man throwing darts

How to Play Darts: The Ultimate Guide for Beginners

Darts is a sport enjoyed by millions around the world; whatever your ability, you’re likely to have chanced your arm at throwing a dart.

However, this has not always been the case. As with it’s ever growing popularity and huge boosts in tournament prize money, Darts has quickly grown from a pub game, into one of the most popular sports in recent years.

So, if you’re ready to take darts seriously, but don’t know where or how to start, you’ve come to the right place.

Stick around and we’ll guide you through the basics as well as tips and tricks from the Pro’s, so you can learn how to play darts, the right way!

How to Throw Darts Correctly

While the rules and regulations of different darts games can change, the techniques of throwing darts stays relatively the same.

It’s your throwing technique is the key that separates a good player from an average player.

So, let’s start with the 3 main areas to consider when looking to perfect your technique.

The Grip

The key to a consistent, accurate dart throw is firstly knowing the correct way to hold your darts.

For starters, if you weren’t already aware; you can hold a dart with two, three, four or even five fingers. We’d advise that you choose the one that’s most comfortable for you.

However, most players tend to use a three-finger grip.

The best way to choose the correct grip is to hold the dart and throw it from a point where most of the weight is focused.

The easiest grip to start with is called the “pencil grip”. In this grip, you hold the dart similar to a pencil, with your opposing thumb holding against the first two fingers, the index and the middle.

The grip is easy to achieve, and it provides a solid level of stability and balance while throwing.

If you feel that adding an additional finger to the hold makes things more comfortable for you, then that’s okay, as it’s firstly a matter of preference and comfort when starting out.

However, the barrel weight usually dictates the best number of fingers. For example, heavy tungsten and brass barrels are best held using a firm hold of 4 fingers, while a lighter nickel dart gives the best hold with 3 fingers and a lighter grip.

While holding the dart, be sure not to grip it so hard that it disrupts your technique, or alternatively too relaxed that it affects the darts flight path.

Your Stance

While playing darts, you throw from a predetermined distance which can be called a throw line, a toe line, or most commonly, the ‘Oche’.

The Oche is placed at a distance of 7 feet and a quarter of an inch from the face of the dartboard.

When practising your throw, people tend to under play the stance they take up. Of course, your stance is an important aspect of your throw. As, maintaining a good stance improves stability, thus improving the consistency of your throw.

Similar to your grip, there is no right or wrong way to stand while throwing darts, just as long as you’re able to keep your balance it’s whatever feels most comfortable for you.

Despite being a matter of preference and comfort, there are some basics and fundamental mechanics that can help you make the most out of the way to stand while throwing.

However, a golden rule while taking your stance is to lead with the foot of your dominant hand. So basically, if you’re a right-handed thrower, you’ll place the right foot forward.

This is done to shift your center of balance towards your front foot, for maximum stability and accuracy while throwing.

The Throw

Obviously, the aim of darts is to consistently and accurately throw darts into the dartboard. So, since we’ve perfected your grip and stance, it’s time to learn how to master the throw.

The first thing to consider while throwing the dart is your arm position. Always begin your throw with extending your arms and raising it to a parallel level to the ground.

Next step, while comfortably gripping the dart and taking your stance, focus on the area of the board where you want to land it.

If you set your arm correctly while gripping the dart (as shown right), you should have a great line of sight, down the barrel of your dart.

After lining up your aim, it’s time to build up the throwing movement. Start by pulling your forearm back while keeping your upper arm and shoulder steady.

As the key to a consistent throw is to try and keep your upper arm and shoulder area as steady as possible, while focusing on your forearm and wrist movement.

One mistake that many beginners fall into is that they pull their hands back right after the release of the dart. This doesn’t only mess with the aerodynamics of the dart, but also affects the stability and direction of the dart.

Therefore, we recommend that you extend your arm through the release of the dart. The difference will surprise you!

Perfecting Your Throw

As with any Sport, practice makes perfect and this couldn’t be more true in the game of Darts. As, to be considered as a great dart player isn’t just about throwing accurate darts, but more so about being consistent and learning how to maintain composure whilst under pressure.

Buying Your First Set of Darts

One of the most crucial steps in learning how to play darts lies with the darts themselves.

One of the first steps into the world of darts is through your first set of practice darts. Starting with a good set of darts can make things easier and smoother for you in the long run.

As a beginner, having a good set of darts from day one will help you to make the most of your practice sessions.

Additionally, having a reliable set of darts can save you some extra time and effort that’s wasted on tuning your technique.

How to Choose a Good Set of Darts?

A good set isn’t necessarily the most expensive. You might find a relatively cheaper sort of darts easier to work with. As long as it feels comfortable in your hands, and gives you the confidence to throw the dart correctly, you’re good to go.

Here are the most important aspects you should be looking for when choosing your next set of darts.

Trying out Different Sets

A good rule of thumb while picking your ideal set of darts is to simply test them out. As you’ll learn, darts come in many different weights, materials, tips, and flights.

This doesn’t necessarily make one better than the other, as each type suits different grips and playing techniques. By trying different types darts, you’ll be one step closer to improving your game.

Materials

Darts are made from a variety of materials, such as: Wood, Nickel, Brass, and Silver.

Going for a denser type of dart will provide a more consistent throw. For these reasons, starting with nickel or silver darts can be a good idea.

They’re relatively durable, easy to hold, properly weighted, and therefore help provide a consistent throw. However, the darts world changed since the introduction of tungsten darts. Tungsten is a highly dense material.

This makes tungsten darts extra slim yet heavy and dense enough to provide a well balanced and consistent throw. If you don’t mind the fact that tungsten darts are considerably more expensive, getting a pro-grade dart can be a great long term investment for you.

Barrel Shape

It’s important to choose the correct barrel shape that suits you. The barrel being the part of the dart you’re holding.

The best approach is to go for a barrel that isn’t too bulky or too thin. Medium-sized barrels provide the best consistency when you’re still perfecting your technique.

Weight

Darts start from a weight of 10 grams and gradually go all the way up to 50 grams at the heaviest. To find the perfect weight for you, you’ll have to try throwing different weights.

Once you throw a set of each weight, you’ll notice that the closer to your ideal weight you throw, the more consistent your throws become.

Dart Tips

There are two kinds of dart tips, the traditional steel pointed dart tip and soft tip darts. Soft tips being the ideal choice for younger or beginners.

Benefits of Playing Darts

Now that you’ve learned how to master the art of throwing darts, you should also know how surprisingly beneficial it can be for your health.

While you might think that dart players are seriously unfit and is played simply for a fun way to pass time, playing darts has some great health and mental benefits.

Improves Balance

Nothing says hand, eye co-ordination like darts. However, darts is more than just a throw. Darts is also extremely beneficial in helping improve your stability and balance, over time.

According to some studies made by Vrije University in Amsterdam, darts have a positive effect on motor and sequential performance for people who play regularly.

Helps Keeps The Mind Sharp

If you know a thing or two about dart games, you’ll know that most games require some degree of quick mathematical and arithmetic thinking.

Regular strategic thinking and basic mathematical equations helps to keep the mind sharp, which is proven to be extremely beneficial for older players.

Conclusion

So there you have it, a complete and comprehensive guide that shows you how to play darts.

Although Darts can often be misconstrued as a simple game, it takes a lot of dedication, concentration and hard work to master.

What did you find to be your best training aid when learning how to play? Let us know down in the comments.

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