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Practice makes perfect!

Whilst this is such a common and well known saying, the fact is that as a darts player, you will never actually become “perfect”, no matter how much practice you do. But having played this game for too many years to remember, I have seen those at my local who are practicing and moving towards “perfect” way more than those that are not. Recently I saw a local player who was a 45/50 average player a year ago beat one of the best players in one of our local club’s darts nights and he averaged near 80 in the match. A fluke? A one off? Nope, it all came from playing the game regularly and “practicing”. He told me before the game that he “plays here Wednesday nights, his local Thursday’s, always finds somewhere to play on Friday nights and plays in the City of Sails darts league on Saturdays”. I’m sure he also plays between Sunday and Tuesday somewhere too! I even spoke to one of the best players in the country a while back. He told me that he plays or practices at home for “about two hours every evening”. Of course, you will only get out of practice what you put into it so if you aren’t looking to be a world beater, two hours a day maybe a bit much for you.

The first thing any dart player (that wants to improve) needs to do is determine what do you want to become as a darts player? Do you want to be the best player in your region or even in the country? Do you want to win a specific tournament, maybe become the next “club champ”? Or do you just simply want to be more competitive and be the best darts player that you can be?

Well, there are plenty of ways to get there, and as the saying goes, “to get to where you want to be, you need to practice”!

We have highlighted a bunch of practice games and routines that can help you to stay focused during training in our previous articles, but here’s a few more popular and common games to play during training, either by yourself or with a friend:

Work on your scoring power:

Straight 20’s: Perhaps use this as a warmup. Hit the single (or treble) 20 as many times as you can in a row. You’d think this is simple, but you’ll be surprised as that one stray dart will reset your count more than you’d care to admit. Set targets if you like, then you could repeat the process on the 19s, 18s and 17s should you wish. This will help with the scoring part of your game.

Stay straight: Yes, keep your elbow tucked in, forearm vertical to keep your darts straight. It’s easier said than done. Try this wee game to help: Visit 1, aim for the Double 20, Double 3 then the bullseye. 2nd visit, aim for the large single 20, large single 3, then the bullseye again. 3rd visit, aim for the treble 20, treble 3 then the bull. In the last visit aim for the small single 20, small single 3 and then the bullseye. You score what you actually hit on what you are actually going for. Total your score as you go, the perfect game is a score of 361. Remember you must go for the 20’s, the 3’s and then the bull in that order. If you miss your target, you get no score for that dart.

Practice your checkouts:

This is very commonly used amongst dart players, sometimes even used as practice before a match. It is played to practice your checkouts. You start on 121 and have a certain number of darts to check out depending on your ability. (3 darts for an intermediate/expert player that may average 55+ or 6 darts for beginner players.) Once you have checked out 121, you then move up one to 122, and so on, and see how far you can get. To increase the difficulty, if you fail to check out in your allotted number of darts, you go down one. Some play by going up 10 when completed and down one when not, so play around with what suits your level best.

Another “checkout” game: You start by throwing 9 darts at the bull. Let’s say the first 3 hit, bull, 25 and the 11 = 86. The second throw hits 25, 25, 25 = 75 and the third throw hits 25, 18 and 50 = 93.

This now gives you three checkouts to finish on 86, then 75 and then 93.

You then have just three darts to compete each checkout. Continue until completed. The next part

of the game is to complete the total in say 9 darts. So, in this example you would have a total of 254

(86+75+93=254), so give yourself 9 darts to finish 254 left. This game can be amended again depending on your ability, but it gives you practise at the bull, combination finishing and double practice.

There are literally hundreds of games you can play to make training more enjoyable and less repetitive, especially if training by yourself. Ensure whatever game you use, you are targeting the three main areas of the game of darts, staying straight, scoring and finishing.

Straight arrows everyone.

Paul Webber

Owner – Bullseye Darts NZ

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