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This month we Judge what it takes to be a top dart player!

Coaching Clinic 35

Posted: 24.06.14 in Coaching Clinic Blog category

This month we Judge what it takes to be a top dart player!

Darts looks like a simple game, we all know different!  In Dr Darts' excellent book – Darts in England 1900-1939 for example, Patrick explains that 100 years ago or so darts was classified as just a game of chance and therefore, at that time, banned from being played in pubs. A Leeds landlord challenged this, saying darts was a game of skill; he set up a board in the courtroom and won the case.

When I read this I went through a list of attributes that could have been presented to the Judge to back up the claim that darts is most definitely a game of skill. If this particular sporting court room drama was being played out today who would you send along to demonstrate to the Court how many skills need to drop into place to throw the “perfect” dart?

One player that was not on my list I admit was Dennis Priestley. But a few weeks ago I went along to an exhibition he was holding and watched Dennis give a master-class in darting technique.

Yes he has the reputation of being a slow player and maybe that has put you off watching him. You have missed out! If you can mimic any of the following parts of his throw then it will help you:


Precise set up of the dart prior to throwing


Total concentration on every throw


Still as a statue whilst setting up


Perfect balance


No head or body movement on release save a little forward momentum (this is normal)


Long follow through


Red and black shirt

Actually the last one possibly won’t help you improve although it may help to remind you to follow the other 6 points. I rest my case your honour!

We have already had a few visitors to our coaching room and as ever they have been interesting and informative experiences for the players and us. One area that came up a couple of times is one that is mentioned above, the follow through. A stunted follow through can seriously affect the flight of the dart and once again demonstrates the value of watching a video of your throw in slow motion.

You would imagine that something as blatant as a stunted follow through would first of all be detectable with the human eye or that the player would notice. As we have now found out many, many times this is not the case.

One idea we discussed to get the player to get in the habit of following through correctly was to exaggerate the movement of allowing his hand and arm to follow the dart. Perhaps pretend there is a big red button level with the bulls eye and just in reach of you. Throw the dart (don’t worry too much about where it lands, you are practising your follow through remember) and allow your arm to carry on its journey to hit the big red button.

Just 5 or 10 minutes of dedicated practice on your follow through will start to make that your natural movement and not the slamming on the brakes just as the dart is released that it seems quite a number of players do.


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. You also get an invite to our free but exclusive members only events and acess to our members only darts coaching app! Membership is £25 per year!

Law Book Pic courtesy of cooldesign /www. freedigitalphotos.net

Red Button courtesy of renjith krishnan / www.freedigitalphotos.net22 

Author: Paul Gillings ( paul@dartsperformancecentre.com )

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