Darts and Zen

Found an interesting post connecting  darts and Zen this morning.

It talks about the need to clear the mind and free yourself from analyzing what you’re doing while throwing your darts.zen and darts practice

I’ve been trying to get there forever it seems, and when I do, I’m always at my best. Some people refer to this state as “flow” and, if you want to go deeper, there is a lot of literature about flow and sports performance . I’m pretty sure this is the definitive work on Flow

If you practice hard and smart – breaking down all the small components of your throw and drilling them – you will train your body to perfom the actions without conscious “monitoring”.

You already do this when you tie your shoes or start your car – you’re not thinking about the mechanical aspects of those. Throwing your best darts should be like that.

(Come to think of it, this goes pretty well with my earlier post on Darts Imagery.)

Check out the orignal article for a different spin on this and let me know what you think – do you see a connection between throwing darts and Zen practice?

Overcome the “snatch”

How to Overcome the Snatch

or How to Keep your Brain from Helping you Fail

From an article at the Darts Performance Center:

When you throw a dart you start a chain of events that begins in the head. This chain starts with the brain. The brain then sends a message to all the muscles you need to throw the dart that they need to be activated and help out with the throw. There is a of course a fraction of a second delay between the brain passing on the message and the activation of the muscles.

They go on to say that when your brain detects that something is wrong, it attempts to “correct” it, which causes your muscles to twitch and ultimately mess up yout throw.

I’ve had to work through this myself and found a combination of two techniques that helped me overcome the snatch. In particular, I’ve had to deal with the “3rd dart snatch”, but the second technique below should help with any kind of snatching problem.

Technique #1: The first one is the old advice to simply slow down.

“Oh, boring, Davey”, you say? I hear you, but here’s why this can help:

There are two things that happen after you throw your 3rd dart that doesn’t happen with the first two:

  1. moving to the board after the throw and
  2. not needing to bring your hand back to get another dart

After the last dart, your body starts firing off the small muscles that move the big ones in order to get you walking to the board. This can result in a slight forward movement as you throw the last dart.

Also, your hand does not need to grab another dart after the last one, which brings the temptation to leave your hand pointing to the board, or dropping straight down, as opposed to crossing your body as it does with darts one and two.

By slowing down just a little, you will help “separate” the motions of one dart and the next one.

Technique #2: Put your hand through the board

The next way to overcome the snatch falls under the visualization category, but it definitely will change your finishing motion. What you want to “see” is your hand trying to go through your target area, or, if you like, you can “feel” your fingers “touch” the board after your throw.

What this does is force your throwing motion to continue past the release of your dart so that, even if your brain starts to detect something wrong, you will overcome the snatch because your muscles are committed to continued action after releasing the dart, making it hard for those “tiny muscles” to affect your throw.

Put these two ideas together and you’re almost sure to overcome the snatch


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.”


Darts Imagery

Using Visualization to Improve Your Darts Game

Reading a little on Sports Psychology I found this gem from Karlen Sugarman, M.A:


You can’t ignore the evidence of  how visualization is important to your performance in any physical activity.

(There’s even a section in the Darts Perfection course on exactly this.)

A couple of key points from the article…

1) Practice your visualizations on a regular basis

You don’t need a lot of time for this, just make it a habit. Sitting in a chair with your eyes closed is good, especially when your other-half has one of those cooking shows on TV.

2) Bring all your Senses into play

“Feel” the weight of the dart; “hear” the dart hitting the board; “smell” the pub – well, you might skip this one if you’ve played in some of my locals

3) Visualize your best game

Always see your desired outcome and make it real.

I know this sounds a bit cosmic-hippie for some of you, but there’s solid research showing it will help.

If you’re a science geek, here’s a related study using basketball players shooting free-throws (which, if you think about it, is kind of like darts)

“Dream it, Be it”