How to Throw Darts:
Whether you’re completely new to the game or have been playing for a while, this ultimate guide will talk you through the basics of how to throw darts and highlight technique points to help you improve.
Sometimes a high level of consistency seems far away when you first start out but remember that practise can really help with this. Keep in mind that everyone throws slightly differently and by trying a few different styles of throwing, you can perhaps find one that you feel most comfortable.
The aim of this guide is to help you challenge yourself, guide your techniques and hopefully take your dart throwing skills to another level.
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Dart Grip: How to Hold a Dart
Which hand?: This may seem like an obvious question, but if you haven’t played before it’s important to think about as most often it will be your dominant hand – but always try both! The brain works in mysterious ways.
Use at least 3 fingers: With only 2 fingers, you won’t give the dart enough stability – think of it similarly to how you would hold a pencil. With 3 fingers we provide more control and balance to the dart when you throw. Releasing all 3 fingers at once can be a challenge but by practising this, you reduce the chance of some sneaky spin on the dart as you throw – sending it off target.
Four Fingers: Some players prefer to use a four-fingered grip as it gives the dart a level of support they feel is missing with 3 fingers. On the one hand, it provides an ample quantity of control and support. However, the very last finger (third) on the barrel of the can potentially disrupt your aim.
Try both ways and see what feels best. Which grip are you more successful with? Try more than a few times – skills can take some repetition before you get a feel for the new movement.
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Strong and Relaxed: It’s important to have a stable, firm grip on the dart. If you find that your fingers are tiring or tense after throwing for only 20 minutes then it could be an indicator of over-exertion in one spot which leads to muscle tightness.
Don’t squeeze the dart too hard. If you find yourself getting pulled toward your target while aiming it could be an indication that your grip is too tight. Remember: the key factor in darts isn’t how much force is used but rather touch – try watching professional darts, and see what tips you can pick up.
The Holding Techniques
Ideally, you need to maintain the dart in a manner firm enough to keep control but relaxed enough to release the dart smoothly.
If you hold the dart too loosely, the dart flight is likely to be affected, causing it to lose balance and be off target.
Correct Stance and Throw
Once you’ve decided which stance is best – stick to it! Again consistency is key here at reducing the variables when throwing.
Medium Style (or Middle Stance)
Many players like this stance as it allows for keeping things balanced and everything lined up. Your right foot, toes pointing forward is at the throw line, and your left for is comfortably one step back at a 45-degree angle. Where exactly your left foot is entirely up to you but you want to be as far forward as possible on the throwing line, while maintaining your balance, to shorten the distance to the board and target are all in a line.
The Side Style (or Closed Stance)
The side stance is where a player stands with both feet at 90-degree angle to the board. The outside of your right foot should be hugging the throw line. Your left foot is square to your right and also pointing in the same direction.
Front Positioning (or Open Stance)
This is the least popular of the stances. Both feet are square and both toes are on the throw line. The reason some players like this is it’s easier to be consistent and have your stance EXACTLY the same each time. However, it is limiting with your lean and you’re likely to have a bigger pullback before releasing the dart.
The further you lean your body forward, the closer you are to the board. Conversely, the further you lean, the more unbalanced your throw could end up. Practice and try to find your most comfortable position for throwing.
Lifting your leg when throwing is discouraged. Always keep your feet on the floor.
Try to keep your torso completely still when throwing – the less moving parts, the fewer variants can affect your throw.
Perfect Your Aim
The trick to true aiming is keeping everything lined up.
All of us know which hand is more dominant, but do you know which of your eyes is the dominant one? A simple way to test which of your eyes is more dominant is to try throwing with one eye shut. The eye you have trouble closing while throwing darts is the more dominant one.
After securing a firm grip on your dart with your dominant hand, you need to be certain that the elbow is raised when throwing, making sure your shoulder and hand shape a 90-degree angle when aiming at the goal.
For the best aim possible keep your dart in your line of sight between you and your target. For longer limbed people, this will mean their elbow will sit lower than 90 degrees but it’s important that you use your line of sight.
Place the hand throwing the dart at eye level and near the side of the eye. You may use your pinky to line yourself up, or you could use the tip of the dart.
Bonus Tips To Improve Your Aim
When aiming, it is important to point the tip of your dart up marginally. If you point down the tip, it is likely to fall below your target.
Tips from a Pro
Here’s Bob Anderson (1988 World Champion) with some tips on stance and setting up.
Darts is a game of skill that requires a lot of practice if you want to improve. Remember that even if you see a skillful player use a certain technique, it may not be the best for you.
Test out the grips, stances, and throwing styles and figure out which aspects work best for you. Trying out different styles will also help you understand the technical connections between grip, stance and throw to improve your skill.
Most of all enjoy trying different techniques and style to see what helps you improve consistency and accuracy.
Alex Cooper is the editor of this website. He loves darts and helping people. Alex started playing darts at the young age of 10, as his father was also a keen darts player, and has loved it ever since. Alex enjoys writing about darts and helping others learn more about the sport.
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