Dart throwing is a great sport to play, whether it be a family gathering, or just hang out at a barbecue with your friends. If you’re new to playing darts, you might be wondering how to play darts like pros. To throw darts successfully, you need to have a smooth, graceful grip on the dart barrel and a good throwing stance which is followed by a soft release.
Easy, isn’t it? Well, Yes. But you need to understand your body mechanics in detail so you can compete with the pros. When you have mastered the mechanics part of throwing a dart, you must practice it every day to make your game perfect.
If you’ve ever watched a tournament or a game of professional dart competition, you must’ve wondered how they so perfectly achieve consistent throws and score treble cross score so effectively on the other side of the dart board. Curious how the Pros aim and play?
Here is the basic guideline on how to throw darts perfectly so it lands perfectly on the dart board where you want it to:
Focus your eyes on the target, lift your elbow up, while keeping your upper arm at rest. Don’t move your upper arm and keep your body at a still. Use the movement of your forearm to propel the dart towards the target.
Now that you know the basics, let’s jump right into the details of the body mechanics that will ensure you get a perfect dart throw, and your dart hits your target with precision with a high success rate.
It ALL boils down to creating your own parabolic curve with the dart.
When you release a dart from your hand, it doesn’t travel in a straight line, ever. This is due to many factors including the technique, the direction of the tip of the dart, gravity, and air resistance.
Once you see the parabolic curve you make when you make your throw, you can adjust your body style and grip to make the curve perfect and in your favor. Your goal with the curve should be to make it as direct towards the dartboard as possible.
You first stand with your feet one foot or the width of your hip apart. Make sure your feet are facing the side of your room making a side stance for the dartboard. If you’re right- handed, your right foot will be at the front with your left foot just behind and parallel to the Right Foot.
Similarly, if you are left-handed, then your Left Foot should be front and parallel to your right foot, and both of them facing the side of the room.
You should avoid facing the Dartboard head because it’s not a very stable stance and will only help you develop bad habits in the game.
When you aim for the dartboard, it is okay to just raise your dominant feet a little from the heels. Make sure that you do not lift your back foot too high and put some weight on it instead at all times when you’re in the throwing motion.
1) Front foot Placement:
Make an imaginary line from the center of the dartboard towards the oche or the throwing line where you put your foot forward. Make sure the tip of your foot aligns correctly with the imaginary line connecting to the center of the board. This will help you to make a more accurate throw.
Keep the other foot turned towards the side of the room and closely parallel to the throwing line, even though your front foot is slightly pointed to the board. Mark the point at the imaginary line behind the oche to make sure you align yourself much more quickly every time it’s your turn to aim.
In Conclusion, about 70 to 80% of your body weight should be dominated by your dominant foot. The other lesser dominant foot should always be used to balance your stance and maintain control when playing.
2) Shoulders and Hips
A dart player might sometimes lean forward over the oche or the throw line, which at first might seem like a comfortable stance to throw darts from or get closer to the board. That’s fine and does not break any rules, but that stance does keep you from throwing darts accurately. To avoid this, keep your upper body, shoulders, hips, and feet aligned straight and stacked correctly on top of each other so that they don’t lean over the throw line.
Note that the force needed for the dart to reach the dartboard should come from your forearm, and not the movement of your upper arm or shoulder.
The movement and force generated by your forearm is good enough to take the dart to its destination, which is only 5 feet and 8 inches.
3) The grip
When learning how to throw darts, grip is a very important aspect along with other aspects of the correct technique. Now there are plenty of ways of holding the dart at the barrel, and often it is more a matter of personal preference.
You can choose from holding it with just your thumb and your fore finger or with your thumb, index, and the middle finger, or with all your fingers. But generally, you need to have at least three or four fingers on the dart to have a more stable grip.
Any fewer fingers than at least three fingers might result in low accuracy. Also, it is important to know that the size of the barrel will also determine whether you need lesser or more fingers. Shorter barrels will require fewer fingers. A dart with a longer barrel may need more than three fingers to make the right grip.
Each of these grips will provide you with a different level of accuracy, and they need to be taken into account.
Try not to use the two-finger grip: The two- finger grip (thumb and fore finger) is a common but not an ideal one when it comes to throwing darts as it does not provide enough balance and can make the throws blunt and shoot them in different directions.
Making the grip with three fingers is the most widely adopted and used, and is also the most effective one. It gives you just about enough balance and finger coordination to make the throws easy.
Your grip should be relaxed and must be holding the dart firmly at the same time: Do not make your grip so tight that is puts any additional pressure on your fingers. Keep a normal grip, as that will ensure that when you are releasing the dart, it launches perfectly towards the dartboard. Any extra pressure will make it harder for you to release the dart into the air.
Also, fingers turn white with extra pressure which will deteriorate your gripping style. Keep in mind that the game of darts requires the right touch on the dart barrel, not force. Keeping this in mind always will let you adjust your grip on the dart and pressure on your fingers balanced and let you maintain control over the dart at the same time.
