If you want to know how to get better at darts you’re in the right place. The sole purpose of this blog or website is to realize that goal. I’m not some pro darts player. I’m something of a beginner myself.
I got into darts a little bit after college which was about a year ago and I’ve always been into online blogging. As such I sought to create this as a way to keep me focused on my darts improvement journey by documenting all I’ve learned.
The tips and guidelines I’m going to share with you are techniques and strategies that I’ve used personally to take my game from absolute beginner to someone who can hit the treble 20 at least once out of three attempts.
This is something of a personal program that I’ve devised to help me get better and I want to share with you. These are tips and techniques that are backed by leading darts research. I’ve put in hundreds of hours doing research on many topics of darts so you don’t have to.
So now to business, the actual steps on how to get better at darts. There are lots of advice out there on how to get better at darts. A lot of blogs will give you tips on how you can improve different aspects of your game. But the advice is disorganised and it can also be a bit confusing and overwhelming.
In this article we’ll be very organised in the advice that is given. The time I’ve spent researching and practicing darts have allowed me to pin point the different components of a players dart “game”. Game is a term used in many other activities that just refers to your overall skill and competency at something.
For darts I’ve categorised the different areas that affect your competency into five groups: physical, mental, strategic, equipment and practice. The first four factors are present in every aspect of throwing a dart. The fifth factor, practice is basically how you combine those four factors. The common sense rationale is that by optimising those four points is how to get better at darts.
Point 1: Physical
The physical aspect of throwing a dart is very broad and includes the most popular parts of darts throwing like proper stance, grip, position, throwing technique, follow-through and so forth. I’m going to assume you’re an absolute beginner and first give you the basics of the physical aspect before giving you tips and tricks on how you can improve.
Basics You Should Know
The first step in how to throw a dart is how you line up at the throwline. If you are a beginner this is something you could overlook. As least this is something I did. But experts will tell you, and this is quite a popular tip you’ll see in countless videos online, you need to position yourself correctly.
The correct way to position yourself behind the throwline is in a straight line with the target you’re trying to hit. You can do this by extending your arms straight in front of you to see how it aligns with the board.
This is important because if you’ll facing your target in a straight line. All you need to do is shoot straight in front of you to hit your mark. It makes aiming much easier.
The next step in throwing a dart is your stance. It’s common knowledge that there’s generally 3 types of stance dart players use: forward, side and one leg behind the other. How to get better at darts is not choosing the one leg behind the other stance per say, though most people shoot with one leg in front of the other, but by choosing the stance that works best for you.
Next basic technique is grip. There are generally 4 types of grips. They range from 2 finger to 5 finger grip. The grip is determined by the amount of fingers you use to grip the dart. The most common grip is the 3 finger or pencil grip.
This comes more naturally to most people because darts have a similar size and shape to pencils and everyone is used to holding a pencil. The tip here is just to experiment and choose the grip that fits you.
Another basic thing you should know, and this should be apparent if you’ve seen anyone play darts, is your hand position. Your arm up to your elbow should be straight in front of you with your forearm raised up. This is the best practice when it comes to throwing a dart. The other details as far as how far back to bring your hand before you throw is up to you.
Another basic knowledge you should have is to always follow through. This just means that you should finish your throwing motion even after you release i.e throw the dart from your hand. This helps with consistency which is one of the most important aspects of darts.
How To Improve
Ok so now that we’ve listed the basics you know what to do at the throwline. Just knowing how to stand, position and grip a dart takes you from not knowing anything about darts to being a novice. You see knowledge is also a part of how to get better at darts.
But just knowing doesn’t mean you’re able to properly implement. The way you get better at the physical aspects of dart is through practice. Two things are important to know before starting your practice and that is why to practice, and how to practice.
Why Do You Practice
This one should seem like a no brainer, of course you’re practicing because you want to get better. But I want to go into detail of what you’re actually seeking to accomplish by practicing. This should give you a better focus on the next point of how to practice.
Why you practice is also kind of a subjective point. I’m sure you have your personal goals in mind. You may just be trying to get a leg up on your buddies or you may be trying to prepare for a tournament.
The point I want to stress is that practice builds better aim and consistency. Darts researchers have found that consistent release in the same hand position to be a leading factor that separates professional dart players from amateurs.
This just means that professionals are able to shoot their best dart over and over. This is a skill that can only be horned through practice. There is no shortcut to it, so if you wanted to know how to get better at darts the short answer is practice.
