E M P I R E   D a r t .   Q u a l i t y   e q u i p m e n t    f o r    s o f t   a n d   s t e e l   d a r t   s i n c e   1 9 7 8 .

Correct targeting – but how?

It’s decisive to concentrate on the point you want to hit, for example the Bull’s eye or the Triple 20. The throw is getting automatised and the accuracy increased by constant practising. But direct targeting over the arrow away (similar to a gun with notch and bead) isn’t possible with darts.

Is it important to be well prepared?

It is important to calm down before a decisive tournament and to concentrate totally on the upcoming game. Therefore, you need a quiet place. Go for a walk a few minutes, or sit down somewhere and close your eyes. Always think of your aim that you want to reach. The warm up begins directly before the tournament. Above all, the blood circulation in the arm musculature has to work well. The best warm up is to move your arms in circles in turn with stretching. Now look for a board where you can play alone. Then try some loose throws. In the beginning, one easily tends to clench. Therefore, really play alone and with full concentration. This is how you can easily find your rhythm and accuracy. Afterwards, play concentrated two or three rounds of Cricket or 501 and practice the double segments again. Now you are perfectly prepared for the tournament. Good Darts!

Which is the right position of feet?

If you have ever watched a professional when throwing, you probably first didn’t notice something eye-catching: He goes on the board, lifts up his arm and throws – well, the same as we do! But he had prepared all sequences of the throw till the minutest details and trained thousandfold – starting with his psyche, fitness, position of feet and posture of the upper part of his body for the throw – ending with the throw itself. First part of the technique starts with the right position of the feet on the throwing line: If you stand on the line with both feet in the right angle, you have to turn the upper part of your body for 90° to reach a suitable throwing position. If you stand with at least one foot parallel to the line, the burden of your body will put you quickliy in your place, as you will wobble more than the “Eiserner Steg” (an iron footbridge in Frankfurt/Main) at a typhoon when throwing. To reach the right standing position try the following first: right-handers put their right foot in a 45°angle to the throwing line and their left foot relaxedly behind it – of course left-handers put the left foot on the line and the right one behind. Throw your darts and change your position on the line till you feel good and hit good – this is the first guarantor for a good playing.

How can I practise the double?

Standard reply: In no case during the game! It’s pointless to practise the double, no one knows before which one will end the game. It’s also senseless to aim for a specific double as already the unintentional throw into another field can only leave another double than the one practised before. To prepare methodically for a game, you have to do a specific training that comprises all segments of the board. It is decisive to check the radius to the Bull and to internalise it. Meant is, that all segments are placed symmetrically, and all segments that are multiply counting have the same radius to the Bull. So try the following: Play all double segments of the board in numeral ascending and descending order, whereat every second dart has to be thrown to the Bull. Thereby you get a feeling for the distances and you could close a 82-Finish with double 16 and Bullseye.

How do I combine successfully at the finish?

A brill question from Arek B. from Hessen (thanks for it), who seems to hope for the Philosopher’s Stone together with the answer. Sorry Arek, I can’t offer this, but here’s a clever tactic to copy! But from the beginning: The game runs nearly perfect – your opponent is with his score already in the finish for 3 darts and is equivalent to you. It’s your turn, but you know about the double safety of your opponent. What to do now? Let’s assume you’ve got 122 remaining points and you throw at triple 20 – a bad mistake! Doing this, you should really be very sure to hit it. As, if you only hit a single 20 with your first dart, you have mistaken your first chance to highfinish. However, if you throw at 18 with your first dart and hit the single, you’ve got the chance to hit the triple 18 with your second dart for the bullseye–shot. Just take the time, to think over the different possiblities of finishing already in the middling hundred, without having to hit a triple at once with the first dart. You’ll be asthonished!

How can I control my nervousness during the game?

In order to come to the point: The person who isn’t nervous or at least a little excited before and at the start of a game, bluffs or is pretentious and feels too confident of victory. Certainly, we are no pros with a psychological advisor or a mental coach of our own who recommend and dispose us to do an autogenic training with extensive basic training in yoga. But we are sportsmen and sportswomen who go into a match without being able to anticipate the end of it – and to this belongs a good portion of excitement. But, together with a certain background knowledge, this excitement will be of use for us. Everybody knows the feeling when breathing and pulse are accelerating and even the body temperature seems to rise – stage-fright comes up. Often we associate stage-fright with something negative, but in fact it is a really expedient functioning of our body. He boosts circulation already before stress begins, for being able to supply the oxygen needed to the muscles and organs at the beginning of stress. Just realize with the stage-fright your body prepares for the tournament not only in psychical but also in physical respect. At the beginning of the tournament your muscles are usually not really under your control as you would like it, and the first throws don’t hit the targeted fields and segments. So what? I bet, your opponent feels the same. And in order to rule your game and not your nervousness, don’t demand the maximum of your ability already at the start of a game, but build up your playing constantly until you feel more and more proof and simply make your game. And who calculates and combines right at the end, cannot be nervous any longer.

