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The Coaching Clinic this month takes a look at a common problem in darts "the snatch". We also tell the tale of a practice board sadly lost at sea!

Coaching Clinic 6

Posted: 22.11.11 in Coaching Clinic Blog category

The Coaching Clinic this month takes a look at a common problem in darts "the snatch". We also tell the tale of a practice board sadly lost at sea!


Snatching The Dart

Richie Burnett rolled back the years at the recent World Grand Prix event with a fantastic display of darts. One part of his game that stood out for us was him snatching his darts and in particular why was it usually the third dart? This is of course a common problem and one we get asked about a lot.

When you throw a dart you start a chain of events that begins in the head. This chain starts with the brain. The brain then sends a message to all the muscles you need to throw the dart that they need to be activated and help out with the throw. There is a of course a fraction of a second delay between the brain passing on the message and the activation of the muscles.

The brain is also aware of exactly what muscles are needed to throw a dart. This is where the hours of practice players put in pays off and where the expression “muscle memory” comes from. However, the brain can also detect if there is a problem with the action (change in technique). What happens then is that the brain sends out another signal to the muscles trying to correct the motion. Due to the split second delay from the brain to the muscles the message arrives too late and the player’s technique fails resulting in a snatched dart.

A third dart snatch it is usually caused by the player leaning further forward. What happens during the throw is that a lot of players have a slight centre of gravity shift towards the board during each throw. If, however, the centre of gravity does not return to its original position after the second dart and remains forward, the brain will detect this and try to compensate by sending out another signal. Because of the nature of the movement and its speed there is very little time to correct, hence the snatch. Sometimes the dart will go where it is intended (as Richie managed to do more often than not) but other times not.


Leaning to the side can also be a factor. Those that lean into each dart will encounter the same problem if the lean is not consistent between each dart.


If you can accurately replicate your movements between each dart it will eventually eliminate the snatch.

Training Aids

Dart players don’t really have much choice when it comes to training aids. Golfers have literally hundreds of apps for their phones, putting aids, driving aids and of course qualified coaches.

One training aid dart players do have is dart boards with smaller doubles, trebles and even a mini bull. It would appear, however, that some players wish these didn’t exist either. One client recently ordered one of our practice boards for a friend for his birthday to replace the one “lost at sea”!

After a particularly frustrating night recently in their local pub the practice board was hurled off a pier on the coast of Scotland somewhere, never to be seen again. We can all empathise with this player’s mounting frustration but we also do advise to use these boards sparingly.

Two ideas we use that have proved effective for some of our clients are to first off use the practice board during your warm up. Play on the mini board for an hour before a match and the full size board looks un-missable report some clients. Look at the video for confirmation of that:


Whether it is a psychological effect or just the extra focus and concentration needed on the smaller board that gets transferred to the “proper” board is not important. The positive effect it has is the key thing. Secondly get the better players you practice with to throw at the practice board whilst you stay on a normal size board. This will make for a closer match, add “pressure” for both players providing you are both keen to win and equally as important it is good fun too! 

Please come and show your respect to the Practice Board on our tribute Facebook page!




The Darts Performance Centre is a resource to assist dart players of all standards play better darts. We are also committed to researching all aspects of darts to provide players with information and solutions that most other sports take for granted. Please support us by joining today.Membership is £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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