Top Ten Tips How to Shoot Good Darts a Guide for Newbie Dart Players
So somewhere along the line you have picked up a dart and thrown it and liked how that felt, and enjoyed the fun atmosphere, but while you can get your dart into the right quadrant of the board, you can't hit any specific numbers with any regularity, much less a triple this or a double that.
It seems so easy for some people, what gives?
Well these are some issues that I am just working through myself, and that I want to post a guide on as I think that some of the advice that is out there is misleading for a new player.
I am a new player myself, but also one who is learning and I think in a position to offer some insight to people who are where I have just been. Who knows, I might even provide a good reminder for a seasoned vet or two..good darts!
Without further delay here are the top ten tips how to shoot
1. The Truth About Muscle Memory
One of the earliest and most confounding tidbits of advice I have received is the "It's all just muscle memory" line and that you should "Throw all your darts exactly the same way"
This, of course is for the most part true. The confounding part of it for a new player is how do you translate that into something actionable? All it did for me was the more I tried to throw all my darts the same way, well the less and less they seemed to land in the same place.
The answer is a two parter, but actually quite simple. First of all you need to practice. The more you practice the more you will develop and refine control of the muscles you use to throw darts. The second is credited to darts legend Bobby George who simply advises you say in your head "Throw it the same", which I can attest through some magic of psychology seems to help quite a bit.
Give it a try to see how it works for you with getting your groupings tighter!
2. Keep Your Body Still.
When you throw a dart the motion should come from your lower arm at the elbow. The rest of your body, as much as possible should be stock still.
This, above all else may be the most important piece of advice, but also one of the most difficult to abide by. .
This can of course be helped by practice and by making a conscious effort. You may also find it helps to exhale and throw at the point where you have completely emptied your lungs, at which point presumably you will have the least amount of movement imparted upon yourself by your breathing.
Even the slightest heave or wobble of your body can throw your shot off.
3. Bobby George Was Right!
Darts legend Bobby George famously advised "Look where you throw and throw where you look".
It is a statement that might easily be dismissed as being 'quaint' but it is actually rock solid advice. The secret here is psychological as much as it is physical. If you focus on the target your body will naturally make adjustments that it needs to be making. Just make sure you are comfortable and lined up nicely and aiming with your dominant eye!
As tempting as it is to do so, do NOT over think. Over thinking is the enemy of good darts!
4. Points Are Pointless.
Being able to throw darts with accuracy is such a huge part of the game of darts it is natural to want to work on zeroing in on those doubles and triples. This is of course something you will want to work on, but maybe it should not be your focus when you first start out.
That's right, when you first start out and are trying to learn you should focus on beautiful tight groupings of darts, and consider points pointless!
Instead of making your focus on the specific part of the board you hit or the point values, when you first start out work on making the darts look nice. That means wherever the first dart lands, throw the next two darts at exactly the same spot. You might even find the advice in Tip #1 will help you out with this!
Don't worry about scoring the points. You get started throwing nice tight groupings of darts early on, then you will find it that much easier to post up the big numbers as you progress!
5. That's a Stretch!
It might seem or feel a little awkward at first but stretching before throwing darts is highly recommended. if nothing else, when you first step up to the oche (the throw line) don't start focusing in on pinpoint targets and instead give your self a chance to simply throw the dart.
The benefit of stretching, is not simply to prevent cramps tweaks pains and injury, but also to prevent these things from having a negative impact on your darts performance.
If your body is all tight and your joints are all stiff and awkward how can you expect to line your body up properly or have a fluid throw.
To top it all off, warming up gets your mind and body both tuned in to playing darts and gets the blood flowing to your muscles and ready for some great darts!
6. Be Comfortable
In your stance, how you hold your dart and in how you throw, always make sure you are comfortable. If you are not comfortable than you are likely over time to cause yourself trouble, and worse still it will be highly unlikely that you will throw good darts.
If you would like to make adjustments, say to your stance for instance, it is of course alright to do so, but take your time with it and ease into it, possibly taking some of the advice from Tip #5!!
If you are uncomfortable you will get stiff, and if you are stiff it will have a negative impact on your darts game!
7. You Will Likely Get Worse.
This may not be true of everyone, but darts involves a lot of fine motor skills, judging of depths and spatial; relationships and a whole host of factors that both your body and mind have to deal with.
You may see some positive results with a lot of practice, but then feel you hit a ceiling, or worse find that your game falls apart a little.
Do not worry about this, and just keep practicing and staying positive. Having a little patience with yourself and the game at the point you feel you 'just don't have it' could pay you some dividends with a nice and unexpected upswing in your skill levels!
8. The Monster of Mechanics
In darts, mechanics are certainly a consideration. There are a multitude of websites and other sources that will detail what constitutes both good and bad mechanics, and while advice from one source to the other may seem slightly contradictory, it is indeed important and worthwhile to be aware of the mechanics of dart throwing.
The danger that is present here, and one that you must avoid at all cost is becoming obsessive with the minutiae of your dart mechanics.
Let the bulk of your mechanics be somethign that can be explained after the fact, and focus on developing a natural approach as much as possible. Yes, you should align your body, and yes you should limit your body movement to only your lower arm and so on, but when all is said and done you need to trust your body to be able to throw a dart.
To get what I mean, maybe think about walking. It is something that billions of human beings do every day, and for most it is something they do quite well and with very little thought given to doing it. It is simple enough, and yey imagine if you had to explain to someone step by step how to walk, and instead of doing it naturally they had to follow detailed step by step instructions lising every movement, every shift in ballance. How well do you think they would walk versus someone just walking naturally?
9. Coaching and Mentorship.
learn from those who have come before you.
Speaking from personal experience I can not stress strongly enough how much of a help Flight School has been for me, not just in progressing my game but in avoiding many of the traps and pitfalls that send so many by the wayside.
There will of course be people in your own community as well as online who will be willing to help you out. Why I like working with Flight School is that George has fifty years of darts experience and is a member of the American darts hall of fame, and he does it all for free.
Which route you take is up to you, just be willing to listen and learn from those who went before you (and got it right of course..) .
10. Love Darts
Above all else, love darts. Enjoy the game and have fun. That doesn't mean don't work hard at improving or to not be focused. It just means don't make it a chore and never lose perspective.
It is a fantastic game and a challenging one, and because it is challenging it can be a little frustrating, but also hugely rewarding when you work through those frustrating periods.
If you are happy and relaxed and enjoying yourself when you play darts you will simply just play better than when you are tense or worried or agitated.
In hockey it is referred to as 'gripping the stick too tight', which is where a player is trying so hard to do well that they actually sabotage their own success that they would have had if they had simply embraced the game they love so much.
The same is true of darts.
Darts and More!
If these tips were useful to you or if you simply want to hear more of what I have to say and share not only about darts but a bevy of other topics than please join me on my own site,The Best Lack All Conviction, as well as here on hubpages.
Thank you for letting me share my love of darts with you. I very much hope my top ten tips how to shoot good darts helps your game!
I am an enthusiastic novice and avid student of the game so i hope you can learn alongside me.
Shoot well, and enjoy a pint for me!
- Dave 'The Abominable Throw Man' Sproull