Practice perfect: for consistently better darts playing
At Shot Darts, we get asked a lot for the juicy pro tips to help players really make their practice time count. So, we called in a couple of experts to give you the lowdown on getting the most from your darts training. Cheers to Warren Parry and Wayne Weening for the practice tips – can’t wait to try them out.
As much as any pro will tell you that practice makes better, there’s a difference in the types of practice you do. If you practice without focus, or a plan, you only promote bad habits. “Practicing badly is the same as practicing to play badly!”, reckons Wayne Weening. And it’s all about having a strategy and a sequence to work through. “I find that by starting my warm up on the middle of the board, not so much the bull at 1st, but the general area of the middle, it helps just to extend the arm and get the darts sitting comfortably in the hand. And 5-10 minutes of this is enough.”
As you get into the session, he recommends starting to intensify your focus on the bullseye itself. “I’ve found that warming up on the bull lets my mind relax into darts. Of course, you can use any number you like, I prefer not to throw at numbers that are my usual scoring numbers until I have warmed up.” By this stage, you should have a good feel of the dart in your hand. If not, put them down for ten minutes and then start again. You might need to repeat this a few times until it feels just right.
Now, you might argue that this stop/start approach doesn’t reflect tournament conditions – and you’d be correct of course. But the point of practising effectively is so that when you are playing a match, it feels natural, consistent and almost unconscious. Even the best players have moments where they struggle, but they practise to make sure those times are rare, rather than common. The aim is to make it a habit to play well rather than the opposite.
Warren Parry sums up his golden rules of effective darts practice like this:
- To get better, you need to concentrate during practice.
- Identify where things are going wrong and focus on putting them right.
- Don’t waste hours throwing at T20-break up throws with other trebles and doubles
- Playing '01 (501, 301 etc.) is NOT practising.
- If you can, find someone to practise with who has the same ability as yourself.
One final little tip for beginners: When playing a game (depends on the game) and you want to throw a number but scared you will miss, concentrate and aim for the T (trip). Always be cool, calm and collected and most important, believe in yourself.