goal setting
sports science

This month we look at why when you are "improving" your darts skills you seem to get worse for a while as well as more tasty advice!

Coaching Clinic 11

Posted: 20.05.12 in Coaching Clinic Blog category

This month we look at why when you are "improving" your darts skills you seem to get worse for a while as well as more tasty advice!


One of the trickiest parts of coaching is assisting a player through a change in technique. Even if you explain that inevitably the changes may have a detrimental effect on the player’s performance for a while and some players will abandon the “new way” in favour of returning to what they know. My colleague Andrew explains this darting phenomenon:

It is not just deliberate changes that can appear to send your game backwards. As you improve via simply practising the right areas of your game the same backward step in your skill levels can appear. More practice means improved accuracy and consistency.

How do we get worse? Well the problem with getting better is that your first dart will be more accurate and closer to its intended target. Whereas before the marker dart would perhaps be an inch away from the target as a result of the improvements in accuracy it is now half an inch away from the target. Great! I hear you say. Well it is great, your accuracy is improving, but how is this getting worse?

Well the problem starts here. You are working from a marker half the distance away than it was before. This means not only has your accuracy got to improve but so has your adjustment. You will tend to find that if you park a dart half inch above the treble that your next dart is dropping below, probably by an inch, which is because you are used to adjusting by that distance. Do not worry though, the adjustment will tighten up and you will be able to start working from the marker. The problem is that the adjustment takes longer to catch up than the improvement in accuracy.

What will happen is that whereas before you could do a leg in perhaps 18 darts, you will find that now even though you are more accurate that you are doing a leg in 23 darts. This can be soul destroying, you look at your darts and they are all around the bed but not dropping in the treble. This is the time where most players have a crisis of confidence and believe they have hit a bad patch when in reality they have got better and more accurate.

What should you do?

First and most important is that you should see the improvement in accuracy as a positive. You should then realise that your adjustment will catch up. It may take a couple of weeks but trust me it will. Secondly this is your choice. You can take a break from match games while this transition takes place. This way you are not putting yourself under undue pressure to perform and also not undermining your good work by losing silly games you know you should have won. If however you do carry on playing do your best not to get frustrated with what you are doing, this is the worst thing you can do. What will happen then is that you will start changing your technique, looking for what is wrong when actually there is nothing wrong other than the slight adjustment has not caught up with you improvement in accuracy.

So in summary, see the positives in improved accuracy, do not get disheartened if you lose your scoring when all your darts are around the treble. Keep doing what you are doing, perseverance is the key, because it is working and do not start changing things. 


Last month we brought you B.E.E.F  to give yourself a little reminder of what you should be doing before throwing your dart:

- Stands for Balance

- Stands for Eyes

E - Stands for Elbow

- Stands for Follow Through

One of our members,who is hungry for success has his own take on this idea! He has opted for a B.L.T. over BEEF:

B -Stands for Breathe

L - Stands for Look

T -Stands for Throw






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 and Andrew Humphrey ( paul@dartsperformancecentre.com )

Posts by Month

Main Index