Throwing Darts: The Art and the Science

A good dart throw begins with a good stance. It is best to align the body so that the throwing arm is forward. A right handed dart thrower will want his or her right foot next to the toe line. The body, should be aligned from 45 to 90 degrees from the toe line, with the opposite foot back. If the opposite foot is forward the thrower will have to sling the dart across the body. This makes for a longer throw. Also throws become awkward when the body is parallel to the oche.

Next it is important to develop a consistent grip. Probably the easiest grip for most beginners will be the pencil grip as this is familiar. However, the dart may be gripped in a variety of ways. The key is to use the thumb to push the dart against two or more fingers. Keep the point stabilized and pointed slightly upward. The dart, no matter how hard it is thrown (because of gravity) is going to travel in an arc.

Take advantage of this arc. Throw the dart so that its trajectory is along an arcing path. The amount of arc will depend upon the speed of the throw. The angle of arc will accelerate as the dart begins to drop, so a certain amount of impetus must be given in order to make accurate throws. To maintain the highest accuracy, the thrower should not make extreme variations in flight speed or grip. Continuous practice with a particular style and speed will allow the thrower to gauge where the throw will strike the board based on the angle of the throw to the oche and the angle of release.

Dart throwing is done with the arm. Do not move the body or shoulder during the throw. The elbow is fixed when pulling the dart back, but raised slightly when the dart is flung forward. This allows the hand to better follow the trajectory of the dart. Many experts use a wrist snap that makes the entire movement of the arm rather like the crack of a whip. This imparts speed to the dart. However, it is an advanced movement and may degrade accuracy for the beginner.

Some beginners do not pull back the dart when throwing. This is a mistake as it makes it difficult to get enough acceleration from the dart to reach the board with accuracy. Also it is important to follow through. One way to do this is end the throw by leaving the throwing arm extended with the hand pointing at the target. Try to avoid the dart wobbling in flight. This is usually caused by the dart being thrown at too much of an angle to the path of flight. The dart flights attempt to correct, and this causes the wobbling motion.

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Interesting Fact:

What does it mean to win the "diddle" in darts? At the beginning of the game, the players each throw one dart, the one closest to the bull goes first.

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