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, June 20, 2017

Making the Rounds

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

There are a variety of practice models to lean, improve and master the dart arts. One of my favorites is to, “Make the Rounds,” that is simply the same as the, “Round the Clock Game.” Start with the number 1 and step through to 20 then close out with the bull. 

Start with the larger pie. Most don’t practice the pies and tend to focus on the major triples and the doubles do get their favorite outs. That is putting a lot into achieving the goal of your favorite numbers and outs where in my view the ability to hit any target successfully and consistently is providing more avenues then one’s favorites. 

Go for making the rounds and you are practicing to hit every part of the board. Starting, as we already indicated, the large pies from 1 to 20, shift to the smaller pies that are closest to the bull, then on to the double ring and finally the triple rings. 

I start out by tossing all three darts to each pie with a goal of hitting it once minimum. Later, as my targeting improves along with the all important throw, I try to hit them all with just one dart and one dart only. I do this, as I assume others do, to teach myself to hit my targets on the first throw so I can use the other two darts on other targets. In cricket I would find it most satisfying to hit with the first dart the triple 20, second dart triple 19 and the third dart triple 18. Then the same with 17, 16 and 15 with a close out of double bull and single bull. The ultimate objective of the Cricket game.

Of all the practice models I find making the rounds the most, “Well Rounded, in developing a solid consistent target-rich throw and once I achieve the objective of consistently hitting the pies and double/triples with just one dart I would vary it by:
  • Start with 1 and follow the numbers to 20.
  • Start with 20 and follow the numbers in reverse to 1. 
  • Start with any number and choose any other number randomly.
  • Start with 1 to hit the big pie, the little pie, the double then the triple and follow the numbers in this fashion up to 20.
  • Reverse the last from 20 to 1. 
Keep it exciting and always remember that in practice you have to have a purpose, intent, to the throwing of each and every dart to improve and reach a master d’artist level of the dart arts. 

Oh, lets not forget all the other factors necessary to achieve success in this particular practice model of the oche line, the stance (kamae), the physiokinetic structure and alignment, etc., of the body, the arm and the actual throw (aiming through sight alignment and picture; the arm position and structure; the hand (relaxed, positive relaxation, the limber relaxed wrist, the limber flex and extension of the fingers, the pointing follow through and so on).

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Front Sights: Dominant Eye -n- Targeting

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

Aiming the dart is much like aiming a rifle where one sets the dominant eye behind the rear sights, the flight in the dart, then looks down the rifle, the barrel of the dart, and then aligns the front sight blade, the front of the barrel or the dart point depending on how you hold the dart, then placing the front sight and aligning the entire thing to the dart target, i.e., like the triple 20, etc.

You find your dominant eye sometimes by the fact of being right or left handed, but not all the time for many players toss arrows with the right hand while using the left, dominant, eye to aim and throw the dart. A simple test is to put the dart about an inch in front of the right eye, or left if you wish, then take aim by aligning the dart to a target then close the right, or left, eye … did the dart flight move? If so, that is your dominant eye. Note that both eyes are open until you do the test, test both eyes to make sure then use the dominant eye to take aim.

Watch expert rifle marksmen, often even a left dominant eye will still shoot as if right handed, i.e., stock to right shoulder and right hand in trigger, while using the left dominant eye to take aim. As a Marine I shot expert by using the dominant eye. 

Now, add this into your efforts to find your darts, the perfect throw. This is just another of those details that the mind, body and spirit of the d’artist must find and train, train, train to achieve mastery over the dart-arts. 


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

In the dart-arts we have milestones, milestones in that certain targets and their results, i.e., score -n- close/scoring, etc., make for what are called, “Highlights.” The major one is hitting three darts in the triple 20 ring for 180 points. Another, secondary, is the trip 19’s for a 171 score. 

Another is the bulls eye, the very center double-bull area, where three darts in that area is called a, “Hat trick.” Then there is the highlight of hitting a score of 100 or more points with three darts and in the cricket game hitting three darts where one in the triple and two in the pie is a highlight of C-5 with a maximum of any closing area of a C-9, i.e., all three darts in the triple with one caveat, the opponent must not have closed that section, i.e., 20, 19, 18, 17, 16, 15 and bulls. 

There is one more highlight that is not as obvious or recognized by the dart world, the brim-shot. The brim shot is about hitting all three darts in the secondary, single-bull, area. It is as if you hit the brim of the hat rather than the top of the hat for a hat trick. 

