Exclusive: Michael “Mighty Mike” van Gerwen

He’s one of the biggest stars in darts, widely considered one of the best players of all time, three-time PDC World Champion, and current no. 2 in the world. Join SportsBoom’s voice of choice, Wade McElwain, as he grabs a chat with the one and only Michael van Gerwen.

Wade McElwain
Wade McElwain

Last Updated: 2023-11-29

5 minutes read

Michael van Gerwen

The Greatest of All Time?

When asked about his feelings ahead of the World Championship, he stoically replies, “I feel good, my form is getting into place at the right moment, and that’s what you want.”

Van Gerwen admits without bluster that he has “won everything”, but that does nothing to diminish his motivation. This champion is driven by “My legacy and future for my family”, as well as his pure passion for the sport.

“I love what I do. Performing on the big stage, it’s still my passion.”

Chewing over his thoughts on how you find and maintain such passion, van Gerwen advises to “follow your dreams”.  

“I’ve still got goals to aim at,” he explains, knowing that with that attitude, “anything is possible”. 

The mental aspect

From van Gerwen’s perspective, the right mindset is “the biggest aspect out of everything - you need to have talent, of course, but as long as you keep believing in your own ability, that’s the key.”

The champ proves just how on top of his game he is when pushed for how he gets himself back to the right headspace. “My mindset never goes,” he replies, before semi-joking that he’s “like a robot.”

“I’m a positive person,” he continues, “For a lot of people, the milk bottle is always half empty. Mine is half full.”

Mighty Mike earns some laughs as he moves on to point a finger at British weather as a potential reason for the UK not sharing his Dutch levels of positivity, before explaining that he actually spends a lot of time in England.

“I pay a lot of tax in England. I probably own half of the country!” he jokes. “Darts are just so big over here and so my life is here as well…I live in Holland but I’ve got a residential address here I’m here 50% of the time.” 

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I love what I do. Performing on the big stage, it’s still my passion.

What you see is what you get

When asked about his famed celebrations, van Gerwen is pure nonchalance. “That’s the way I am, everything on the stage is real. It’s my emotion. It’s my passion. It’s what I love to do the most.”

It’s no wonder that he’s such a fan of the positive vibes that flood a venue like Ally Pally. And though he admits that the crowd can be motivation for the player, it’s clear that, to van Gerwen, it’s meant to be the other way around...

“Everything has to do with your game, if you’re playing some poor darts, no one is interested. People wanna see good darts.” No surprise then, that the Dutch champion doesn’t have any spare mental space for the so-called “social media athletes”. “There’s a lot of dark players who are good with their mouth but cr*p on the darts board,” he says, before adding, “Just let your darts talk, I don’t need to do anything else.” 

Innovations and artificial intelligence

To some players, a dart is a dart. To Michael van Gerwen, it’s more a kind of art.

“I’m sponsored by Minmau, my manufacturer,” he says. “I sit down with the technical guys, we analyse the dart the trail, then we create a monster dart for myself.”

“There’s a lot of technical stuff that’s difficult to explain,” he continues, “Darts don’t stay still there is evolution with everything”. And as he compares a past where you could hardly analyse throws to the science-heavy present of the sport, we can sense where the conversation’s going.

Shockingly, van Gerwen reveals that he not only believes there will come a day when we see a kind of robot darts player, but that the technical university in Holland is already busy with it!

We’re hooked as he explains further, “They’re looking at how accurate the dart is. A robot doesn’t have any heartbeat doesn’t feel the crowd”.

It sounds like the ideal testing partner, though we have to agree that it must be tough to “let science beat the reality”. 

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Just let your darts talk, I don’t need to do anything else.

The champion’s spirit

Despite seeming protective over his walk-in music, The White Stripes’ Seven Nation Army, van Gerwen confesses that he doesn’t really care about music. “A bit of eighties but for the rest, nah,” he says.

To the Dutch pro, it’s not the music you strut in to that matters, it’s what you bring to the game.

When asked about the young talent like Josh Rock, van Gerwen admits that “They’re doing really well, but the World Championships are different. They have to show they’re capable there as well.”

He has no doubt that these “new kids on the block” have a way to go yet. It’s easy to see what he means, seeing him speak from his 16-year-long professional career. “It’s not a sprint. It’s a marathon,” he says.

Flipping the script, van Gerwen turns his attention to the legendary Phil Taylor and his proposed retirement. “He created the darts,” he says, expressing admiration. “His legacy is huge and he did a lot of good for the sport.”

Van Gerwen shows clear recognition for the impressive shoes he’d have to fill to take Phil’s place as the biggest name in darts, but it’s a challenge he seems primed and ready to face as the sport continues to evolve. 

Wade McElwain
Wade McElwainSenior Sports Writer

Wade McElwain is our Mr. NFL, a bona fide North American sports nut who knows about NBA, NHL, MLB, PGA plus MMA boxing and more. Originally from Canada, Wade is also an international award-winning stand-up comedian; host of numerous TV game shows; and a TV producer & writer. He also runs NFL in London-the largest NFL fan group in Europe, and has hosted NFL events at Wembley and around the world. Yes, he lives alone and does nothing but watch sports.