How to improve darts consistency
One part of consistency is having a comfortable and stable throwing technique. I'm not an expert in the 'normal' technique as my throw is a bit unorthodox but there a few minor changes that can benefit your game.
- Back foot position - In my experience, players can be tempted to lean too much. Is being a few inches closer to the board worth sacrificing your stability? I would keep the rear foot about shoulder width away from the front foot and try to keep most of the foot on the floor.
- Secondary hand - Something that you may be neglecting is keeping your non throwing hand tucked in the same position while throwing. Doing this should help keep the posture consistent.
- Follow through - After releasing the dart, make sure the arm follows through to an almost horizontal position. This will stop jerkiness and produce a smoother throwing action.
- Settle in - Before throwing just take a second to focus.This will hopefully stop any first darts being wasted with a rushed throw.
Now you have a quality stance the only thing to do is practise, practise and practise some more. Practice should be personal to you, it should be routines that you enjoy and for an amount of time that is manageable. Four intense sessions of 30 minutes can be more beneficial than a single 2 hour session, personally a shorter time keeps me focused and prevents boredom. The crucial thing is to do some regular practice. If Phil Taylor is still practising then you have no excuse!
There are too many routines to list them all but here are some that have helped me the most with my consistency.
- Nine darts at the bull - Throw 3 sets of darts at the bull, only the inner and outer bull count and see what you score. This is good as a quick warm up to get your eye in.
- Three in a bed - Go around the board, 1-20, moving on to the next number when you hit all three darts in the single number section. Singles are often neglected as too easy to practice but they are crucial for setting up the all important finish. This should also improve the grouping of your 3 darts.
- One chance - Start on 1 and only move onto the next number when you hit the single, every time you miss go back to 1. This gives you one dart at every single number after one. See how far around the board you can get. A frustrating game if it's not your day but certainly worth it to practise dealing with pressure and you will become a boss at single one.
- Key numbers - Go through the numbers 17, 18, 19 and 20 only moving on when you've hit three darts in that numbers bed and repeated five times. A simple but effective practice to focus on hitting consistently decent scores.
- Consecutive Twenties - Throw at the 20 section and count the cumulative score of consecutive darts in the 20 bed, darts in other beds don't count and reset the score to 0. Set yourself an achievable but optimistic target and your scoring should improve. This is very good to reduce the amount of 1's and 5's when throwing at 20.
- Around the world (doubles) - Start on 1 and move onto the next number after hitting the current number's double. A decent routine as it makes sure you practice hitting every double.
- Finishes - List the numbers 40-2 and cross the numbers off after finishing that number in 3 darts. Builds confidence in the essential finishes that need to be learnt.
Whatever the level of your game, I hope these tips will help you to improve but the most important thing is to remain cool, relaxed and enjoy the magnificent game of darts whatever it throws at you.
© 2013 Sam Brind