This is called, “Snapping the Brim!” In a ‘Boater Hat’ you have a flat top hat with a flat brim which best describes the double-single bull configuration as if viewing it from the top/sky. Snapping its brim is to turn it down sparingly or as in the dart arts you snap the brim down sparingly much like a wearer who reaches up to pull down the brim first from the front then with two hands on each side sliding the fingers along the front of the brim to form it properly. In darts, you hit, pin the brim, with the three darts in the brim, single bull, area. 

Brim shots are, “snapping the boater brim with three arrows!”

"Snapping the Boater Brim!"

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Bull Practice

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

Practice, practice, practice is the only way toward mastery of any discipline as long as it is with intent, intent to hit the target consistently in the dart arts is that kind of practice. Then there are other objectives that provide the way toward that expertise, i.e.,
  • Targeting: to hit the intended target with consistency and accuracy.
  • Targeting: those targets often ignored in the dart arts such as hitting the bull.
  • Targeting: variety as in doubles, triples and most of all “The Pie.” The large and small pie segments not the double and triple ring. 
  • Grouping: to toss all three arrows to the target but in a group as tight as possible.
  • Targeting: to hit all three arrows, darts, in the intended target, i.e., the triple 20 for instance where the objective is to put all three darts into the tripe space/ring with each point as close as possible.
These are a few examples but one target often ignored in practice is the bull’s eye. You have a single bull and the double bull ring that holds space in the exact center of the board. As can be seen by the below snapshot, you can see by the loss of material in the center along with all the dart point impressions in what material is left at the center of the board. 

Another reason I advocate the practice, a lot, of hitting bulls is the process can bring you back in line with the best throw, your perfect throw. Another reason to target the board area’s with an eye that creates, visualizes or creates a visual imagery, of the smallest area to put the point of your dart to when targeting in the actual throw. The narrow mind-state promotes the tactile and physiokinetic applications of methods necessary to train the brain, the mind, to trigger proper actions for your prefect throw regardless of the target or targeting. 

Monday, June 5, 2017

Awareness in the Dart Arts

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

Awareness in self; awareness in others; environmental awareness, i.e., awareness in competitive environments as to how others toss their arrows and compete in the various games and so on is - Dart Arts Awareness. 

You really do have to pay attention to your self in mind, body and spirit. 
  • What is your mind doing when you toss arrows?
  • What and where is your minds focus with tossing arrows?
  • Is your mind-state a calm and clear one?
  • Are you experiencing any of the adrenal stress effects such as loss of fine motor skills that can be devastating to your throw?
  • etc. etc. etc.
  • What is your body doing when you approach the oche line?
  • What does your body feel like when you approach, set at and assume your stance at the oche line?
  • What effects are your body feeling from any adrenal stress effects?
  • Is your body still?
  • Is your body stable?
  • Is your arm the only part moving when you toss the arrows?
  • etc. etc. and etc.
  • How do you feel at the different locations in the dart art environment, i.e., 
    • while waiting your turn;
    • while walking up to the oche line;
    • while setting your body and mind at the oche line;
    • when preparing to toss the arrow(s), etc.
  • How are you feeling and what can you feel in your mind and body in preparation for and tossing the arrow(s)?
  • Are you committed to tossing well?
  • Are you committed to your objectives in the dart arts?
  • etc. etc. etc.
All those things that set up your mind, body and spirit to toss the perfect darts and to be successful in tossing perfect games be they “01” or “Cricket.” 

In addition, once you enter the arena take note and become aware of that environments conditions, i.e.,
  • Is the environment crowded?
  • Is the environment noisy?
  • Is the environment hot, cold or some other less optimal condition?
  • Is the board/competitive area set up with adequate space, etc., for the comfort of competition?
  • Is the score keeper following proper scoring etiquette and if not, are you preparing your mind to deal with those obstacles.
  • Are you getting into a mind-set and mind-state to compensate for any environmental conditions that may effect how you toss your arrows?
  • etc. etc. etc.
As you can readily perceive in this article, although not comprehensive to awareness as a whole, that your awareness is something that will support and effect your participation in the dart arts both positive and negative depending on how well you remain and deal with such things. 
  • Are you aware of your health? 
  • Are you aware of how you fueled your body before the contest?
  • Are you aware of and prepared to deal with fuel for the body during the event?
  • Are you hydrated and do you have proper hydration for the entire event? 
  • Are you well-rested?
  • Did you practice and train adequately in preparation?
More on how awareness of your discipline and dart arts make the difference in the outcome of tossing arrows in a competitive environment. 

