Who doesn’t want to throw darts like Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor? Well if you analyze his throwing style and that of many other professional players, you will find the secret to their success is their approach and consistency.
You will need to learn to approach the board the exact way each time, to improve your accuracy. To do this, it is critical, to begin with, the basics of how to throw a dart.
Once thrown, a dart travels on a parabolic curve, the same curve as a thrown stone or bullet. How high or low this curve depends on how powerful the throw was. To throw your dart decently, you need to ensure that your throw guides your dart along a parabolic curve when accelerating it and once it has left the hand.
So how do you do this? By ensuring that your arm is aligned to achieve the perfect parabolic curve.
How to achieve proper alignment
Proper alignment involves your shoulder, elbow, and hand all aligned in a straight line. Like a perfectly working machine with 3 levers, the shoulder, elbow, and hand should work together to keep a dart along a curve. Let these three ‘levers’ point to the board, in a straight line as much as possible.
Your shoulder should not change position at all, so do not move your body when throwing. The only part that should move should be your arm.
When moving the dart backward before the throw, the elbow should stay in position. Be aware of the direction your elbow is pointing to, and it should be slightly up, directly facing the dartboard, as the acceleration phase starts.
Before releasing the dart, professionals recommend letting your wrist snap forward to increase the dart’s acceleration. A wrist snap involves letting the imaginary joint where your wrist attaches to the arm go loose so you can crisply release the dart with applied force from the snapped wrist, accelerating the dart.
Snapping your wrist like an imaginary whip while moving the rest of your arm slower increases your accuracy. A wrist snap though should be controlled as it could cause errors that affect the flight curve of the dart. If your wrist snaps downward, for example, it will cause your dart to fly downwards.
How to perfectly throw your dart
Blocking out every other distraction, focus on your target. It helps greatly to find an imaginary sight line. Some use a knuckle or the point of the dart.
Your dominant eye can also help you aim. How do you figure out your dominant eye? Trying throwing with each eye closed. The eye that struggles to stay closed should be your dominant eye, though this is not an exact science.
Once you have your aim, align the tip with your target on the dartboard. Do not aim to either direction of your target as this cause a poor throw.
The common novice mistake of not aiming directly at your target or overcompensating for poor throws will cause continuous poor scores. Continuously aiming at your target will build consistency which will up your game and accuracy.
Move backward slowly and with control and you will not lose your aim. Move as far as is comfortable with you, without slamming your nose or eyes. You can avoid this by pulling back your chin, besides your cheek. By pulling back you allow your dart some acceleration space and accuracy. The keyword here is to practice to move back with control.
This should be done naturally and without the use of excessive force. Imagine yourself swinging a hammer. By extending your arm, the elbow should, in turn, rise up to create the force needed to send the dart speeding on your parabolic arc towards the board.
Releasing the dart should come naturally if all other parts of your arm are well aligned. Your hand should be at the correct angle to your forearm. This is the critical point for a wrist snap.
After release let your arm continue in the throwing motion so that your fingers are pointed towards your target. A perfect follow through ends with your hand aiming at your target. Do not let your hand down immediately after release. Keep it straight and slightly upward, to help you maintain good form at the end of your throw.
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