When did you get your first experience with darts? According to most folks, the first time they ever played darts was in a pub, a recreational center, or an amusement park with friends and family. While most people play darts as a way to pass time, those that are willing to go beyond the pub and recreational thing should look for more serious ways to improve their accuracy and precision. One way of doing this is by finding the right dart practice routines that will help you elevate your game to the next level.
Now, if you happen to browse the internet, you’ll be amazed to find a myriad of tips that promise to offer incredible dart techniques for beginners and professionals alike. Although some of these tips do work, most of them actually don’t. Due to this reason, we’ve managed to explore and gather some overlooked methods that can really improve your dart playing skills especially if you’re a beginner. If you’re looking to get some useful tips on how to elevate your game, then read on.
1. Have a Purpose
Whether you’re a beginner or an intermediate looking to improve your skills, the first thing you need to think of when it comes to practicing darts is having a purpose. According to some folks, practicing how to play darts means grabbing a dozen darts and throwing them aimlessly towards the board without making any conscious effort. No matter how many darts you throw, this kind of tactic is nothing less of an extremely inefficient waste of your precious time.
But, with deliberate practice, every dart thrown must be executed with a purpose in a manner that feels systematic and purposeful. In fact, one of the tactics you can implement for purposeful practice is by imagining yourself playing in a real game. This way, every dart you throw is a crucial one. By creating such a vivid picture in your mind, you’ll feel the nervousness, the relaxation, and the seriousness of throwing every dart-like it’s the last that will win you the match.
After every throw, always take your time to reflect on the wrongs, the rights, and whether you’ve followed all the dart rules to the latter. If you’re a beginner, always start by playing the 501 or the 301 darts game to get acquitted with the scoring, the counting, the doubles, and the checkouts.
2. Always Start by Warming Up
Now that you have a reason as to why you’re practicing darts, the next step is to have a warm-up routine you’ll be following before the game. You see, just like any other precision sport, starting off with a warm-up will really help to boost your confidence before every game. But, how are you supposed to warm up? Well, in most cases, you can focus on hitting a particular segment with your first set of darts such as the double 20, 10, 19, or 18, or perhaps you can try hitting the triple 20 or the Bullseye.
Apart from releasing all tension, warming up for a few minutes routinely helps you to improve on accuracy. It also helps you to easily switch from one segment to another in case one of your targets is blocked by another dart. Lastly, this switching helps you to work and improve on various areas of the game making you a more dynamic player.
3. Experiment with Different Types of Darts
If you’re a beginner looking to improve your dart playing skills, one of the things you need to be keen on is investing in a reliable toolset. This means that you have to buy a quality darts set and a dartboard that you can rely on. If you’re a beginner, a set of soft tip darts can be a great option as most of these darts come with replaceable parts and extra accessories such as barrels, tips, and flights. If you’re an intermediary or a professional already, then you can invest in a set of steel tip darts.
Other than having a perfect darts set, another area that demands a considerable amount of time is familiarizing yourself with darts of different lengths and designs. You see, darts come in a wide variety of different barrels and flight designs. For instance, you’ll find barrels that are longer than others. You’ll also find flights that are bigger than others.
So, during your practice routines, you need to familiarize yourself with all these dart variants to ensure that you’re totally comfortable using them. By experimenting with each dart variant, you’ll not face any difficulty adapting to a particular set.
4. Work on Your Stance
Stance is one of the detailed topics every beginner must study when practicing how to throw darts. That’s because, during your routine practice, you have to master the physics and the mechanics behind throwing the darts. Body movement and how you position yourself before making a throw play a critical role in the accuracy and efficiency of the dart’s trajectory as it moves towards the target.
In darts, there are three major stances that are highly popular among most professional players. That’s the forward, angled and side stances. The side stance is usually the best for beginners as it’s less complicated. It involves placing the dominant foot close to the oche while the other foot rests right behind the front foot.
The elbow of the dominant arm should also be raised to ensure that the dominant eye can perfectly see where the dart will land on the board. The elbow of the other arm should be close to the body to maintain stability.