Friday, June 2, 2017

DARTS: Fingers

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

The d’artists fingers are important to the throw. They provide the final thrust and contribute to a more relaxed arm, i.e., shoulder, upper arm, elbow, forearm, wrist, hand and fingers. Finger positioning on the dart especially as they cock and push the dart throughout the entire toss. 

As the d’artists begins his throw the elbow remains steadfast in proper position, the hand and forearm begin its journey back toward the eyes while the wrist and hand gently float backward while the fingers, flex and bend, back into the palm of the hand as if coiled springs being compressed building up energy so when the arm, hand and fingers reach the tipping point the mind releases energy so that the entire arm flexes, stabilizes and extends until a point of no return when the fingers spring forward and out, past the release point and in the follow through so the dart, arrow, can travel the proper trajectory to the target of the board. 

The key is the fingers for if they don’t do their job no matter how well the rest is done the arrows will miss, by sometimes the very width of the board spider-wires, the target. It is the fingers as springs, spring boarding the arrow on its path and way, that launch arrows true. It is the fingers that allow the arm, body and mind to remain in a positively relaxed state combating the adrenal effects of competitive stressors so the arrows, the darts, will fly as if born with wings on air currents following through to any, any, intended target of the board. 

The fingers are the controls not just the spring board for their position and tension along with stabilization hold the arrow true and straight into the path that leads directly to the target. It is the toughest to discover and the toughest to train toward a consistency that makes the d’artist a great dart arts practitioner. 

It takes often months to years for a true d’artist to find not just their throw but to train the fingers to do their part controlling everything in that moment of spring release, launching the dart and hitting the objective - the intended target. 

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Dart Diet

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

As with any discipline what you input as fuel must be such that it feeds the body-mind toward optimal performance for the d'artist.

What is an optimal performance diet?
  1. Eliminate sugar.
  2. Remove cereals, pasta's and other processed foods.
  3. Remove starches, cheeses, and many milk products.
  4. No processed vegetable oils.
  5. Restrict carbs.
  6. Eat only good fats.
  7. Eat fresh local grown fruits and veggies.
  8. Eat proper adequate amounts of proteins.
  9. Eat organic local grown meat and eggs.
  10. Supplement vitamins, etc.
This is far from a comprehensive list and in fact one should consult a dietary professional who specializes in sports nutrition. The goal here is to convey the importance of diet for fuel especially since the higher levels of competition can be grueling marathon’s of tossing arrows. The above list should be only about information and direction leaving the research up to the d’artist. 

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Fist Bump in Dart Arts

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

Well, a good question I asked myself is, “Why do d’artists bump fists?” My search found a lot of different views on the topic with many expressing a lot of angst about doing it but in the end it falls into the etiquette category. 

Historically: I could not find anything definitive on the dart arts fist bump. I did find some information that indicated the fist bump is a gesture similar in etiquette to a handshake or even the high five used in sports. It is also believed as a gesture of both respect and approval of the person you bump fists with. It can be followed by other hand and body gestures in greeting others. 

One source wrote, “It is commonly used in baseball and hockey as a form of celebration with teammates, and with opposition players at the end of a game. In cricket it is a common celebratory gesture between batting partners.” - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fist_bump

The wiki page talks about its beginnings as far back as the late 1800’s as a boxer handshake simply because the normal handshake is not possible while wearing boxing gloves. I kind of like and accept this at least in the boxing world. There is also reference to the early seventies when military persons of color used it as a form of salute to symbolize, “Black Power.” 

There are other sports references such as in basketball, a player in the 70’s did it with another player, etc. What some may not know is that in the animal kingdom anthropologists observed chimpanzees bumping fists and they still don’t know why the chimpanzees do that gesture. Even one of our recent Presidents of the United States used the fist bump at the end of one of many meetings while running for the office. 

There is one belief that hygienically speaking the fist bump reduces skin contact reducing the transfer of bacteria thus being a recommendation as a more hygienic alternative to a handshake or high five. 

So, in the end, it really doesn’t matter why or where it began in the dart arts and it is a good alternative to the handshake, if the parties are in agreement to its use, but it should be limited for etiquette purposes, i.e., before a contest begins and after it ends ONLY. As an aside I would add in the same requirement for expressing when a d’artists tosses most excellent arrows, i.e., often said, “Good Darts!” Leave that for after the game or leg ends while changing out players for the next leg of a game or match. 

