goal setting
sports science

Better late than never we continue the "shooting" theme and discuss focusing on your target and a smooth release!

Coaching Clinic 22

Posted: 30.04.13 in Coaching Clinic Blog category

Better late than never we continue the "shooting" theme and discuss focusing on your target and a smooth release!



Last month we discussed the first two of the four attributes of being an accurate marksman that had been identified by the author of a book on the subject, Rorker Denver. They were:

·         You’ve got to control your breathing

·         You’ve got to control your heart rate

·         You have to pay attention to your target

·         You have to have a smooth trigger squeeze

Pay Attention to Your Target

This is old ground for these coaching articles of course. We have mentioned a number of times the benefits of aiming the eye, dart and target together. One “story” I found fascinating although I cannot verify its authenticity 100%, is of figures released by Police in the USA about when officers come up against an armed foe. 64% of the first shots fired by Police hit the criminal’s gun, why? Because that is what they are looking at and therefore it becomes the target! The key thing here for dart players to note is the demonstration of the success rate of hitting whatever it is you are looking at!

Once you have landed your first dart then other skills can come in to place if you can “learn” to pay attention to your target. The skill of utilising the lay of your first (and second) dart to bounce off or lay on top or under all comes under the same ‘attention to the target’ banner. Another aspect of this is being capable of adjusting your aim if your first dart lands above or below the target.

These are all technical skills that can be practised and that can really push your game to the next level. Certainly something to aim for anyway!

Smooth Trigger Squeeze

Or for us, a smooth dart release of course. This is arguably the most important basic of a darts throw. If you have the ability to release the dart smoothly it can make up for all sorts of other areas that may not be working as well.

For example, we recently carried out a video analysis session with Richie Burnett at Red Dragon HQ. Richie is of course “famous” for his snatched dart. However, his release and follow through is text book and more often than not he hits his target (we witnessed a 180 using his own brand snatch throw) despite his singular technique.

The follow through is fundamental in most sports, kicking a ball or hitting a ball is more accurate with a smooth follow through, darts is no different!


One of our members, Kevin, contacted us recently about finding the perfect set up for his darts. He had always used standard flights and had not considered the difference tweaking your flights could make. We equipped him with a whole variety of different flights to experiment with.

He noticed after throwing some different shapes how the standard flights he had been using for years seemed to give him trouble when it came to grouping the darts, he also noticed deflections were more prolific too. Fintail flights sent his darts veering to the right and the same thing happened with pear shape flights, although not to the extreme of the fintail flights.

In the end Kevin opted for a kite shape flight. They flew straight and this allowed him to group the darts. My colleague Andrew backed up his choice by confirming if that if you do have a straight throw then kite flights are the way to go.

So if you feel your game needs a tweak, perhaps try a flight change before shelling out for a new set of darts.  Kevin's full report is now on our website if you are interested in trying your own darts experiment!

Free Four Page Guide With Our Experiment Pack

This is your chance to experiment by getting one of our flights and stems packs! We will also send you our four page guide to carrying out the experiment. In the experiment pack we guide you through the steps you need to take so you can make the right decision about whether to change your set up or stick with what you have!

Coaching Days

We have booked two coaching days in London on 18 and 19th May if you are interested in a video coacing session. Details of the events are on our Facebook coacing site:

18 May  Porters Lodge London

19 May  Plumstead Common WMC


The Darts Performance Centre is a resource to assist dart players of all standards play better darts. The site is arranged as an online 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 and an invite to our exclusive members only events!

Author: Paul Gillings ( paul@dartsperformancecentre.com )

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