Have you ever asked yourself how to win darts? Also, how much do you really know about this game? Some call it a sport while others call it a game mainly played in pubs as a leisure activity. But, did you know that this stone age game is more than what people think it really is? With its roots dating back to Old England, this game has surprisingly emerged to be a prestigious sport in which Britain excels.
Just to get back to history, the game of darts was discovered when soldiers began shooting arrows at tree trunks when practicing. Eventually, darts enthusiasts discovered a way of cutting tree trunks then allowing them to dry up entirely.
After drying up, these trunks would crack forming steady sections that over time became the set scores. So, out of this simple but fable discovery, the game of darts became a respected and widely played game in most parts of the world especially in former Commonwealth countries such as Belgium, Netherlands, and the United States.
Due to its humble, prestigious beginning in British, the British Darts Organization became the governing body of this precious game alongside PDC. So, if you’ve long thought that the game of darts was only for recreational purposes in pubs, then you’re completely wrong as this game has gone beyond these confines to feature as a professional sport played in major leagues and tournaments around the globe.
If you have already learned some basics and you’re now looking to sharpen your master-class tricks with some professional strategies, here are 10 tips that will help you get into the game with enthusiasm.
10 Tips From Professional Dart Players
But First…How Do You Play The 501 Darts?
Since you’re reading this, we will assume that you’re a fan of watching and playing darts. If the game you’re watching is a professional match, then it’s likely to be a 501 darts game. This type of game is the most common played around the globe all thanks to its endorsement by the British Darts Organization.
Although this game is easy and fun to play, its popularity means that you’ll likely find it being played in most pubs, leagues, and establishments that allow organized play. So, in your journey in learning how to win darts, we will spare this moment to first examine the 501 dart playing technique to help you better understand it.
How to play it:
The 501-dart style has rules that are very simple to master. At the beginning of the game, each team/player starts with a score of 501 points. Each player will have to take turns playing the game by throwing darts to deduct his or her points.
The player that gets to zero first wins the game. At first, this game might seem to be simple. However, to start deducting your points, you must first activate the game by doubling-in and doubling-out before and after deducting your points.
Since this game requires you to execute some skills and strategy to win, you must hence understand it far too well.
This is the first rule you have to adhere to before scoring begins. Here, a player must hit the double section at the outer ring or alternatively, hit the bullseye spot to activate the game. After you’ve double in, the double 20 and the bullseye sections will be the most desirable targets if you’re looking to win.
Winning in the 501 darts:
After doubling in, the next step is to score as many points as possible to deduct your points. You can accomplish this by shooting the triple 20 section, the double 20 or the bullseye.
Just like in doubling-in, you’ll also need to double-out when you’re near to completing the game. However, this can be a little trickier as you have to target a section of the board that lands your remaining points to zero.
Now that you’ve clearly understood how to play the 501 darts game, lets now head straight to our main topic which is offering you some points on how to win in this precious sport.
1. Stick on the Rules
If you ever wish to become a professional darts player, the first step is to learn the rules of the game. After all, how can you record a successful streak if you don’t even know what is going on? So, always begin with the basics.
Just like in other professional sports, failure to follow the rules means that you’ll either be disqualified or penalized. One way of knowing the rules is by understanding which type of dart game is being played in a certain event. To help you understand better, this section will take a quick look at the different types of dart games you’ll expect to see in various tournaments.
501 and 301 games:
We’ve already examined the 501 dart game. The 301 on its side is not different though as it follows the same rules. The only difference is that players start with 301 points instead of 501.
Around the clock:
This is a popular darts game that’s mostly played in pubs for recreational purposes. Unlike the 501 and the 301 dart games, this one requires every player to throw the darts in every segment in a clockwise manner from 1 to 20. When playing this game, a player cannot proceed to the next segment until he/she hits the current one.
One advantage of this game is that it’s easy to play since the doubles and triple sections have been ignored. However, to end the game, you have to score 25 points and hit the bullseye.
This is another popular darts game you’ll expect to see in most pubs. To play the game, players must first toss a coin to determine who bats first. Just like in 501 or 301 games, the batting player is required to score as many points as possible in a turn.
Here, the cutline score is 40 which means, if the batting player scores beyond 40, let us say 56, the extra points (in this case 16) are added to the player’s score. These points are the runs.
The opposing player is the bowler and his/her intention in this game is to hit the 25 rings and the bullseye. The bullseye earns the bowler 2 points while the 25 ring earns him/her 1 point. These points are the wickets.
Now, an inning (exchanging roles) occurs when the bowler achieves 10 points (wickets). In the cricket darts game, each player has to play 2 innings where the highest scorer in both innings is assumed the winner.
This is one of the most popular group games played by friends and colleagues in pubs, homes, and places of work. To start, each player throws a dart to get a number after which you’re awarded 5 lives. From there, each player has to hit his or her number to gain points and become a killer. Each hit is one point.
Once you become a killer, your next mission is to aim other players’ numbers to deduct their points. The player whose life is deducted to zero exits the game while the last player who’s left standing becomes the winner.
2. Time to Master the Scoring System
This is where you have to be really careful. You see, to become a professional, you have to master the scoreboard as any mess or blander along the way can cost you a match. Here, you’re the center of focus as the player. So, even your coach or your best friend will not be there to score for you
Therefore, to win darts with excellence, you have to master the segments and the rings to know which segments are the highest scoring. By knowing this, you’ll easily lay a winning strategy by calculating how many points are required to win and which segments will give you that win.
Now, the segments contain small subsections separated using thin wiring with numbering that starts from 1 to 20. The outer ring is double and its main purpose is to double the score in that segment. The inner ring is triple and its purpose is to triple the score in that segment.