Now, personally, I don’t mind the fist bump at all. I assumed when I returned to the discipline that fist bumps were a part of the game etiquette. It took me a little time to stop reaching for the handshake and just bump, lightly, fists but I can see how it promotes good social connections and camaraderie in team efforts. I still feel it is only appropriate before and after a contest and I feel strong it should not be overdone or done during siad contest because all the d’artists want to focus, focus and focus. 

Monday, May 22, 2017

Clear Flights - Why?

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

I like clear flights. I realized although they are out there not many use them and prefer a more personalized flight design, i.e., design as in the design of the decoration rather than the flight shape or configuration. I like clear flights because they don’t distract from my aiming and from targeting when they cover that target. 

When a flight covers your intended target often it means you toss an arrow by strict instinct or you move to see the target better. Moving changes the dynamics of your throw and that means it changes the dart throw. Normally, not a big thing but for me it allows me to continue seeing the target so I can stay in my position and toss another right after the first. 

Clear flights also allow me to see just the straight shaft of the dart so as to align its aiming point in line with the shaft as well as keep it steady and in line with the target through out the entire throw. As long as all the other factors are in alignment this should, and does, result in a good solid dart to the target. 

I liken it to using the shaft without the distraction and obstruction of a decorated flight much like sighting along rear sights and the front sight blade on a rifle. As long as the rear of the shaft is lined up directly behind the shaft and the point you have good alignment to the target.

Sight alignment, sight picture and then dart throw control to hit that target, first time and every time. It also helps to keep the hand, fingers, wrist and so on aligned during the movement of the toss. It’s a tool to achieve a more consistent throw while keeping the body movement at a minimal, outside normal for human movement since you cannot achieve total immobility as a human being. 

Tracking 🎯

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

When one loses the target, to track back on target. To zero back in. To also track back into tight groups. The compliment to consistency is tracking back on target. Remaining on target is also critical because many times when three are tossed most excellently the next three tend to falter and when they do the first thought comes to mind, to track back on target. 

It reminds me of marksmanship, i.e., sight alignment, sight picture, and trigger control along with many other aspects that make one an expert marksman to which Marines tend to excel. As an expert rifleman I use those skills along with other skills of other disciplines to train, learn and improve my dart arts. I don’t have a method, I have a system of various skills and expertise that contribute collectively to learning and applying dart arts skills. When two very good, old and experienced players of high caliber tell you that you have made some amazing improvements in the short time back in the discipline you can accept the fact that your system is working. The goal is to keep it working for the long haul.

When tracking we have to adjust of things like, rifle marksman symbolism here, windage (in short the way you hold your hand upon release where a turn one way or the other takes things to the left or right of target), elevation (in short, when you release too soon or too late causing the dart to rise higher or lower than the target) and muscle and breath control (where your breathing and its body movement that disturbs the trajectory of the darts).

Yes, there is more to this including body structure, balance and kamae or stance at the oche line so in the end the collective application of the dart arts is considered a very complex process often seen by the uninitiated as simply throwing darts. Keep part of your mind on tracking to hit center mass of your target be it the pie, the double of the all high scoring triple. 

Good Darts 🎯

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

You hear the often when tasting arrows especially after tossing "Good Darts," but do we really know what good darts are?

Here is what I use to define good darts.
  1. When all three are in a tight grouping at least half the time or more.
  2. When all three darts are in the pie, target, the D'artist is aiming for in competition.
  3. When at least one hits the triple targeted even if the other two miss even the pie.
  4. When one hits the double and one hits the single pie.
  5. When one scores a minimum of sixty points each round of three, or more - that is good darts. 
  6. When the dart or darts - matter!
All too often most d’artists will tell a partner they tossed good darts but in reality, a good amount of time, that is just not true. I understand it may be attempts to boost morale and confidence but if given indiscriminately it tends to be more an insult. It is best to comment good darts when they are good darts. 

We do ourselves and others a disservice when accolades are given in such a way but we foster improvement and confidence when we provide honest, true and accurate accolades for it triggers a mind-state that fosters continued improvement and progress and that is the name of this game. 

