At first, the game of darts may seem like an easy endeavor. After all, it’s all about holding the darts and throwing them provided you don’t go past the oche. But, in reality, the success behind this precious indoor game goes beyond knowing its rules. Knowing how to hold a dart during the game is one major trick most experts and top dart players capitalize on to improve their aiming techniques and win more games.
Although there isn’t a good or bad way to hold a dart, a proper grip of the dart before releasing can really make a huge difference between a perfect and a shameful throw.
When learning how to play and win in darts, one area that can define your success is how to grip the dart. Your throwing stance should be impeccable while the release should be smooth and steady enough to give the dart a parabolic trajectory.
Now, having said that, this short guide will discuss the various ways you can hold the dart as well as include some useful info on how you should position yourself before you release the darts. So, if that sounds truly inspiring, then sit back, take your position and read on.
How to Hold a Dart: Step by Step Guide
Part-1: Getting Into the Stance
Before you can jump to the different techniques of holding a dart, you first need to understand how to position your body and how to adjust to the recommended throwing distance. At least by doing this, you’ll have a sense of legitimacy playing under the official guidelines other than playing under rules you made up yourself.
So, to throw the darts with precision, start off by positioning your body correctly. This involves standing with your legs hip-width apart then moving the body sideways with the dominant foot in front of the other (supportive) foot.
Now, how you position your foot greatly varies on whether you’re right or left-handed. If you’re right-handed, your right foot should move forward and if you’re left-handed, then your left foot should be placed forward.
To stabilize your stance, you can raise the heel of your back foot a bit, keep the dominant foot right at the oche and ensure both your hips and shoulders are connected. Although you’re supposed to keep your entire body straight and compact, some players might opt to lean forward just a bit to perfect their stance.
Well, this is absolutely fine if it makes you feel comfortable. However, you need to make sure that you don’t lean too far forward as this can compromise your throw.
Part-2: Gripping Time
Alright, moving on from the stance, it’s now time to discuss how you’re supposed to hold the dart. Now, in the game of darts, learning how to grip is mandatory, as it’s what helps you to throw the dart steadily. But, before we get deep into the technicality of holding the dart, let’s first discuss the different parts of the dart to make this process a lot easier.
a> Parts of a Dart
To understand which parts of the dart you’re supposed to grip, we will break down the different parts of a dart and discuss them just to make things easier for you. Concisely, the dart is composed of four parts, which are the point, barrel, shaft, and flight.
- Point (tip): The tip of the dart comes in varying lengths and can be plastic (soft-tipped) or metallic (steel-tipped). The good news is that both tips can be used in traditional bristle dartboards during competitions. While both tips are usable on bristle boards, steel tips shouldn’t be used on soft boards as they can cause permanent damage.
- Barrel: This is where the heart of the dart lies. It’s the body of the dart where you grip when getting ready to throw. Barrels are available in different weights, lengths, materials, diameters, grip, and balance points. About the weight, most barrels weigh anywhere from 16 to 30 grams. The most commonly used materials are tungsten, brass, and nickel-silver. Tungsten, however, is the most desirable material among the three as it is dense, sleek and has proper weight balance. About the grip, barrels can be smooth, ringed or knurled.
- Shaft: The shaft is another equally important part of the dart that controls the movement of the dart on the air. It affects the stability of the dart and maintains its ability to move in a constant projectile parabola. Shafts come in varying lengths and materials ranging from aluminum, plastic, nylon,to titanium.
- Flight: These fins come in varying shapes and lengths depending on your throwing style. They help to provide stability and minimize drag to ensure that your dart maintains the right energy when thrown.
b> Basic Dart Throwing Techniques
- Hold it Lightly
Some people think that holding the dart too tightly will lead to a steady throwing action. Well, that’s just a deception and it’s not true. Instead, the dart should be held lightly like a potato chip—not too tight to cause a tingling sensation to your fingers and not too loose to fall off your hands.
