How To Get Better At Darts
How can I get better at darts? It is a question which has been asked by players of all abilities who are looking to take their game to the next level. Whether that is from complete beginner to competing in your local league, or from a steady pub player to challenging in open competitions, every player wants to improve their darts skills.
This blog includes everything you need to know about how to get better at darts, with tips to strengthen your game along with 14 different practice routines that will help you hit new heights in matches. Click here to go straight to our list of darts practice games.
Tips On How To Practice With Purpose
As the old saying goes ‘practice makes perfect’ and it is the same for darts too. The best way to get better at darts is by putting the time in on the practice board, but it is important to make sure that when you practice you also do it with a purpose.
Focus Your Efforts
Throwing darts at a board repeatedly with no target in mind will not help you to improve your game. Make sure every time you practice that you do so with a goal to aim for. One of the best tips for getting better at darts is to practice throwing at smaller target areas (doubles and trebles) and to try and hit specific scores on the board.
Rather than just throwing darts aimlessly at the board, try throwing at a specific double or treble to help you improve your accuracy. For example, throw for 10 minutes aiming at the treble 20 and see how many darts you can get in the target. This will give you a number to try and beat next time, so you can measure your progress.
Start Consistent, Stay Consistent
Developing a consistent practice routine will help you to prepare for matches in the future. Try to keep in the right mindset throughout your practice sessions, like you would in a match, and stay focused on the targets or scores you are aiming for.
If you have a pre-throw ritual or something else that helps you to focus, repeat this process whilst practicing to mirror what your technique and throw would be like in an actual match. Regularly repeating your routine is essential to building good practice habits, so the next time you go to practice make sure you have a consistent approach to throwing that is like how you would throw in a competitive situation.
It is important to set yourself a practice routine that you can follow regularly for players wanting to know how do you get better at darts. Whether you set aside one hour once a week or 30 minutes every day, try to get into the habit of practicing regularly for a certain period.
Practice needs to be regular for you to improve your game and practicing can be on your own or with other players. Setting aside an hour or two for a practice session with a friend might help keep each other accountable too as you do not want to let your practice partner down.
Watch the video below with ex professional Wayne Mardle on how to find a practice routine that works best for you and why you should also not practice too much.
Setting goals for yourself is another important part of improving your darts game. Having a goal gives you something to focus on and work towards each time you practice. Your goal might be to get better at your scoring and to hit more treble 20s, or to improve on your accuracy on the doubles, or a more technical goal to work on an aspect of your throw, such as the follow through.
Practice on one goal at a time, rather than having lots of goals in mind, as you will be able to fully focus on that one specific area of your game that you want to work on. Once you are happy that you have achieved this goal then look towards the next goal and another thing you want to get better at.
Study Yourself & Compare
We would recommend to film yourself playing darts, as this is one of the best ways to review your throw and look for ways to improve your technique. Watching yourself back on camera allows you to study the mechanics of your throw and to check if you have a consistent throwing action each time. Are you throwing the same with each dart or does your throw vary from the first dart to the third dart? You will be able to spot any differences by reviewing footage of you playing darts.
You could also compare yourself to the professionals and how they throw a dart. Many of the top players have a consistent throwing action and it is worth studying their game to see if there is anything that might transfer into your throw and work for you. Another way to review your technique is to seek advice from more experienced players that you might come across in your local league or tournaments. Ask them to critique your throw and study their action to see what they do differently to you.
Maintaining Resilience & Focus
Whilst being a good dart player involves a lot of skill, the mental side of the game is also a crucial part, and it is important to have a resilient mindset. Staying calm under pressure in matches and following your practice techniques with every throw will help you to succeed at the oche.
Having a strong mindset is something that players build over time, so learning from past mistakes is a vital part of developing this aspect of your game. Use any losses or moments in matches that have gone wrong as an opportunity to learn and improve from.
