Dart throwing advice wanted

OK, so I bought a dart board. Not your standard-issue wall dart board. No. I got a miniature one with a desktop stand. It was cute. Sue me.

Well, anyhoo, I set it up on the ottoman and sit on the floor about five feet away. I’ve gotten so I can actuall (gasp) hit the target. My problem is this- no matter how carefully I aim, I can only seem to land the darts kind of randomly around the board. I undestand really good players can actually hit the number they want, and even manage doubles, triples, even bullseyes… on purpose. Some people manage to play 301 and knock off three hundred and one points.

How do you do it? Is there some kind of dart aiming technique that enables the player to hit a particular point on the target, or is it a matter of managing to hit the target and get lucky?

I’d really like to know.

Also, my computerized opponent cheats. It always gets exactly 301, no matter what. It doesn’t even throw darts.

Like so much else in life, there’s no substitute for practice, practice, practice.

Here are my meager pointers on techniques:

  1. With regard to your stance, strive for balance. Many dart throwers will lean as far forward as possible, sometimes even throwing off one foot. If you are a rightie, stand with your right foot about twelve inches in front of your left and avoid leaning too far forward.

  2. One technique that I always demonstrate with beginners but may be difficult to explain here is as follows. Aim for the bulls eye and then extend your throwing arm (with dart) outward as if you had just completed your throw but keep the dart in your hand and your arm extended. Now keeping your arm extended, walk up to the dartboard and see where the dart would have actually landed. Chances are it’s not on the bulls eye and this might give you a visual of how and where you want to release.

  3. Practice by playing Around the Clock. Real simple. Start at one and once you’ve hit that, you advance to two, then three and so on up. If you hit a double, you skip the next number (i.e. you are throwing at five, hit the double and therefore advance to throwing at seven –skipping the six) and hitting a triple means you skip the next two numbers –same concept as before.


  1. While darts is a very social game, your alcohol consumption will have a direct, inverse proportion to your dart throwing technique. The more you imbibe the less proficient you will throw so as always, watch it with the booze intake.

Hope this helps

Well, if you don’t have a regulation dart board, hung properly, and halfway decent full-size darts, then any discussion of dart technique is going to be useless for you.

Get a real dart board!

That said, the basics of the technique are as follows. Hold the dart in your primary hand, right if right handed. Hold a pint of Guinness or Youngs or Harp in your other hand (Bass will do if nothing else is available). Stand with your primary foot forward, toes pointed 90° to the left of the direction to the board. The forward edge of your foot must be behind the foul line.

Lean toward the board, with your weight on this foot. Get comfortable. Keeping the dart between your eye and the board, aim with your elbow and swing your forearm back so your hand approaches your face. Swing your forearm forward in a pendulum arc so that the only joint that bends is your elbow, and release.

It’s going to take practice. Learn when to release, the fine points of posture, and how to swing your forearm. The cerebellum will take care of the rest. Some people are good aimers, and some aren’t. But the best thing about darts is that anyone can play passably.

OK, the best thing about darts is drinking the world’s best ale and stout, but the next best thing is that you can do it with anyone.

Ya know, it has never failed to amuse me that, second to pool, the most popular game played is establishments where the alcohol is served and consumed involves throwing sharp, pointy metal objects.

Granted, nowadays most bar darts are plastic-tipped, but still, put a little power behind it and the potential for losing an eye is still there.

Thanks for the advice.

A real dartboard is out of the question right now because my room is small and there really isn’t much available wall space to hang it on, and there’s no way Mom is going to let me hang it on the wall in the living room. Maybe someday, when I can afford my own place, I will have a real dartboard. And a bar in the living room. With Guinness. Mini-board is about 7 3/4" in diameter, and I do have wall space to accomodate it. At what height would I have to hang it, and what distance would I want to throw from, to approximate the experience of using a regulation-size dartboard?

bughunter, is holding the pint in the non-throwing hand essential? Whenever I’ve played in a bar, I play for absolute shit. The thing is, I always set my beer down on a table when it’s my turn to shoot, so maybe I’m not properly balanced.

