Become a Better Dart Player
Here are several excellent tips for improving your dart game, even if you think you have stagnated. These “secrets” (based on my own experience) helped me improve my dart performance by a huge margin over the last year or two.
At the risk of giving away my secrets (ha!), here are some of the things I have learned that significantly improved my dart game over the last two years while playing, on average, a set of 3 games every day. These ideas worked for me and would be helpful, I hope and believe, for anyone wishing to tighten their dart scatter (precision) and improve their accuracy.
- Darts is an enjoyable game and should be looked at in a light-hearted manner. You are allowed to feel joy and disappointment, but don’t let emotion disturb your physical state too much during the game as having your heart pumping wildly only makes it more difficult to be accurate.
- Before throwing each set of darts, a well-executed sigh or breathing out will momentarily relax you and make your hand and aim steadier. As with any sport or physical activity, regular breathing is important, even if you momentarily stop while the dart is thrown.
- Make sure your darts are the best weight for your throwing style. Experiment if you need to, and can afford it. Mine are 25 grams in weight.
- Make sure that the dart shaft that holds the flights is the best length for your style of throwing. I changed to a short shaft for several months, my game improved. Then I changed back to a longer shaft and am having even greater success for the last several weeks.
- Make sure that the flights are in good enough condition to hold their 90-degree orientation when viewed from behind and are still smooth without tears or twists. Ensure the shafts are not damaged so as to change the balance of the dart. Replace if necessary.
- Even though many will argue that it is important to stand with both feet on the throwing line parallel to the board’s face, I still find my best position is with the majority of my weight on my right foot (I’m right-handed) with the toes of my left foot as a stabilizer behind and to the left somewhat. It is very important to find a reproducible way and place to stand. The one that is most comfortable is likely the best as you will gravitate to this naturally.
- Always hold the dart in exactly the same manner. If the dart does not feel comfortable in your hand, then try a longer or shorter shaft or a different style of dart (thinner, thicker, rougher, smoother, etc.) until the balance (or feel) seems good.
- Following though (as in golf and other sports) tends to improve your performance although this is not “written in stone”. If you over-extend during your follow-through, you may feel pain in the inside elbow. Reduce your follow-through and release the dart slightly earlier.
- If you need to straighten out darts that “lob” towards the board, then instead of throwing the dart harder and destroying your aim, throw the dart a little faster. This way extra force is not exerted by your hand (which might destroy your aim) but just by the speed of your arm and the release of the dart in the same trajectory. I have found that by holding the dart slightly more vertical than normal when aiming, I can usually straighten its flight out somewhat.
- Attempt to get your darts to enter the board face at right angles but don’t give up throwing because they aren’t. This would be ideal as they then present little blocking of your view of the board for the remainder of your darts and are in the least way preventing the following darts from entering the board. I am not a dart pro but regularly throw decent games of 12-14 darts now and my darts have yet to straighten out, although that would be great.
- If you can, wear the same shoes or slippers that are comfortable and yet somewhat supportive so that the way you stand and feel is the same each time
- Wear unrestrictive clothing, especially the shirt/blouse or t-shirt. Nothing should interfere with arm and hand movement when throwing.
- Look at the target (the spot you want to hit) and only throw when you are focussed on that spot, even if you have to relax again, and re-focus later before throwing. Darts is not a panic game.
- If your game has improved to the point where you seem to be stagnated, you may want to try throwing the set of 3 darts in quicker succession. What this did for my game was bring my dart scatter in tighter again. My precision improved probably due to the fact that it reduced my body’s requirement to remember how the throw happened. It becomes a more repetitive type of action (more programmed?). It worked for me. The only trouble is that the games only last a few minutes. It just means you get to play 4 or 5 games in 30 minutes instead of 3.
Well, that’s most of it that I can think of right now. Of course, it goes without saying that the board should be securely mounted at the correct height, the throwing line should be at the correct distance from the face of the board, and the lighting should be the best that you can achieve for no shadows.
I may add something in another piece later if I can think of something, or come across something that helps my game. Thanks for reading. Play darts. Enjoy.