Darts is a game that requires three main skills: hand-eye coordination, steady nerves, and good mental arithmetic. Players need to be able to do basic calculations on the fly, adding the score from each throw together and multiplying their points when they land on “doubles” or “trebles”. Combined with this, they need to develop a technique that helps them to accurately hit the right part of the board each time.
If you’re starting out with playing darts, you may be wondering what you need to do to improve your playing. Thankfully, there are plenty of tools and techniques that new players can use to develop their skills and countless resources are available to give you all the information and help you need. Here are some of the best.
If you’re already an avid watcher of darts on TV, then you’ll know that each player will have their own personal preference. You’ll also notice that they all have darts that look different.
This is because there is no one-size-fits-all dart and no single way to hold them. Given that some darts have different weight distribution and are different sizes, it wouldn’t make sense to hold them all in the same place. However, there are some basic principles you should know.
Firstly, when starting out, there’s no need to splash out on expensive darts. They won’t make up for your lack of skill and experience, but they will leave your bank balance feeling much lighter. Instead, just find a reasonably priced set until you’re ready to move up.
You should hold your dart like a pen, with your thumb, index, and middle fingers resting gently around the outside. You should aim to hold it “at the balance”, meaning at the point where the dart’s weight is evenly distributed so it would balance on your finger. This will vary from dart to dart, so spend a little time finding the optimum place.
Once you’ve worked out how to hold the dart, you need to find a stance that works for you. There are three main options to choose from and this will, again, depend on personal preference. However, it’s worth noting that most professional players won’t stand with their feet parallel and toes facing the dartboard.
Once you have the basics, you can start to learn more advanced theories, techniques, and methods for mental preparation that can help you succeed in darts.
In most sports, you’ll find countless books written by former players, trainers, and other experts on how to succeed. For example, poker players can use publications like Mike Caro’s Book of Tells to interpret the ways in which their opponents can give away the strengths of their hands. Similarly, those that play football can use books like Dan Abrahams’ Soccer Tough to explore ways in which to get mentally prepared for success on the pitch.
Darts is no different. There are numerous titles that recount the careers of some of the sport’s most successful players, including Eric Bristow and Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor. As well as giving you insight into their lives, these books will help you learn what made them successful, including how they practised and their approach to big competitions. Then there are books like The Ultimate Book of Darts by Anne Kramer, which covers everything from picking the right equipment to different techniques.
While it may seem like a bit of a cop-out, the fact is, you won’t get better as a darts player without plenty of practice. There is an old adage that it takes 10,000 hours to become proficient at something; though that may be a bit of an exaggeration, there’s no denying that practice is imperative.
Darts is a game that requires a good technique to be able to consistently throw and hit the parts of the board you need to get the right score. Part of this comes from having good muscle memory and strong hand-eye coordination, but part will only come from practice.
Since a dartboard doesn’t take up a lot of room, most people should be able to practice at home, but if not, most pubs and sports bars also have them.