonate with you, if you don't consider Lamar Jackson the most skilled player in the NFL.