Kosumo's top tips
Just thought I'd share some words of (questionable Tongue ) wisdom based on my experiences with the game so far. I'm hoping to build this thread up as a multi-part guide to getting started with darts - from the very beginning to basic practices and beginning to find what works best for you. Looking back, I really wish I'd taken some of my own advice! Big Grin

So here we go with part 1 - Darting 101.

Firstly - we'll start at the very start. With the darts themselves. 

I'm a firm believer in the idea that one should start how they mean to continue. Don't be afraid to start with tungsten darts, as they're what you'll (likely) be throwing when your averages and skill go up. Going tungsten doesn't have to mean going pricey though. A set of £10 El Cheapos is no more likely to make you Phil Taylor than a set of Target Elysians.

The McCoy/Tommy's/own brand ranges at Pure Darts are a great starting point. They're inexpensive and if you don't get on with them you could always put them on the BSS section here on the forum and someone'll be interested. Maybe you could even swap for something you feel suits you better. Smile

In terms of shape, that's more up to you. I'd recommend either a straight barrel or bullet/Lowe shape barrel myself. Both seem to be fairly popular. Weight wise, 23g seems to be a popular starting point. I'd say anything between 22 and 24 is your best bet. (This coming from someone who throws 16g darts... Big Grin)
  
Once you've got the darts, don't worry too much about setup. This is a guide for newbies, we're starting basic and working our way up. Some medium nylon stems and a set of standard flights will do (or the supplied setup if your darts come with them). When you get better, you can tweak setup etc. More to come on that later.

Next up is the board (assuming you don't have one already). If you do, that's fine. Use that until it's usable no more. Unless it's a paper board. Those are only really suitable for bonfires. 

If you don't, here's some pointers.

Almost everyone on this forum will tell you to get a Winmau Blade 4. And they're not wrong. Great value board, no matter what your experience. In time, if you feel you want to, you can get the Dual Core model (which is more expensive but I've heard it's more than worth it). In the interests of DartsNutz impartiality though I am obliged to say that other boards are available. Target Pro Tour and Nodor Supamatch 2 are both equally good shouts.

Once you've got the board, you'll want to set it up, obviously. How else are you going to throw darts at it? With a blowgun and a spot of magic? Big Grin

First thing to do is measure your oche out. A Unicorn Oche Mate can help you here but I used the good old fashioned tape measure and mine's fine. The board should be set so that the inner (red) bullseye is 5'8 from the ground. You'll want a toe line too. My Blade 4 set came with one but you can but them for not much - or mark your own out. Make sure it's at 7' 9 1/4". It's also a good idea to make sure the distance from the inner bull to the toe line is 9' 7 1/2". This is where the Oche Mate can come in handy.

So now you've got a set of darts, and a board and oche set up to throw them at. You're ready, right? Almost. You have to figure out what's the most comfortable way of holding the blasted things first!

I consider grip and stance to be a separate mechanic to the throw. You have to be comfy at the oche before you can be comfy with your throw else you're going nowhere fast. Stance is fairly simple - just walk up to the oche and stand on the toe-line. Try and angle yourself a bit, it'll help to reduce torso rotation on throw. If you're right-handed, your right foot should be forwards and touching the toe line, and vice verse for a leftie. If you find it comfortable, lean forwards a bit. That can help as it reduces your distance to the oche. No going and impersonating Michael van Gerwen though or you'll ruin your spine. And last time I heard, scoliosis does not help you become a better darts player.*

* note: I accept no responsibility for any damage or long-term injury caused by impersonating the green machine's extreme lean to you, your board, your house, relatives, or Getagrip.

Personally, I like to keep my feet at 90 degrees to one another. Not necessarily touching but at roughly that angle. So if my right foot was parallel to the toe line going off to the left, my back foot would point effectively backwards from the toe line. If my right foot was square on, my left would point off to the left. The opposite applies for lefties, presumably - left pointing forwards = right pointing right 90 degrees. Left pointing 90 degrees right = back pointing away from the line.

Gripping the dart is just a little bit more complex. I've heard the best way is to put your darts on a table, and go to pick one up in your throwing hand. The way you hold them is a great guide for grip position. Just adjust it until you get something comfortable, and that's your starting grip. As you practice (which we'll get to) it'll develop naturally.

