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String Theory
An interesting article by the Unicorn Uni Boffin: https://www.unicorn-darts.com/news/2013/...heory.aspx

   
String Theory
Posted by UniBoffin at 12:53 on 21st October 2013 in UniBlog
String Theory
After previously subjecting you to a blog on the theory of dart flight, I guess it’s only fair I try to make up for it this time with something of more direct interest to most players – a blog on the theory of how to throw the things in the first place. Depressingly for me, though, it’s theory I have never been able properly to implement.

The cause of this inability is in itself instructive, however. In my distant youth, hand me any sort of racquet, bat, or club and I’d use it to propel the appropriate ball or projectile with impressive speed but considerable imprecision. The mechanism behind both these qualities was excessive rotation.

In racquet sports, rotation – whether of the trunk, shoulder, forearm, or wrist, or, better still, all of them combined - is the key to power. Unfortunately, it’s also a cause of inaccuracy. If a racquet head is travelling in a circle, it is only pointing in any given direction for an instant, so there is no margin of error at all in timing a shot if it is to go in that direction. And the smaller the radius of that circle and the faster the racquet head speed, the more the error is likely to be.

Exactly the same consideration applies in darts, too much or too fast a rotation of the arm, wrist, or anything else, will make accuracy harder to achieve. What is required for precision is as linear a throwing motion as possible, so the dart is travelling in the right direction throughout the whole release area, making timing less critical and also helping to deliver the dart as straight as possible.

But unless you’re Plastic Man or Elastigirl (or Twizzle, for any nostalgic Gerry Anderson fans), a pure linear throwing action is pretty much an anatomical impossibility, by and large human joints are made to rotate, not extend. So the best that can be done is to combine rotations in opposite directions, so the angular motions cancel out, just leaving the required linear motion.

So let’s try to build such a throwing action by starting with a downward rotation of the forearm from the elbow, going from not quite vertically upright to horizontal. Then add an upward rotation of the upper arm from the shoulder, going from pointing down at maybe 20 degrees to also around horizontal.

That may sound complicated but it’s actually quite a natural linear pushing action. If you want to test that, get a long bit of string, stand on one end and run the other over your shoulder from the back and hold it out at arm’s length straight in front of you with your non-throwing hand. Now encircle the string with the thumb and forefinger of your throwing hand and run your hand up and down.

If the string were moved from your shoulder to your eye line and maybe angled up a bit, that would be the classic basic action we’re looking for and we want to add as little as possible to it – no body turn, no weight transference, and no other rotation of any sort - except one.

More on that in a minute, first I want to compare my darts string theory with darts practice, as demonstrated in the montage of photos above by two players I have had the pleasure of working with, the one-and-only dartmeister himself, Phil Taylor, and Paul Nicholson (what a nice guy, by the way – must do a Technique Spotlight on him sometime!).
Now obviously these images are from different throws, both in terms of the occasions and the styles of the two Pros, but that’s part of the point – consistency of throwing action is a given for most top professional, as is adherence to certain basic principles of how to throw.

Whilst I’m not pretending these pictures constitute a precision analysis, I am hoping that the lines I’ve added to them nonetheless “draw” attention to some interesting points. The blue ones indicating the players’ horizontal eye lines are pretty much along the direction of their focus, whereas they actually throw their darts along the upward-angled red lines (angled differently partly because of the difference in height of the two players). And look at the green lines showing their elbow levels – for both players the elbow has only raised slightly by the middle frame when the dart has already left the hand.

Going back to a hand sliding up and down that string, these images show the dart will generally be released about half-way along, when one of our two counter-acting rotations has hardly started. That linear action we were looking for with the nice extended follow-through along the line of sight may be “classic” and the main subject of a player’s conscious focus, but it neglects a major element of the throw, a semi-autonomous additional rotation which provides much of the upward velocity needed to counteract gravity.

That final rotation is an uncocking of the wrist, with the palm of the hand going, as shown, from facing up to facing more forward at release and down at the end of the follow-through.

And it’s the orientation of that semi-autonomous wrist rotation that stymies my darts, years of playing racquet sports made me too accustomed to rotating my wrist in the wrong plane, either pronating and turning the palm outward, away from the body, or, more often, supinating and turning it inward. As you can see, not much of either of those motions in Phil or Paul’s throw, as well as there being – as demanded by our classic action - very little movement of anything other than the throwing arm.

Hence if you want to play like The Power or The Asset and not The Boffin, you too need to control those rotations, especially of the wrist and especially supination (not to be confused with supermarionation by any of those nostalgic Gerry Anderson fans!).

So keep everything feeling linear, as if your hand were sliding down that length of string, and pay close attention to your wrist position at the end of a nice extended follow-through, and you shouldn’t go too far wrong.

I just hope you have far more success implementing that advice than I!



Maybe I am so inaccurate because my joints are hypermobile? Guests cannot see images in the messages. Please register at the forum by clicking here to see images.
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Wow. Now there is some food for thought.
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My daughter who just graduated from Georgia Tech with a degree in Mechanical Engineering says : Just throw the the dart and extend your arm and make sure palm of hand is down. And enjoy the game she says.
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actually George I agree. too much thinking is really bad IMO.
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The only thinking I do is what numbers I need to hit to leave a peg out.
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I would say in the majority of cases to just go with the feel and as George says just keep doing it and ignore what your hand , arm etc is doing.

