Darts are one of those games that you know about but don’t know well enough. If you’ve gone to a typical American bar, you must have noticed the pros huddled around a dartboard, throwing with a mix of precision and layman luck. It is difficult not to be attracted to the cool vibe of darts and to want to learn how to ace throwing darts.
You may want to learn how to throw darts to impress your date, have fun the next time you hang around with your friends at the bar, or you may dream of becoming a professional dart player. In any case, you need to learn how to throw darts accurately. Throwing darts is not just a one-dimensional activity. It requires you to master the basics of gripping, throwing, stance, releasing and the follow-through.
While dart professionals may make it look like a piece of cake, you must understand that there is quite a bit of technique and skill that needs to be developed to reach a point of mastery over this game. If you want to be a genuinely good dart player, you have to be prepared to put in time and effort to hone and perfect your skills. To be able to hit the bullseye every time, you will have to learn the theories behind each technique and then get down to putting this knowledge to practice.
In this article, we’ve compiled information about the most important elements that can affect your throwing skills and prowess at darts. Read on to understand how to throw darts correctly and develop your own unique style while you’re at it.
The First Step: The Right Stance
When it comes to being a pro at darts, the first thing you need to perfect is your stance. Assuming the correct stance when you start and positioning your body appropriately gives you an edge. The primary reason for this is that the proper posture will influence your general ability to land the dart at the target. Additionally, stance has a great deal of influence over the general rhythm of a dart game.
If you want to begin well and get good results, being comfortable and relaxed is crucial. With that being said, you have to be careful not to make any of the common mistakes or errors that new players usually make.
To ensure that you’re doing everything right, here are some common questions to ask yourself to determine the perfect stance for you.
Am I Standing Properly?
As we’ve said before, the stance is everything. To perfect this stance, you have to start by standing in the proper place and lining up accurately. Additionally, you must remember never to cross the throwing line. This line is also known as ‘oche’, and it is imperative to be aware of it. There are three main ways to stand while throwing darts.
Forward Stance: While it may sound elementary and straightforward, the forward stance is not the easiest to achieve. Funnily enough, it is also the most desirable stance out there. To perfect the forward stance, you will have to start with your dominant foot ahead, just toeing the throw line while pointing at the bullseye or wherever you want to throw. Your weight should be predominantly on this foot, with the other foot slightly sideways behind you. This gives you the right balance while ensuring you’re comfortable and in control.
Angled Stance: This can appropriately be called the midstance since it falls somewhere between the forward and the side stance. Depending on where you wish to throw, you angle yourself with the throw line and accordingly place the back foot. There is no single way of assuming the angled stance. Additionally, this is not usually a beginner’s move.
Side Stance: To assume the side stance, you have to begin by placing the entire edge of the front foot on the throw line. Next, you must line you throwing up with your eye to ensure that you throw accurately. Keep the back foot positioned in such a way that it is behind the foot in front. Remember to keep your elbow in so that you have greater throwing control.
Which Stance is Perfect For Me?
Now that you know about the different types of stances, you may be wondering which one is perfect for you. For the best results, it is adviced that your shoulders are in such a way that they form a 90-degree angle with the dartboard. Keep your shoulders parallel to the ground and your spine straight to achieve this stance. Additionally, remember to keep your arm relaxed.
Apart from your elbow, the front and back foot also need to for a 90-degree angle with the throw line. While you can always raise your back heel a little, it is recommended that you keep your front foot firmly planted on the floor.
While the perfect stance can significantly improve your dart-throwing abilities, it may feel a little odd at the beginning. Some players say that they feel a little uncomfortable initially with the perfect stance. Therefore, don’t be alarmed if it doesn’t feel natural from the first time. Give it time, and within a while, you’ll notice that you’re comfortable assuming the proper dart-throwing stance.
Left-Handed V/S Right-Handed Stance
There is a huge deal of confusion surrounding the variation when it comes to stances for right-handed and left-handed players. In most cases, right-handed players tend to put the right foot in front, and the left foot behind this one. This position helps them throw with the most accuracy. So, if you are left-handed, all you have to do is reverse this. For left-handed players, the best results will come when you put your left foot forward, with the right foot behind the left foot.
Now, let’s talk about your hands. When we talk about positioning the hands, we follow the same principle as we did above. Even here, the dominant hand will be ahead and in control. So, for right-handed players, it will be their right hand, and for the left-handed ones, it will be the left hand.
The Importance of Leaning Forward and Other Tips
If you want to throw accurately, your shoulders, hips and legs need to be in a straight line. Rolling your hips back, hunching over or slouching are all detrimental to throwing well. However, if you feel comfortable doing so, you are permitted to lean the upper-body a little forward across the throwing line. Remember, it is just a slight forward bend. Don’t push your luck by bending too much or crossing the throwing line. While you may think that leaning forward may help, in actuality, it can severely compromise your accuracy and throwing technique.