I'll continue this at a later date but hope someone finds this helpful for now. Smile
[Image: SJPX5hS.png]

"And the devil did grin; for his darling sin is pride that apes humility." - Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Current setup:

Cosmo Juggler Queen 2nd 400 (18g) + One80 Reflex conversion points
Cosmo Carbon #8 locked stem
Cosmo Fit Flight Juggler yellow (ocean design)

High checkout: 124 (T20, T14, D11, steeltip)
Best 501 leg: 20 darts
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Nice tips so far Josh

now, you must weigh in on beer choice:  Ale or Lager?
also, choice cusswords?

looking forward to the next installment   Tongue
I never thought I'd be so adept at subtracting 26 from any number....
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Good post Josh! +1
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Some super info for newbies and some good points in there that the experienced players could pick up on that may help correct some bad habits. Have a +1 from me
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Darts Setup: 23g DPC Extreme Performance, Black Target Pro Grip Stems, Target Vision 100 Standard Flights, 35mm Gold CD Mk3 Points
Previous Darts Setup: 23g DPC Gun Metal Elite, Medium Black Target Pro Grip Stems, Standard Black V180 Flights, 30mm Black Grooved Storm Points

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Indeed sound advice, well doneSmile
Target Raymond Van Barneveld 9Zero 26gr
Unicorn Raymond Van Barneveld Phase 2 25gr
Unicorn Raymond Van Barneveld Phase 5a 24gr Natural
Unicorn Phase 3 24gr
Unicorn Keegan Brown 22g

Winmau Blade 5







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Some good advice in there! Have a +1 from me.
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Good info there Josh... but can you swap the "3/4" for a "1/4" ?

-1, only kidding
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(03-09-2016, 02:14 PM)Swiiiitch Wrote: Good info there Josh... but can you swap the "3/4" for a "1/4" ?

-1, only kidding

Don't know what you're on about. Tongue

Seriously though, ta for the spot. Fixed Smile
[Image: SJPX5hS.png]

"And the devil did grin; for his darling sin is pride that apes humility." - Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Current setup:

Cosmo Juggler Queen 2nd 400 (18g) + One80 Reflex conversion points
Cosmo Carbon #8 locked stem
Cosmo Fit Flight Juggler yellow (ocean design)

High checkout: 124 (T20, T14, D11, steeltip)
Best 501 leg: 20 darts
Reply
Good intro for beginners Josh!  Wink
I don't think there is anything 'natural' about throwing darts. A person does not naturally stand sideways, with weight more on one leg, lean forward and swing to launch a projectile repeatedly, day in, day out as part of daily routine. One does not even throw a rock or ball that way.    ~ With darts, everything has to be learnt, and refined.  Wink

What is NATURAL? http://www.dartsnutz.net/forum/showthread.php?tid=22147

A beginner - always experimenting and trying to learn! So I can fool around with loads of set-ups and techniques! Lol! Big Grin
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Good stuff Josh.
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Very helpful...and good advice Josh...
RebelModdarts: Tongue darts for life..! :stressed:
Darts: unicorn blackstar 22 grms carbon shaft Robson plus flights
Board: Terton Craft Samurai
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Great advice Josh. Darts is like golf and the most expensive equipment doesn't mean you will succeed. All the gear and no idea! If you haven't nailed the basics then don't bother trying to improve. +1
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Cheers for the feedback all. But guess what? Yes, it's time for part 2 - On The Board Would Be Helpful.

So you have darts, a stance and a grip. Surely now you're ready to throw them right? No? What are you waiting for, Christmas? Of course you are!

Standing at the oche, with your three darts in your non-throwing hand, the daunting prospect of throwing your first dart awaits you. Mine hit the board, I think. But don't worry if yours doesn't. This is a journey! 

The actual throwing motion itself consists of 4 main components in my eyes: the aim, the draw back, the push/pull of the dart, and the post-throw.

Aiming is as simple as lining the dart up and readying yourself to throw it at the target. You can take as long as you like with this; Mensur Sujlovic is a prime example of taking a while. Taking too long may annoy people but that's their problem right?

Now the question of where to aim is an important one. Bullseye? T20? Larry's secret stash of aluminium stems? Personally, I say start by throwing at... tops.

You may be thinking "But Josh, that's a tiny target! I'll never hit that!" And you're probably right. You will have difficulty at first, getting your darts to go where you want them to. I still struggle now and I've been playing for a year. But throwing at tops will help you develop a vital component of any successful throw: the follow through. We'll come to that in a bit, but now onto the second component of the throw.

The draw back is just that; drawing the dart back as far as you can do comfortably and without hitting your eye. Some people draw back more than others. Tony David has haemophilia which meant he couldn't draw back as much as other players yet he still won the 2002 Lakeside World Championship. So don't worry too much about it, although more draw back is usually better.

I like to think once you draw the dart back, you're committed to that throw, no matter how badly it goes. So don't jump the gun; only draw back when you're ready to throw. Preparation is key to success; if you don't prepare to make a cake you're not gonna make a very good cake, even if your name is Paul Hollywood.

The throwing motion informs the component after that but we'll focus on the actual throw now. Depending on where you grip the dart, you will either pull or push the dart to its target. Raymond van Barneveld is a good example of a puller; Phil Taylor a good example of a pusher. (No, not that kind of puller or pusher. Stop snickering.)

It doesn't matter which you do, as long as the dart leaves your hand cleanly and doesn't slip or stick. When throwing, only your forearm and possibly your wrist should move. Your elbow should remain relatively still. Naturally as you extend your arm your elbow will lift slightly. That's fine. If it's going up or down in your draw back then it becomes an issue as it applies additional upward or downward force to the dart which throws it off target. Kind of like firing an arrow in 50mph winds; it's not going to go where you want it to. Long story short: keep it as still as possible!

