Five Fun Practice Games That Will Make You Better at Finishing in Darts
Finishing in the Game of Darts
In darts two players start at 501 points and they have to get to zero. The player that gets there first wins the game, which is called a leg in darts. However, there is one constraint. A leg has to be ended with a double. Normally, a player would not throw at a double so it requires special practice. Furthermore, finishing requires the skill of switching. While finishing, a player often has to hit different targets in the same turn. This is different than just throwing three darts towards treble twenty.
The best players practice a big portion of their time on finishing, since it is crucial to consistently throw well at the doubles. These five practice games can help you to get better at finishing.
Finishing consists of a couple of parts. First the setup shot. This is the turn before you are actually going to finish. It is very important that you leave a handy number, for example leaving 99 is very bad since it requires three darts. You much rather leave 98 or 100, since that can be finished in two darts.
Then you are going to finish. This ends with hitting a double, therefore it is really important to practice hitting these doubles. However, much more is needed. Finishes above 40 require multiple darts. This includes hitting big numbers, trebles and most of all switching between various parts of the boards. Therefore, only mastering the doubles doesn't make you a great finisher.
Practice Game 1
In this game, the goal is to finish 61. If you succeed, you move up ten points. If you fail to check out then you move down one. This way, you will throw a lot of different finishes between 61 and 130. Mastering these can come up very handy since most legs you will end up somewhere between these two numbers. In theory, you can go up until you reach 170, but even a pro will find it extremely difficult to get there. However, for an competent darts player it must be realistic to get up to 100. An advanced player should be able to get to 130. Finishes below 130 require only one treble. From then on, the finishes require two big trebles and a double, so they are much more difficult to hit.
Practice Game 2
The second practice routine is a combination of a scoring practice and finishing practice. It is a special variant of the "Around the clock" game, in which you have to first hit one three times, then two and so on. In this game, you throw the first two darts towards treble twenty and the last towards the double. You start at double one and go up until you reach the bull's eye. You can only move up if at least one of the two first darts hits treble twenty and you hit the double. You don't move up if you either miss the big twenty, don't hit at least one treble twenty or miss the double. If your first dart blocks the treble twenty, you are allowed to switch to the treble nineteen.
If you are a less experienced player, you can also allow yourself to move up if you don't hit a treble. However, you have to at least hit the big number.
Practice Game 3
This game is made to practice hitting the bull's eye. You throw all your darts towards the bull. If you hit the bull's eye it counts as 50 point. A single bull is 25 points. All other spaces on the board are worth zero points. Your goal is to score as many points as you can. You can continue to score as long as you don't score zero points in a visit. So with every three darts you hit to hit at least one single bull or bull's eye. This game is most fun if you have some reference. You can ask your friends to also have a go and compare your scores.
The bull's eye is the smallest target on the board. Consistently hitting the it is difficult even for the pros. Data shows that on the PDC Pro Tour the bull's eye is hit only about 20% of the time.
Practice Game 4
The fourth game is meant to practice setup shots and finishing. It is similar to game two in a sense. You start at 120 and you get six darts to finish it. If you succeed you move up ten points. Again you try to finish in six darts. If you don't succeed you go back three points. Try to get as high as you can. If this is too difficult for you, you should consider starting a bit lower. For example on 100. The reason for going back three points is that it will enforce you to throw at a lot of different numbers. An advanced player should be able to get to around 200 without too much troubles. Then it will become very difficult. An average player should be happy to reach 180.
Practice Game 5
The last practice game is purely for practicing doubles. You start at 40 and have to finish by only using doubles. If you succeed you move up two points. So 42 can be checked out for example by hitting double sixteen and double five. If you hit inside a double it just counts as zero. So only darts that hit a double count. this way, you can go up until you reach 80, or even 90 if you want to include the bull. However this will take quite some time for most. Therefore you can decide to quit earlier or take steps of four to make it a little shorter.
Although this game focuses on hitting doubles, you also will practice switching between numbers, since most numbers require two different doubles to checkout.