Here are some other tips to keep in mind when it comes to stance.
- Make sure the foot in front is turned towards bullseye. To achieve this, simply pretend line yourself and your front foot on the floor, in alignment with the center of the dartboard. This will help you throw more accurately and straighter.
- Although it may seem like the right thing to do, avoid standing with your entire body facing the dartboard. Standing like this only hinders your stability and throwing accuracy. Instead, stand at a slight angle. Additionally, your back foot should also be slightly turned at an angle for better throwing accuracy.
- Never jump while throwing darts. Make sure you have your front foot firmly placed on the ground to promote balance and accuracy.
The Second Step: The Right Way To Grip Darts
By now you may have understood the right way to stand while throwing darts. However, holding darts and gripping them are also integral to success with darts. The player’s personal preferences and their unique style heavily influence darts. However, some important recommendations and guidelines can aid in improving your gripping and throwing abilities.
How Should I Properly Hold and Grip Darts?
This is a widespread question that bothers some newbies, and while it may sound basic, the way you hold and grip darts can make or break your game. As a rule of thumb, don’t grip your dart too tight, as if you were squeezing the living daylight out of it. Neither should you hold it so loose that it could fall out of your grip any time. For the best results, you should hold the dart firmly enough that it doesn’t slip from your fingers, yet loose and relaxed. Basically, don’t hold it too tight or too loose.
A grip that’s too tight will strain your muscles and cause you to slip up and make a mistake during release. In the other hand, with a grip that’s too loose, you will have trouble achieving the desired dart speed.
Now that we’re clear about the way you have to grip and hold the darts let’s understand the right fingers to use to enhance your dart-throwing grip.
To begin with, you need to use a minimum of two fingers to hold the dart barrel. The thumb must be at the barrel’s center at all times. However, you can choose to position the three remaining fingers in one of the following manners.
One Finger And The Thumb
This grip is a lot like holding a pen to write with. It helps you in lessening the strain on your fingers while you throw, but it also gives you lesser control over the throw. If you learn to control this though, it can help in achieving an accurate throw.
Two Fingers And The Thumb
When you choose to make use of two fingers and a thumb, try and position the thumb as close to the center of gravity as possible. Alternatively, you could place it right behind the center of gravity. This type of grip provides you with slightly more control that one finger and thumb, and also gets you a step closer to throwing perfectly.
Three Fingers And The Thumb
With three fingers and a thumb, you will have much greater control over your throw and the game. However, the third finger can be a blessing or a curse depending on how well you can release the dart. With practice, you can make sure that this third finger doesn’t hinder your ability to throw.
Four Fingers And The Thumb
The deal with using all your fingers to grip the dart is that you have to ensure you have complete control over all fingers. It would help if you used the little finger as a guide for the dart to give it velocity. To do this, keep this finger placed just above or just below the dart tip.
While using all the fingers can help you with a good grip, it may also lead to problems in releasing the dart at the same time, since there are many elements to take care of. Lastly, remember never to close your fingers into a fist while throwing. This can cause unwanted tension and make your throws ineffective, defeating the purpose.
How Can I Grip Darts Stably?
If you are in a situation where your fingers turn white or feel too tense while holding the dart, it is a clear indication that your grip is too firm. In such a scenario, you need to loosen your grip. Remember that the most stable and perfect grip is one where you hold darts neither too tight nor too lightly. Darts are not a game of brawn or force, which is why gripping too tightly isn’t conducive to victory.
If you’re not entirely sure whether your grip is firm or loose, veer towards a looser grip as the chances of hitting the target accurately is higher with such a loose grip. Moreover, you can always adjust your grip while playing to find out what works best for you. Remember not to hold the dart too close to the tip or towards the back of the dart. Additionally, while you grip the dart, make sure to keep your fingers opened up as opposed to curling them for greater accuracy.
The Third Step: The Right Way To Aim
Obviously enough, the target and aiming towards the target are critical parts of acing darts. However, before we can dive into this, it is important to understand which one is your dominant eye and which one is your dominant hand. The key reason for this is that darts require a fair amount of hand-eye coordination and unless you know which one is your dominant hand and eye, achieving this will be difficult.
Determining The Dominant Eye: If you’re not yet sure which eye is your dominant eye, start by throwing three darts with one eye closed. Then do the same with the other eye closed. Now, the eye that is difficult to keep closed without a little bit of strain is your dominant eye.