Part 4, arguably the most crucial component of a throw, is the post-throw. Which basically means what you do once the dart leaves your hand. Not what you do with your other half's mail.

You should aim to release the dart just before your forearm and wrist become vertical. Release timing varies per player and will come through practice. See Felix McBrearty for a good example of this. Once your dart has left your hand, your arm should keep moving. Because this is where the follow through happens. 

Essentially, a good follow through should see your arm end up almost on a 180 degree straight line, with the palm of your hand facing the floor. That's how you know you've done it right. If your arm is at a 125 degree angle, your palm is facing the board, or you are lying on the ground crying out in pain, chances are you're doing it wrong. It's definitely worth mastering the follow through and thowing action before you do any serious practice. Otherwise you'll probably never fix it and end up with a throw that doesn't work.

That being said, everyone throws differently. Some of the most successful players of all time have had quirks. Bristow and his wrist, Shayne Burgess and his throw, and even less well known players like Mark Hylton have done well with throws that may be considered "strange". Your throw is unique to you. So develop it well!

And that rounds out part 2. Dunno when part 3 will happen but it probably will someday.
[Image: SJPX5hS.png]

"And the devil did grin; for his darling sin is pride that apes humility." - Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Current setup:

Cosmo Juggler Queen 2nd 400 (18g) + One80 Reflex conversion points
Cosmo Carbon #8 locked stem
Cosmo Fit Flight Juggler yellow (ocean design)

High checkout: 124 (T20, T14, D11, steeltip)
Best 501 leg: 20 darts
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I'm bored so I'm going to write up a part 3 - What? *Player name* is evolving!

So you've started throwing. You have your darts, you have a good enough throw, and you can hit what you're aiming for a good few times. You're nowhere near pro standard yet but you're getting better. So now it's time to start thinking seriously about practice.

There's a saying out there; "Practice makes perfect." Some people disagree and say "Good practice makes perfect." Gary Anderson barely practices at all but that's besides the point. If you want to improve, you have do do at least some practice. It's a fact of life and one that's not going to change unless you are literally the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. In which case, it might. I've heard his Dad is quite powerful.

Now there'a a bazillion and one practice games and routines out there. Some are easier to master than others. One game might target consistency while another might target doubles. One might test your mental strength while another might focus on finishing. You need to find a variety of games that you enjoy and can use to help you improve. My personal philosophy is that if you ain't enjoying something, you're not going to be good at it.

So make darts enjoyable! Find games you like. Not necessarily easy ones or ones you are good at - ones you like. There's no point in playing on easy mode as all you'll do is become good at playing on easy mode. Challenge yourself!

A few common games people talk about and play are Around the Clock on doubles (or Around the World if you're Dutch), Bob's 27, 1001, Half-it, Cricket Count Up and 100 darts at [insert target here]. These are all good games but some are more demanding than others. My personal favourites from that list are Cricket Count Up and Half-it but everyone has their preferences. 1001 is good for extended scoring practice and gets some finishing in there too. Try a game of 170 if you want to practice finishing.

We have loads of practice games here on the forum too, made by us Nutz ourselves - check them out here. I'll also take this time to shamelessly plug my own game, Kosumo's 27 - a modified version of half-it which is more forgiving.

Similarly you'll want to check this thread out. It's a great programme called Flight School and it's run by George Silberzahn. It's helped my game loads and I'm sure it can do the same for yours! George has practice routines that can test everyone from beginners to the elite of the game. So what are you waiting for? Easter?

In my eyes though, the best practice comes from actually playing games of 501/701/cricket/who-can-miss-the-board-first. Of course I get you can't be down the local 24/7 so here's some ways to enjoy darts matches from the comfort of your own home!

Pro Darter is a great online application that allows you to play many 01 games and some cricket against its 8 difficulties of AI and against the world if you so wish! PC programs like NScore and n01 are great if you don't always have Internet access. 

Want the ultimate online challenge? The Webcam Darts Organisation is your best bet for competitive online darts. Some pro players can be found on here too so you know it's got credibility. By playing other people, you'll learn more about the pressures of match play and improve your game as a result. 

If you can use these practice games and ways of training well, you'll see yourself get better over time. And that gives you confidence to improve again. And then you get better, end the cycle (hopefully) repeats! Smile
[Image: SJPX5hS.png]

"And the devil did grin; for his darling sin is pride that apes humility." - Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Current setup:

Cosmo Juggler Queen 2nd 400 (18g) + One80 Reflex conversion points
Cosmo Carbon #8 locked stem
Cosmo Fit Flight Juggler yellow (ocean design)

High checkout: 124 (T20, T14, D11, steeltip)
Best 501 leg: 20 darts
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Thumbs Up 
very good advise Smile
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