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

DART ARTS: The Pub Venue

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

It is strange that in years past it never occurred to me that darts is played exclusively in pubs, bars and bowling 🎳 alleys and, this is the part of which I speak, the game for the venue is about selling alcoholic drinks 🍹- duh, Homer Simpson head slap 👋🏼.

If you are a non-drinker, like me, are you welcome and how do the proprietors feel about your playing and not drinking? That and it puts a whole new light on playing darts 🎯 when it is just another income generator where if non-drinkers start to become the majority then why allow darts in the pub?

In days past I was definitely in a minority so small the pub owners did't care because it was known that the drinkers would have non-drinking friends.

Putting the pub owner hat 🎩 on would I want my place of 'business' to allow people who didn't spend money 💰 to just use my place to play a discipline that didn't also generate income? Nope 👎, I would not. I understand the situation and feel bad 😔 that this never occurred to me in the first place. This is especially important if the pub does not serve food, etc., other than drinks. After all, pubs is indicative of drinking and both pool and darts were venues to pull in clientele who - you guessed it - "Drink."

Darts is both a competitive and social discipline thus ideal for pubs to pull in 'paying' customers.

All this and more begs the question, "If a non-drinker should I be playing the game especially since it is done exclusively in pubs, bars and bowling alleys?

This question takes on greater importance when those who participate as non-drinkers start to become a majority as that as an adverse effect on the business.

Personally, I feel bad 😔 because I am a non-drinker and since most d'artists I play with in the league don't drink should I still participate and should the proprietors allow us to participate? I would understand and support them asking us non-drinkers to not use their pubs.

I wonder if a moderate cover charge were imposed at the door 🚪 would alleviate things so we non'ers could still toss darts? I wonder, is there some other way the d'arts could continue outside the pub venue?

I have been racking my mind for alternatives that would keep darts alive but to date have had no success. I am asking myself if I should give it up simply to abide by pub needs toward making the business viable?

Should I ask the pubs where the darts are played if they have a drink minimum requirement and if not don't play there?

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

DART ARTS: Vacillation, the Harbinger of Consistency

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

In world of the dart arts most players will vacillate between a consistent toss and the inconsistency that makes the darts fly off into side pies with low scores. It is the most frustrating aspect of the art of darts and the most critical obstacle one must traverse in order to gain a high degree of consistency in toss arrows. 

A good example is a description of the last two league contests I participated in where the first contest was my absolute best as to hitting the targets consistently except for one minor detail, all the high scores and closes in cricket there was always just one aspect that fell through the cracks. In the ’01’ games I could not hit my out and in the cricket game I faltered on scoring points so although the team threw the best darts ever we still lost. Second contest, we tossed the absolute worse darts ever but when it came down to the end short game we hit all our outs and scored and closed ahead of our brothers in dart arts to win the games, all of them that night.

Now, ain’t that a hoot, we toss bad darts and win then we toss some really good darts and end up losing. It comes down to consistency in tossing arrows with max proficient targeting that includes hitting outs, closing numbers and scoring high. 

Last night we got hit hard with both bad darts and huge losses, i.e., won two out of nine to lose the nights contest overall. Not that our opponents toss their arrows any better but the hit better than we did, bummer. 

I now appreciate it so much more to understand the true challenge in the dart arts, to achieve a solid target rich tossing of perfect darts - consistently, diligently and without all the baggage that comes with the conflict of self and others in a competitive environment. 

I would assess the discipline being 25% physical and 75%  mental, i.e., an adrenal stress-conditioned chemical mess that obfuscates our objectives in such contest. Our minds shift in an instant and our objective to expertise is to overcome the mental obstacles that rise up like a tsunami after an earthquake off shore. 

