It’s quite fascinating how the game of darts emerged from its humble beginnings to become a prestigious sport across the globe. With its roots dating back to the Old England, this game has surprisingly earned a spot among the best indoor games of the 21st century. You will find it being played in recreational centers such as pubs, homes, workplaces, and professional settings such as major leagues and tournaments. But, regardless of its great success, have you ever asked yourself how to win darts when playing in any establishment with organized play?
You see, whether you’re playing darts at a recreational or a professional level, you must adhere to those guidelines set by the global darts governing body, the British Darts Organization. While winning is always exciting, enjoying success in darts involves taking ample time to practice and above all, understanding the fundamental guidelines of this game by learning winning tips from professionals. So, if you’re a beginner looking to sharpen your master-class skills and strategies, this insightful guide will discuss 10 tips that will help you get right on track.
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10 Tips from Professional Dart Players
1. Adhere to the Rules
Nothing is entertaining than watching professionals play darts on the TV. These players usually follow the rules to the latter and a slight mistake can cause a penalty that can overturn the tables and make the ultimate difference. Just like any other professional game with organized play, recording a successful streak when playing darts requires you to follow the rules to the latter.
But, how can you do this? Well, it’s pretty simple. You only need to understand the different types of dart games available and how to play each of those. After all, how can you have a winning strategy yet you hardly know the rules for each type of dart game? So, to help you out, here are four common types of dart games you’re likely to play in most tournaments.
501 and 301 Dart Game
The 501 and the 301 games are the easiest and the most popular types of games you’ll find in most leagues and tournaments. In this game, each player is awarded 501 or 301 points. From there, each player is required to take alternating turns to throw the darts to the board. However, before you start this game, each player is required to double-in by hitting the double section on the dartboard.
During play, a player is supposed to target those segments with the highest scores (such as 20) then hit the triple section on the board to earn as many points as possible. The amounts of points you earn in each round are deducted to your initial points until you get to zero. The player that deducts his/her points to zero first is declared the winner.
Now, just like how you doubled-in, this game will require you to double-out as well. Although it’s a bit tricky, you will be required to target a section of the board that will end you exactly at zero points.
Around the Clock
This type of darts game is very different from 501 and 301. Here, players are required to take turns to throw reach of their darts in a clockwise manner. Each player must start from 1 and progress to 20. To win the game, a player must hit 25 and end with a bullseye. The best thing about this game is that the doubles and the triples sections are totally omitted.
Another popular type of darts game in most pubs and entertainment centers is the cricket. Although it uses the 501 and the 301 scoring system, this game is quite different. First, the game is played by two players, the batter and the baller. During play, the batting player must score 40 points in each turn. Any extra points above 40 (let’s say 60 – 40 = 20) are added to your score and are called the runs.
On the other hand, the opposing player, who is the bawler, must hit the bullseye or the 25 rings to earn 1 or 2 points. To exchange roles (innings), the bawler must score 10 points (the wickets). During the game, each player must play two innings (or rather two turns) where the player with the highest score is declared the winner.
The killer is another popular darts game that’s commonly played in pubs and other recreational centers. The best thing about this game is that it’s open to multiple players up to 20. In this game, each player picks a random number from 1 to 20. From there, each player is awarded five lives. Your first objective is to become a killer where you’re supposed to hit the double ring of the number you drew three times.
Once you become a killer, the next step is to hit other players’ numbers to deduct their points. Once a player’s points are deducted to zero, he/she exits the game. On the other hand, the last man standing is declared the winner.
2. Master the Scoring Board
In our previous tip, we’ve discussed the various rules of darts that apply depending on the type of darts game you’re playing. In our next tip, our main focus is to master the scoring board. In this case, we will be referring to the dartboard itself. In a live match, to boost your chances of scoring and winning a match, you need to be proficient enough in understanding the scoring system.
You need to know the ins and outs of the dartboard in terms of what each segment represents. Luckily, this isn’t complicated. Now, if you examine a dartboard, you’ll realize that it’s divided into 20 pie-shaped segments each containing a number from 1 through to 20. These segments are either black or white/beige and they represent a certain face value.
On the board, there are two narrow rings, one at the center of the segment and the other on the edge of the segment. The inner ring is the treble area and its purpose is to triple the value of the score in that segment. The outer ring is the double area and its purpose is to double the value of that segment.
Right at the center of the dartboard, there are two tiny rings, an outer (colored Green) and an inner (colored Red) ring. The outer ring is called the outer or single bull and it’s worth 25 points. The inner ring is the bullseye or the double bull and it’s worth 50 points.
So, with this in mind, you can now easily strategize your game by knowing which segments are the best to capitalize on depending on the situation. If you’re finding it hard to master the segments, you can always consider training with a calibrated dartboard to master the scores much quicker.
3. Time to Perfect Your Throw
When you watch professionals play darts, it’s easy to assume that the throwing technique used involves just a simple move. Well, making an accurate throw or release usually comes down to perfecting your stance, your posture, release, and grip. Now, when perfecting your throw, you’re likely to settle on a particular style and grip which is okay. What is important, however, is to maintain consistency which is achieved by practicing regularly. If you’re yet to find the right stance, you can consider any of these three types of postures.
- The forward stance is the most popular type of stance you’ll see with most professionals. It involves placing the dominant foot right in front with the toe touching the oche. This position provides you with proper control and comfort.
