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This month we ask you to consider going "back to basics" with your technique and we have a practice game for you too!

Coaching Clinic 9

Posted: 20.03.12 in Coaching Clinic Blog category

This month we ask you to consider going "back to basics" with your technique and we have a practice game for you too!

 

We recently went the Dutch Open. Once again we met a fascinating selection of players and added to our ever expanding bank of knowledge about the darts throw. All the players who came to see us had entered either the main tournament or the youth competition and all had varying degrees of darts skills.

Let’s Start at the Very Beginning

It made me realise that 99% of our clients are experienced dart players. With this in mind it was very interesting to be approached recently by a player who had barely picked up a dart before for some advice on the best approach to start her darts training programme.

It also made me consider the fixes we have achieved with some of our “experienced” clients.  A lot of what we put right is small errors that have become ingrained and automatic in a player’s technique. The majority of the time the players have no clue there is anything wrong until they see what they are doing on video or we point it out to them.

When we started training the novice player the key basic principles of acquiring a sound technique came to the fore. The areas that our beginner noted down after the session that she felt were the most crucial that we had directed her on were:

·         Look at balance and oche position

·         Sight line and aiming

·         Check weight of darts and try different barrels for comfort

·         Throw straight

·         Keep everything still except the throwing arm

·         Don’t have a beer first (it was 2pm!)

       Her final thoughts were

“I decided to stand with both feet flat on the floor for comfort and balance and consistency and to have my foot at 45 degrees as I have waddling feet and putting it parallel to the oche hurt my knee”!

Back to basics is a well known cliché. Many clichés survive and are also very useful in coaching because they sum up a truth. A lot of players we have met could have benefitted from imagining they are once again setting off on their first few tentative steps to mastering darts.  It could perhaps be something our readers look into in case they are assuming that they correctly fulfil all the areas our novice player has highlighted as integral to accelerate her learning a “perfect” technique.

Practice Makes What?

To master darts you do have to practise, surely that is one area of darts that we all agree on? We are often asked about practice games or players send us details of their favourite games. On one hand a player practising anything that involves hurling a dart at a board has to be a positive thing we agree with that. On the other hand, practice time is a very valuable commodity to most of our clients who have a full time job, school or university to also contend with! So make the most of the time you have.     

 

The core practice games of our website focus on the core areas of winning a darts match-power scoring, finishing and learning to count. The games are also “back to basics”, you don’t have to hit three treble ones (when do you do that in a match?), stand on your head or stick to any other bizarre scoring systems. You just practise the skills that win you darts matches.

However, we also realise practice needs to be stimulating, fun and challenging so our core games are not enough to sustain a player with a decent amount of time to practise. Our advice on what games you do use is to look at what skills or areas of technique are present in the game that you have to use in a match.

If you can name one, two or more, great, practise away.

Here is a game we recommend!

The Metalhead Power Scoring Game      

 General Like all good practice games the rules can be adapted to suit the standard of each player taking part, we will explain more about that later. You need a dart board and a score board

Number 

Any number of players can play but probably a maximum of four keeps the game flowing. 

Set Up

Write each player's name, side by side on the score board.

Scoring

In turn each player throws their three darts. This is Metalhead's scoring system when he plays against the PDC players.:

A score of 100 plus   - 1 point

A score of 140 plus   - 2 points

A score of 180          - 3 points

Winner

First player to hit 25 points

Adapt the Game

If you  practise with a player who is still mastering the game, change the scoring system. For example the novice player could get 1 point for a score of 40 plus, 2 for 60 plus and 3 for a 100 for example. This way the better player is put under pressure which makes the game not just more competitive and fun but it is far more valuable practice, for both players!

The game opens your eyes to exactly how many darts you throw straight and how many drift! You can practice your grouping and pre-shot routine. If you are playing as a group of 4 imagine it is a pairs match and practise keeping your focus and concentration as you wait your turn.

If you treat your practice time seriously you will reap the rewards! 

 
 
 

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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.

Author: Paul Gillings ( paul@dartsperformancecentre.com )