Do not curl up your fingers: It’s worthy to note not to curl up your fingers around the dart. Instead, keep them open and extended. This ensures that when you release the dart, it slides off easily from your fingers. Keep adjusting your grip with every release to find out exactly what is the most suitable grip for you.
Lastly, do not fist your hand: do not make a fist position with the fingers which are not part of the grip. You should keep at ease and relaxed the fingers not in use such as the pinkie finger (and the ring finger in many other styles) .
Hand and elbow positions
When you have made sure that your stance is correct and in the proper position and level with the throwing line, the next thing you need to do is to set your hand position.
Make a 90 degree angle with your hand, elbow and shoulder: move your arm up straight and point your upper arm and elbow at the board. Bring the dart up to eye level and your elbow slightly up, making sure that your elbow makes a 90-degree angle with the shoulder and hand. An easy way to check this is to see if your elbow is facing towards the better dartboard.
How to aim darts
Know your dominant hand and eye: Everybody has a dominant hand and eye. The hands which you use to do most of your things is your dominant hand. But the side that is dominant is in some cases not the same for the eye.
For example, you could have a dominant right hand, but the left eye as the dominant eye and vice versa. Check which one’s our dominant eye by closing each eye at a time and throwing three darts with the open eye. The closed eye that is the most difficult to keep closed, is your dominant eye.
Raise the dart to the level of your eye: As discussed above, you now need to position your hand forming a 90 degree angle, and the dart raised to the level of your dominant eye when going for the aim. Always lead in with your dominant eye since it will increase your trust into the throw and enable you to take accurate shots.
Find a line of sight: A line of sight is from where you can continuously throw darts accurately while maintaining your posture. Find the line of sight for yourself by pointing the tip of the dart on the dartboard where you want it to hit while standing in the proper side stance. You may use your pinkie finger to do so as well. Once you have found it, you can consistently throw darts one after the other throw, while you maintain more control of your posture.
The tip of the dart should be titled upwards: An important aspect of aiming is the tip direction. Tilt the dart upwards to aim it towards the target and avoid it being tilted downward or the side, as it will affect your aim badly.
Aim directly and throw with confidence: Now that you have set your posture up, you must throw the dart by aiming directly at your target. Do not deviate from your line of sight once it is set and don’t aim to throw from sideways. If you do throw from sideways, it may lead to technical problems in the longer haul.
Use your forearm: One of the best dart throwing technique is to only use your lower arm and your wrist to throw the dart. Pull your hand slightly backward before throwing the dart, keeping your shoulder still for support.
Balance your foot weight: Place more of your weight towards the dominant front foot when you throw the dart. Make sure your body does not sway forward or sideways; keep your body straight and still; your arm should be the only part of your body to move.
Snap your wrist: Ready to throw the dart? Make sure that your wrist snap forward and your snap direction be towards the dartboard and not downwards. A downward snap will cause the dart to fall below the board. The wrist snap is often used by professional dart players to increase the speed of their dart throw and make them more accurate as they progress. Snap your wrist often and try to practice it at home so that you get better at it.
Follow through with the movement of your arm till the end: This is a solid tip for you to maintain good form after you’ve thrown the dart. When you release the dart, don’t stop your elbow movement. Instead let the arm continue moving in throwing motion, hovering your hand in the air. This will help you keep your posture better for the next turn and keep you ready and in form.
Choosing to play darts with the best quality darts is also very important point to consider if you want to maintain good form at the end of your throw. Let your arm sway and hover in the air for a short moment before you drop it down to waist level.
Important variables which you need to understand in your throw
Your height: Your height is something that you can’t change, but what you can change is its effect on the parabolic curve trajectory of your dart. Your height is going to determine the launch position of the dart from your hands.
Weight of the dart: There are heavy darts and then there are lighter darts as well. This weight variation has a direct effect on the trajectory of the dart. A heavy dart will move firmly towards its destination but a lighter dart may deviate along the way. Adjust the weight of your dart and you’ll change your parabolic curve completely.
Angle of your throw: When learning how to throw darts, master the angle of your throws. As discussed above, a sideways throw will have a different movement of the dart compared to the straight angle.
The Point of release from your hands: This is the point where you are releasing the dart into the air. The point where you release the dart is very important as it will determine whether your dart will land higher or lower on the dartboard. Trying different variations will definitely help as you will understand your sweet spot for your throw.
Getting better at darts
Last but not least, while learning how to throw darts, you should practice consistently. Improve your throw by practicing darts at least once a day for at least half an hour, practice at different dartboards and different targets, and adjust your grip to what feels the best one. Challenge your every throw by trying to hit the same target multiple times in a row. The more you practice, the more you’ll be better at throwing the dart.
Find opponents to compete with! It’s always a good choice to practice by competing with different opponents. Get the dartboard game out every time your friends are over to hang out or if there’s a family gathering at dinner. Participate in the fun at your community center. Compete with players of different skill levels to improve your technique.
Sign up for competitions in your city or a darts league in a sports club, make a team of your own to enter games and competitions to not only compete but also get a chance to improve your own dart-throwing skills by playing darts with different dart players and teams.
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