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Darts Academy: Perfecting the Throw

What’s so complex about throwing a dart? You hold it. You throw it. It hits, hopefully in the vicinity of where you aimed it. That’s all well and good if you’re casually playing darts while waiting for the football game to start at the local pub, but if you’re serious about darts then proper form and technique are crucial. Improve accuracy and performance by understanding the physics and mechanical science behind the throw.

The Physics of the Throw

A dart does not fly in a straight path from your hand to the board. Instead, it follows a parabolic curve. The arc of this curve depends on the position of your arm and all its components, the power of your throw, and the precision of your release. The shoulder, upper arm, elbow, forearm, wrist, hand, and fingers in tandem are able to deliver any possible curve – some more desirable (think: nine-dart finish) than others (think: redecorating your wall with dart holes). Perfecting darts mechanics is the first step toward expert play.

Positioning Your Body

The throwing action comes from your arm, and only your arm. Your shoulder should stay locked in place, otherwise it will throw off the arc. You may have heard that the elbow should also stay in a fixed position, but if you watch a slow-motion replay of the best darts players you’ll see this isn’t the case. Raising the elbow as you near the release point will improve accuracy. Wrist movement is perhaps the biggest area of debate. A quick wrist snap improves acceleration, but it also increases the likelihood of an errant throw. Beginners should stick to the basic mechanic, but as you refine your throw you can work in wrist action and focus on control.


Align your eyes with the dart and the target. Over time, you will get a natural sense of aim, especially as you perfect your mechanics. Having a perfect throwing technique only benefits you if it’s aimed at the right target. Expert players aim at the T20, while beginners are advised to aim just left of the bullseye.

Angling the Dart

The dart should never point downward. In most techniques, it is pointed slightly upward at the beginning of the throw, increases slightly during the backward portion of the throw, and then decreases to near-horizontal at the point of release. Any downward angle will result in a poor throw.

The Grip

You can see examples of standard dart grips on Keep a solid grip on the dart, but don’t hold too tightly. Hold the dart between your fingertips, with the thumb resting behind the centre of gravity. Finger positioning is absolutely essential so they don’t interfere with the release. Most dart players use a three-finger grip, but test out a few different grips until you find one that feels natural. Practice, practice, practice, and make it your own.

Darts is a game of math, but it’s also a test of physics, body mechanics, hand-eye coordination, and muscle memory. Evaluate your throw – get a friend to take pictures of your stance or use the handy slow motion feature on your smartphone. Be mindful of your entire arm movement and control, from your shoulder to your pinkie. Practice, practice, practice, and in due time you will improve your throw and increase your skill level.

Want expert advice from die-hard darters? Visit Purewater and have a chat with one of our staff darts gurus. Whether it’s giving pointers to correct your throw or recommendations on the right darts and accessories, we aim to please.

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