- With the side stance, the dominant foot is placed close to the oche with the other foot being just behind the dominant foot. The elbow is placed next to the body to help improve accuracy.
- The angled stance is the last type of stance. It’s also the most difficult as it involves combining the side and the forward stance. It’s usually practiced by professional players who can easily switch between the two stances during play.
4. Aim Higher
At least at this stage, you’re well aware of the basics. What’s needed now is just some practice and a bit of polishing. Two key areas you’ll need to improve on are accuracy and aiming power. To do this, you need to examine the different throwing styles to decide which one will work best for you.
Next, you need to steady your body by minimizing movements when you’re making a throw. This way, you’ll reduce inaccuracies and increase your chances of success. Lastly, you need to improve hand-eye coordination. This can be achieved by playing a variety of handball games to help you improve your sharpshooting capability.
5. Improve Your Playing Style
Now that you’ve figured out the type of style that suits you best, it’s now time to identify your strengths and weaknesses to know those areas that require polishing. To do this, you can invite a friend, a family member, or a significant other to watch you play. This way, they can identify some notable mistakes which you will try to correct during practice.
You can also use a video recorder to record yourself while you play. Once you’re done, you can review the video and check for any inadequacies in your game. You can also try to pick some specific spots on the dartboard and see whether you can accurately hit those spots. This way, you can develop a winning strategy that can help you gain points rapidly to knock out your opponents during a competitive tournament.
6. Practice Regularly
It’s said that “Practice practice makes perfect”. When it comes to learning how to win darts, this statement is totally inevitable. Even the most prominent darts players in the world today must put in their best effort for them to prosper. Although you can’t become a pro overnight, practicing consistently will put you in a better position of becoming a professional darts player.
Since you’re a beginner, I believe you must be wondering how exactly you’re supposed to practice. Now, the first step towards successful practicing is to master the rules. Next, have a strategy that you can rely on when playing. Strengthen your strategy by playing complete games with friends and family members.
Finally, play real games with experienced darts players in pubs and other entertainment centers to build-up confidence and mental awareness. This will also help you to stay focused and well contained during play and will also help you to polish up some of the mistakes you might make at this level.
7. Gear Up
Now that you’re a professional who’s ready to compete at a top tie level, having the right gear is the next step that’s very essential to your success. Remember, with a dartboard and some darts, practicing will be much easier as you can easily train right in the comfort of your own home.
But, as a beginner, I believe you must be wondering which type of darts and dartboard is the best for you right? Well, the best thing about the market today is that there are so many options you can consider.
About the board, you can opt to choose a calibrated dartboard such as the Winmau Blade 5, an electronic board such as the Arachnid Cricket Pro 800 or you can simply go for an inexpensive model such as the Unicorn Eclipse Pro.
Next, you need to think of the darts. Here, you need to get at least two sets of darts to make practicing easier without having to run to the board every now and then. Also, you need to consider the different parts of a dart during your selection to make sure that you land on the right sets that will work for you. The weight of the darts and the molding on the grip/barrel are other major considerations you need to put into account when selecting the darts.
8. The Right Setup
When it comes to darts, it doesn’t matter what your skill level is. Every player must adhere to the rules of the game one of which is shooting the darts at the very same distance. If you’re using a set of soft tip darts, the distance from the board to the oche (throw line) should be 8 ft. On the other hand, if you’re using a set of steel tip darts, the same distance should be reduced to 7 ft. 9 ¼ inches.
After you’ve marked the throw line, hang the board at exactly 5 ft. 8 inches from the ground to the center of the bullseye. To confirm the height and the distance, you can measure the diagonal distance from the bullseye to the oche to see whether its 9 ft. 7 ½ inches.
Now, what if you’re a disabled darts player? Well, in this case, you will have to adhere to Russ Strobel’s measurements which he presented to the Australian Darts Governing Board. In his argument, the height of the dartboard from the ground to the center of the bullseye was speculated to be 4 ft. 6 inches which were the height of an average person seated in a wheelchair.
9. Think of a Mat
The last piece of equipment you’ll need to add to your arsenal is a dart mat. Now, there are two main reasons why this equipment is a brilliant investment. First, a mat provides some cushioning that protects your wall or floor against damages caused by the sharp steel darts.
Secondly, dart mats are calibrated making it easier for you to measure the distance from the oche to the dartboard. Since the throw line is already marked, you don’t have to waste any time measuring the distance. All you need is to measure the height of the dartboard and you’re done.
10. Maintain Silence
Although it’s fine to play darts in a noisy pub, most often than not, you’ll face distractions that will make it hard for you to concentrate and focus on the game. When playing darts in big tournaments, you’ll ultimately play under quiet spaces to maintain mental focus. Therefore, always try to practice at home or in quieter environments to focus more on the game and build a winning strategy that will work for you.
As you can see, there are many things you need to consider when learning how to play and win darts. Thankfully, this darts bible has discussed 10 of the most important expert tips that will give you a positive head start towards your journey to becoming a successful darts player.
To help you build-up form pretty fast, we can simplify these pointers into three main points which are learning the rules, gearing up, and practicing frequently. By doing this, you’ll never feel disappointed as you’ll buildup the confidence that will help you to become a professional player.