Learn how to throw darts consistently by mastering these fundamentals: Grip, Stance, and Throw.
If you want to learn how to play darts or get better at your favorite dart games, you need to learn the fundamental mechanics of holding and throwing a dart.
Mastering these basic mechanics will make you a more accurate player. And, just as important, it will make you more consistent.
Learning how to throw darts consistently starts with an understanding of these mechanics followed by lots of practice.
(Scroll down for a summary)
The first step in becoming a consistent darts thrower is learning how to properly hold the dart.
To throw an accurate dart, you need to have the right grip. This comes down to finding the right balance between comfort and control.
The best place to start is with a basic “pencil” grip.
This means holding the dart barrel between your thumb and first two fingers. This is how most of us would hold a pencil.
Do not hold the dart too firmly. It should be relaxed, but still firm enough to retain control.
The thumb provides support for the dart during your throw. The top two fingers (your pointer and middle finger) simply guide and steady the dart.
Some players like to use their thumb and three fingers instead of two. This is often a matter of personal preference.
However, it also depends on the type of dart barrel.
For example, if you have a thicker barrel or longer barrel, or one with some deep grooves, it might be more comfortable to use three top fingers.
If you have a smaller barrel, you may need just two fingers and a lighter grip.
Again, this will depend on how much control you can retain. Some players try to fit as many fingers as possible, as this may increase accuracy.
Practice different versions of the pencil grip and see what works best for you. Just remember not to hold the dart too tightly – a common beginner’s mistake.
Darts stances tend to vary from player to player.
Like other aspects of dart mechanics, the right dart stance is personal and depends on how comfortable you are while maintaining control and consistency.
But there are a couple fundamentals each player should remember.
First, remember that the throwing foot of your dominant hand should be placed forward.
So, if you’re right handed, place your right foot forward.
Your feet can be placed at an angle, or parallel to the throwing line. It depends on what feels right. Either way, you should have your front foot up against the throwing line.
Your weight should shift to the front foot. The back foot is there for support.
Second, try to keep your knees locked during your throw. You should not be bending, bouncing or rocking during the throw.
Try to keep your feet firmly planted and minimize movement as much as possible.
Of course, you can lean forward towards the board, keeping your weight on the front foot. This is only natural.
But too much movement will hurt your accuracy and consistency.
Getting Set Up
First thing to focus on with your darts throw is the setup. This is how you position your arm and sight your target before releasing the dart.
Your upper arm should be raised. For some players, this means raising the upper arm so it’s parallel to the floor.
Basically, you want the arm raised so your hand holding the dart lines up in front of your face.
When you bring your dart in front of your face, you can line it up with your line of sight.
Take your time and sight the specific target you’re are aiming for.
Movement and Release
Remember that the movement of the throw comes from your forearm and wrist. There should be minimal, if any, movement in your upper arm and shoulders.
When you release the dart, remember that the amount of force does not need to be excessive. You are only trying to reach a board that is about 5 feet from the end of your throwing arm (the distance is even shorter if you’re playing on an electronic dart board.)
Keep the release smooth and controlled.
During your release, your upper arm should stay steady, and your forearm should move quickly. Again, this doesn’t mean forcefully.
The final movement comes from your wrist as it moves in tandem with your forearm. This is a fluid and natural movement.
Your shoulder should always remain still during the release.
Related: Read our full overview of how to play darts
The Follow Through
Finally, after throwing the dart, MAKE SURE YOU FOLLOW THROUGH. Not following through is perhaps the most common beginner mistake (along with throwing the dart too hard).
You should extend your arm after the release directly at the dartboard. This should follow the natural movement of your throw.
Make sure you always follow through and do it with consistent technique.
Just focusing on this aspect of your throw can make a huge difference in your accuracy.
Learn more on the importance and technique of a proper darts follow-through:
How to Throw Darts Consistently: Putting it all together
To sum it up, here are the fundamentals of good dart throwing mechanics:
- Use a “pencil” grip on the dart barrel, holding it with your thumb and first two or three fingers
- Keep your grip firm but relaxed
- Stand at the throwing line with your throwing side first and weight shifted to front foot; many players like to stand with their feet at a 45-degree angle.
- Keep your knees locked and limit movement; lean if necessary
- Sight your target
- Raise your upper arm and bring the dart in front of your face, in alignment with your aim
- Keep your upper arm still during the throw and limit any shoulder movement
- Use a quick fluid motion with your forearm and wrist to throw
- Don’t throw too hard
- Follow through
- Practice, practice, practice
Keep these tips in mind and you will become a more accurate and consistent darts player in no time.
For more on how to practice, check out a few of these solo dart games.