The Darts Comeback, Episode 1

Re-Learning Darts

Week 1

Ok, don’t worry. I won’t be giving a week-by-week rundown of this. Learning, training and putting knowledge to work take whatever time they’re gonna take.

But the first few darts sessions are pretty damned important (and seriously frustrating.)

The Good News

I haven’t missed the board, broken any windows or bounced out into my dog’s head/ass, so I’m not *that* bad.  The other good news is that I have a plan.

The Sad News

  • My groups wouldn’t fit into the top of a pint glass.
  • I must’ve thrown 15 rounds before I broke 120
  • My normal left/right spread was about 6 inches (definitely failing the “Fist Test” LINK IT). That covers anything from the 12 to the 18 beds shooting 20’s
  • My arm hurts.
  • Eyeglasses wouldn’t.

Observations

The “flow” I worked so hard to get when actively playing is gone. I couldn’t find a throwing rhythm at all. Another mark in the use-it-or-lose-it column.

My grip, throw *and* stance all felt awkward. I was thinking about all of them – a definite “don’t” in throwing well. After being off for so long, my muscle-memory suffered a bit of memory loss and nothing seemed to “click”.

What I fixed….

Following my own advice (elsewhere on this site) I broke my problems down and attacked one thing at a time.

Starting with my stance – always the first thing to get right – I went back to basics. Oddly, I couldn’t remember what my last successful stance was. I had experimented with a toe’s forward stance for a while but decided that about a 30-degree angle at the line was better for my overall body mechanics. After about an hour of tweaking foot positions, weight distribution and body alighment, it suddenly “clicked” and my body started slotting back into my old, solid stance.

Next: that damned grip…..

…I’ll save that for next time.

Dart Practice: breaking a routine

Changing my dart practice routine helped me through a “mental slump”. Some times just banging away at the trip-20 isn’t the best way to practice darts.

Practice can be such a bore.

I know, I know. I keep talking about the value of dart practice and effective ways to practice, but sometimes i feel like if I have to stare down the trip-20 one more time….

I was in one of those moods today. I knew I wanted to (needed to) get some darts practice in, but, man, did I not want to be in fron of the board. I knew I had to mix things up a bit.

Now living in the UK, I never play Cricket any more. This is the land of 501. I’m not sure they even know what Cricket is apart from that strange version of baseball they have where I think you get extra points for not getting dirt on your pants, or exerting yourself as little as possible, but maybe I’m off topic….

Anyhow, I decided to throw Cricket rounds for score. I’m sure there’s loads of ways to do this; mine has always been to simply see how many rounds I need to close all the numbers. Keep it simple – no score keeping,  just get 3 of each working from 20 down to bull. In my early darting days I remember I used to average about 10 rounds – I knew I could do better with my new, improved game.

Long story short, I averaged right about 7 rounds, with one 5-rounder and realized that I need work on my bulls. More importantly, I had fun during practice, I spent about 20 minutes longer than I intended while staying focused, and I noticed a weak number (bull) I can work on next time. Plus, this was the first practice session with the new darts where I wasn’t focused on the weirdness associated with a new set.

[UPDATE: I started counting “overs” – that is anything above 3 hits. The max would be +2 for each number – no point-loading here*. The idea is that now I can tell that a little more about what I’m hitting: a lot of +1’s means I’m hitting single-triple; +2’s mean two singles and a trip, etc. ]

*(What I mean by “point-loading” here is that, as soon as I score 3 of my number, I move to the next. That’s why the max. is +2 and not +6 (3 triples)


The main thing is: rather than skip practice or rush through in an unfocused way, I had a quality session despite my bad mood. Try it next time you find practice isn’t getting you what you want.