How can I improve my accuracy?

Each darter who thinks somewhat of himself trains his throwing techniques at least once a week, to perfect his style. Unfortunately it became naturalized only to play games during the so-called training units instead of really doing a training. When you have the chance to a real training, then do it according to the seven points of Mike’s training plan:

  1. Check if you wear the same shoes as for a league match! Different heights of soles result in different throw heights.
  2. Pay attention to your stand! Right-handers stand slightly to the left on the level with the bull, left-handers stand accordingly more to the right. Everything else makes a larger distance to the board and mostly results in a disastrous scenario of hits.
  3. Your dart should be in best order: check the fit of tip, shaft and flight! A dart with loose parts is like too wide trousers without a belt …. it can become embarrassing!
  4. Coordination of posture for the throw! Bring stand, upper part of your body and throwing arm into a relaxed but optimal posture to the board.
  5. Holding the darts! Positioning of fingers on the darts is the nuts and bolts! Thumb and forefinger behind the burden, middle finger between tip and shaft (or shortly behind).
  6. Targeting! Open your eyes.
  7. The throw. Throw to the aimed at target and optimize height of the hit through power of throw, positioning of fingers on the darts and holding the dart (tip higher or lower). Impacts right or left from the target have to be corrected through posture.

How can I practice to improve targeting?

Most important when targeting is to be focused exactly on your aim. E.g. the Bull’s Eye or the triple twenty. Continuous training will automatize your throw and increase the accuracy. To learn the important tricks you need to be aware of the following: You must automatize your throw, whereat the holding of the arrow plays an important role. You should absolutely follow these points:
1. The dart is held with thumb and forefinger shortly after the balance point. 2. The dart lies horizontally in an angle of 90° to forearm and board. 3. The dart does not change its angle during the acceleration phase. 4. Adjustments are only made by changing the angle. a. Hit too high: dart tip downwards b. Hit too low: dart tip upwards 5. Throw on every segment with the same power. Have a try, it will work!

How to hold my arrow correctly?

Certainly the indentations, scores and gravures on the darts attracted your attention before – different but useful! Partly they are arranged symmetrically arround the barrel’s burden, which you can locate by laying the dart across the forefinger. However, these indentations in the dart are optional – no must. Means: You can hold your darts quite as you like, the main thing is that they hit there where you want! Ring finger at the dart tip, middle finger at the front of the barrel, forefinger and thumb at the other end ….. if it works, it looks good! Just test all possible positions. You will see, that the darts do hit in different heights – and now you have to find the happy medium …. your perfect grip on the dart. I once even went as far as to hold thumb and forefinger at the cone of the flight and the other fingers at the barrel: Those hit the 20 smooth like butter without much strain. And after some changeovers of all fingers of my throwing hand I can confirm you, that I can still throw when my office colleagues already hold their arms because of muscular atrophy …. and I could carry on winning against them!

What do I do between the throws?

You could take a short nap, eat a bagful of chips with ketchup and mayonnaise, or not? And I don’t mean the breaks in a match, but the breaks between your throws and your opponent’s ones during your game! It’s all not as easy as it seems to be. You’ll notice every fault very quickly. For example watching your opponent when throwing. If he throws good, this will put you under pressure even more. If he throws bad, this might make you careless. So, what to do? To avoid getting more and more nervous, you could check your equipment, as to control the fit of the flights, or to tighten the E-Point tips. Eye contact with the audience or even talks are a no-go. What some top players like to do for concentrating and avoiding distractibility, is to look at a certain, fixed object, for example a light switch or doorknob. Whereas you should at all avoid looking at moving objects or subjects because of the human expectations (How do I appear to others? What does the audience think of my playing?). If too much information assails your brain in these moments, this will bother your concentration on the game and will most likely lead to a defeat.

What can I improve when playing Single out?

