I know learning your outs sounds a bit like eating your veggies: it's something you know you should probably do more of but it's a bit of a chore.

The driver for me to get better at learning my outs were those times during league play where I'd be stood at the oche trying to work out what to do when my first dart missed its target. I'm not the worst counter (or, clearly, the best) but under that pressure I used to generally resort to the standard tactic of "If I'm on an even I'll throw at 20's, if I'm on an odd I'll throw at 19's". This is not a solid process and it's frustrating hitting T19 and finding out you have 34 left.

As a result of this I started practicing the outs between 61 and 100. (I don't want this post to be a holy war about which is the best way to take out any given number although I do have views on that!) Part of the practice was to hit the out but an equally important part was knowing which way I was going and to be able to adjust without breaking my flow.

The lightbulb moment here, which may be obvious to everyone else, is that knowing these finishes was not only useful on this particular outshot but any time I landed on that number. Take 68 as an example. This, for me, is as follows:

68

T20 leaves D4; or

S20 leaves 48 which is the 16/8 pie for D16 or tops.

As well as knowing this when I have a 68 outshot with three darts in hand I can plug in this building block in other situations when that number comes up. Say I'm on 86 and my opponent is on 250. I'm still going for 18s as T18 leaves D16. I also know prior to stepping up to the oche that S18 leaves 68. With my opponent on a finish I'll go S18 for the bullseye but there's no point leaving 50 unless I'm going to throw at the bull. In this example, I am not throwing at the bull so I plug in my "68, 3 dart finish" building block in. With 68 required and two darts in hand I switch to 20's and follow the route described above. I really should be walking away from this visit with either 40 or 32 remaining with the absolute minimum of fuss.

And this works when you miss both your primary and secondary targets. Say I'm on 86 again. I'm still going 18's but this time I slip into T4. I know from experience or pre-calculation that 86-12 is 74. Because I'm comfortable on all the outshots (mathematically speaking) between 61 and 100 I just plug in the 74 block and go again.

For me this takes away one of the levels of calculation. I may still need to do the maths of "number I started with minus the unexpected thing I just hit" but I then don't have to flail around working out what to do with this unplanned two-darter.

These blocks also work on the bigger numbers as well. If I'm on 134 and I hit T20 I know that leaves me 74 so I plug in that block; if I want go 19s instead then then I know the treble will leave me 77 and I have a block for that finish too. As soon as the 77 block is in place I discard the 134 so when I hit S19 with my second dart I don't need to work out what 134 minus 76 is. Instead I'm on familiar ground of:

77

T19 leaves D10; or

S19 leaves 58 which is the 18 pie for tops

Perhaps it's the way my mind work but I found it really useful doing it this way. And of course you can start creating your blocks at the appropriate size for your game. Maybe your block set starts with the numbers from 41 to 61. Or 101 to 140.

The driver for me to get better at learning my outs were those times during league play where I'd be stood at the oche trying to work out what to do when my first dart missed its target. I'm not the worst counter (or, clearly, the best) but under that pressure I used to generally resort to the standard tactic of "If I'm on an even I'll throw at 20's, if I'm on an odd I'll throw at 19's". This is not a solid process and it's frustrating hitting T19 and finding out you have 34 left.

As a result of this I started practicing the outs between 61 and 100. (I don't want this post to be a holy war about which is the best way to take out any given number although I do have views on that!) Part of the practice was to hit the out but an equally important part was knowing which way I was going and to be able to adjust without breaking my flow.

The lightbulb moment here, which may be obvious to everyone else, is that knowing these finishes was not only useful on this particular outshot but any time I landed on that number. Take 68 as an example. This, for me, is as follows:

68

T20 leaves D4; or

S20 leaves 48 which is the 16/8 pie for D16 or tops.

As well as knowing this when I have a 68 outshot with three darts in hand I can plug in this building block in other situations when that number comes up. Say I'm on 86 and my opponent is on 250. I'm still going for 18s as T18 leaves D16. I also know prior to stepping up to the oche that S18 leaves 68. With my opponent on a finish I'll go S18 for the bullseye but there's no point leaving 50 unless I'm going to throw at the bull. In this example, I am not throwing at the bull so I plug in my "68, 3 dart finish" building block in. With 68 required and two darts in hand I switch to 20's and follow the route described above. I really should be walking away from this visit with either 40 or 32 remaining with the absolute minimum of fuss.

And this works when you miss both your primary and secondary targets. Say I'm on 86 again. I'm still going 18's but this time I slip into T4. I know from experience or pre-calculation that 86-12 is 74. Because I'm comfortable on all the outshots (mathematically speaking) between 61 and 100 I just plug in the 74 block and go again.

For me this takes away one of the levels of calculation. I may still need to do the maths of "number I started with minus the unexpected thing I just hit" but I then don't have to flail around working out what to do with this unplanned two-darter.

These blocks also work on the bigger numbers as well. If I'm on 134 and I hit T20 I know that leaves me 74 so I plug in that block; if I want go 19s instead then then I know the treble will leave me 77 and I have a block for that finish too. As soon as the 77 block is in place I discard the 134 so when I hit S19 with my second dart I don't need to work out what 134 minus 76 is. Instead I'm on familiar ground of:

77

T19 leaves D10; or

S19 leaves 58 which is the 18 pie for tops

Perhaps it's the way my mind work but I found it really useful doing it this way. And of course you can start creating your blocks at the appropriate size for your game. Maybe your block set starts with the numbers from 41 to 61. Or 101 to 140.

Darts: Harrows Glen Durrant Duzza Series 2 24g, short Harrows Supergrip shafts, Harrows flights (Marathon/Retina/Optix/Rapide)

Best 501: 13 darts (League), 14 darts (Pro Darter)

Best Checkout: 154 (League), 160 (Pro Darter)