Darts Survey – help us help you

One thing I’ve been putting off for a few years is creating something that would help Dart players get to the next level. A book, a course…something.

While the articles here are helpful, there isn’t anything tying them together – there’s no plan of action.

So I am preparing a new course and I need your help.

Rather than write about what I think is important, it makes more sense to let the community decide what they need to work on. I put together a small, 4-question survey and sent it to my Facebook group.Take the Darts survey Update: I closed the survey for now and am making sense of the results….

The results so far have been really interesting and I learned some new insights about what you all want. (No, I’m not posting results while the survey is going on – I don’t want people to be swayed by popular opinion. When I have about 500 responses, I’ll post more about it here.)

Thanks for being a part of Darts Technique. I’ll let you know how it all turns out.

Update 1: one consistent thing people are asking me about is help doubling out – the maths and what to shoot for. I can’t teach this any better than Bill Spears in his book on Mastering the Out. I’ve been recommending it for years. It will help you learn the right way to “think” about your outs.

Being consistent when throwing darts

Improving your Darts Consistancy

I recently got a message on the DartsTechnique facebook account from “Player H”, who said:

“I recently started playing. I’m battling with my darts consistancy. One day I easily throw 20’s and will close a 501 game in under 30 darts.
The next day i cant hit a 20. Because of this, I, tried 19’s, but with the same on and off problem.
This extremely frustrating, and the frustration has resulted in loss of confidence, which affects my closing.”

First of all, a new player closing 501 in under 30 darts, is doing very well, and the fact that he is measuring (keeping track) shows me that ‘H’ could become a good player one day. A great lesson from Marketing also applies to Darts – “you can’t manage what you don’t measure”. Keeping a logbook is extremely important for making progress.

Now I’ve never met ‘H’ so replied:

“Well, first of all…stay on the 20’s. Inconsistency will follow you around the board.

To help evaluate your darts consistency, answer these 2 questions:

Question 1: how are your groups? When you throw 3 darts does one go high, one left and one right; or to you tend to hit 3 triple 1s?
Question 2: how are your checkouts? If I leave you 32, do you usually hit the d16 or do you often end up throwing the 16-8-4-2-1.

I’m guessing as a new player it’s the second one.
I’m big on things like stance and throw mechanics.
Here’s a clue for now: consistency hitting the board is a result of darts consistency in :

  • how you place your feet and body,
  • how you distribute your weight,
  • how high your elbow is,
  • how far your hand travels,
  • and about 20 other things….

so lets figure it out. Glad to help – hit me questions any time.”

I’m hoping to hear back (and I’ll follow up here) but I think that’s a good start.

Would you have answered differently? I’d love to hear your ideas on darts consistency.

Introducing The Darts Performance Center

Trying to improve your darts game? Here’s a press release I got from Paul and the Darts Performance Center.

I haven’t been through the entire site yet – and you have to be a member to access the good stuff – but it looks promising and well worth the small investment.

——————-

“The Darts Performance Centre is a new website that was set up with one main aim, to assist dart players of all standards to improve. The majority of other popular sports offer specialist coaching and advice to participants, usually from a very young age. The dart player has very little support in this area, except darts forums and team mates, and the advice found there cannot always be relied on!

Paul Gillings, the founder of the Darts Performance Centre, is a sports scientist, whose area of interest is performance analysis.  He has developed a formula for darts players to reach their peak through a combination of goal setting, improvement strategy development, nutrition and coaching advice. “Darts is a sport where you are solely responsible for your performance, preparing yourself and training is essential to success.

The website takes you through a step by step route to improvement. There are no tricks or smoking mirrors or any wild promises. Anyone signing up to the course is told several times, only get involved if you can offer us patience and commitment. We are not trying to make “easy money`, that is not the philoshophy of the site, we would genuinely prefer clients to fully commit to the ideas before parting with any money.