Not to be the runner-up of the game! But all jokes aside –  that’s a legitimate question, as even the simplest trick or smallest tip can be your breakthrough. At the end of a Leg a last effort is required, what sounds very easy – scoring the remaining points – ready – won. But what, if this turns out to be more difficult? So better be clever and develop a strategic plan. This also means, not to think “come far down quickly”, but choose a remaining score and be on target for it constantly; for example 64/48/32 whereat the slice of the cake 8/16 is predestined for finishing the Leg. But pay attention: The spectre “Bust” lurks everywhere! Who now hits 11 or 16 with a remaining score of 8, gives one more chance to the opponent. So better leave a higher score. Then, when throwing to the remaining score with the first dart, try to leave a double-digit field for the second dart. The third one will either end the game or restore the old score for a – hopefully – further try. The precondition for this always is, that there’s no field with a higher score around, that busts the remaining score. What was good when collecting scores, is fatal when trying to get shot of them!

What do I do after good or bad throws?

Well, similar to poker it’s important for final games to hide one’s excitement – after a good as well as a bad throw – from the opponent or rather not to show it. To keep cool is import for your success. No emotions. In many cases, a sign of weakness, an instable mental phase is exploited immediately. Sometimes one single good throw of the opponent is enough to pull you down. But there are some more reasons: It’s absolutely nonprofessional, if you shout out your excitement about your own achievement, for example after a good throw, and then have to realize after the next throw, that this good accomplishment was not of durability. It’s also of an insufficient professionalism, if your opponent stays calm, but you comment, cheer or regret every own throw. True strength comes from calmness. Concentration and composure are needed. You’ll have the audience on your side by playing your game, scoring constantly and good, and appearing concentrated and even-tempered. Of course you can show your joy over reaching a 180 or a Highfinish – that makes you appear humanly and not spaced out. But don’t overdo. If you have a bad day, there is nothing else for it but to continue or stop playing. Recently, a professional English dart player has stopped playing a game without comment and left, because he had too many Bouncers – rebounds - unfair but consequent!

What could I improve when playing Master out?

To play successful dart you do not only need talent, practice and a good sport equipment but also gumption. You have to bear some things in mind, you often don’t think of, before it’s too late. Many mistakes with Master out are mostly due to tactics! An example: It’s wise to score a 20 when you’ve got 60 points leftovers – if you don’t hit the Treble, you still have the alternative to throw on Tops or 20 and to finish with Double 10. This wouldn’t work with odd-numbered fields, as after the miss to the single field, you would first have to bring the score to an even number for being able to finish with a Double. And there’s another deficit with missing, respectively wrong tactics: To reach an even score, one mostly thoughtlessly throws to a lower odd-numbered field, not thinking about the neighboring fields. Simple example: 19 scores are left after the first dart, whereat the 3 offers itself to rectify the remaining score to an even number. That’s an error! With a throw into the 19 it’s finished, with a throw into the 17 the final Double – the one – is reached. Better: A throw into the 15, then double 2. If you don’t hit the 15, you can leave a suitable double with the third throw, or you bust for a hopefully next throw and then try it again.

What do you have to bear in mind while throwing?

The movement for correct throwing comes off the forearm and off the wrist. The body thereby stands still. The hand is following the arrow and will be completely extended afterwards. The throw movement has to be completely followed through.

What do I have to consider for the grip?

The optimal grip is primarily a matter of feeling. The arrow should thereby be held with at least three fingers – not tense but not too loose. The thumb approximately lies at the balance point of the barrel. Thereby, the direction of the arrow is stabilized while throwing.

Screened field! What next?

Imagine: You shall hit a target in a distance of 237 cm without being able to see it – and without being allowed to use echo-sounder, sonar and radar! Okay, Robin Hood hits in all his films every visible and even the invisible targets with his arrows – as well without abovementioned instruments … instead of with help of his directors. Well, what can help us along here now? Cleverness, routine and tactics, the more so as many times the result of a game depends on every single dart and every single point. Don’t open a wild and aimless fire on the board in the manner of “Let’s see what happens!” – as, what you don’t see, you can only hit by chance! So be clever and think first about your next step – namely a sidestep, till you have a free field of fire again! Though you should consider, that, if you extend the distance to the board, you should put more power into the throw and accordingly change the direction of throw. But caution: If you overstep the throwing line resp. its imagined extension in direction to the board, you can equally throw your dart into the dustbin, as then the throw is invalid.

Do I profit from throwing the dart with a rotation?

The answer is: LOGICALLY! Being able to answer the question a bit more detailed, you must know some more about the sector which is called “ballistics” – The science of thrown bodies. Well, and I made myself a little bit foxy: When we treat the dart as a kind of projectile (the original word comes from Latin and has no other meaning as “throw away from oneself”), then the throw is the summary of firing energy, bombtrajectory and the spin. So the firing energy is the power with which you throw the dart; the bombtrajctory is the curve, the dart makes from throw until hit and the spin is a light twist of the dart, to stabilize it early on its flight path. If you give a higher spin to the dart – which, by the way, turns in any case at each throw! – it will stabilize earlier. But, if the spin is too high, your dart will probably not reach the board, as the fingers as point of contact on the dart are not perfectly coordinated therefore. So: The smart midway is here the crucial point! To reach this, a well defined training is necessary, wherein you combine aiming, throwing and spinning without having to change your throw too much. Of course the hits’ sight should become better then – it should not at all diminish.

