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!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

The Throw - more

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

There are all kinds of principles involved in the dart arts but it might be that the actual throw holds high importance in the overall way a game is played. The following are provided as a general guide to what you want to look at and for in developing and maintaining your dart arts throw.
  • Grip
  • Straight barrel dart
  • Thumb and forefinger last to leave dart at end of throw to follow through.
  • Common stance, foot just off a side-position, i.e., abut thirty degrees between a side stance and toe-on.
  • Don’t lean forward much, keep body over knee and ankle (see the consistency article)
  • All about a rhythm, consistent smooth rhythm and cadence from aim, retraction and then throw with follow through.
  • Elbow once set in the aim - DOES NOT DROP. 
  • Elbow remains pointing vertically down to the ground and then rises up to the arm aim level as you reach the follow through, extension of hand, fingers, etc., as the dart leaves the hand and arcs to the target.
GRIP: Find your grip, one that provides you an important trait of throwing good darts. Once you find that most excellent of grips make sure you use it in every throw; make sure you feel the grip each throw when your grasp the next dart; make sure the grip and dart are situated to maximize the throw from start to follow through. Remember, the more fingers you involve in the grip the greater chance of missthrows, etc. 

STRAIGHT BARREL DART: Just a preferred barrel for, I feel, most good dart players. I like the narrow one provided by the company who makes the piranha darts with the razor grip barrel. Yes, there are other types of barrels that are good and it is best to find the one that suits your throwing style best. 

THUMB & FOREFINGER: To my throw, these two fingers dominate, i.e., are the control of my throw. It dictates how I hold the dart and it positions the dart in the place I need to throw using fingers, joints, the hand/palm, the wrist flex and extension along with other factors that make my throw a good one. As the checks above insinuate the thumb and forefinger are the last part of your hand on the dart as you enter your follow through. 

COMMONALITIES INVOLVED: Body balance and stability are paramount; how you lean at the ockey line determines these two body states; the rhythm of your throw remains steady with proper cadence when the body does NOT move, even a smidgeon. Watch yourself throw by suing your cell to take a video from the side and then note those aspects of the perfect throw that need to be improved, adjusted or kept stable and proper for the sake of continuity. The extension of the arm, hand and dart to start; the retraction and where it cycles into the forward momentum of your throw, the attitude and energy in the entire throw; and the follow through where you will actually see the hand, wrist and fingers flop out and down in the follow through, after the dart leaves the forefinger and thumb. Watch the pro’s and you will see how relaxed and flexible they are at that point. 

BODY MECHANICS OF STANCE: Read the stance and throw articles here: 

CREATION; RHYTHM & CADENCE: Like music, you have actual notes that can be heard then you have natural voids or empty timings and spaces that contribute to the overall sound of the music. Notes that run together tend to make for chaos in the sound we hear but appropriate spaces or pauses between the notes can make for a simple tune to an actual opera of sound. How you approach the line, assume the stance, prepare the throw and set the mind state all lead to that actual throw and when the throw begins it is an opera of movement toward a sound, “thunk”, when the dart hits the intended target - there is little like that moment in the dart arts except achieving good darts in competition with dart-ists of like mind. 

THE ELBOW: The check explains this well as does the basics of the throw linked above but physiokinetics and other principles and sub-principles are how we learn the importance of the elbow as to both positioning and movement when the throw is performed. 

Monday, October 10, 2016

First Dart

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

First dart, is the first dart of three thrown at every turn. It is a pivotal dart to the three and often influences the second and third dart in the first up at the ockey line as well as the subsequent turns of the game. Since professionally driven tournaments tend to be about several games in what is termed, a leg, where a darter may play for hours and win only by accumulated wins of games, etc.

Even in local games, that first dart really should be the perfect dart. Humans tend to be effected by things first. It is not to say that even a bad first dart is overcome through perseverance but often it fails simply because the darter failed to learn, understand and train to the understanding of the first dart effects. 

