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How to Throw Darts: Improving Your Grip, Stance, and Release

Tuesday, 22 October 2019 11:30:13 Europe/London News , By Jack Grandorge

How to Throw Darts: The Complete Beginners Guide to Throwing Darts

Introduction to Darts

Playing darts can be a great solo venture or an exciting way to socialise with your pals. Throwing darts can be very challenging as a beginner, which is why we’ve compiled this perfect guide to throwing darts.

This article will explain how to throw darts using the correct technique, focusing on how to grip a dart, the stances used in darts, as well as how to throw darts.

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Get Darts Trophies 

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How to Improve Your Darts Throw 

This section of the article will cover everything you need to know about darts stances, how to hold the dart, how to aim the dart, how to release the throw, and finally the most effective ways to practice your skills. 

How to Throw Darts Correctly 

The advice dispensed below will only take you so far. Like any skill, practice makes perfect! Try to practice your new set of skills for around 30 minutes daily, ensuring to finish your game before you become frustrated.

How to throw three darts in treble 20

The Rules

First things first, we’ve got to understand the game. 

There are several popular darts games, including Around the Clock, Killer, and Cricket.

It wasn’t until 1925 when the NDA (National Darts Association)decided to publish a standardised set of rules for the popular pub game. Before this, darts players went by the inconsistent “house rules” imposed by the pubs they played in. 

Traditional darts games are referred to as a 501 or 301 game. 

A standard 501 game of darts involves throwing rounds of 3 darts towards targets on a dartboard. The player must stand behind the throw line, which is often referred to as the oche by avid darts players.

The game aims to reach zero in as few rounds as possible, without going below. Your score is determined by the zone each dart lands on the dartboard. 

Whilst the bullseye seems the most attractive target in the centre of the board, experienced dart players will often aim for treble 20. This would give them a score of 60, rather than the 50 from the bullseye.

The outer ring of the dartboard doubles your score, whilst the inner ring trebles it.

Dartboard illustration highlighting scores

 

The winner must reach a score of exactly zero. The term “bust” is used when darts players go below the zero target. 

For example, if I was 20 above zero and received a score of 25 in one round, I would be “bust”. The round does not count and my score would remain at 20. 

It is worth noting that you do not have to throw all three darts in the final round. If you were to reach zero on your second dart, there is no need to throw the third and final dart. Just take your prize! 

So now you know the rules, let’s learn how to properly throw a dart. 

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How to Throw a Dart Correctly 

How to Stand When Throwing Darts

Before we go any further, it is important to understand that every good darts player has their preference and style when it comes to stance. Your style will develop over time and should not be forced. 

First of all, we need to find out which foot is the front foot. The easiest and most amusing way to do this is to have one of your friends push you. Whichever foot you put forward first is likely to be your front foot. 

This is not a fixed rule, and you should experiment leading with both feet to see which works best for you.  

Darts Stances 

There is a wide array of dart stances, with no right or wrong answer. Some of the more frequently seen stances include the front-facing stance, the best foot forward stance, the angled stance, and the side-on stance.

It is important to not cross the oche when you throw, as this will result in a foot foul if you do so.

The Front Facing Stance 

This stance is where both of your feet point towards directly towards the dartboard. The toes should be parallel, with the tips just behind the oche.

This stance feels natural and comfortable for beginners, however, it is often overlooked by more experienced dart players. This is because the stance leaves you little scope for leaning in closer to the board during your throw.

Best Foot Forward Stance 

This stance places your prominent foot (remember the push test) forward, with the other foot positioned behind. 

For this stance, both your front foot and throwing arm should be on the oche. The wider stance here will allow you a little extra scope to lean forwards during your throw, allowing you to get closer to the dartboard without crossing the oche and fouling. 

The Angled Stance 

This stance is like the front-facing stance in the sense that the feet should be near parallel, set around hip-width apart. The obvious difference in this stance is that the feet are not pointing directly towards the dartboard. 

We recommend experimenting and testing out as many different angles as you can to discover which works best for you. 

Like the best foot forward stance, this position allows you extra lean in your throw allowing you to get closer to the dartboard. 

The Side-On Stance 

This stance is commonly favoured by more experienced darts players. This stance places the front foot in a parallel line with the oche. The back foot is in line with the front foot and oche also, set at hip-width again. 

Rookies avoid this stance due to the unnatural feel of turning the upper body to aim.

US Air Commando retrieving darts from the board

 

Hints and Tips 

  • A lot of players imagine a central line leading from the oche to the dartboard. Picturing this line helps you to accurately throw your darts towards the centre of the board. 

  • Don’t be afraid to lean. You can lean over the throwline with any part of your body other than your feet. Just remember to keep your balance!

  • Keep your body still. Moving your body whilst throwing is like moving a rifle whilst shooting. You’ll be more accurate if you remain in the same position as you were whilst aiming when you throw.

 

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How to Grip the Dart 

Getting to Grips with Darts 

How hard can it be to hold a dart? Well, not that hard. 

With that said, there are a few things to remember when holding your darts which will massively help you with performance.