A strong mindset in darts also means going into matches with confidence. Have faith in your skills from all the time you have spent on the practice board improving your game. Darts is a mental game, as much as it is about skill, so believe in your ability and envisage yourself hitting the trebles and doubles that you need to win.
Remember to Relax!
The most important thing to remember is that darts is meant to be fun. Whilst darts is still a very competitive game and you want to win, it is also about enjoyment. Make sure you are enjoying the game and try to relax, as you will find that your best darts will come when you feel comfortable and when you’re not putting too much pressure on yourself. Enjoy the darts!
Practice Routines To Improve Your Game
Looking to improve your darts game? As promised, we are going to run through some of our favourite practice routines at Darts Corner that we like to play ourselves! Follow the tips and advice listed above when trying out these practice games and watch your darts go to the next level!
ROUND THE BOARD
One of the most popular darts practice routines is round the board. Also known as ‘Around The Clock,’ this game helps you practice on all the targets on a dartboard. This can benefit you in a match if you need to hit a certain single number to leave a double.
To play round the board, go in numerical order from 1 to 20 hitting the single of each segment. Once you hit the single 1, move on to single 2, single 3, and so on. This is a game that can be played with a group of friends, and it can be a competition to see who can hit all 20 single numbers first.
ROUND THE BOARD (DOUBLES)
As Bobby George once famously said: “scoring for show, doubles for dough.” Being able to hit the double before your opponent is ultimately what will decide the outcome of the game.
This variation of round the board involves hitting all the doubles from 1-20, in numerical order, and then the bullseye. This is a useful game to play as you will get practice time on all the doubles on the board. How quickly can you hit all the doubles?
Watch the video below with PDC professional Alan Soutar on the importance of practicing on the doubles.
The main aim in a game of darts is to ‘check out’ before your opponent. Practicing on your finishes will help improve your skills when it comes to completing a leg of 501. For new players, this is also an important part of practice as it will help you learn the different routes for different finishes without the pressure of being in a match.
A popular game for practicing finishes is ‘121’ where you start on 121 and have a certain number of darts to check out. This number can depend on your ability, as some players will set themselves six darts to finish, whilst for beginners using 9-12 darts is a good place to start.
Once you have finished 121, move up one to 122, then 123, and so on and see how far you can get. If you want to increase the difficulty, when you do not check out in your allotted number of darts, go down one. For example, if you do not check out 121, you would then drop down to 120.
Who does not love a bullseye finish? Practice checkouts from 81-90 with three darts as these can be the ‘game changers’ in matches. If you miss the treble with your first dart, you should be left with a shot at the bullseye with your third dart.
For example, if you have 81 and hit a single 19 you would be left with 62, so go for single 12 and then bullseye to complete the checkout. If you hit the treble 19 with your first dart, then you would have double 12 left and two darts to hit it.
The scoring part of the game is also important in darts, and it is the first point of focus in a leg of 501. Each player will take it in turns to get from 501 points down to zero, and as the treble 20 is the highest-scoring segment on the board it will be the first target a player will aim for.
Spend some time working on your scoring power and practice on the treble 20, along with the other high-scoring trebles, like 19s and 18s, to help improve your skills. How many consecutive visits to the board can you hit a treble 20?
Below is a video from ex professional Wayne Mardle who talks you through how to play his favourite practice game: ‘Straight 20s’.
You can play this game on your own or with your friends. Start by throwing three darts at the board and whatever you score you/or the next person must try and beat that score. For example, if you score 40 points, the next turn you must score 41 or more.
If you are practicing by yourself, what is the highest score you can hit with three darts? Or if you are in a group practicing together, which one of you can get the biggest score?
THE BIG TREBLES
Another game to help improve your scoring power is ‘the big trebles.’ This game involves throwing nine darts at the treble 20, followed by nine darts at the treble 19, then treble 18 and treble 17. Keep your score of how many trebles you hit from the 36 darts and see if you can beat it next time.
This is a game that can also be played in a group, as you can see which one of you can hit the most trebles.
