How To Throw A Dart

How To Throw A Dart

Andy Cornwall |

If you are a total beginner to the world of darts, the first thing you will need to learn is how to throw a dart! As effortless as the top professional players make it look on TV, there are a few fundamentals to think about when it comes to knowing how to properly throw a dart.

The intention of this guide is to lay down the foundations of dart throwing and provide all the information you need to go away and practice your skills.

This article will guide you in:

  • Finding your darts stance
  • How to hold a dart
  • How to aim a dart
  • How to release a dart
  • The trajectory of a dart
  • Factors that impact the trajectory of a dart
  • Things to help you improve your throw
  • Finding your darts stance

    The way you stand while you throw is called your stance. The throw line, more commonly known in darts as the oche, is a mark on the floor which you must stand behind when throwing your darts.

    The official throw line in steel tip darts is 7 feet 9¼ inches (2.37m) and 8 feet (2.44m) for soft tip. It’s a good idea to upgrade your darts setup at home with an oche or darts mat so you always know exactly where to stand when playing.

    As shown in the graphic above, the three most common stances in darts are: forward, closed and open. There is no right or wrong way to stand, but it is important to use the same stance every time you throw for consistency. Try experimenting with a few until you find one where you feel the most comfortable.

    The forward stance is a good place to start for beginners. This is achieved by placing your dominant foot in front of you (right foot if you are right-handed, left foot if you are left-handed) with your toe just on the oche. You should place most of your weight on this foot and lean towards the board, whilst keeping your balance with the other foot.

    The closed stance is when you place the side of your dominant foot against the throw line. If you are right-handed, it will be the right side of your right foot, and if you are left-handed, the left side of your left foot should be in line with the oche. Your other foot should be placed behind you for support.

    The open stance is achieved by placing both of your feet forwards in front of you and against the oche. As you cannot lean forward in this stance, when you release the dart it will be further away from the board. This is also known as the front stance.

    Top Tip: With all these stances, it is also important to keep your shoulders and hips straight and avoid slouching too far forward, as over time it will become uncomfortable.

    Watch the video below with Sky Sports pundit and ex professional Wayne Mardle on the importance of being comfortable at the oche when you play darts.

    How to hold a dart

    How To Throw A Dart - Guide To Darts

    Perhaps the most crucial part of throwing a dart is how you hold it. This is referred to as your grip and can be unique for every player. You need to make sure your grip is comfortable and you are able to grip each dart the same way every throw.

    Learning how to grip a dart involves getting to know the different elements that make up a dart. The graphic above shows the four parts of a dart: the point, barrel, shaft and flight. Players will grip the barrel part of the dart when playing, and in some cases may also touch the point or shaft when throwing the dart.

    The number of fingers you use to hold a dart is a personal preference. Most players grip the dart with three fingers (thumb, forefinger and middle finger), Some players will opt for the two finger grip (using the thumb and forefinger), and some even hold their dart with four fingers, (which involves every finger gripping the dart except the pinkie finger.)

    As well as the number of fingers you use to grip a dart, there are also variations in where you hold the dart. A rear gripper will hold the dart at the back of the barrel (closer to the flight), whilst front grippers hold the dart at the front of the barrel (nearer to the point). A middle gripper will grip the dart in the center of the barrel. You will find that different darts are designed for where you grip the dart. For example a ‘front-loaded dart’ will be aimed towards front grippers.

    The graphic below highlights some of the different darts grips. The most important thing to remember is you need to be in control of the dart in your hand. Make sure that every finger you are using is helping with your grip and not getting in the way.

    As well as being comfortable your grip also needs to be stable. A recommendation for beginners is to hold the dart in the center of the barrel, which will give you a steady balance. Keep your fingers straight and do not grip the dart too tightly, but with just enough pressure so that you are in control.

    Different Dart Grips

    How to aim a dart

    The next thing you need to think about when throwing is how to aim your darts at the dartboard. Take your first dart in your throwing hand and raise the dart to your eye level. If you are right-handed, use your right eye to help you aim, and if you are left-handed then use your left eye.

    Position the dart to the side of your eye and make sure the elbow of your throwing arm is pointing towards the dartboard. It is important that your shoulder, elbow and hand are all aligned and you form a 90 degree angle (as seen in the diagram below). Position the dart towards the target you are aiming for and with your dominant eye focus in on the target, rather than looking at the dart you are about to throw.

