Like any other sport, darts is a game that requires skills, and there are no shortcuts to mastering it without constant practice on your part. Whether you are a beginner, an intermediate player or you are just naturally good at playing the game, you will need to work hard to improve your skills.
If you are just starting out or thinking of how you can take your game to the next level, then we’ve got you covered. Below are some useful tips and guidelines that can help improve your throwing skills as well as develop the right technique to boost your overall performance.
The correct way to stand when throwing darts
1. Lining Up
The first thing you should do before you start a dart game is lining up properly because your body position sets up your whole game.
You need to find a good spot on the throwing line where you will be lining up every time. It doesn’t have to be the center area. You can look at the bull’s eye then draw an imaginary line down to the floor, continue it out to the dart throwing line and mark your spot.
This is vital because when you are able to approach the dartboard from the same point, your throws become more consistent and accurate.
2. Body Position
The next step is finding a good angle with which you align your body to the board. You can stand sideways or forward facing the board.
Standing sideways encourages a more accurate throw. It aligns your eyes and arm on the same line thereby prevent your arm from moving side-to-side. Your elbow will also not drift away from your body that much.
If you prefer to face the board, then well and good. You can even lean slightly forward to further stabilize yourself. However, be careful not to lean too far forward because you will lose your balance.
You can try either angle and see which one suits you well. The key here is finding a stance that feels comfortable and well balanced. One that requires little adjustment when aligning your shots.
3. Correct Shoulder Position
Shoulder position can vary based on your throwing comfort. However, you should ensure that your shoulders remain parallel to the ground. They should stay fixed together with the rest of your body.
Your spine should be straight and still but keep your throwing arm relaxed and in control. Your arm and hand are the only part of your body that are supposed to follow-through to the board.
4. Foot Positioning
Accuracy starts with having a firm footing. You should keep your feet, shoulder’s width apart with your flat front foot holding most of your weight. This is important because your front foot maintains a steady base which reduces fatigue while the back foot provides balance and enhance your accuracy.
Do not lift your back foot off the ground even slightly because it can significantly affect the angle of your throw, so both feet should be firmly planted.
Basically when it comes to correct dart stance, there four key elements you should keep in mind, lining up properly, consistent standing angle, fixed shoulder position, and maintaining a firm footing.
Your whole body should remain completely still, and only your arm and hand should move when making a throw. These are the key elements to achieving repeatable and accurate shots.
How to Hold the Dart Properly
Holding the dart correctly is another important part of improving your throwing technique. The main idea here is to achieve and maintain complete control over the dart.
Your grip will depend on the type of barrel you are using and finding the finger positioning that’s most comfortable to you.
1. The Dart Tip
The main objective of your grip needs to be keeping the tip of the dart pointing up during each throwing stage. If it faces downward, then it makes it difficult to throw the dart accurately. So, you need to keep an eye on where your dart is pointing before releasing it.
2. Finger Placement
Once you have the dart pointing in the right direction, now you have to hold it properly to achieve total control. Your thumb and forefinger should hold the back of the dart as your middle finger rests on the front of the barrel acting as a steady guide.
By placing your fingers this way, you will be able to gain and maintain complete control. I would recommend using fewer fingers to reduce mishap.
Three fingers are great. Using more fingers is not ideal because although it provides more control, it makes the release difficult. You will need to coordinate more fingers together.
However, the number of fingers will depend on the barrel type because longer barrels may require more fingers and shorter barrels may need fewer.
Note that your fingers should only be on the barrel, not the flight or the shaft. Any free finger should remain open and relaxed.
Avoid curling them up into your palm because the other fingers can develop muscle strain leading to strained throw which instead should be relaxed and fluid.
3. Grip Tension
For you to make a perfect throw, your grip should be right. Throwing the dart accurately is not a matter of force but rather touch. You should grip the dart lightly but not too loose as it may slip or affect its acceleration and accuracy.