The answer basically is “none”. One of the skills you’ll have to learn if you want to play regular darts is how to throw a certain weighted dart a specific distance. You can’t practice by throwing a lighter dart a shorter distance at a smaller target. In fact, you’ll probably have to unlearn whatever habits you develop before starting over again.

Ditch the little board. Practice at the bar. Don’t put the beer down. Don’t learn to play when you are always really drunk thoughh, or, like me, you won’t be able to play sober.

But I like my little board. It’s cute and doesn’t take up much space and makes nifty sounds when I hit it.

I did put it on the wall, and I think I"m starting to get the hang of basic throwing technique. The darts are ending up fairly close to where I want them on a more than occasional basis. I’ve even hit two bullseyes in one turn. I’m finding that it helps to give them a bit of an arc instead of trying to throw straight at the target.

And I’m too broke to go practice at a bar. This board was cheap, and my cats don’t expect me to buy beer in order to hang out in my room and shoot darts.

You need to find a cheaper bar! :wink:

The pointy end goes through the air first.

It’s a good idea to keep from spinning the dart; make sure that as the dart leaves your hand, your fingers do not impart spin on it.

Assuming that your darts that came with the board are normal-sized, you could practice throwing technique, but only this, with regulation distances. The throwing distance is 7 feet, 9 and one-quarter inches, and the board is hung at 5 feet, 8 inches from the bull.

What kind of board is this; soft-tip or hard? If it’s soft-tip and with regulation darts, you can do the above while accomplishing something. If the darts are small, se if you can procure some basic soft-tip models for cheap. A cork board? Fair steel-tipped darts are $1.97 at Wal-Mart.

Otherwise, you could forget all of the niceties and just have fun.

Wasn’t sure if this was a whoosh or not (so sue me!) but if you’re serious I know the answer to this one!!


When people say practice practice practice they aren’t kidding. I play dominoes (straights & 5’s and 3’s) for my local. One night the darts team was short a man and needed someone to avoid forfeiting. I volunteered. I pushed the limits of bad dart playing to new bounds. People had to coin new phrases top describe how I stunk up the place.

Anyhoo I enjoyed myself regardless, so thus had found a new life quest - to get good at darts. This was about four months ago. I’ve actually won 2 legs in that time (ie I still lost 2-1, but it isn’t as embarrassing). I have purchased some 97% tungsten darts for £25 and am practising a lot (I try to get down the local for an hour a night). Things are finally starting to click. My doubles are still very shaky, but I am beginning to be reliable at 20’s. I nearly always get at least 1 treble 20 out of 6 darts. Compared to the dross I was throwing when I started this is a considerable improvement.

Ok 20’s semi sorted, line up with bull, swing arm in straight line, get the weight right and the only place it can go is forwards and land in the 20. I get that. How do you go about modifying this technique if you don’t need a 20? or if you need a double? Any help appreciated.

Ideally you’ll be relaxed (easier said than done) and let go of the dart at the same point every throw. Once you have that consistency (and you must do to get the 20s regularly) you should just be able to aim for a different part of the board each time. The advice again of playing ‘round the clock’ is a good one - especially if you make yourself end on a double.

Aiming high and letting the dart drop in is, I think, considered to be the best method. I tend to focus on a spot right in the middle of the bed or double I need and aim to put the dart right on that spot. This gives a bit more margin for error.

I’m not a darts professional by any means but I do enjoy playing and sometimes I can be quite passably good, depending on how much I’ve had to drink. There’s a certain plateau–after about three beers or so–where things go very well, and I find it’s best for me to take advantage of that time. It’s all practice and followthrough after the throw, and a little bit prayer, especially for the bullseye.