If you are more serious about playing darts, your own set of arrows would be a worthwhile investment. This would allow you to become more familiar with your darts, increasing the consistency of accuracy in your throws. 

Using different, unfamiliar darts can be off-putting. There are subtle differences between darts, some darts may be heavier or have a longer barrel, for example. 

How to Hold the Dart 

Three Fingers and a Free Finger 

Most darts players recommend holding the dart with three fingers. Using three fingers gives you a great amount of control of the dart, without compromising on the release. 

The more fingers you have on the dart, the harder the release will be. This is because all of the fingers will have to be released simultaneously as to not alter the darts intended flight path. 

Any fingers not being used to hold the dart is referred to as a “free finger”. It is vital to keep free fingers away from the dart. This, again, is to avoid knocking the dart and disrupting the flight path. Even the slightest touch can ruin what would have been a perfect shot!

There is no fast rule regarding how many fingers to use when holding the dart, find what is best for you. Some players use one finger and a thumb, some use two fingers and a thumb. It’s entirely up to you.

 

Three gold darts meet at the tip

How to Grip the Dart 

The way you hold the dart is key to improving your darts throw. 

The best advice I can give you is to stay relaxed.

A good dart grip should be firm and secure, without being too tight and stressing the fingers. Making sure to use your dominant hand, your dart grip should be strong enough that you have full control over the dart without being so tight that the release becomes difficult. 

Holding a dart too tightly can result in a poor release, causing your dart throw to be inaccurate

Become the Dart   

As previously mentioned, being familiar with your darts will stand you in good stead. 

Different darts differ in weight and length. Needless to say that a longer barrel dart will favour a grip with more fingers, whereas a shorter barrel dart will suit a grip with less than three fingers. 

Having a feel for the weight of your darts will help you to determine how hard you need to throw them to reach your target. Keep practising, muscle memory is key here. 

The centre of gravity for your dart is another important factor to consider. The centre of gravity will determine the trajectory of your dart. 

Familiarity with your darts will help to boost your accuracy and consistency, just keep practising!

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How to Aim the Dart 

Dominant Eye 

It makes sense that to aim as accurately as possible, you should use your strongest eye. It is likely that you will naturally hold the dart to your dominant eye without even thinking about it. 

Use the eye which feels the most comfortable to aim with, but don’t be afraid to take shots using your other eye just to make sure you are using your strongest eye. 

As a general rule of thumb, you will likely use your right eye if you are right-handed, for example.

Portrait of darts player Rob Cross

How High to Hold the Dart 

Holding the dart at eye level will help you to aim. Your elbow should be close to a 90-degree angle whilst facing the dartboard. 

Like a plane flying, the dart should be pointing up to achieve the best trajectory and reduce the amount the dart drops ion flight.

How to Release the Dart 

It’s All About the Flick of the Wrist 

It’s important to make sure that you are throwing the dart with nothing more than your wrist and hand. 

A common mistake made by beginners would be to lunge forward with your whole body. This greatly hinders the accuracy of your throw. Again, this can be compared to trying to accurately shoot a rifle whilst moving it. 

Once you have lined up your shot and taken aim it is important to remain in this same position whilst throwing. 

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How to Throw a Perfect Dart 

How to Get Better at Darts 

All I can say here is practice makes perfect. 

Any good darts player has earned this skill. It takes hours and hours to hone your skills but in the end, it will be worth it. 

Over time you will begin to better understand your set of darts, as well as developing a strong muscle memory. 

We recommend practising for around half an hour a day. Attempt new techniques and see what works best for you. It is important not to over practice, as this can be detrimental to your progression. 

If a new technique doesn’t go to plan at first, put down the darts and come back to it another day. 

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Get Social 

Darts is historically a pub game so why not take it to your local watering hole. Playing in pubs has a great atmosphere and will allow you to meet other players. Take the time to talk to other players and ask them what works for them, the equipment they like and any exciting darts events coming up. 

Ask to play against as many different people as possible. Every player will have a different playing style. Playing against many different styles will help you to adapt your game to beat each individual. 

Playing friendly matches will push you to up your game so you can beat your opponents.

The Bear and Staff pub sign

 

Enter Local Tournaments 

Your local pub will likely host a darts tournament. Why not enter this once you feel that your skills are ready to be taken to the next level. The competitive players will pose a new challenge, again encouraging you to push your skills further and continue to progress. 

Do not worry about losing, everyone starts somewhere and a lot of players will be highly skilled. Playing talented players will aid your progression a great deal. 

If you don’t feel up to entering the serious darts tournament, why not organise your own? All it takes is a few mates and a notebook at your local pub to create your own darts league.

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Get Darts Medals for Your League 

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Get Practicing 

Now you’ve read all you need to know, all that’s left to do is to put the theory into practice. Practice your stance, grip, aiming and release and the rest should follow through!

There’s a lot to learn, so we recommend watching professional players, such as Phil Tayler and Gary Anderson, for a masterclass in style and technique.

Keep practising and you might just win your first darts trophy!