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Our coaching clinic blog looks at what type of practice is best and we help a player "get a grip"!

Coaching Clinic 4

Posted: 20.09.11 in Coaching Clinic Blog category

Our coaching clinic blog looks at what type of practice is best and we help a player "get a grip"!


Last month in Coaching Clinic 3 we emphasised the need to have a repeatable and efficient technique. We suggested that having the correct technique in place is a basic requirement albeit amongst a range of other skills that are needed if you truly want to play better darts. The only way to attain and finally master the correct technique and skills for darts is to practise.

Practice Makes What?

One of the key skills a coach in any sport needs is being able to recognise the right practice routines or drills. On top of this, in an ideal session the skill being focused on is all neatly wrapped up in a game or a challenge that players will enjoy being involved in. We will be launching a series focusing on practice games shortly-so watch this space.


There is another side of the practice coin of course; deliberate solo practice, and this usually involves repeating the same aspect of technique over and over (just like footballers and rugby players practising their free-kicks). This type of practice throws up a number of issues. One of which is:"Are there some aspects of training that are more suited to solo deliberate practice than to other styles of practice needed to be a top dart player?"

Get a Grip

In our opinion we believe with an emphatic yes that players should mix their training between solo and joint sessions and of course some competitive matches should be added to the practice mix. However, solo practice is extremely valuable especially when you are trying to add some further building blocks to your technique.

For example, we were contacted by a (fast) player – a member of our website keen to become a better dart player. He asked “is there a way to ensure I grip my darts right every time, sometimes when I release it doesn’t feel right?”

Our advice was of course to practise this aspect. My colleague Andy Humphrey suggested:



“Practice the feed of the dart to the other hand and forget about the throw. Really concentrate on getting this bit right. Forget about where the dart is going to start with and put all your effort into the feed and the grip. Eventually you will be able to do it without thinking. Bear in mind this will take time, and a lot of practice”.

This is a good example of a practice session that is only really suited to solo practice.


Step Up If You Want To Be A Top Dart Player


The advice to practise and practise hard any type of darts technique or skill you are trying to learn is part of a four step process everyone goes through. Here is our 4 step programme. There are no short cuts.


1.  The Learning Phase – You have to think about what you are doing, your movements may be jerky.


2.  The Understanding Phase – The skill becomes less jerky, you start to understand what effect small changes in the technique have on the outcome of it.


3. The Mastering Phase – The skill becomes automatic, movements are smooth and generally free from tension.


4. The Practice Phase – Back to practice again! Practise the correct technique it will then become an integral part of the throw. Practising bad habitscan also become part of the throw if not corrected. This is why it is imperative to hone the correct technique so it becomes automatic and requires no thought. 






The Darts Performance Centre is a resource to assist dart players of all standards play better darts. The site is arranged as an on-line coaching manual.

There is advice on technique, nerves, psychology, goal setting, practice games, an area to log your statistics and an interactive area where your darting questions are answered by two sports scientists, one with 30 years dart playing experience!  Membership is just £25.00 per annum.


We also offer group coaching days and we will shortly be arriving at a darts centre near you for one on one video analysis sessions - please register for free to join our mailing list to find out when and where we will be.




Author: Paul Gillings and Andrew Humphrey ( paul@dartsperformancecentre.com )

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