NZ in “Lockdown” – practise, practise, practise

From midnight last night New Zealand went into lockdown to prevent the spread of Covid-19. Many view that the next four weeks will be tough as they remain housebound for the next four weeks. Me? I see this as an opportunity to 1), not get beaten down at the local club as its closed and 2), practise, practise, practise. So I am much better when I return. J-Dog, watch out (you know who you are lol). So, if you have a dartboard set up in your garage/home and if you want to improve in the game of darts, here’s some good training tips and drills that you can do alone whilst in “isolation”. You don’t need a partner to practise darts.

Firstly, remember when you practise, keep it game like. Focus as though you are in a competition game at your local or in a tournament. It’s too easy to just chuck the dart, relaxed at home.

Follow through.

Get the art of throwing a dart done correctly. Video yourself, watch if you move when throwing. Moving your feet or head a lot is a no no. A little movement of the back foot is OK, but no head movement. Hold the dart how you feel comfortable. Turn your body facing (roughly) 40 degrees away from the board with most of your weight on the front foot. Whatever angle feels the most comfortable. This leaves your front foot side on to the oche. This by default tucks your elbow in straight under the throwing hand and straightens your throw (believe it or not). Then check whether you follow through with your throwing arm, after the dart has left your hand. If your arm does not end parallel to the ground, with your throwing hand facing down, you have not followed through properly. I know of zero pro’s that don’t follow through in this way. Says something doesn’t it? Now, keep your eye on the target as each throw remains the same.

101 Finish.

Now we’ve fixed your throw, its training time. Most competitive dart games end with “01”. Either 301 or 501. So this game is purely breaking down the last part of what would normally be a competitive game. Play 101, straight start, double finish. Count how many darts it takes to complete and finish. Done in 2? Well done, done in 10? Not so good. Try and beat your best record, then try to get more consistent.

Double round.

You’ll find by playing “101 Finish” your stumbling block will be the doubles. “Double Round” is simple. Throw for double 1, once you get it move to double 2 and so on through to double 20 (tops). Count how many throws it takes, divide by 20 for your percentage finishing rate. Anything above 30% is very respectable. You may be surprised how low your percentage may be.

Bob’s 27.

(Named after Bob Anderson, 1988 World Champion). This is a step up from “Double Round”. You start with 27 points and aim for double 1. Three darts only. If you hit, your score increases by that double’s score. If you miss, you deduct that to your score. On to double 2 and so on through to double 20. If your score hits zero or less. Game over. See how far you can get, it’s very hard.

80 Plus.

OK last one, I promise. 80 plus is also a finishing game you can play alone. You have 80 and must finish (including double) with three darts or less. Get it and you move up by ten to 90 and try to finish that with three darts. Don’t finish, you drop down one (so then try to finish on 79 with three darts). See how high (or low) you can go. Set realistic targets for yourself.

I have plenty more games to help you train on your own, but these will be more than enough to get you started. They can all be adapted and changed to suit. Remember one thing, darts is very much a mental game. If you miss, or the opposition hits a 140 or 180, don’t let it get to you mentally. If they can hit, so can you. It’s hard I know, but it is the difference between the pro’s and the want to be’s.

Be safe everybody, isolate and straight arrows everyone.

Paul Webber

Owner – Bullseye Darts

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