When you’re learning how to throw darts like a pro, one of the areas your tutor is likely to emphasize on is how to hold a dart. That’s because holding a dart is one of the key elements that can define success or failure when playing this highly competitive game. Thankfully, there are many griping styles you can use to hold a dart provided you’re comfortable with them.
Now, when you hold a dart for the first time, it’s highly recommended that you hold it in the most natural way that feels comfortable to you. If you happen to watch some of the best dart players playing, you’ll notice that most of them use the pencil grip to hold and throw the darts. This strategy is considered to be one of the best as it helps you to hold the dart in the most natural way possible for improved grip and accuracy. So, in this guide, we will discuss some of the ways you can grip a dart to improve your accuracy and upgrade your game.
How to Hold a Dart: Step by Step Guide
But, before we can proceed with this discussion, it’s important to understand that a dart is a very fine object. Its small size and weight mean that it can be held in a variety of ways. While it’s critical that you hold it in a manner that feels comfortable to you, this guide will discuss some essential basics you’ll need to follow to improve your accuracy.
But first, let’s discuss a little bit about the physics behind throwing a dart. Now, throwing a dart is like throwing a stone or firing a bullet. Each of these objects follows a specific parabolic trajectory when launched. However, though, the curvature of the parabola is usually determined by the initial impulse or rather the force used to launch the object.
Translating this to your dart, how you hold and throw your dart highly determines how accurately the dart will accelerate towards its target. In most cases, this motion is governed by a combination of two rotating systems which are the wrist and the elbow.
So, to help you understand these mechanics quite easily, we will discuss a few guidelines you must follow when playing.
Understand Darts Set-up Measurements
The first factor you need to be familiar with when learning how to hold darts is the correct dart set-up measurements. Just like how a pilot adjusts an airplane’s computer with specific configurations for landing and take-offs, you need to adjust yourself with the correct dartboard measurements as set by the World Darts Federation.
At least by doing this, even when you’re playing darts for leisure, you’ll always breathe that air of legitimacy knowing that you’re playing under official measurements. You’ll also have a chance tofamiliarize yourself with the official measurements rather than having to readjust yourself to unfamiliar measurements when it comes to playing darts professionally.
So, starting with the height, whether you’re using an electronic or a bristled dartboard, the official height should be 5 feet 8 inches from the floor to the center of the bullseye. In the case of a disabled player seated in a wheelchair, the height of the dartboard from the floor to the center of the bullseye should be reduced to 4 feet 6 inches.
About the length or rather the horizontal measurement from the dartboard to the throw line, this distance should be 7 feet 9 ¼ inches if you’re using steel tip darts and 8 feet if you’re using soft tip darts.
Don’t Hold the Dart Too Tightly
Once you’ve understood the basics of the darts set-up measurements, the next thing you need to be keen on is how you grip your darts. As we mentioned earlier, darts are very fine objects meaning you don’t have to hold them too tightly for you to make a steady throw.
So, to make the best throw, you need to be very keen on the grip and the throw. First, you need to grip the dart softly as if you’re holding a potato chip. Make sure you’re holding it gently but also firmly to prevent it from falling off your hands.
Secondly, make sure you throw the dart lightly but also accurately. The best way to practice this is by using a soft tip dart. Here, you’ll need to throw gently to avoid breaking the board though you have to make your judgment as the dart might bounce and fall off if it’s thrown too lightly.
Keep the Tip Up
The next concept that’s highly beneficial when learning how to hold a dart is how to position it before throwing. You see, the tip of the dart is the part that gets to contact with the board. So, to make a successful throw, you need to position the tip at the right angle to make the throw as accurately as possible.
In this regard, we’ll go back to the parabolic curve concept we discussed earlier in this post. By viewing the dart with your naked eye, its motion when thrown will appear to be in a straight line. In real sense, however, the dart accelerates in a parabolic curve due to the gravitational force pulling it downwards. Following this explanation, it’s recommended that you position the tip upwards before you throw a dart.
Know Your Darts
Even after learning how to hold a dart as well as how to aim well, there are other factors that can affect your grip. One of those is the dart’s weight distribution. Now, if you happen to place a dart on your finger, the dart is likely to swing towards one side. That side to which the dart leans to is hence the center of gravity.
Now, a dart is made up of four sections which are the tip, the barrel, the shaft, and the flight. Since we’re dealing with the grip, the barrel is the most important part here. The barrel is made up of three weight distributions which are the front, the back, and the center weight distributions.
If your dart is front weighted, you’ll need to hold the barrel close enough to the front. If the dart is back weighted, you’ll need to hold the barrel towards the back, and if its center-weighted, you’ll have to hold the barrel towards the center.
If you’re a beginner, however, it’s highly recommended that you use front weighted darts. For more advanced players looking to improve their throw, back weighted and center-weighted darts are the best as they’re more modified.
Know the Different Dart Grips
Now that we’ve covered most of the factors you need to know when holding darts, the last area we’ll be looking at is how to grip the dart. Now, depending on your preference, you can grip a dart using two fingers, three fingers, or four fingers. The fingers that aren’t touching the darts are usually referred to as “free fingers” and should be kept away from the darts as much as possible to avoid interrupting the darts when throwing.To give you a clearer understanding of each of these grips, we’re going to discuss them further.
One Finger and Thumb: This type of grip is very similar to how you hold a pencil and it usually involves the index finger and the thumb. The best thing about this grip is that your fingers have less impact on the dart’s barrel when throwing. The worst thing about it, however, is that you’ll have less control over the dart making it hard to achieve high accuracy.
Two Fingers and Thumb: Just like our previous grip style, this one too is very popular among most darts professionals. It usually involves the thumb, the index, and the middle finger. Unlike the previous style, the addition of the third finger here provides more control making it easier for you to achieve the right accuracy when throwing.
Three Fingers and Thumb: The best thing about darts grip is that the more the fingers that are holding a dart, the more stable the dart will be hence the better the accuracy. So, with four fingers, which include the thumb, index, middle and ring finger, holding the dart to make an accurate throw will be very easy. However, with so many fingers holding the dart, having proper coordination between the fingers will be very difficult making it harder for you to release.
Four Fingers and the Thumb: With this type of grip, all the fingers are involved in holding the dart giving you great control over the dart. However, the fact that all the fingers are involved makes it very difficult for you to release the dart. This results in poor accuracy meaning there are more chances of error as compared to other grip styles.
As you can see, there are many factors you need to consider when learning how to hold a dart. Factors such as the grip, the number of fingers used, and the weight of the barrel are very critical as they have an equal effect on how you throw the darts. Just as we mentioned earlier, your level of comfort is something else that plays a critical role. This factor was recently proven by Rob Cross who won the PDC World Darts Championship in 2018 by holding the darts using very unfamiliar unorthodox styles.