Some mental obstacles:
  • Positive Attitude:
  • Self-Motivation:
  • Creation of a System rather than setting goals:
  • Using positive self-talk:
  • Using Visual-Imagery:
  • Facing and conquering stressors and anxieties:
  • Emotional Maturity: Understanding frustrations that come with the discipline; acceptance of human fallibility; handling stress thus reducing adrenal effects; Positive relaxation; and FOCUS eliminating distractions and outside influences to remain in the game. 
  • Attitude, Motivation, Commitment, Objectives, Self-Talk, Visual Imagery, Effective tactics for stressors, emotional maturity, and concentration are all mental disciplines that make consistency and proficiency hallmarks and cornerstones of the dart arts.
So, what is the dart’ist to do? There are things you can derive from the above yourself but I would add in the following:
  • Have confidence in your skills: Confidence is the number one objective of your mental preparation. Confidence can be built in many ways, including from practice, preparation, game plans and the mindsets you maintain. To build confidence prior to competition visualize yourself performing successfully, and review all the reasons you have to be a confident athlete.
  • Prepare to cope with adversity: With experience, athletes learn how to cope with any adversity – with situations that could cause them to lose focus, confidence or composure. If you haven‘t experienced many adverse situations, you‘ll have to anticipate the challenges that might affect your mindset, and develop strategies to cope with each.
  • Fully enter the role of the dart’ist: On game day athletes need to set aside any life challenges or hassles, and fully focus on competition.  Use pregame routines to help you transition into the role of a performer such as, listening to music or getting a good stretch in.
  • Focus on execution: What you focus on prior to competition is critical to your mental game success. We teach our athletes where to direct their focus and how to improve their refocusing skills when competing. This helps them maintain focus on executing the present task successfully, rather than dwelling on mistakes or worrying about the outcome.
  • Finalize and commit to your game plan or strategy: In most team sports, athletes are given the game plan. However, athletes who participate in individual sports, such as running, golf, tennis and racing, must develop their own plans and strategies. It is important that you have a game plan and fully commit to prior to competition. Questioning or changing one’s game plan often causes athletes to play tentatively and indecisive.
In short, 
  • Always keep your attitude positive by visually imagining positive images of you playing well, at your very bets.
  • Use power words, positive words have a positive effect and will change the path of your darts.
  • Make your focus tight, narrow and in the present moment so distractions don’t shift your mind and body out of synch with your discipline.
  • Train, train and train some more, make your dart training and practice one that takes advantage of your every skill set.
  • Create objectives that float in nature so that you can learn to change and adjust while going with the flow. 
  • Scan you mind, scan your body and take stock of your attitude as to competitive spirit before, during and after a contest.
  • Detach yourself from the outcome, remain focused on playing the board. You, your darts and the board are the only challenge.
  • Breathe away distractions and use the breathing to relax and focus in on your target, toss and target rich board.
  • Enjoy yourself, have fun, relax and let your body, mind and spirit soar, to do what you have trained and practiced to do. 

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

DART ARTS: It's About the Thrill

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

We have all heard people say it's about "the thrill of the chase or the thrill of the game" but for the first time I experienced the thrill of the toss.

The toss of the darts in some most awesome darts; mine, my partners and the team we were competing with in last nights league of the dart arts.

You really have to experience it to truly get that feeling and I understand now how addictive that can be.

I could feel that positive rush and the connection it makes with other dart'ists. I hesitate to say the worn out meme, "It was tantamount to good sex!" 

It was, dare I say, a seminal point as it marked my exceeding the skill level I had those many years past when I first took up the tungsten. In those days I was adequate and yet put away what I thought then as childish things. It was just a game.

Today, as a more mature dart'ist whose research has uncovered that the dart arts, are an art form equal to other sport oriented art forms like gymnastics, golf and martial arts.

It has its philosophy, it has its heritage and it has its physiokinetic principles that make it a real mental, physical and spiritual (not religious in nature but the spirit of competition, etc.) experience.

When I am in the zone, it has a meditative effect that allows me to toss the proverbial perfect dart(s). As I experienced tonight's dart art challenges I achieved a state of mind and body that was contentment; a placid state of contentment. It inspired me to seek enlightenment through the art of darts, to play to the perfection of the dart arts and the mastery of a dart'ist.

Feeling the excitement of the mutual connection brought about by good, solid, darts it opened the door to the next phase instilling that sense of achievement and accomplishment I sought when I decided to take up the arrows after over twenty-five years.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

DART ARTS: Cricket

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

“Cricket is one of the most well known dart games in the USA. It's the 8-ball of the dart-world -- everybody knows the object of the game.” - Josef Burger, http://pages.cs.wisc.edu/~bolo/darts/cricket.html

To my mind, the art of the cricket darts is a challenge and frustrating gambit of strategic tactics that make the game a discipline. A discipline of points and numbers, i.e., in Cricket the dart’ist must close out a set of numbers before his or her opponent. Sounds bit easy doesn’t it yet when you find out the “Rest of the Story” you find that once you close a number every dart thereafter in that number is a score, until your opponent closes out that same number. 

The Mark: when you hit three darts in the number’s singles pie; when you hit two darts in the double ring; or when you hit just one dart in the triple ring you have closed that mark. Depending on how the three darts land, i.e., single pie, double ring or triple in any number of combination you can close a mark and accumulate points. 