    Top tip: It is important to keep your elbow level as a last step in aiming before you throw the dart. It is much harder to have consistency if you drop or raise your elbow during your throw. Use the upper part of your arm as a base and think of your arm like a catapult. Make sure there is minimal movement with your elbow, and it is not moving sideways when you throw.  

    How To Throw A Dart - The mechanics of throwing darts

    How to release a dart

    Now that you have your stance, grip and aim sorted, it is time to start throwing! Aim the dart, bring it back towards you, and in a forward motion release the dart. You should aim to release as you near the end of extending your arm forward.

    Try to snap your wrist as you let go of the dart, letting your arm continue in a throwing motion so that your fingertips are pointing towards the target and your arm finishes fully extended in front of you.

    When throwing it is important to have a relaxed posture and to keep your balance whilst at the oche. Both feet should remain on the floor at all times, which will ensure there is no rocking motion while you are throwing.

    Only use your hand and wrist to throw the dart and keep the rest of your body as still as possible. This is how to accurately throw a dart and will help you achieve more consistency while you are playing.

    The trajectory of your dart

    There are many different variables that will affect the trajectory of your darts. Learning how to throw a dart straight and accurately depends a lot on how your dart flies through the air. This is known as the parabolic curve and is a similar principle to when a stone is thrown, or a gun bullet is fired.

    When a dart is thrown at a dartboard it will not travel in a straight line. It will instead move in an arc shape, starting low and then travelling upwards for some time before dropping back down to enter the board.

    Your parabolic curve will impact the angle that your darts sit in the board. For players of all abilities, the goal is to have as little of an arc as possible so that your darts take a more direct and straight path to the board. This helps most players improve their accuracy, although some can still find consistency with a lobbed throw.

    Trajectory Of A Dart

    Factors that impact the trajectory of your dart

    There are several other factors which impact the trajectory of your darts, understanding these can help you to find consistency and improve your game.

    Height - A person’s height determines the starting position of the dart and impacts its trajectory. A very tall player will have a much different arc shape to someone much shorter.

    Weight of the dart - The weight of a dart has a big impact on its trajectory. Heavy darts (28g and above) tend to fly straighter through the air, but many players will opt for a lighter dart (18-25g) because they take up less room in the board. This can lead to higher scoring as you’ll have more of the target to aim for.

    Angle of your dart - Another thing to consider is the angle of your darts when you throw. A player who stands central in front of the board will have a different angle to someone who stands to the far left or far right of the throw line. A good angle of your dart will have the point aiming towards the dartboard, which will help it to have a smoother trajectory to the board.

    Strength of your throw - Players will throw their darts with varying degrees of force. This is one of the most important factors when it comes to the trajectory of your darts and how you can fine-tune your skills. If you find your darts are dropping at the end of their flight to the board, you might want to consider throwing slightly harder or try using a lighter dart.

    Point of release - The last point to consider is when you release the dart, as this will also affect how your dart travels in the air. For example, releasing the dart when your arm is fully extended compared to when your arm is just in front of your face will give you two different flight paths. You need to find your personal sweet spot for releasing your darts.

    Things to help you improve your throw

    Just like anything else, practice makes perfect. Dedicate some time to working on your throw and look for ways you can improve. Why not try some games from our list of darts practice routines?

    The goal is to achieve a throw which you can easily replicate and is a smooth, continuous action from start to finish. All of the elements, from your stance and grip to your release should be working in unison.

    When you watch darts on TV you will see players throwing at various paces. To begin with, take some time to aim the dart properly and over time it will become natural to aim at the exact same spot each time. Your own pace of throw may speed up with more practice or you might find a slower style helps you achieve better consistency.

    Need some help choosing a set of darts to throw with? We have a huge range of steel tip darts and soft tip darts  and our useful ‘How To Find The Perfect Darts’ blog can point you in the right direction for what you need.

    Why not check out the Top 10 Steel Tip Darts and Top 10 Soft Tip Darts pages for our hand-picked selection of the most popular darts available right now. There is also a Top 10 Darts For Rear Grippers page for players who prefer a rear grip with their darts.

    Most importantly, have fun!

    We hope that this guide has given you all of the tools to go away and practice. Take some time to work on your skills and watch your game improve!

    While darts is ultimately a competition, most people play darts to also have fun. Relax and enjoy yourself and you’ll play better! Invite your friends over to throw some darts or get your family involved too. Darts is a game for all ages and can be played by anyone!

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