How To Practice
Now this is a question that doesn’t have one definite answer. Many people give many different tips on how they practice and different tricks and so forth. I’ll try to be objective and list the general guidelines when it comes to practice. With darts practice, quantity is actually better than quality.
That may be confusing but the point is it’s better to practice for less time daily than more time singularly. Basically you’ll get more out of it if you practice lets say for 30 minutes every day as oppose to 5 hours on Sundays. With darts you retain more the more you play.
Other players and even I have noticed a drop in performance when I don’t practice for a little while. It is also advised that the majority of your training, more than two thirds is alone. Though you play better alone than with other people like you’ll realize, solitary training is still preferable to training with others. Training with others should also be a part of you regiment.
What To Practice
The next question is what to practice. It is actually not effective to just throw random darts at a dartboard even it is for long periods of time daily. In order to get proper benefits from your practice it must be done right.
There are essentially two skills involved when it comes to darts practice: hitting high numbers, and hitting outs. For those who are unaware, those are two skills that are used in tournaments where 01 games like 501 are played. The essential requirements are to hit high numbers to get down to a low enough number to hit a double out. Those are two skills you must have in order to be a professional darts player.
As for hitting high numbers that’s pretty easy to train. You can just shoot certain number of darts at let’s say the treble 20 and record the number of times you’re able to hit it. Set a goal for yourself each week to aid in your training. It is very important to keep track of your training. That way you’re able to determine where to improve.
The other aspect of hitting an out requires mastery of hitting numbers all over the board. To train that skill you have the help of dart games like around the clock and warfare which incorporate use of the whole board.
We’re lucky to live in this modern age with so much technology around that can aid you in your practice. A big part of what makes practice effective is being able to track your progress. To this aim modern darts tools and apps have been developed to aid you. There are apps that’ll monitor every aspect of your physical game and give you pointers on where you need to improve. Just google dart training apps to get started.
Point 2: Mental
This is a point that is less touched on in the world of darts but it’s definitely something that’s very important. The mental aspect of darts involves things like confidence, self-control, anger management, anxiety management and so forth.
This brings up a point that was brought up earlier about people performing better in solitary training than playing in a group. The social aspect of darts brings on added factors that detract away from your performance. Having good darts inner game will help to curtail those factors.
Darts inner game explains some of the onset differences certain people may have when playing darts. It has been found that athletes from other sports have an easier time transitioning to darts. Take Gerwyn Price for example. He’s quickly raising to be one of the best in the world.
This is because skills like self-confidence, concentration and anxiety management that are learned from other sports transfer over to darts. Playing good darts requires you quiet all the outside noise and pay attention to your body so you can be in the right state to recall your best release. Having good darts inner game aids in this goal because it helps you alleviate your negative emotions.
How To Improve
The first step to improving darts inner game is identifying the different mental aspects of darts. Just like we did for the physical aspect of darts, listing: stance, grip, hand position and other physical aspects, darts mental training also has it’s aspects. This list is compiled based on the specifications of psychologist from the Good Darts Manual.
The most important aspects of the darts inner game is self-confidence, self-motivation, anxiety management, anger management, Concentration and so forth. For further reading I’ll leave a link to their good darts manual Good Darts. Below are basic background and techniques that aid in the mastery of each if you want to learn how to get better at darts.
This is a key aspect of inner game because before you can accomplish a feat in darts you need to have the belief that you are capable of it. This is even more important when you’re just starting out.
Even though you haven’t started playing well yet you still need to have that belief that you will be able to in the future. This may seem like something simple but without self-confidence you may just quit. After repeated failure you may just decide darts is not for you and give up.
This is another key skill for good darts inner game. This is also something that is very present in your physical game. This is something the experts call “positive self-talk”. You need to be able to motivate yourself during gameplay and keep a positive attitude.
You can’t let failure affect your next throw. Always keep the belief that you can do it. The secret to darts is recreating your best throw over and over, so if you hit your mark once you can do it again. You just have to remember how you did it last time and adjust yourself.
Anxiety and anger management are huge skills that must be mastered in order to master darts. A lot of people have natural anxiety, myself included, up to now I get nervous whenever I have to speak to a crowd of people. That same nervousness transfers over to the dartboard.
Anger is also another present emotion in darts, it can be frustrating to keep missing your mark over and over, especially if you’re in a tournament with high stakes. The good news is both those emotions have similar remedies.