If it’s too tight, then you will put too much tension on your fingers and arm muscles making it difficult to hit the target consistently. The grip should be relaxed yet firm so as to gain control when making the throw.
What to Do When Aiming Your Darts
Aiming is certainly a critical part. Whether you aim naturally or you don’t actively aim, you would want to pay attention to your aiming because aside from developing a comfortable, natural posture, the key to consistent, accurate throws is practicing until aiming becomes your second nature.
1. Choose a Target
Don’t aim at just any area, choose a specific target and then find a sight line from your precise target to your throwing hand. Some people use a knuckle on the thumb of their throwing hand while others use the tip of the dart to line up properly.
Either way, the ultimate goal here is to find what works best for you and keep it consistent. Choosing a target and finding a sight line allows your brain to focus raising your chances of hitting the target.
2. Aim Directly at the Target
Once you have your target in sight, you should aim directly at it, not to the left or right or the general area. Go for the center, if what you are thinking of hitting is the triple nineteen or the triple twenty.
Refrain from trying to aim to the left or right, even when you don’t hit your target. Always aim directly at the target as this will help build consistency.
3. Position Your Elbow Properly
Your elbow and hand should be in line with your sight line with the elbow pointing directly at the board. Your elbow should lead the process when you start the throw.
4. Use Your Dominant Eye
Lastly, you should always make sure that you lead your aiming using your dominant eye. To find out which is the dominant eye, take a few throws with one eye closed and do the same for the other.
The eye that struggles to remain closed when you throw the darts is the dominant one. You should never take a shot until the alignment is correct and you are relatively confident that your shot will hit your target.
Throwing the Dart Properly
The throw is the last most critical part of your dart game. However, every throw is different. Some people rock back and forth, some throw quickly without a follow-through while others go with what feels comfortable to them.
To develop your dart throw, here some few things to keep in mind:
1. Minimize Movements
Like I mentioned earlier, the first thing to a good throw is proper alignment. Once you have achieved this, your body and shoulders should remain totally still. The only thing that will be moving in the throw is your shooting arm.
It’s tempting to make the throw with your whole body. However this will only ruin your accuracy. The game will be much easier if you learn to keep your body fixed while throwing.
2. Ideal Throwing Motion
I’ve also mentioned before that dart is a game of skills not force so when it comes to throwing the dart, it should be one smooth and fluid motion. It should be almost similar to swinging a hammer.
Your elbow, arm, and wrist should provide the speed and your shoulder the support. Your elbow should rise as you extend your arm to create the necessary force to accelerate the dart towards the board.
3. Releasing the Dart
Aside from the motion, knowing when to release your dart is paramount to improving your accuracy. Developing a reliable release point during your dart throws will help you achieve consistency.
You can release the dart early just when the arm starts the forward motion or wait a bit and release it as your hand begins to move downward. Whichever way you choose to do it, the main point is finding the most comfortable release point and practicing consistently.
You can also snap your wrist slightly at the end of the throw to provide sufficient speed to your dart. However, this will need practice as it is one thing that can mess your throw.
4. Make sure to Follow Through
Darts require a follow through just like when shooting a basketball, your hand follows through the motion. Therefore, you should let your arm and fingers continue in the throwing motion. A steady and controlled follow through will enhance the accuracy of your throws.
In general, no matter the style of throw you choose, ensure that it is comfortable and consistent as the more consistent your throwing motion, the better your chances of hitting your target every time.
The Bottom Line
Throwing darts is a fun game, but there is no easier way to achieve perfect throws without keen observation and constant practice, and you don’t have to be so dedicated.
Make sure you are using a decent dartboard. There’s nothing worse than learning how to throw darts properly when you are using dodgey darts and a dodgey dartboard.
Once you are able to calm your nerves, align yourself correctly and hold the dart properly, you will be able to make your throws as accurate as possible.
Combining the guidelines provided above with constant practice will surely help improve your dart game.