5. Perfect the Release and the Follow Through
Just like in the stance, the release of a dart is another delicate topic that has a lot to be debated about. In fact, most professional players tend to disagree when it comes to this topic. For most beginners and intermediaries looking to perfect their skills, this is one area that requires a lot of practice if you really want to get things right.
In most cases, releasing the dart usually consist of four key stages. The first one is holding the dart with the tip slightly tilted upwards while the second stage is swinging the arm to release the dart. The third stage is the most tricky as it involves snapping your wrist after throwing the dart to boost its speed and increase the chances of accuracy.
The fourth and last stage is following through. You see, soon after releasing the dart, your arm should maintain a steady forward motion with the fingers pointing towards the floor. This will ensure that your dart moves smoothly and cleanly towards the target without losing its trajectory.
6. Improve Your Accuracy
Another area you need to focus on during your daily dart practice routines is improving your throwing accuracy. Remember, accuracy is one of the most important aspects of any successful darts player. But, to improve your accuracy, you need to first focus on sharpening your hand-eye coordination. To do this, you can try practicing using a Manchester Log-End Dartboard. The reason why this dartboard is highly advisable is due to its thin doubles and trebles that are approximately 4mm wide.
When practicing using these boards, you’ll have to constantly hit the thin targets for you to improve your accuracy. Alternatively, if you’re using a normal dartboard, you can try mounting some sticker targets on strategic points on the dartboard then try to hit them. Here, you’ll not only improve your hand-eye coordination but you’ll also improve the rate of accuracy significantly.
7. Practice High Scores
Now that you’ve worked on the stance, the release, and the accuracy, the next area you’ll need to work on is hitting the high scores consistently. You see, regardless of whether you’re a beginner, an intermediary, or a professional, hitting the high scores consistently is regarded as an essential part of being successful in darts. But, how can you become a consistent scorer who wins multiple games? Well, one strategy you can depend on during your daily practice routines is practicing consistently with some of these games.
- Round the Board: This is one of the best games for beginners as it involves throwing the darts in a clockwise motion while hitting each segment from 1 to 20.
- Twenty-Eight: The aim of this game is to reach 28 points. To do this, you have to aim at the cricket numbers which are 20, 19, 18, 17, 16, 15, and the bulls. You have to hit each of the seven segments four times for you to reach a total of 28 points.
- The 101: This type of practice game is highly suitable for beginners looking to master the various combinations that are needed to play all the 01 games such as the 501 and the 301. Here, you need to start by doubling in then hitting the precise doubles and trebles to deduct your points to zero. By practicing this game routinely, you’ll master all the tricks that are needed to play the popular 301 and 501 dart games.
- Checkouts: The last area you need to practice on is hitting the doubles and the trebles to checkout in a game. Since you’ll be expected to play under high pressure, you need to practice aiming at numbers that can be divided by 2. For instance, if you have 32 points remaining to finish the game, you can strategize by hitting a single 16 and a double 8 to finish the game. Alternatively, you can hit a single 16, a single 8, and a double 4 to finish the game.
One of the best practice games you can rely on here is the 27. In this game, the rules demand you to hit the doubles in each segment in ascending order from 1 to 20. Each double you hit gives you the double value of that segment. For instance, if you hit the double 5, then you’ll have 10 points which you’ll add to 27, and so on. In case you miss the double with all your three darts, then you’ll have to deduct the double value of that segment from your total scores.
As you can see, the game of darts comprises a combination of skills, concentration, focus, confidence, and some mind game. Thankfully, this short guide has managed to discuss each of these tips to give you everything you’ll need when practicing. Apart from these pointers, you’ll also need a lot of meditation, breathing exercises, and reading to ensure that you improve your mental integrity.
Lastly, most beginners must be wondering when it’s the best time to practice, right? Well, in most cases, practicing daily for about 30 minutes to one hour can really prove helpful. This way, you’ll have a lot of extra time to accomplish other duties as well as have enough time to track your progress as you climb up the ladder.