Darts is a highly entertaining indoor game popular during game nights. If you have great aim, this is the right sport for you! Whether you’re a beginner or a veteran dart player, it is important to have the right equipment and technique to help you score high points
Dart flight protectors are popular accessories that many players use in practice sessions and competitions.
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What Are Darts Flight Protectors Used For?
Dart flight protectors are small caps made of metal, plastic, or aluminum that are put at the end of a dart flight to protect it from damage during collisions with other darts. Flight protectors help to keep the fins extended during throws, thereby improving accuracy.
When newbie players are first introduced to darts, many often struggle with aim and accuracy. This means that consecutive darts will often land far away from each other on the dartboard. However, as your skill improves, so does your accuracy, and there is a higher likelihood of darts landing very close to each other, leading to collisions.
Over time, dart flights can become chipped or broken because of repeated collisions. Luckily, dart flight protectors can help to overcome this problem. This is because they cover the back of a flight and prevent incoming darts from piercing or splitting pre-existing darts.
How to Install a Dart Flight Protector
Here are three easy steps on how to install flight protectors:
- Assemble the dart and attach your preferred flight.
- Spread out the four fins so that they are approximately 90 degrees apart.
- Slide the four slots of your dart flight protector into the four fins and make sure that each fin is securely placed in its slot.
If you have never used a flight protector before, you might notice a slight change in the weight and stability of the darts as you throw them. This can be an advantage or a disadvantage depending on your level of experience. Flight protectors are most popular among beginners or intermediate-level dart players.
Do Pro Dart Players Use Flight Protectors?
A few pro dart players use flight protectors; however, the majority do not. This is because, during pro tournaments, flight protectors can increase the likelihood of bounce-outs. Furthermore, the additional weight of a flight protector can affect the trajectory of the dart, thereby affecting a player’s performance.
Some people just play darts for fun, while others have their sights on winning major tournaments.
Dart flight protectors are not very popular among professional players. This is because the flight protectors can increase the chances of bounce-outs, which is where darts hit either the metal on the dartboard or a metallic flight protector and fall to the ground. This reduces the possibility of getting points and can be quite detrimental in a major tournament.
Criteria to Become a Pro Dart Player
According to the American Darter’s Association (ADA), here are the criteria to qualify as a pro dart player:
- Be an active member of the American Darters Association.
- Compete in more than 30 games of 501 in ADL’s open division every year.
- Maintain an average score of at least 12.0 points per dart for women or 17.5 points per dart for men.
- Be fully compliant with ADA’s code of conduct and ethics.
Needless to say, pro dart players take the sport very seriously. This means that they always seek to learn and perfect the best techniques while also investing in top-quality equipment.
Many pro dart players shy away from flight protectors since the additional weight can affect the aerodynamics of each throw. In conclusion, you will rarely find dart flight protectors in professional tournaments. Most professional players would prefer to carry enough extra flights to replace any damaged ones during the game.
Pros and Cons of Flight Protectors
If you are trying to decide whether to use dart flight protectors or not, here are some of the pros and cons that you should consider:
Pros of Flight Protectors
- Increases durability: Dart flight protectors help to extend the lifespan of your dart flights since there is a lower likelihood of them getting chipped or broken during play.
- Better throw performance: Beginner dart players will find it easier to stabilize darts when using flight protectors. This leads to better throwing performance.
- Prevents Robin Hooding: Robin Hooding is a rare occurrence where an incoming dart gets lodged into the back of another dart already on the board. According to the rules of darts, a Robin Hood will count as a throw, but you will not get any points. Luckily, dart flight protectors reduce the possibility of Robin Hooding.
- Affordable: Dart flight protectors are quite affordable, with most sets retailing for less than ten dollars.
- Matching appearance: Dart flight protectors come in a variety of different colors and finishes that can improve the aesthetic appearance of your darts.
Cons of Flight Protectors
- Bounce-outs: Metallic flight protectors increase the possibility of bounce-outs since incoming darts can hit the metal and fall to the ground.
- Easily misplaced: Dart flight protectors are incredibly small and they can easily get lost or misplaced when they fall to the ground.
- Weight shifting: The presence of a dart flight protector can affect the flight dynamics of your throw by affecting the weight of the dart. This seemingly small difference in weight can have a significant impact, especially in professional tournaments, where precision is everything.
Do What Works for You
Every dart player has their own unique style and preferences. While the rules of the game remain the same, there is no one-size-fits-all formula when it comes to throwing technique. For this reason, it is advisable that you do what works for you.
Some people find dart flight protectors to be extremely useful, while others prefer to play without them. The best way to find out whether flight protectors work for you is by trying them out for a few games and analyzing the change in performance.
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.
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