This game involves practicing on some of the lesser used trebles, but ones that are important in combination finishes. Throw nine darts at treble 16, followed by treble 15, treble 14, treble 13, treble 12, treble 11 and treble 10 and see how many you can hit.
These trebles can be crucial when it comes to the checkouts ranging from 62 to 88 and can be the difference in having one or two darts at a double. For example, on 62 if you hit the treble 10 you will have two darts left to hit double 16. If you miss the treble 10 then you need to use another dart to leave a double with your last dart.
THREE IN A BED
A fun practice game to play with your friends or with your darts team. One player picks a treble or a double on the board and the winner is the first person to hit that target three times. Whoever gets to three first then picks the next target to aim for.
This is a great game for practicing your doubles and trebles and targets that you might not often spend time going for. It is also a game that can involve as many players as you want, so it is a competition to see who can get ‘three in a bed’ before anyone else.
30 AT THE BULLSEYE
Work on your accuracy at the smallest target on the board by throwing 30 darts at the bullseye. In matches you will often have to ‘bull up’ to decide who will throw first. Spending some time in your practice routine on the bullseye can reap the rewards both when it comes to the ‘bull up’ and when you leave the bull in a match.
See how many bullseyes you can hit with 30 darts and how you rank below:-
1 – Beginner; 2 – Pub Player; 3 – Super League; 5 – County Player; 8 – Professional Player
Choose either the green or red doubles and see how many you can hit. For the red doubles (2, 3, 7, 8, 10, 12, 13, 14, 18 and 20 and excluding the bullseye) or the green doubles (1, 4, 5, 6, 9, 11, 15, 16, 17 and 19) there are 10 doubles to aim for.
Using three darts for each double, can you hit each one? Is there a double you are most accurate on? Record your score and see if you can beat it next time.
THE INVISIBLE MAN
We often get asked what are the best practice routines you can play on your own that recreate in game situations? The ‘invisible man’ game is one you can try at home and is simple to play. Give yourself a set number of darts to finish a leg of 501, and if you check out within your allotted number of darts then you win the ‘leg’. However, if you do not finish 501 then the ‘invisible man’ wins the leg.
This is a routine you can tinker with to make it as easy or as difficult as you want. For beginners, you might want to start with a more modest number of darts, before reducing that number as your skills improve. The ‘invisible man’ game is a great way of adding some pressure to your practice routine whilst also practicing all areas of your game.
Another handy routine is ‘201’ and involves finishing 201 in as few darts as possible. By starting on 201, you will not be working too much on your scoring power, but instead focusing on your set up play and finishing – two key components in a game of darts.
If you are trying this game out, see how your score compares below:-
10-12 darts – Good; 7-9 darts – Excellent; 4-6 darts - Professional
A game invented by the former world champion Bob Anderson; ‘Bob’s 27’ will help you improve your doubles all around the board. This is the perfect game for either practicing on your own or with several people, as you can try and beat your personal best score or try and get the biggest score amongst your friends.
Each player starts on 27 points and the aim of the game is to make it around the board by only hitting doubles. Players take it in turns throwing three darts at double 1, then double 2, double 3 and up to and including the bullseye. For each dart that hits the double, you add those points to your score. So, if you hit double 1 with one of your darts you add two points, and your score is now 29.
However, for every round you are unable to hit the target, you subtract the points of that double. For example, if you miss double 1 with all three darts then you take off two points and your score is 25. Each round you can score up to three doubles’ worth of points, but you can only lose one double’s worth of points.
If your score drops to zero, then the game is over. Can you go all the way round the board and finish the game?
Now that you have your practice routines…
We hope you enjoy trying out these darts practice games and, if you have any other favourites, let us know and we will add them to the list!
A consistent practice routine will help you to improve your skills, but most importantly remember to enjoy the game and have fun whilst giving these various practice games a try.
These practice routines can be played on your own or with a group of people. Get your friends or the teammates in your darts team together to give these games a go and find out who is the best!