Holding a dart is perhaps one of the most personal and unique elements of darts playing. A dart being light and small can be held in a multitude of ways, all determined by what the thrower is comfortable with.
Old Stoneface John Lowe, for example, is credited by many to have the perfect throwing motion. If you watch his move closely you will come to the conclusion that while his speed of throw may vary, the way he holds his dart hardly changes. And that’s the secret on how to hold your dart perfectly. Find your way and stick to it.
To help you grip your dart perfectly the first time around, there a few guidelines you should follow:
Get your tip up
A dart once thrown, flies along a parabolic curve. If your dart tip is not facing upwards, then your accuracy will be off since your dart will not make a solid curve.
If your dart tip is facing downward it will most probably go on a downward projection.
So be keen and watch the tip of your dart before your throw. Ensure it is at the right angle, either facing up or level depending on your aim.
Find your dart’s center of gravity
To hold a dart correctly you need to figure out where its weight is located. If you place the dart in an open palm and balance it between the thumb and the little finger, you will find its center of gravity.
Remember not to touch the shaft or flight with your fingers as this will mess up your throw.
How to hold your dart
Imagine your dart as a potato chip. If you hold it too tight it will crack and if too loose, you will not get to it as if will fall off your fingers.
Beginners are always advised to hold their darts in the same manner as they would their favorite flavor of potato chip.
To throw your dart perfectly you need to hold it in a firm but relaxed grip. Most dart champs barely grip the dart, so your grip should be neither too loose nor too tight.
If the grip is too tight, you will strain the muscles on your hands causing errors when releasing the dart. If too loose, your dart will not have enough acceleration or accuracy to hit your target.
Let your focus be on the backward and forward motion during throw rather on how tight or lose your grip is. Darts is a precision-based sport and to have the accuracy, you need to practice how to have a relaxed but controlled grip.
Keep your free fingers open
Your thumb should always be at the center of the barrel when holding your dart. You can have one to three other fingers on each side of the dart to hold it steady.
As for the number of fingers you should have on the barrel that is entirely a matter of choice or taste.
More fingers on the dart may give you more control, but that also may mean that release will become more complicated because you have more elements to coordinate.
Ensure that your other fingers are held to the side so as not to apply undue pressure on the dart during release, therefore messing up the accuracy.
Do not close the fingers that are not in use into a fist. This will produce unnecessary tension in your hand, leading to a poor throw.
Remember darts are incredibly light, so a slight graze from a finger could cause an error in trajectory.
The length and shape of your barrel is also a determinant as to how many fingers you can have on a barrel. Longer barrels may force more fingers on grip while short barrels of course could use less fingers.
Types of dart grips
One finger and a thumb
This grip is similar to how you would hold a pen. Its perfect for lessening the impact of your fingers on your throw, but with that comes lessened control. If well contolled though, it can be very effective at achieving accuracy.
Two fingers and a thumb
Gives more control by the addition of one more finger, but may impede more on achieving the perfect throw. Try moving the thumb just behind the center of gravity to afford you more control.
Three fingers and a thumb
Offers great control over the dart. Watch out for that finger placed third on the barrel though as it could cause a poor throw.
Four fingers and a thumb
This kind of grip needs a lot of control over the number of fingers on the barrel. The small finger is usually at rest above or below the dart tip to help give guidance and acceleration to the dart.
More resources on how to throw darts: