Analyzing your darts Game – Introduction

Fixing your Darts game by looking at your groupings.

I’m working on a few ideas about how to figure out what part of your game needs the most work.

I have 4 areas that I will be developing over the next couple of weeks, but if you’d like to contribute to the discussion, it’ll help everyone get better.

Part1: Beginner issue – The “Hand Test”

If you aren’t throwing your 3 dart group in an area smaller than the size of your hand, held flat on the board, you have control issues. Your first task is working on fundamentals and practicing until you can throw a smaller grouping.

Part 2: The Sight problem: (shotgun spread)

Assuming you pass the Fist Test, if your groups are consistently high-right or below or somewhere off target, your problem is aiming. Think about a gun with a mis-aligned sight.  This is probably the easiest thing to correct

Part 3: The Power Issue (above/below spread):

Your darts end up in a narrow vertical channel, both above and below your target. Here, you may have a power problem – you’re throwing with different intensity for each dart.

Part 4: Stability (left/right spread)

Your darts hit at the same height on the board but vary to the left and or right. (You score a lot of 26s) This is probably a stance-throw problem. Somehow you haven’t locked your body down and are drifting side-to-side when you throw.

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I know this is a bit simplistic right now, but I think I’m on the right track once I explain them all. I’d really like your comments.

Darts Across a Crowded Room

The imperfect world of pub darts. How to deal with the weird and unexpected.

Lights! Camera! Action!

Ceiling Fans!  Drunks!  Disco on the Jukebox!

Yes, this is the life of a Pub dart Player. People are shouting, there’re strange shadows across the board from bad dart lighting, some girl just bumped into you at the oche while “dancing” to some horrible overhead music, your Team Captain seems drunk.

Just another night of darts.

Until you become a Pro however, this is your lot, so either you learn to adapt or you start writing that story of how you “used to play” darts.

Having played in both England and America, you’ll often find the U.K. pubs have a lot more “atmosphere” (i.e. stuff going on) than their American counterparts, possibly because in the States, there’s more room to build and more planning can take place to include a Dart section. In the U.K., pubs are often in 500 year old buildings and there’s little opportunity for renovation.

Things you can or can’t control:

Ceiling Fans/AC vents near the dartboard.

I used to live in South Florida and just about every room in every house or office or public place had a ceiling fan. Now you really can’t live without them unless you want the A/C blasting 24/7, but breezes don’t belong anywhere within 3 feet of the area from the oche to the board. You can often get these turned off if you ask nice but, if you have to play with “unsteady air”, be prepared for your game to suffer.

Here’s a few things I’ve had to deal with playing darts in pubs:

  • 3-light setups that look like their purpose was to provide three time as many shadows
  • spotlights mounted on at head-height on the side wall.
  • a sloping floor at the oche so that in a normal side-stance you feel like you’re on a hillside
  • A light-box so low that 2 out of 3 shots at double 20 hit the box. (but only for someone 6’4″. Like me.)
  • An oche that abutted the wall of the pub, almost preventing left-handed throwers from playing
  • Walls and ceilings settled so badly that the board could never look straight
  • Open windows (for the breeze!) along the flight path.
  • Ceiling fans directly over the board.
  • A drunk at the bar shouting “f*cking American” as I threw (Thanks to Big Gary for sorting that out)

To quote the Great Rosanna: “It’s always something”.

How to Cope:

A couple of things may help you when things aren’t “right” in your environment.

  1. What’s bugging you is bugging them. Bad lights affect everyone. Old boards cause everyone’s darts to bounce. Write some things off to “the way it is” and don’t feel singled out.
  2. Focus. I know it’s easier said than done but staying laser focused on your next dart, your outs and the current game can occupy your mind enough so that you don’t have time to notice the other stuff. One thing I do on my practice setup at home is play loud music and vary the lighting a lot. Sometimes I turn the TV up loud as well. It makes the pubs seem less chaotic.
  3. Control your attitude. Bitching about the situation only makes you tense and prevents you from thinking about your own game. The most important thing to remember is that all these external issues affect everyone playing the game, so they all share the same disadvantages as you. The best thing you can to when playing in a new setting is to get as much practice time as you can on the new board. Fiind the weak spots and make a plan to deal with them. Don’t take it personally.