The site is mainly a self-help guide, however, there is an area where we encourage players to keep a training diary. We can interact with our clients via that, we can offer them encouragement, advice or suggest other training methods or ideas. We also have an area where clients can us ask us directly for advice which is then made available for the balance of the site users to look at. Very shortly we will have a PDC and a BDO player offering advice, tips and anything else subscribers want to know.

Membership is £25.00 for a whole year, the same cost as a new set of darts as one member suggested! What’s more the Darts Performance Centre site is continuing to evolve. The commitment to researching and being at the forefront of darts sports science is unwavering and our pledge is that for your £25 accompanied with your time and commitment to using the Darts Performance Centre site resources you will see measurable improvements in your game.”

www.dartsperformancecentre.com

Learning to Play Darts (again)

I used to be a Dart Player

Funny thing happened while I was busy writing about, watching and reviewing other people’s darts sites:

I forgot to play darts.

It’s coming up on a year since I moved back to the US after spending 5 years in the UK. and I’ve been a little busy.

Moving, changing careers, scrapping with people I still don’t understand how I’m related to, you know…life.

Finally got around to hanging a board after 11 months back here.

News flash: I suck at darts.

We’ll, I do now anyway.

Why am I so bad now?

See, back in the UK, there was a board on every corner, in almost every pub in town. I kept a set of darts at two different pubs in case I left mine home. We played on Sunday mornings, league on Weds. nights, usually a couple of hours on Friday and Saturday before the drinking started, and pretty much any other day of the week I ran into one of my dart buddies in town.

Now I live in Phoenix, AZ. Stupid plastic darts rule here, people don’t know that Cricket is an actual sport where you wear your best whites and try not to get dirty (in the US, we call that “going to church”) and the nearest steel tip pub is about 10 miles away.

So I’m throwing at home the past few days and I’m thinking, “OK, the arm is stiff, it’ll take a bit to get the flow back”, and other self-deluding bullshit, but I finally had to accept that my game is gone for now.

What to I do?

“Jesus. How am I gonna learn to play darts again? Where do I look. I wish there was a blog about…”. Heeyyyy, wait a minute…didn’t I used to write about this stuff?

I started looking through DartsTechnique and oddly enough, there’s some good stuff here (you really should read the stuff I haven’t posted yet.)

I’m going to document the comeback (or return to form) over the next few months.

I refuse to suck at darts any longer.

Wish me luck.

[Here’s the followup post: Darts Comeback, Episode 1]

Why my last dart goes astray

Why does my third dart miss?

Recognize this?

  • First dart: Trip-20
  • Second dart: Trip-20
  • Third dart: dead center in the single 5

Does this happen to you too? Two darts on target and the third looks like someone else threw it. It feels like you’re finding a grove, and after throwing 2 darts right where you want them, you’d expect the 3rd to be pretty close, but it just seems to wander.

I fixed this in my own game a few years ago and thought this might help some of you.

Here’s where the problem usually lies – you’re doing something subtle but different on your third dart, and there’s 2 main causes that I’ve seen while watching other players with the same problem.

1)      You’re moving toward the board as part of your final throw’s motion. I know, you’re thinking, “Me? Never!” but it really helps to see this by watching other people throw. What happens here is that, after your last dart, you shift your weight forward in preparation to retrieve your darts. This would cause the position of your body/arm to be slightly different as you release dart three.

2)      Your throwing arm ends up in a different place after the last dart because your hand doesn’t have to reach back for another dart. You may notice a sort of circular motion as your hand goes out to release a dart and the returns across your body to get the next one. Since there’s no fourth dart, your hand has a different follow-through on dart three.

It may really help to have a friend watch you throw, or set your camera/phone to film you for a few rounds. It’s probably not something you consciously feel, but it is definitely the first thing to check for if your third dart is straying off the mark.

In the next post, I’ll show you how I corrected my problem and give a few tricks to fixing this particularly annoying problem.