When that first dart hits the board, using all the other aspects of dart physiokinetics, it will often lead the mind that leads the body toward how the second dart flies. Training and practice, lots of it along with hands-on live experience in locals, regional and professional darts is how one achieves a good, solid, first dart. 

All the other four of the five principles of good darting are how we achieve a good first dart. Having a good comfortable properly weighted dart; assuming a consistent solid, stable and comfortable stance while achieving also a consistently rhythmic cadence in your throw is setting up the good first dart. The fourth principle is about clothing with emphasis on shoes. We all have to be grounded to throw good darts

Grounding is about setting a stance that does not strain or exhaust the player especially when throwing darts over long tournament time spans as well as long arduous movement and stances in the game. Then there is the mind-set and mind-state necessary to overcome those mental issues that effect your dart, your stance, your rhythm and cadence and that first dart - the one that sets the stage for dart two and three. 

If a darter takes the time and puts in the sweat equity through effort, dedication and perseverance they will achieve a dart discipline that will carry them progressively toward dart mastery and that means achieving dart game successes taking them up to the professional levels of the dart arts. 

Now, ain’t darts fun?

Note: Aside of the first dart is the, “Third Dart.” The first dart often when done well immediately leads to the second dart of awesomeness but sometimes when the mind perceives the potential of that third dart can often cause some form of change in the dart discipline such as a bit more tensing of the shoulder or a slight shift in some aspect of the stance and/or throw that will cause that third dart to sail off into the one or five cut of the pie. In my way, if you feel that slight change and if your mind is properly set into a darter state of mind you will feel that change. When you do  then your discipline is to sometimes STOP your third throw to reset yourself for a solid third dart. This is often a part of the stages of achieving mastery in the dart arts. The goal is to achieve a great first dart and great successive darts, i.e., two and three, where such hesitations in throwing the third are eliminated. 

Take time to watch a few of the high-end professional matches and observe how they throw the three darts. The variety is astounding and the goal is to find your own way and make it work, for you. View the pro’s; analyze the various methods and principles; hypothesize how all of them can work for you; sort out the chaff from the wheat; synthesize a way of dart discipline, i.e., dart, stance, throw and consistency, etc., and then make it your own each time, every time and every dart. 

Tips on Darting

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

In a nutshell there is no excuse for a darter to throw bad darts. Unlike over twenty years ago, there are way to many professionals out there putting out advice on throwing good darts that one cannot miss learning appropriate tips to achieve good dart arts. There is one source, Rod Harrington, who created five youtube video’s for five tips on darting (see link that follows). The five are as follows with just a bit of a tweak to add in my feelings on darting, the dart arts. 

  1. Dart - for every grip there is a dart and weight that fits it. 
  2. Stance - Comfort, stability, balance and rhythm-cadence with consistency.
  3. Rhythm - one of the most important aspects of darts using the first two, i.e., a good comfortable dart and having an adequate stable comfortable balanced stance. The rhythm must be consistent in all darts but especially from the first dart to the second and then the third for a consistent rhythmic three darts to target. 
  4. Shoes - Nice solid thick sole with a decent heel. The comfort, especially over long periods of time walking to the ockey line, to the board for dart retrieval and then back behind your opponent to await your turn. Personally, the athletic shoe works well as long as you find one that supports and does not result in strain once you assume your stance and when you assume the stance multiple times over a long match period. 
  5. First Dart - The first dart has to be in a solid advantageous position, i.e., take your time with the dart because in most cases how that dart flies and lands will influence and effect the second and third dart. If you miss the treble 20 how that shaft and flight sit will block or allow another chance at the treble but if your first dart flies off to the five or one you chances of getting back on target diminish, i.e., often the second and third will fly badly. If your first dart is bad, take a moment and step back if you wish from the ockey line, get your mind back in the dart then step up as if the second were the first dart and visualize quickly how it flies and strikes the target then let it fly.