For anxiety and anger management experts advice a number of techniques like focusing on your breathing, mental imagery, identifying the emotion for what it is, even rationalising your way out of it. All those tips and tricks are listed in the Good Darts Manual and you can google anxiety and anger management techniques if this is something you want to learn more about.
How To Improve: How To Implement
Mental training is incorporated alongside darts physical training through practice. The two go hand in hand. If you are able to relax better and better concentrate you will notice the physical aspects like your stance, grip and release will improve as well. How to get better at darts is interlocked, both the mental and physical aspects influence each other.
Point 3: Equipment
Now after getting a feel for the mental and physical aspects of darts you may feel like you know how to get better at darts but there’s more. Sometimes you may notice that no matter how well you seem to position yourself or how relaxed you are you still can’t hit your mark. Sometimes the fault is not with you but with your equipment.
You may not be aware but darts come in many shapes and sizes, weights and even textures. All of this variability in equipment can actually have an effect on your throw for better or worse. Knowing how each variability in equipment affects you is another way you can learn how to get better at darts.
The most common form of variability in darts is through dart weight. Most tournaments allow darts up to a size of 50g. Though most people shoot with darts between 20 to 26g. It is less common to see people shooting with darts more than 30g. The idea here is that different people experience better throwing with different dart weights. So if you want to get better at darts you may want to experiment with some different dart weights.
A more subtle dart distinction, dart weight distribution comes in 3 forms: front, back and middle weighted darts. The most common type of weight distribution are front weighted darts and this is what is recommended for most beginners.
Each weight distribution is held in its center of gravity, front weighted darts are held in the front, back weighted are held in the back, and even weighted are held in the middle. I bring up weight distribution to provide options you can experiment with once you’ve become more comfortable with darts. Other players find back and even weighted darts more preferable. You may feel the same.
Barrel grip is actually one of the most beautiful aspects of darts. Dart barrels come designed in a myriad of designs and they look absolutely stunning. Often times I find myself wanting to buy a dart just because of how it looks but there’s a practical component to them.
Essentially barrel grips can be broken down into 2 categories, soft and rough grips. If you have soft hands a soft grip would be preferable for you and if your hands are rough, a rough grip would be preferable. This is just another option in variability if you’re having difficulty. This is something you can tweak to improve your game.
Other aspects of you dart like the shaft can also contribute to variability so make sure you take that into consideration.
How To Improve
I brought up all these differences in dart equipment to show how different combinations are more suited for certain players. If you want to know how to get better at darts, figuring out the type of dart that’s more suited for you may be the way to go.
Point 4: Strategy
The final component I’ve noticed when playing darts is the strategic aspect. There’s a lot of ways to play darts i.e lots of games you can play on a dartboard. And more often than not there is an element of strategy in each of those games. Sometimes they’re easy to figure out and sometimes it requires more thought.
For example in the darts game Shanghai where the objective is to hit a “shanghai”, which is just the term for hitting a single, double, and treble in one turn. The obvious strategy is to go for the shanghai if you’re lucky to start off on a double or treble since those are harder to hit. A more popular darts game would be cricket. The obvious strategy for crickets is to close the highest numbers first to keep your opponent from scoring high points.
How To Improve
There are a lot of dart games and it would be impossible to list the strategies for all of them here. As such the tip for improvement is if you find yourself falling behind in a certain game. It may be a good idea for you to rethink how you’re approaching your style of play.
For most games the strategies are easy and you shouldn’t have a hard time. Other times you may just be unaware. For example as a beginner darts player you may not know what “out charts” are. And if you venture to play an expert player without the knowledge of out charts you will be bested every time, because you simply have the wrong approach or strategy.
Out charts are tables of outs for 01 games that show players how to get a double out from as far as the number 170. This is an essential skill any beginner must learn if they want to become a professional and compete at the highest levels of darts tournaments. It will change your whole outlook on 01 games and more importantly 501 which is the standard games played at darts tournaments.You can learn more about dart out charts and 01 strategies in this article Dart Finish Tables
If you have been paying attention then you’ve won half the battle. You now know how to get better at darts, the next step will be for you to implement what you’ve learned. I’ve broken down the many aspects of your game: physical, mental, equipment, strategy, and practice. Your job is to find out your level of proficiency in each aspect and practice till you improve. Practice is the secret sauce. It’s essential. Don’t feel like you can ever stop practicing just because you’ve reached a certain level. Practice is also necessary to retain what you’ve learned. 16 times darts world champion Phil Taylor used to practice 3 hours a day, 7 days a week. You have the knowledge you need, now it’s time to put it into action.