Did you know that an estimated 17 million people play darts in America? This is according to the National Sporting Goods Association. Raise your hand if you knew that theNational Sporting Goods Association existed. You win a prize. I surely didn’t. But I know that when I walk into a pub, dive bar, or any quality establishment and I see a dartboard, you are damn sure I am lining up for some dart throwing. Am I any good? Not really. But that is why I decided to write this article so that we could learn some tips on how to throw darts.
But before we get started, I believe any proper student of the game should learn the game’s history. It shows respect for the game and those epic darters that have made their mark on it. Want a list? Here is one of the top 10 best dart players ever, or you can scope out the America Darters Association for the current rankings. Yes, the American Darter Association exists. We are already learning so much, guys!
There are conflicting reports, but it is estimated that the game of darts is about 700 years old and began as a military pastime in England. It started with soldiers dart throwing broken arrows at wine casks to pass the time. It seems about right, so improvements were made to the game over the years. The rings are rumored actually to have started from tree trunk growth. According to Wikipedia, “The first purpose-made darts were manufactured from solid wood, wrapped with a strip of lead for weight and fitted with flights made from split turkey feathers.” You have to love man’s natural ingenuity. I love it.
The modern version we know today is estimated to have been invented in 1896 by a carpenter named Brian Gamlin in England. There had been various scoring systems in its history that were pure chaos. That was until Brian said enough was enough and invented the current number system we play with today. That was a complete game changer for the sport. The game then gained a new level of exposure and popularity. It is why we have the American Darters Association and why you probably have holes in your drywall. Shouts to Brian Gamlin!
Now that we know some dart history. Let’s get into the art of dart throwing and be a skilled player that Brian Gamlin would be proud of today. So fire up your power stance, and let’s get to throwing.
Typically you will have a proper line that will dictate how far away you need to stand from the dartboard. Grab your darts and approach this line. This is very important; this line cannot be stepped on or over when throwing your darts. Once you have established your footing right behind the line, you will want to face the dartboard sideways with your dominant foot forward. Make sure your toe on that dominant foot is right behind the line. Then swing that non-dominant foot behind your dominant foot and stand with your feet about hip-width apart.
If you are right-handed, your right foot will be your dominant foot forward near the line, and vice versa for you lefties. The key is to ensure your body faces the wall, not the dartboard. It is important not to stand facing the dartboard as you will for sure be throwing your darts into the drywall instead of the board. A little pro-tip, it is ok to raise your back heel a bit but make sure that you are still putting weight on it. This will help with leverage and stability as you dial into your throws.
You can ensure that your throwing darts will at least make it to the board by utilizing your body to aim. More importantly, your dominant foot. As you stand in your power stance, turn your dominant foot towards the center of the dartboard. Then like you are lining up a putt on the golf course, picture a line between your dominant foot and the center of the dartboard. As you do this, ensure your non-dominant foot and body stay turned to the side. Make sure you stand up straight as well. I mean, we are calling this a power stance for a reason.
Now that your body is ready to start firing darts, the last thing you need to do is dial in your grip. You do this by gripping the barrel of the dart with your thumb, middle, and forefinger. The barrel is the raised part of the dart. Do not hold the tip part of the dart or curl your fingers as you grip the barrel. Your grip may vary a bit depending on the type and size of the dart. It is always good to get the feel and weight of the darts before starting any game. Whatever you do, don’t grip the dart too tight. Your fingers should not feel tense at all. Remember, your body is in a power stance, and your fingers are all about finesse.
Once you are comfortable with your grip, raise your dart to eye level. Keep your shoulder still, and ensure your elbow points at the dartboard. Then tilt the tip of the dart slightly up towards the dartboard. This will help your aim stay true. Use your dominant eye to focus on the intended target and align your dart’s tip with your target spot on the dartboard. Once you have done all of this, rip it by throwing your dart. As you release the dart, let your wrist snap forward. Make sure that it does not snap downward, or else that will be drywall city.
So to recap – get in your power stance, grip the dart with finesse, and dial in your aim. Then make sure you follow through like Kobe with a buzzer-beater. Boom. Bullseye.
Now you know how to throw darts and even a little history of the sport. See you on the Darters list!