by Frederick Everson
Some years ago I saw a video of John Lowe throwing a perfect game of 501. What impressed me most was his rock solid form and economy of motion. Ever since I have been striving to eliminate motion from my own form, and while it hasnít been easy and I am not finished with it yet, it has improved my game.
I used to set up on the ball of my right foot, with my left toe barely touching the ground. I donít know why a lot of dart players favor this stance, but itís pretty popular everywhere I have played Ė from St. Thomas, to Canada, to Ohio, to New Jersey, to New Mexico to Florida. This stance encourages hopping and lunging, either of which is about as conducive to accuracy as a fifth pint.
I have been making some changes in stance, anchor point, and stroke in an attempt to improve accuracy by eliminating this unnecessary motion. It has been something of a struggle, and the results are not remarkable, but my play has basically improved. More practice with the new changes in form should take care of that.
The newest change to my stance is the positioning of my feet. I have been trying to come up with a comfortable stance that would discourage hopping, leaning and lunging. I found that keeping my feet flat on the floor, heels touching, right foot pointed at the board, other foot pointed about 90 degrees to the left, did the trick. Itís fairly comfortable, and when I concentrate, my dart accuracy is very good. But in the heat of a game, when I lose concentration and start throwing poorly, I find myself wanting to revert to the old stance. With time and practice, I think the urge will wane and Iíll become more comfortable with the improved stance.
I have also changed my anchor point. I have long been trying to throw the dart from a complete stop, but have yet to quite master it. I still like to rock the dart hand a little bit, as though trying to build up steam for the throw. Itís an annoying glitch in my game, and the thing thatís doing most to keep me from playing at a higher level. But I am making progress. I am using the point of the dart as an aiming point, lining it up between my dominant eye and the target on the board. When I think about what Iím doing and get the right stroke itís working pretty well. But I am having trouble with a jerky stroke, mostly because I am not yet completely comfortable and confident in the new stance. The result is a lot of fliers, and low darts. In the long term I think this is nothing that practice wonít fix.
The point is that to climb to a higher plane of accuracy, most players will have to analyze all of the motion in a throw, and then eliminate all that serves no practical purpose. Easier said than done, but essential if a dart player wants to take his game a notch higher.