But the lesser skilled people out there and the scientifically minded will always be analysing the reasons as to what makes the throws of the best players the best and why they are not as good.

So beginners and people looking to improve are always searching for answers, I have done the same myself, but I have resigned myself to the fact I am always going to be crap since losing my natural throw, but I dont care I still have a lot of enjoyment in what I do, but I can understand why others who are never satisfied keep searching for ways to improve but so many ultimately get frustrated with a lack of improvement that they eventually gave up.

I also believe that analysing every aspect that makes up a throw is a bad thing especially if you then think about it everytime you play, it really messes you up!

I just thought that the Boffin's article was interesting, but again if you start thinking about it everytime your throwing you will get so your more concerned about what your doing than where the dart is going. Not good really. Go with the feel!

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Good one Darren and very true.
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String theory is wonderful and it is apply on the powerful people.
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For triple and double twenty I apply this idea. I like throwing action of paul nicholson especially. I try to target just at the point where my ankle almost begin to rotate. I think this is the point where dart is leaving my hand. point I try to hold my dart paralel to the ground. I pull the darts while hold my wrist stable. to stabilize the speed I pull back darts (long barrel 50mm, medium shaft and normal flight combination) as close as flight touching my lips corner (just like paul does) down to my right eye. focus and throw the dart. this needs some more concentration than my regular throw.

I had quite grouping. after 10-15 minutes of playing I can not stay in the same level of concentration.
Regards,
Nadir.
I'm not so called, a real darts nut!!
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(10-21-2013, 11:59 PM)*Saber* Wrote: My daughter who just graduated from Georgia Tech with a degree in Mechanical Engineering says : Just throw the the dart and extend your arm and make sure palm of hand is down. And enjoy the game she says.

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Kudos to getagrip for posting this.

"a pure linear throwing action is pretty much an anatomical impossibility, (Uniboffin)"
I learned this the hard way. I was destroying my arm with poor results.

This article seems to justify the conclusions I have been coming to. "So keep everything feeling linear, as if your hand were sliding down that length of string,...(Uniboffin)" The way I have been describing the feeling is sliding the dart on a greased rail to the board. I totally get this.

Though, I don't have the skills or cred to back up my arguments, I respectfully offer my opinion. I think you HAVE to think about mechanics. When the feel mysteriously deserts you, it might be nice to know why. It is knowing thine self. Maybe your grip rotates a little more over or under the darts. You start missing and can't figure out why. It helps to remember exactly where it was when you were feeling it.

If you start thinking about spin you are doomed, is something I have heard. I beg to differ. I analyzed what was making the dart spin and learned to reverse the spin. I now can speed up or slow the dart down in either direction. I can dial it in with my grip. See?

I don't have the natural anatomical makeup for me to develop a perfect throw by feel. My arm is bent from breaking it too many times and wants to twist in the follow through. What feels natural to me is BAD, BAD, and BADDER. This article speaks to me. My brain must remain in the game. Now, if I can only make room in there for the math stuff.
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I think I have the same problems, you would not believe how many times my very first dart goes bang into the middle of T20 but then my shoulder, wrist, hand seem to decide they did not like throwing the dart that straight so they jump and twist in weird ways on following throws, its really annoying but I recently felt I had found a way to get it moving straighter but it seems that's what has caused my new shoulder ache, very annoying!
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(08-05-2014, 04:12 PM)Getagrip Wrote: I think I have the same problems, you would not believe how many times my very first dart goes bang into the middle of T20 but then my shoulder, wrist, hand seem to decide they did not like throwing the dart that straight so they jump and twist in weird ways on following throws, its really annoying but I recently felt I had found a way to get it moving straighter but it seems that's what has caused my new shoulder ache, very annoying!

I have been aware of a phenomena, I think of as the third dart snatch. If the first two are good, no matter how hard I try to maintain my follow through, invariably my arm tenses up and the dart falls short.

But, I track scores. Yes, keeping personal best stats and all that is evil. I started tracking 1st, 2nd, and 3rd dart totals. To my surprise, my third dart is consistently my best scorer. I guess I narrow the target in. But what to do about that 1st dart? Maybe I should do routines with just one dart. I could hire a dart caddy.

My arm stops about 20˚ short of straight. And it hurts when it reaches that point. Talk about motivation to snatch. To follow through naturally my arm has to twist one direction or the other. The only way to follow through to the target is if I drop my elbow. I know this is bad, but it is my only option. I pay less tribute to the 1s and 5s with it. It causes me to miss up and down. It hit D20 all the time by mistake.

Because of this, my biggest challenge is to get the dart to fly pure without excess spin or oscillation. I have had to analyze my grip and form to control these things before I worried about aiming. I am at a point now where I can check my grip, make sure my dart is in the right place in relation to my eye, and then move on. Now once these are done, I am trying to make an effortless throw with good pace. I think even the most effortless pros still trot their darts to the board in a hurry. I think if you work out the details in advance, that just makes it easier to put them out of mind when you need to.
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Imo, when your on your on. Doesnt matter what your hands and wrist are doing to each other or with each other.
But the mechanics here would be useful in practice, for beginners or for those who have hit a form slump. Maybe even for those with that dirty rotten Dartitis.
But having said that, the more you think about what your doing the more you will do. The more you try and do, the less your score will move!
Savvy?


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