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!

Monday, March 6, 2017

Practicing in the Dart Arts

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

The system you create in your dart arts practice will mean the difference in constant and effective improvement where you milestones are all about achieving a system that meets the standards of effective practice. This does not lessen the importance of experience in shooting arrows against your contemporaries. 

“There are fundamental principles that give that discipline, in this case the discipline of practice, it substance resulting in mastery. This is what every practitioner and devotee of such disciplines strive for even if on a subconscious level. What follows is a simplistic description of the principles needed to practice, practice, and practice to receive the benefits toward mastery.” - cejames

The notes references can be viewed here, “How to Practice Effectively …” https://youtu.be/f2O6mQkFiiw

  • It is not just repetitive practice, it is more.
  • It is about programming and creating changes in the brain along with the creation of a mind-state and mind-set of practice.
  • Repetitive motions alone are not enough.
  • Practice is not about large amounts of hours spent doing the repetitions alone. 
  • Practice must be about repetitions of a quality and effective consistent focused intent
  • Practice is about a type of challenge to our current abilities
  • Practice must be an effective form of practice or its just dancing around with only fitness and health as benefit. 
  • You practice by diligently focusing on the task at hand; minimize any distractions; start slow and gradually increase “Correct” practices.
  • Practice is also about building coordination of correct repetitive movement.
  • Avoid long singular daily sessions of great intensity, use frequent practice sessions with allotted breaks spanning the entire day. Like proper eating habits, it is more productive and effective if fed to you over time, several times a day, etc., i.e., eating small meals throughout the day is healthier. 
  • Practice includes spending time on things related to the discipline you wish to master
  • Supplement practice outside of normal practice through visual-imagery once you have established the motion or movement correctly and effectively. Visual-imagery, a form of visualization, is also a form of self-hypnosis where the brain can achieve improvements, etc., of established motions and movements at the same rates as actual hands-on practices

Remember, you have to practice in this way to reach and achieve new heights in your master of the discipline involved. To maximize your potential and have it manifest at will in a masterful way is the end milestone of a, “System of practice!”

Consistent accuracy is key to the success of the dart arts. How we develop that consistency, efficiency and accuracy to master the dart arts is done through a, “System of Practice.” The bulleted items along with the highlighted sections describe how we go about developing such a system and all the dart-ist has to do is fill in the particulars of his best practices to reach all the milestones and attain mastery of the dart arts. 

As an example, here is how I practice:

First, I break it up over days and hours into either a one-half hour session or one hour with up to two hours on the weekend days. I also use visual-imagery during the day, at work or when doing other things on the weekend, since I have established a modicum of proficiency tossing arrows. Now, since intent is important, actually critical, in your practice I have laid out some practices I use at each session.
  • I toss only one set of niners, initial warm up of nine darts, then move into actual practices.
  • I use my score chalk board as a guide with me taking the, “Home” position then me also as the, “Away” position as if a competitor/adversary. 
  • I play three games of 301: away always goes first and I/we switch start position for each successive game. 
  • I play three cricket games: away always goes first and I/we switch start position for each successive game.
  • I then practice outs, basics first, by trying to hit the doubles with the first dart; if I miss and say hit the twenty pie I then toss the next arrow at the double 10 and so on; this proceeds from 20 to 19 to 18 on down until I reach double 1 then double bull. 
  • I then practice going for the treble 20 working to hit consistently the 180 score. 
  • I then practice a form of cricket oriented play by tossing three at the treble 20, three at the treble 19 and then three at the double bull. I continue for as much practice as I can up to twenty minutes.
  • I repeat the last but at the treble 18 and treble 17.
  • I repeat the last but at the treble 16 and treble 15. (all three of these has at least three arrows at the double bull)
  • I then go for the doubles, three arrows at a time, from double 20 to 19 to 18 down to 1 then double bulls. 
Note: I don’t really go for 501 simply because going for 301 double-in and double-out fits that model and going for highest scores with each three darts helps get the long game down to the short game of first score able to out of 170 (treble 20, treble 20, double bull). 
  • Final game, to put 170 score on home and away so that I can compete against myself to learning and taking a double out as high or as close to and including the 170 point out as possible. The game here includes practicing the mathematics required to refigure an out after each arrow is tossed at a target especially if you miss. 
Note: My intent is also to analyze each toss as to why it was successful vs. why they missed their targets. A lot of attention is toward how my body stands and tossing the arrows so that I can attain consistent tosses at intended targets with a growing accuracy that would lead to mastery of the dart arts. It is about removing distractions, achieving a deep and abiding focus on the perfect throw and finally to achieve perfect games in 501 single-in-n-double-in, 301 and cricket (the three games played in American local dart arts).

I do practice daily with minimal skipping of days but alas as with all of us other life endeavors and responsibilities often dictate a need to skip a practice or an event yet the milestones are achievable especially when you can practice to equal improvement with visual-imagery. A note about V-I, it is a self-hypnosis practice some call visualization so once you achieve a certain level of proficiency that form of practice actually contributes as much improvement as actual hands on practice. 

One area of practice you cannot get, experience really, in practice session is one that exposes you to the realty of the adrenal stress-conditioned triggered chemical dumps you get when tossing arrows against an adversary/competitor. 

Game ON!

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