Can I affect my opponent’s playing?

Sure! Play the trumpet and throw saluting guns in front of the board when your opponent is darting! NO, of course you do nothing like that to disturb your opponent. In brief: Your opponent has the same rights to a undisturbed execution of his throws as you have. This includes omitting of talks with your teammates as well as clacking and clashing with darts, glasses and similar during your opponent is throwing. The dart assocations have also clearly ruled, where the player who’s not throwing is allowed to stay. Disregard or repeat are not seldom punished by a break-off of single games and are valued as victory for the opponent. Attention: Even complete league matches can thereby be valued for the opponents! So keep fair and prefer to affect your opponent with good scores, excellent finish combinations and unerring throws at the doubles! Occasionally wish him a “good darts”, when he has scored good and a “unlucky”, when it did not go well for him. That doesn’t pain you and you are still hitting off after your victory. You remember: Give priority to fairness.

Perfection at the throwing line!

If you have ever watched a professional player when throwing, you certainly didn’t notice anything special at first: He goes to the board, raises his arm and throws – actually, this is the same as we do! However, all sequences of the throw are prepared elaborately and trained thousand times – beginning with his mind, his fitness, foot positioning and the bearing of the upper part of the body when throwing – and at last the throw itself. Thus, first part of technique starts with the foot positioning at the throwing line: If you stand at the line in a right angle with both feet, your upper part of the body has to turn by 90 degrees to reach a suitable position for throwing. But if you stand with at least one foot parallel to the trowing line, the balance point of your body will show you your limits soon, as you’re wobbling more than the “Eiserne Steg” (a footbridge made out of steel in Frankfurt/Main) in a typhoon. To find your perfect position you should try the following first: Stand with your right foot at the throwing line in an angle of 45 degrees, position your other foot on the left side behind (I am talking to right handers – left handers do it the other way round). Throw your darts and change your position at the throwing line until you feel comfortable and hit the board successfully – the first guarantor for a good play!

The „Hook“ – the psychological lock!

No, not “Captain Hook” - but a meanie, as well! Namely the “don’t-unhand-meanie”, who besets some of us players from time to time. You stand in front of the board, you target and you want to throw – but your hand refuses to let the dart go. Further efforts fail as well and if you finally manage to let it go, the scrap strikes the wall undamped or lands across the board. The reason is an epidemic plague which particularly smites players with a high playing and training frequency and inhibits them. Experts are still puzzling and conjecturing on this, but they didn’t yet find an explanation making sense and much less an advice for remedy. Even I myself have been affected by this once, but I was successsful in finding a way. As you automatically think of the throw, which is unwilling to go right, you should concentrate on other things shy of the throw. I always concentrate on standing exactly a match-boxes breadth behind the throwling line to throw then to the board without long hesitance. Even though it didn’t result in miracle throws, in process of time everything was normalized. And now I can again run all of my Empire Team into the ground.

How do I get my panic at checking out under control?

This might rather look like this: A shot on to the Bull (to get a feeling for the dimensions of the board), and two darts on a selected Double , where the first dart is thrown on the outer wire of the Double. But the second dart , if necessary, must be fully thrown on it then. Use all the information you gained from your second throw – such as distance and height to the missed double segment – for your final throw. You should repeat this procedure until one of the last two darts hits the Double. Now you throw all darts on this segment, and again start with the outer area and approach to the centre. First dart aimed at approximately one finger’s breadth outside of the double segment, second dart on to the outer wire and the third – if necessary – fully thrown right into the centre. I bet – there’s hardly any better practise therefor.

What’s better: A good score or a good finish?

This question came from Susan, trainee in our editorial office. Actually she intended to confuse me a bit, but the question is not bad at all. Susan was in the opinion that solely good scores are enough to finish the match because “you anyhow hit the double anytime”! However: When the score – means the thrown points – is once not so high resp. good, a good - as high – finish at the end of the game has to fit at once … otherwise the opponent has won. But what is a good score? I think, a score of 45 points or more per 3 darts can let itself to be seen. Professionals don’t think so, but we are (not yet) professionals. Ten rounds with an average of 45, then 19, a throw to the double 16 – hit – subject settled! However, doing it in eight rounds with average 45 points and a clear finish with maximal three darts is – somehow - more heroical …. the cherry on the cake. And when the throw to the double fails you have at least nothing lost. Then go on with throwing until it fits, so long as your opponent doesn’t finish his game! How can you train this tactic? Veeery simple: Training! Throwing, calculating, combining and throwing!