- 2. Position the Tip-Up
Although it’s always overlooked, this is one tip every darts beginner should adhere to when learning how to play this precious game. Since the tip is the one that penetrates into the dartboard, it should be angled facing upwards to make a steady trajectory.
Now, darts follow a parabolic trajectory that is more like a ballistic motion usually evidenced when you throw a stone or fire a bullet. When a dart is released in a steady curvature, it immediately accelerates acquiring kinetic energy that allows it to move in a controlled motion towards the target.
- 3. Know your Darts
If you’re a beginner, it’s good to understand that darts come in different shapes and sizes. Inside these shapes and sizes, there’s one tricky factor you need to understand— which by the way will determine how you grip your dart. What we’re talking of is dart weight distribution.
By knowing the weight distribution of your specific darts, you’ll be able to tell where the center of gravity rests just by staring at the darts. Now, darts have three types of weight distribution, which are the forward, center, and backward weight distribution.
- Front weight distribution is when the center of gravity is on the front of the barrel. This can easily be determined by just staring at the dart.
- Back weight distribution is where the center of gravity is at the back of the barrel. This too can easily be determined by examining the shape of the barrel.
- Finally, there’s even weight distribution. This is where the weight is distributed evenly with the center of gravity being at the center of the barrel.
c> Types of Dart Grips
Having covered most of the factors that revolve around gripping a dart, we’ll now finalize this section by discussing the different ways you can grip a dart as you get ready to release it. Initially, there are four ways you can hold a dart. That’s by using two fingers, three fingers, four fingers and sometimes even five fingers.
- 1. Two Fingers: This type of grip involves holding the dart using one finger and the thumb. It’s actually more like holding a pen. Although it helps to lessen the impact of your fingers on the dart, it can lead to a less controlled throw as the grip is less firm.
- 2. Three-Finger Grip: This type of grip involves holding the dart with your thumb, index and middle fingers. This grip is one of the most common that’s predominantly used by most expert dart players such as Phil “The Power” Taylor. This holding grip usually comes out naturally and it’s one of the best to consider and easiest to master if you’re a beginner.
- 3. Four-Finger Grip: With the four-finger grip, the thumb, index, middle and ring fingers all coordinate together to hold the barrel of the dart. Although it does allow for better control and acceleration of the dart, releasing the dart is more challenging as compared to the 3-finger grip.
- 4. Five-Finger Grip: The five-finger grip lets you hold the barrel with all the five fingers. Just like the four-finger grip, this one too provides a more controlled grip. However, releasing the dart is the most challenging part as it’s hard to coordinate the movement of all the five fingers upon releasing the dart.
Part-3: Release the Dart
Now that we’ve covered everything that’s needed to hold darts, the next and final step is to throw the darts towards the target. Although we had touched on some of these points earlier on, it’s imperative that we highlight them further just to pave some light to beginner darts players.
- Step One: Once you hold the dart, pull your dominant hand slightly back just before you release it. At this time, you should maintain a proper posture of standing on sideways with your dominant foot next to the oche and the supportive foot slightly wedged.
- Step Two: While holding the dart using any of the four gripping styles we discussed earlier, snap your wrist while you release the dart. Make sure that you snap it professionally to increase the acceleration of the dart and improve accuracy.
- Step Three: Once you release the dart, follow through with your arm. Let your hand proceed to move in a forward motion with your fingers pointed towards the direction of the dart before you can drop it. This is an imperative tip you really need to know as its one of the small factors that determine your success in darts.
In conclusion, you need to continue perfecting your stance. This is usually accomplished by continuous practicing.
Finally, as you can see, holding a dart comprises a convergence of multiple factors. Although it might look simple at first, focusing on how you stand, how you grip the dart and how you release it from your hand will ultimately determine your success in this precious game.
So, with that said, the game of darts is wide and immense with plenty to learn and plenty of games to enjoy with friends and family. So, if you’re an avid darts player, then this short guide has offered you something that you can add in your darts chronicles.