I’m pretty short, and I find I have to adjust my throwing depending on the height of the shoes I’m wearing. I prefer playing Cricket, and I tend to close out the bottom of the board well in advance of the top, then have to sort of arc my throws to hit the top.


Throwing a dart is not unlike hitting a baseball or golf ball… The key is repeatability. The best way to achieve repeatability is to reduce the number of variable factors to as few as possible. The fewer moving parts you have, the fewer things can go wrong.

Keep your body quiet, no knee bends or bounces. Ideally, the only things moving will be your elbow, wrist and fingers. Mind your follow-through, as a general rule wherever your index finger is pointing in your follow-through is where the dart will land.

Don’t snap your wrist on release, this can create a lot of random motion. Try not to loft the dart to the board, as this introduces another up/down variable to the flight of the dart. A dart that is canted in the board from a lofted throw can block your next target. The best trajectory is as near flat as possible.

Lean as far forward as you can comfortably to reduce the distance to the board. Don’t fall out of your follow-through.

There are any number of ways to address the throw. It comes down to what will be most repeatable. Personally, I move left and right on the line to line up with the particular target. I base this on practice to find the spot that lines me up with the 20, then adjust for whichever number I’m going for. I hold the dart in front of my right eye and focus on the board. This causes the dart to appear doubled in my sight. I then use this to center in my target. All things being equal, I’m then ready to draw and release.

The draw should be smooth and slow, no need to fling the arm back like you’re throwing a javelin. Once you’ve reached the back of the draw, come forward, again smoothly, and release without spinning the dart. Pay attention to the flight of the dart. If the tail drags, or drags and then flips up, try adjusting your release point. If that doesn’t work, you might want to adjust the length of your shafts or the size of your flights for better aerodynamic balance.

If you’re having trouble hitting double-20 or 18, for example, resist the temptation to loft the dart up there. Most times simply raising your arm a bit will allow you to get there while maintaining a flat trajectory.

Most of all, have fun!!


OK, it’s an electronic dart board, soft-tip, and there is an option for a 2-player “cybermatch”. When I was playing 301, it seemed like the computer was generating itself all perfect 301’s. Eventually, it started busting once in a while, apparently to make itself look like it wasn’t cheating, but I know better.

Many years ago, I had a regulation cork dart board at which I spent many hours flinging metal-tipped darts. The board got pretty chewed up pretty fast.

Not really sure if the darts I’m using now are regulation, it’s been ages since I played with regulation darts, but they do seem to have a pretty good heft to them. They have metal shafts and metallic flights.

I’ve been playing rounds of Around the Clock, and I must say it’s been a mixed bag. I seem to be getting a lot more bounce-outs and misses, but when I do hit the target, it seems like my darts are clustering around the number I’m trying to hit at an increased rate. I’ve hit two consecutive numbers in three throws a few times. When I have trouble seems to be when I have to go from lower to higher on the board vertically. I am getting better on the whole, though.

I may just go ahead and buy myself a regulation dart board. I have a bit of spare cash, and they’re only about thirteen bucks. Mom thinks I shouldn’t do it, though. My dartboard is really more a toy than anything. I don’t go to bars very often, I just enjoy throwing pointy objects and making them stick in something as a means of relaxing and venting my frustrations.

Is it a Halex dartboard by any chance?

I have a Halex (don’t know the model) with the cyber-match feature, and the thing cheats like crazy. When I’m playing cricket, and come close to closing out a number, its next throw will be a triple whatever that number is. This includes the bullseye. It’s really annoying to hear it shout “Triple bullseye! Score!”

I’m good enough that I can beat it most of the time even when it cheats, so it hasn’t been thrown out the window, but the first time it pulled the triple bullseye trick it came very close.

Oh, and I’m with Judith on the alcohol consumption aspect. At about 3 beers I’m relaxed enough to throw quite well. Any more or less and I’m pretty average. Much more and I’m terrible.

Triple bullseye? That’s just wrong…