What’s the saying? Continuous improvement is better than delayed perfection. A game of darts can be frustrating when you’re starting– the rules, the board, the scoring, and most importantly, hitting the target.
Regardless of your goals, there are always ways to get better at darts. To help you, we’ve put together 15 practical, easy-to-learn, and crucial tips for improving your game. With a bit of practice, patience and commitment, you can quickly become the player you’ve always dreamt of.
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Table of Contents
I wish there was another way around this, but there isn’t. You have to practice to be better – no shortcut. And not just practice, perfect practice. Put in as much time and effort into bettering your game.
Good dart players practice between two to four (even five) hours a day. Phil Taylor, the player with the highest career average, said he used to practice 11 hours a day early in his career.
A master has failed more times than the beginner has tried, isn’t that what they say?
When you enter a tournament, you want to be on top of your game. And this is only achievable when you endure practice in training. With that in mind, be careful not to over-practice. Find the right balance between practice and rest to avoid injuries and burning out.
Craft a Plan
All your hours of practice may as well be useless if you don’t have a clear and well-defined goal. Throwing multiple darts at your board without any goal is fine for beginners. However, focused practice will help you improve your skills.
It’s important to follow through with a specific plan and a practice routine.
You can then use this to measure your progress. For instance, you may decide to throw 100 darts aiming at the triple 20. Record your success rate and repeat but try to improve on your previous best score.
Getting organized and having structured practice sessions will be of great benefit to your darts game.
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Work on Your Stance and Throwing Technique
Your arm should be the only thing moving when throwing a dart. Everything else should be as still as possible – no bouncing, no swaying, and no swinging your body.
I’ve seen many players lift their legs, flex their elbows, and bend their knees when throwing darts. All these affect your game adversely. Even the slightest variable can affect your dart throw. Eliminating the variables (including body movement) is vital.
The secret is to control your breathing, and everything will follow. Relax your shoulders, breathe in and hold and hold while you throw. It’s similar to taking a good photo with your phone. Stay as still as possible for the best outcome.
By removing the movement of your body while breathing, you take another positive step toward limiting variants.
Avoid leaning more than you need to. For beginners, experts recommend positioning your foot at an angle with the oche line for added stability and accuracy.
Your dart’s grip should be firm but not too tight, or it will affect your release. The three-finger grip of the dart is common among top players, but you can go with what works for you.
Some players will place the dart above their shoulders, while others will bring it close to their eyes. Choose what you are most comfortable with.
Don’t Expect too Much
Many beginners are victims of over-expectations. You want to become a pro in the next six months and immediately give up when that doesn’t happen.
People are built differently with different sets of skills. Some will improve tremendously within a short period, while others may take a long time to learn the basics.
Try not to put too much pressure on yourself. Create a plan and a goal but don’t expect to get really good at this game without some serious time invested.
Track Your Averages
A great way to assess your progress is to keep track of your darts averages. There’s a few different stats you can track and these will let you know how well you’re doing at hitting those high scores.
Practice daily or on any routine that works best for you. It may require hundreds or even thousands of hours of practice before you stick to the same rules every time you play.
Use the Right Darts
Maybe the problem isn’t with your technique or stance but your dart. The best darts have a good grip and feel comfortable on your hands.
Darts are available in different weights, sizes, and materials. Finding the right dart takes trial and error, so don’t be afraid to try our different darts to figure out what you’re most comfortable with. For beginners moving to intermediate, they often want to try a heavier dart.
Going a bit heavier gives the dart that stability that lighter darts are lacking. Make sure to experiment with heavier darts and try your friend’s darts to see how they feel. You’ll quickly learn about the materials you prefer by trial and error.
Use Practice Drills
There are many dart practice drills that focus on specific areas of the game; for example, there are drills that will focus particularly on checkouts and the popular doubles.
When you’re playing practice games, you only get to master your skills at hitting doubles at the end of each match. Why not try a drill that gives you structure, focus, and clear achievements so that you can improve this area of your game specifically?
Darts is a game that is heavily reliant on good muscle memory, and the best way to achieve better muscle memory is a consecutive repetition of movement.
Think of what areas of the game you could most benefit from by improving. Checking out was always a personal weakness for me, so by zoning in and working specifically on that area, I was able to really improve.
Play With Better Players
It’s almost impossible to enhance your skills without facing competition. Practice drills are excellent for improving your skills but match competition offers you something new – you get a sense of facing rivals.
Growing up, I played hundreds of games with my old man but barely beat him. He was so good that I was always frustrated. What I later came to learn was that the exposure to someone better than me improved my game immensely.
I still play with him regularly, and although he’s always the favorite, I now give him a run for his money. Playing him made me a better player.
Join a Team
One of the best ways to play against better players is by joining a team. A team will accelerate your progress and help you get an idea of what real competitions feel like. Club leagues group players into different divisions based on their skills. Some even have youth leagues.
Know How to Count
Math may not be your favorite subject, but it’s important to know how to calculate your scores. Knowing what score you have left is vital and is a big part of the game of darts. CHecking out is an important part of the game.
Memorize your checkouts and learn your favorite doubles. This will be double 16, 18, and 20 for most players.
Being able to calculate your scores will give you confidence on how to play You can also lean on a dart scorer or average calculator to help you out.
The Mind Game
Darts is a game of the mind as much as a skill game. While you focus on your skills, also learn how to manage your:
Practice matches with friends can help initiate the beginner in the world of competition and the stress/ excitement that comes with it. Both of which can really affect how you play. Getting used to competitive matches is important if you want to compete in leagues.
This may not be something you hear often, but your footwear plays a bigger role than you imagine in your final performance. Comfort is key to your game, and you may stand for hours. The last thing you want is to feel fatigue kicking in simply because you woke up and chose the wrong pair of shoes.
Anything that makes you uncomfortable when playing is a distraction. Phil Taylor once ordered eight pairs of the same sneakers so that he could deliver his darts from the exact height. He knows something we don’t.
Patience is Key
My last tip is a piece of simple advice that many players overlook. Be patient!
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and the best players didn’t become good overnight. It takes time and patience to develop your skills and become good. There will be good days, and there will be bad days. Some days you’ll feel like quitting. But only those who persist will get better at this game.
There you Go!
Hopefully, these tips will help you become a better dart player and enjoy the game while you’re at it. Remember, like in every sport or game, practice makes perfect. The more you play, the better you become. Don’t get discouraged if you can’t hit the bullseye right away.
Any tips that we’ve left out? Feel free to reach out.
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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