The idea is to close out all the marks, i.e., 20, 19, 18, 17, 16, 15 and bulls. In this game once points comes into play you have to close out your marks while equaling or exceeding the points accumulated by your opponent. 

If you are real good and a bit lucky you can play a solid game of Cricket 8, i.e., close out the board faster than your opponent in just 8 darts tossed, i.e., T20, T19, T18, T17, T16, T15, D25 and 25. Yep, easy isn’t it yet it ain’t that easy. Hitting anywhere else on the board results in a missed opportunity to win in a perfect 8 dart game or at least as close to a perfect game as can be achieved. 

STRATEGIES: You should build your own game, your own strategies and stick to that in order to play well and win Cricket. A good strategy could be to close the 20’s and score points. Many of the more aggressive Cricket players do that because it puts you into the “Following mode” where you have to switch to the next number to close and start scoring your own points. Once you begin scoring you can always leave the third dart to use in closing the number your opponent is using to score on you, it all depends. 

Once you equal them in points or exceed their point level you can go back to using one, two or three darts to close other numbers. I like to, when possible dependent on the skills of my opponent, is to score with at least one dart while continuing to close with the other two. Again, it depends and here is where you begin to realize that strategies and tactics are much more involved in Cricket than in the ’01’ games. 

Here is a link that provides other examples of how to play Cricket and remember that it is critical to the dart arts discipline of the Cricket Match to find your own game and stick to it. A couple of personal points:
  • Don’t follow your opponent, always play your own game - stick with it.
  • Don’t get caught up in the bull chase.
  • Point the heck out of your opponent especially if you are spot on in targeting your numbers.
  • When you can, disrupt the chain of thought of your opponent, try shifting to bulls somewhere along in the game. Cricket aficionados like to follow a pattern of 20’s, 19’s, 18’s, 17’s, 16’s, 15’s and Bulls except in situations where a need to shift to another number say to score big so when you shift to the bulls and hit them solid it sometimes can distract the adversaries mental game.
    • I once was far behind in a match so I shifted to the bulls then  hit them consistently scoring big causing a far superior dart’ist to chase me. Granted, I finally made a rookie mistake and he pounced to finally kick my keister to win the match but you get the point. If I had been a bit better dart’ist I could have outscored my opponent allowing me to go back and start to close those numbers closing the door to scoring for my opponent.
  • Remember, scoring high off the oche line means your opponent has to shift to a scoring mark and often is force to split tosses between points and closing. Switching targets for what ever reason can be boon or bust you out of your game on. 
  • Remember, being behind in Cricket, or any other ’01’ game for that matter, does not spell the end, you can still win the match and game if you play your darts right. Keep the pressure going to keep your opponent off his or her game!
  • Remember about “Chasing;” it is reactive and in any conflict or competition your actions are superior to a reactive state of mind and darts. Your are reacting to what the other person is doing and it is better strategy and tactics to force your opponent to react to your darts. Chasing often requires split darts, don’t split your darts. Get in control, play your own game regardless. Create breathing room so you can play your own game consistently. 
  • Remember, if you have greater accuracy on certain numbers you may want to jump on them and close them out quickly so you can point up. If your opponent is a better dart’ist, try this and throw them off their game. Many dart’ists have certain expectations of the game and how most play it, so throw a monkey wrench into the game and play on!
  • If your opponent is a really solid consistent dart’ist make sure you play to your level. In some cases in lieu of aiming for the treble ring, aim for the larger pie so three in the bed close out that number. If you miss by small margins you have a 50-50 chance of hitting a treble or a double and remember, you can hit to either side lower numbers as well - be careful but be adventuresome too!
The referenced site, see link above, has a lot of very good information on the game and that will assist you in laying a foundation of strategies and tactics that will win those Cricket matches, so go for it and “Game ON!”

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Dart Arts Chalker

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

The Chalker is the title used to designate the dart arts score keeper. The Chalker holds a position of importance whose expertise and professionalism can effect the dart'ists ability to throw good darts.

Standing up at the chalk board with their back to the dart'ist holding as still as water on the calmest day waiting for the arrows to land with a solid, "Thunk," using there peripheral vision to see the score ready to quickly calculate the total as the next, "think," resounds in his or her ears.

