Without proper darts etiquette, you risk becoming a nuisance to others and not appearing professional during games.
Everyone appreciates etiquette in sports, and following the right protocol in darts makes play more enjoyable and respectful. Plus, don’t you want to win fairly without any discrepancies of bad manners?
Whether you play darts for fun or take it seriously, here are the proper ways to handle yourself during a game.
Shake Hands Before and After a Game
Set a respectful tone by shaking your opponent’s hand when you begin a game. A firm handshake shows that you’re chivalrous and conveys your character. This action is good etiquette for any type of sport. Don’t forget also to shake hands after the game—whether you win or lose—thanking the player for their time and effort.
Don’t Remove Your Darts until the Score Is Marked
You’re keen to continue with the game and eliminate any pauses.
However, the most important part of the game is keeping the score, so don’t remove the darts until this has been tallied.
Keeping track of your score might appear simple, but detaching the darts can lead to complications. Wait for the scorekeeper’s go-ahead, paying attention when they’ve noted the score. Don’t try to rush them, either.
While your opponent takes their turn, you should keep hush. Making noise—such as talking or eating—can appear like you’re trying to distract them, even if you’re not doing it intentionally.
Playing darts can be fun, but it requires a lot of concentration and can be mentally taxing, making players more prone to high-stress levels.
You can’t expect everyone in a pub to be quiet because you’re playing darts, but you can be respectful to other players by keeping your distance and staying quiet to give people the focus they need to aim.
Another important thing to mention is to read the room regarding language. If playing a fun game with friends, speak as you please, but it’s always wise to err on the side of caution and refrain from swearing when playing in more formal settings or with new people.
Stay Out of the Way
Speaking of distance, allowing players to have the freedom to move around and steer clear of them. Sitting in their peripheral view and walking around while they take their turn can be off-putting.
Be respectful by staying seated until it’s your turn, or you risk being accused of poor sportsmanship. We also suggest sitting at another table to your rival.
Lose with Pride
You can’t control winning every game, but you can conduct yourself properly if you lose. Not everyone is a gracious loser by nature, and a competitive attitude can get the best of some people.
However, shake your opponent’s hand at the end of every game. You don’t have to talk to them, and you don’t need to be friends. But never get abusive or offensive because it makes you look like a sore loser.
If you have any discrepancies, speak with the scorekeeper privately after the game, keeping your calm and remaining open-minded to their argument.
There can be many distractions in a public setting, but there’s nothing more annoying than playing darts with someone who isn’t watching the game. Keep your eyes on the board, and be ready when it’s your turn.
Talking to others or heading to the brand mid-way through a game can cause you to miss essential information. And no one wants to have to come and find you when it’s your turn.
Respect the Scorer
They’re a key part of darts. Show your respect by remaining patient while they make their calculations. It might take them longer to count than you, and they may make a mistake. But don’t be passive-aggressive to them by using unwarranted language; they are just doing their job.
Remember that it’s perfectly fine for you to ask what the score is and how many points you have left but you can’t ask for advice on how to play or finish.
Always be polite, and shake their hand at the beginning and end of the game to thank them for their time. That should ensure you all have a pleasant time and they will be more than happy to score your game again.
Be Professional When Keeping Score
You may be asked to be the scorekeeper from time to time. If so, stand still not to distract the players, avoiding drinking, eating, or smoking while you’re at the scoreboard. You should also refrain from giving players any advice; your job is to keep score and not to take sides.
Face the dartboard at a 45-degree angle, and keep an arm’s length from the scoreboard. Remain in a comfortable position while you’re standing still not to distract the players. You should also be able to see the dartboard without having to move your head too much to see where the darts land. All the while, keep your distance from the board for your safety.
If you’ve planned a game of darts, don’t expect the place of play to have everything you need—darts, pen, paper, flights, shaft, barrels, etc. Bring everything you require and, ideally, bring spares of everything in case you lose your equipment or anything breaks.
Move to the Right Side after Your Shot
After you’ve thrown your darts and the score has been noted, remove your darts, and move to the right side. This provides enough room for the next player to get into position and avoids you having to get too close to them, potentially causing distraction. Plus, moving to the right keeps you safe from any flying darts.
Darts etiquette is key to a smooth-sailing game. While there are rules to the game, having a non-compulsory protocol for everyone to follow ensures that all players are on the same page.
If you only take away one thing from this article: treat your opponent and scorekeeper respectfully. You don’t have to become their best friend, but good manners, keeping your distance, and remaining cautious of your words will result in a more enjoyable game.
Sue has been playing darts since her 20’s when she played in weekly tournaments and she enjoys writing about darts. She’s also a great teacher, and she enjoys helping others learn how to play the game well. When Sue isn’t throwing darts, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends.
The easy way to keep track of your score is with our printable darts scoresheets. Easy to download and keep on your phone or computer or print straight off from our website. Pop your email address into the box and we'll send them straight to you.