Should I score on to the 20 or better on to the 19?

Well, the 20 is different from the 19 by just one single point. Grossed up to a treble, that however already gives three points, with three trebles in one throw even nine points! So not so much, considering only one misthrow, that drifts off in to the 1 instead the 20 - in short: It doesn’t matter! Yet the 19 has a slight advantage. When one dart drifts off in to one of the neighbour fields, this results in the sum of 29 – with the 20 there are only 26. Thereby we would at least have recouped three points - but let’s stop the calculation. It just depends on where you can score best. One on the 19, others on the 20.  However, when we consider the factor of effort, so I tend to 19. With regard to the 180, however - like other top players too - rather to the 20.  Shortly thinking about it, I answer to the question correspondingly brief: I only know one single dart pro who scored permanently to the 19. That was Jack McKenna, and he had not won a single international title in his career!

What brings targeted warming up in throwing before a match?

To prepare for the league match night (and nothing else we train for week after week), you should get into the habit of one thing, that will be decisive for future success: An effective, because targeted training shortly before the match, especially at away matches! In most cases it is unfortunately so, that just a few rounds can be thrown on the machine before the actual league match begins. And these rounds you should use extensively! Try to score in one round (each three darts) for example the triple segments of 20 , 19 and 18 or 12 , 17 and 14. Therewith you will very quickly get a feel for the dimensions of the board (at home it is all pure habit) and the distance to the board, which may differ to your home equipment (indeed it should be the same, but sometimes accidentally happens).

How to train high finishs?

It’s nearly impossible to train high finishs – instead clever calculation and tactics are in demand.
What is a high finish, anyway? A score of maximum 180 (with Master out) or 170 points (with Double out), in a most possible intelligent way, that promises the highest possible success, brought to exactly zero. With scores like 180, 177, 170, etc., where only one combination is possible, not only the ability is decisive, but also a little bit of luck. With scores, that however let open several ways to check, only one thought should fill the head: Do I still have a chance to finish the match, after the first or second segment missed? Example 122 points: Who still throws to the triple 20 at this score, that is beyond help. A throw in the single 20 and then only a Master out (e.g. 2x triple 17) but no more a Double out is possible. Here would be called for  the combination single 18 / triple 18 / Bullseye, as at the first missed try on to the triple 18 you still have a second throw on it, provided, that the first hit at least  the single 18. The same with the segments of number 19 at a residual score of 126 or with number 20 at a residual of 130. So: First subtract the highest double from the residual score, set a suitable combination with the previously mentioned information, and then score in reverse order (logical: double finally).

How to throw a 180?

The questioner also wanted to finally throw a 180 - not only tons and tonfourties (you will find further explanations in our download area). And since I myself also had to cope with this problem, I'll tell you, how I finally succeeded - and then again and again. First of all: If you can throw tons and tonfourties, it is not because of your throw - it is good! In addition, if you have first hit a single and after that the triple. It is another matter, when already two darts scored the triple 20 and the third goes into the low-grade Pampa – ‘cause then it’s up to your expectation. You know what I mean: The happiness hormones already glory in the high score, adrenalin is shot in to the bloodstreams and the dart in to the wrong field because of a stressed arm. To avoid this, you should initiate and implement your throw exactly as the other two as well – don’t think but throw, cheered will be later on. Keep loose, target the first two darts and try to hit them. At best you have thrown a toneighty, at worst at least 120 points!

Which triad on the board is better for beginners for training?

To increase the average (mean value) of a beginner’s playing, it requires no great means. It’s a question for statistics: analysis, comparison and decision. But we also want to win our games and not just be cannon fodder for others. Attention: The easiest way of score increase is the combination of fields. Which collateral fields have the highest score, if they all are hit at minimum once per throw? Correct: The combination 19-7-16 = 42, instead of only 26 points on the 20. But why do pros throw onto the 20? Because they master the throwing sequence so perfectly, that there is little collateral damage. This is only possible with a lot of training. We’re not (yet) capable of doing this. During the day we go to work and in the evening for a drink in the darts pub and try to play along well as beginners. For example, onto the mentioned combination 19-7-16. If we hit Triples with all darts, there are a maximum of 171, on average 126 and minimum are still 63 points! Not bad, eh? But calculate once the other, better matching field combinations: 11-14-9, 15-10-6 or Bull, always good for a surprise. That‘s still more than on the 20.

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