Let me know if you have any more ideas for dealing with less that perfect dart rooms.

The Focus of Phil Taylor

Phil Taylor plays better the more pressure he’s under. Here he throws his 2nd 9-dart out of the match for the win.

Phil Taylor focus

Another Taylor legend – two nine dart games in a single match. Not in a tournament…in a single match.

As usual Taylor continues to set the bar for every dart player in the world.

The lesson that I think people may miss here is that when he hit the second 9-darter he was shooting for the match. At 7-7 tied with James Wade (who is himself one of the all-time great darters) Taylor was playing match game against a player who held even with him for the last 14 games…    [Correction: I realized that this was not match game but rather a race to 10. Changes nothing…]

Phil Taylor focus

What continues to amaze me about Taylor is that he simply does not crack. Ever. And he always plays his best when he’s under the most pressure.

At his level, it’s not about darts anymore – it’s mind-control.

How not to win at darts: the wrong way

From undefeated to uninspired. Why every darts game counts.

“Pride go-eth before the fall”

After 9 weeks into my current league season, I’m one of only 2 undefeated players. Yipee!

I’ve been practicing well, focusing on the right stuff and, in general, making constant progress. All was good.

Now, to be fair, I’m in a somewhat weak league and I often get paired against someone’s grandmother or dog, but I “normally” go in to win as fast as possible and play my best.

Normally.

Every so often I find myself playing a fish and, because I hate blocking out an entire night to play 7 minutes of darts, sometimes I lay off a bit – taking low percentage shots, throwing the occasion left-handed round, and generally being a complete twat.  (I know better – don’t post and tell me. I know, I know…..)

Anyway, on the night in question, I’m playing the team that has the other undefeated league player and hoping we can play each other – I can take this guy.  Of course I’m drawn against on of the many women’s league* misfits and expect another cake walk.

So, throwing with my eyes closed and a beer in my left hand a somehow manage to lose the first game. (“Shock!”, “Surprise!”) Good, now I have her where I want her. I’m the master of come-from-behind.

Second game I play darts – T40, T40, T, 95 and I’m out in 14 darts with the “fish” on 240-something.

For whatever reason, Mr Ego takes this opportunity to resort to first-game mode. I get behind by 100, catch up and have first shot at out and then throw 15 of the stupidest darts in my life trying to hit a double. And lose.

Game, match and pride.

Lessons learned

  • Anyone can beat you if you don’t play
  • It’s better to stomp Grandma into the ground than have to buy her a post-victory Pimms and lemonade (ugh)
  • If you’re gonna come down from a high, do it for a reason. Get beat in a real match.

The worst part is that this isn’t something I can fix through practice – I just have to suck it up.

“Slurp”.

*Btw, I have nothing against women players so please don’t start with me. I DO have a problem with women players in my village who all stink. It’s a small town. It’s summer league. I like women. Really, I do.

How to Grip, Throw and Stand – Dart Mechanics

This is  a pointer to one of my favorite darts technique articles.

While there’s something terribly German about his attention to detail (not always a bad thing) he covers the 3 main physical aspects of the game.

The only thing I disagree with is that I don’t believe there is only one correct stance. His other stance comments are all good but I think you can throw well with anything from a “both toes on the line” stance to a full-sideways one.

Of course I have to say that since I’m not far short of a full face forward stance myself. But it’s still true. I do agree that if I was taking an absolute beginner to his first trip to the oche I’d have him stand pretty much like the author says, but I wouldn’t waste any time “correcting” the stance of someone who’s thrown for a few years in any position.