Determining The Dominant Hand: This is much simpler to figure out as compared to the previous one. To understand which one is your dominant hand, figure out which hand you use for the activities you do on a daily basis. The hand used most frequently to write, draw, cook etc.is your dominant hand.
In most cases, the dominant hand and the dominant eye are on the same side of the body. So, if you are a left-handed person, the chances are that your dominant eye is also the left-side one. While you only need to close your non-dominant eye while throwing, it is still important for accuracy and aiming purposes.
How Do I Position My Body While Aiming?
We explained above how the perfect stance can be achieved while throwing darts. Now is the time to put that into practice. When it comes to positioning your body while aiming, ensure that your shoulders are completely still, with your dominant hand swinging slightly forward. The elbows must be slightly raised and pointing at the dartboard in such a way that it forms a right angle with your shoulder and hands.
Ensure that your dart is raised until eye-level for accuracy of throwing. Line your throw with the line of sight and aim with the dominant hand. The range of sight will eventually be easier to find as you practice throwing and aiming. Eventually, you’ll see that your shots are also a lot more consistent.
The Fourth Step: Releasing The Dart
So far all the information you got in the last three steps was preparatory. Now, you’re ready to get to actually throwing darts. Hopefully, you’ve mastered the stance, grip, and aim by now, so let’s get to the next step which is releasing and following through on the throw.
Do I Need To Move My Body When I Throw?
To begin, remember that you need to use your dominant hand and wrist only when you are actually throwing the dart to hit the target. To start off, pull your hand slightly back, fix your shoulders, and place the weight of your body on your front foot. Once you are in this position, use your wrist and elbow to put some acceleration to the dart throw.
Remember that your arm is the only part that has to move, while the rest of your body has to remain as still as possible. Initially, this may be a little difficult to achieve, and you may end up raising the elbow slightly during a forceful throw. This is all right at the beginning, but try to curb this with time.
Remember that you also have to snap your wrist with each dart throw. However, it is essential that this snap is in the forward direction as opposed to the downward direction. With a downward snap, it is possible that your dart would fall in the downward direction as well. The wrist snap is something you should focus on perfecting as it can help in accelerating the dart, as well as in achieving an accurate and a consistent throw.
How Do I Follow Through?
We’ve said this before, and we’ll say it again, follow-through is an essential part of the releasing step in case of darts. To appropriately follow through, ensure that your arm continues to remain in the throwing motion even after the dart has been released. The fingers will do best if they are pointed towards the target or the floor. Additionally, ensure that your arm stays in the air for a few moments after the throw, so that the follow through helps in aiming. Lastly, remember to keep the elbow raised slightly raised to help it move upwards.
Tips To Help You Become Better At Darts
As is the case with any sport or game, to get good at it, you will have to dedicate a certain amount of time and effort to learning and perfecting the techniques. It is best to spend a little time reading up about the theories so that you know where to begin. However, at the end of the day, it all boils down to how much and how well you practice.
Here are some interesting tips that are sure to help you become better at darts.
Invest In The Right Equipment
In the case of darts, the right equipment varies from person to person, based on their preferences and goals. For those who are serious and committed about improving their game, a visit to a specialty dart store is a great idea. Additionally, there are many guides online that will help you determine what make, model and brand of equipment will help you the most.
In case you are in a store, you should try and throw some darts to get a feel of the equipment. By doing this, you’ll have a fairer idea about what fits best with your requirements.
Keep Practicing Regularly
By now you must have understood that regular practice is integral when it comes to playing darts well or perfecting your technique. To begin, start by throwing twenties. This is a sure shot way to ace and improve your strokes and get better at a majority of dart games. To begin, start by aiming to hit the board without missing. Slowly, shift to hitting numbers and the bullseye.
Experiment With Different Styles and Techniques
Look, what works perfectly for another player may lead to disastrous results for you, and vice versa. This is why you need to experiment with different techniques and styles to figure out what works best for you. Right from the way you stand, to the way you follow-through, change things to see which combination brings in the best results for you.
Practice With Better Players
As is the case with anything you do in life; learning from those who are better than you is a great way to get better at what you’re doing. The same is the case with darts. You will notice that by playing with experienced players, your technique will significantly improve. However, you will have to be open to asking and taking the advice they give you.
In case the players aren’t very open about their tips and tricks, play a game with them and observe what they do while standing, gripping, or throwing.
Watch Professionals In Their Element
When you observe pro dart players in a tournament or on television, it will help you improve your technique. The simplest way to do this is by being observant about how their stance is, or how they grip the dart. By noticing how they move and imitating them, you will be able to improve your own game significantly. While live tournaments are unbeatable, if you can’t make it to one, check out online videos instead.