The Chalker must achieve the speed of a math savant so they can quickly, "Chalk," the score on the board while standing just to the side so the dart'ist can quickly see his or her score in preparation for the next go-round.

  • Chalker’s come from the ranks of dart’ists.
  • Chalker must be accepted by all parties.
  • Chalker holds the responsibility of the games he or she scores.
  • Chalker announces the score before the darts are removed. All scores stand after the darts are removed.
  • Chalker records the scores of each turn and calculates the cumulative score as the game progresses. 
    • No dart is to be touched by dart’ist, another dart’ist, the Chalker, the team captains, or a spectator until the Chalker makes a decision as to the score. 
  • Chalker is to refrain from smoking, drinking or making comments in the performance of Chalker’s duties. 
    • Chalker is to stand motionless facing the chalkboard at a slight angle to see the dart board and is to remain in that position until the last dart hits the board.
  • Chalker’s will come from each team sharing the duties equally. 
Chalker Scoring:
  • Chalker will decide the winner for the middle determining who starts first. 
  • Chalker is to speak only when a player asks for the number of points scored or remaining or if a dart is in a double/triple ring especially when it is close to the wire. 
  • Chalker will NOT advise a player as to how the play the round especially the double required to out for the win. 
  • Chalker records the score, the dart’ist must verify his or her own score BEFORE removing his or her darts. 
  • Chalker and players have till the next dart’ists next throw/turn to change or adjust scores on the board. 
The Chalker Etiquette:
  • Chalker must assume a stance at the score board as follows:
    • Stand in a position close to the score board so that the board can be seen at the oche line by dart’ists; stand at a slight angle to face toward the score board and see the dart board clearly.
    • Stand in a semi-position of attentive posture with hands held by the side or in front of the lower half of the body.
    • Stand as still as possible with no movement or other distracting motions or sounds that may disrupt the toss by the dart’ist at the oche line. 
    • Remain still as indicated until the last arrow hits the board.
    • Calculate accurately as quickly as possible, enter the score with the running cumulative total so the dart’ist, both the one who just finished tossing his or her darts and the one approaching the oche line so dart’ists can quickly calculate and decide on strategic tactics of the game.
    • Resume, unless the circumstances and situation dictate, the original Chalker stance ready position for the next round of arrows to be tossed at the board. 
    • Chalker remains quiet except when asked by the dart’ist at the oche line to inform him or her of the dart thrown status/score according to the rules governing the Chalker/Scorekeeper.  
Let me continue by providing an example, I chalk a lot in our local league and as a beginner I made some Faux-Pas that disturbed a player causing, in all probability, his or her missing an intended target. As my experience level increases I understand a lot better how, for some, small distractions can be … distracting. First was an unsolicited notification as to what he had scored with the last thrown dart and second, was a small movement of my head and upper body, to better see where the dart struck to calculate the score to that point, it was the second toss, that caused concern by the dart’ist. Both are against the Chalker etiquette of the game and as you can tell by reading this article, led to this article.   

When you leave the league level and enter into the professional levels you will find this Chalker to Dart’ist relationship critical to the discipline and violating the rules and etiquette could or may result in a loss that spells out economic ramifications of great importance. This is why I write this, to remind me of Chalker Etiquette and Rules as well as train and practice of myself for that time when I may enter into the realm of the professional dart’ist.

Trivia: the reason I refer to the scorekeeper as a Chalker is because in the steel tip game many still use a standard chalk board and a Chalker is a metal device that holds the chalk, to keep the chalk off your hands, but it should be noted that many devices and applications exist that will provide you automated score keeping. It is prevalent in electronic dart games but traditionally the Chalker in steel tips relies on the mind to calculate the scores, etc. Traditionally the Chalker position assists the dart’ist is using math skills to keep in the mind the scores necessary to gain quick end game successes. Electronic scoring tends to leave a lot out of the game so that the player can focus exclusively on his or her darts and winning. In my mind, the game is a collection of variables that the dart’ist must control consistently to hit the perfect dart, score the highest score and to quickly get to an out or close the cricket game faster than his or her opponent. There are many arguments for and against such techno-devices to assist in the game but the human challenge, for me, is critical to being a dart’ist and not just a person playing a game for fun and social gatherings. When you are at a tournament and after hours of participation you are challenged in mind, body and especially spirit to remain in a high state of accuracy and consistency while manipulating your darts, the scores, your strategies and the various tactics necessary to achieve mastery of the dart arts.