At the center of the dartboard, there’s an outer bullseye ring that is worth 25 points. Finally, there’s the actual bullseye at the center of the board that awards you a whopping 50 points.
Now, if you’re just starting out and you’re unable to master the scoring system, you can consider training with electronic dartboards or those boards with calibrated score marks.
3. Perfect Your Stance
If you have ever watched those professionals in major leagues throw darts, it may look like a simple move. However, there are factors you must adhere to, to throw the darts more steadily. Here, we’re talking about body movement and positioning, also known as the stance.
- The forward, backward, and angled stances are a few of the stances you need to consider. The forward stance is the most common and it involves placing the dominant foot in front before touching the line with your toe to enhance stability.
- The side stance involves placing the front foot close to the line. Use the throwing arm and your eyes to limit any movement. Finally, place the other foot behind the front foot and the elbow of your other arm next to the body to improve accuracy.
- The angled stance involves combining both the forward and side stances together. Professional dart players who can combine these two stances easily are best suited for this one.
4. Time to Aim Higher
Now that you know about the different styles of playing darts, the next step is to improve your accuracy and aiming power. First off, examine the various throwing styles then decide which one is the best for you.
Secondly, learn to minimize your movement when playing, as this will help to improve accuracy. Remember, to become an expert and win games, you need to develop a steady action in front of the dartboard.
Finally, learn to improve hand-eye coordination, as this will help you become a sharpshooter. You can practice aiming by playing sports that involve throwing balls. By doing this several times, you’ll find yourself becoming a better player by the day.
5. Perfect Your Playing Style
Once you’ve identified a style that fits you, the next step to know your strengths and weaknesses so that you can either improve or perfect them. To perfect your moves, it’s wise to invite a friend over to watch you play. At least by doing this, your friend’s perception will help you pay attention to those inadequacies you need to work on.
Once you’ve perfected your style, the next strategy that will help you become a pro is to perfect your accuracy. Here, you need to recognize a spot that you can aim easily and use it to your advantage. At least by doing this, you can improvise a winning strategy that can act as a knockout for you.
6. Practice Makes Perfect
In any sport, the best players have one thing in common—they practice more often to perfect their stance and accuracy. Since you’re a learner, the same will be expected of you. You have to practice all the above steps more often to ensure that everything gets to your fingertips.
But, how should you practice exactly?
Well, it’s very simple. You only need to repeat the steps. Secondly, you can try practicing alone as this will reduce the pressure and the nervousness of having people beside you watching as you play. Thirdly, try playing complete games as this will help you know which area needs to be polished to perfect your strategy.
Finally, when you feel you’re confident and ready for a challenge, you can test yourself by playing against your friends and family members to rate yourself.
7. Have the Right Gear
Now that you’re already a professional darts player, having the right darting gear is an essential part of your journey to success. To become a pro, you need to gear up with the right tools that will set you apart from the competition.
Some of the gears you can consider to arm yourself with include;
- A quality dartboard that meets all your darting needs. Here, you can think of quality boards such as the; Winmau Blade 5 Dartboard which is one of the best in the market, Unicorn Eclipse Pro Dart Board or the Arachnid Cricket Pro 800 if you’re a fan electric boards.
- Get at least two sets of darts to help you through with practicing. Make sure the darts you choose are suitable for your specific board to avoid any damage. Some of the best dart options you can consider are; the CC-Exquisite Professional Darts Set, Viper Diamond Soft Tip Darts and the IgnatGames Steel Tip Darts.
- Though optional, a darts case is a brilliant add-on that can provide a safe way of storing your darts to protect them from any form of wear and tear. In addition to that, a dart case makes it easier for you to carry the darts during travels without losing them.
Some of the best dart cases you can consider in the market are; Casemaster Legion Aluminum Dart Case, Metroline Double Deluxe Dart Case, and Casemaster Classic Nylon Dart Case.
8. The Right Setup
Now that you have the best darts, boards and dart case at your disposal, the next thing you need to think of is to have the right setup for your dartboard. Although it might sound like an easy endeavor, setting up your board appropriately will really help you to win darts.
So, to set up your board, first examine the type of wall behind you to ensure that it’s safe and won’t damage the tip of your darts in case they go astray.
Secondly, using the bullseye, make sure the height of the board is 5 feet 8 inches from the floor to the bullseye. Next, mark a spot on the floor where you’ll have the throw line. Usually, if you’re using soft tip darts, the throw line should be 8ft from the board.
On the other hand, if the darts are steel-tipped, the distance from the throw line to the board should be 7ft 9 ¼ inches.
Note: Just to know professional darts terminologies, the throw line is called the “oche”.
9. Think of a Mat
A mat is another brilliant piece of accessory that can really help you to win a game. First, it helps you to measure the distance from the oche to the board quite easily. Secondly, a mat provides some cushioning that protects your floor from damages caused by the sharp heavy steep tips of the darts.
10. Finally, Maintain Some Silence
Darts is a game that requires a lot of mental focus. Therefore, to avoid missing a lot in the game, you need to practice in areas that have less noise to avoid being distracted. Playing in a pub or crowded places can really cause unnecessary distractions or accidents at some point especially if someone steps between the board and the oche when a game is in progress.
So, be smart and play in less noisy and less crowded places. After all, big tournaments are played in quiet places to enhance a player’s mental focus.
In conclusion, if you have been attentive from start to the end, this guide has offered you expert tips that will help you win darts with enthusiasm. As you have seen, becoming a pro doesn’t just happen overnight. Instead, it’s a gradual process that involves frequent practicing until you develop the right confidence and consistency in playing.
Finally, we will conclude by wishing you the best of luck as you find your success in this precious game of darts.