Darts: a game where participants compete with one another by throwing small arrow like devices at a target that is round and has numbers and sections and an inner bull with an outer bull and so on. Darts now refer to the standard game with a specific bristle board design and a set of rules. Rules that are general to the game and rules that govern games like, “501,” “301,” and “Cricket.”

Darts is a traditional pub game that was and is commonly played in the United Kingdom as well as other places in Europe and across the pond here in the America’s.

Wikipedia tells hits history in a terse form, i.e., “The dartboard may have its origins in the cross-section of a tree. An old name for a dartboard is "butt"; the word comes from the French word but, meaning "target". In particular, the Yorkshire and Manchester Log End boards differ from the standard board in that they have no treble, only double and bullseye, the Manchester board being of a smaller diameter, with a playing area of only 25 cm across with double and bull areas measuring just 4 mm. The London Fives board is another variation. This has only 12 equal segments numbered 20, 5, 15, 10, 20, 5, 15, 10, 20, 5, 15, 10 with the doubles and triples being a quarter of an inch wide.”

There have been a variety of darts created over the years but the most common today is the tungsten dart. There are electronic darts but for this blog and for my efforts in tossing darts I remain a steel dart fan and enthusiast. I am recommending a book for novice darters but only because it appealed to me and my studies and rest assured most of the dart books out there are outstanding. In short, find one if this one does not fit your needs and get it. I can tell you when I started to play over twenty years ago, before I laid down my darts in 96, I tossed darts for several years without knowing some very important and critical mechanics, etc., of the dart game. As I take up once again my steel darts I have found a fountain of information to help make the game both enjoyable and competitive. Enjoy, diddle for the middle and let the darts fly!

Friday, July 22, 2016

Minute Changes

Blog Article/Post Caveat (Read First Please: Click the Link)

In the dart arts it benefits the darter to be aware of factors that will cause minute changes in the throwing process and that means being aware of our bodies and minds every single time we step up to the oche line to throw. 

I have to discipline myself to take time, to create a rhythm and cadence to how I approach the oche and how I assume my stance and posture to throw the darts. It must be such that it allows my mind to take stock of what I need to do to throw the best dart possible in that moment.

Breathing is critical because that is the method that will keep my stress low and allow me to approach and assume position at the oche line. It is a process that if any changes are allowed to creep in will change the way the dart flies and that is critical to a good and successful strategy in the dart arts. 

All of it brings about a Zen like state of mind and body that in this particular discipline must remain the same and static while allowing for movement and proper adjustments to throw properly, accurately and successfully. 

Examples: When I assume my stance and position my feet then root to the oche line any changes no matter how minute will change the flight pattern of the dart. If the foot shits; if the knee bends slightly more; if one slouches vs. standing tall with a straight spine - spinal alignment changes; if the shoulders shift; if the arm cants a degree or so in either direction; if the fingers grip at a different spot on the dart shaft; if your focus is wider than that of the actual intended target; if your mind shifts from the moment to some distracting thoughts; if you hesitate once the throw begins; if your aim point shifts forward or backward away from your, mine is the release point as an aiming point, aim point; if your hand shifts left or right especially if that is not a natural position for the hand; if your free floating fingers move; if your head turns or tilts changing the aiming perspective to the intended target and so on.

All of this is what makes serious dart arts - seriously complex and the goal is to find your darts and then condition that process so that procedural memory along with proper physiokinetics can create and adhere to a “Primal Conditioned Response or Action” that is the dart throw. Minute changes anywhere effect how that dart flies so awareness and attentive focus on assuring your darts and the processes involved don’t change - except when changes are necessary to throw your darts.

When are they necessary, when you need to make minute changes in your stance, posture and throw to change the destination of a dart to hit the intended target, i.e., move the back leg to zero in; move along the oche line and assume the dart position to put the dart around obstacles on the board to hit the intended target and so on. 

When I am asked about darts the person asking if not a darter will wonder why it is a difficult discipline especially when the see the distance from the oche line to the board. It is not perceivable because the distance and other perceptions of those who have not throw darts perceive it as, “Not that difficult.” In reality, the dart arts has a complexity and discipline that matches, in my view, other disciplines like martial arts or any other sport like football or golf.

One reason why I decided to “Take up the darts” again after so many years. I started to compare disciplines that can be solitary practices and found that darts, also a solitary discipline if you so choose, can be done and can be a complex way of darts, like the way of martial arts. As I began to study the dart arts again I found many connections that were fundamental to both disciplines. One is that both can be practiced and trained regardless of age or heath or fitness levels or many other concepts, traits or beliefs. It is also truly a way of life through the discipline of the dart arts, martial arts or other disciplines. 

If you are taking up the dart arts for the first time you will encounter frustrations unless you are aware of and understand the dart arts as to its complexities and disciplines such as how minute changes also affect the dart arts. You will have successes, you will have slumps and you will find frustration but determination, understanding, knowledge and a lot of practice, training and accumulation of experience and experiences will get you through every single time. Remain patience and determined and diligent in your efforts for that is how you become a professional expert in the dart arts. 

Happy Darting!!!

“In order for any life to matter, we all have to matter.” - Marcus Luttrell, Navy Seal (ret)

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