Thoughts on Form
by Fred Everson
My dart pub threw its annual Christmas party last week and it offered an opportunity to photograph some good dart players in a non-competitive environment when the camera and the flash would be least intrusive. It was a revealing session about solid form that yielded some great illustrations of why some players throw consistently accurate darts.
I watched an photographed my good friend and former team mate, Tony Graf, an Ohio native who now lives in Brandon, Florida, and the pictures revealed some interesting points about form. The first thing I saw in the digital images was that Tony always has both feet flat on the floor. This limits his dart throwing motion to his right arm, below the shoulder. I have seen good players throwing accurate darts while lunging at the board, hopping on one foot, but this is difficult to imitate if hitting what you throw at is the goal.
Once you have a stable stance with minimal body movement, there are several other factors that govern dart accuracy. My photographs of Tony revealed a couple of interesting points. Other than his flat-footed stance with no body movement, a careful look at the pictures of his form revealed much about why his darts find the mark so consistently.
First thing I noticed in the photographs was that Tony always releases his dart at eye level. The second thing is that his hand remains at eye level until the dart hits the board. This is excellent form that produces game winning darts with mechanical precision.
Another thing I noticed is the way Tony cocks his wrist and breaks it with every throw of a dart. This not only adds speed to his throw, it makes for a much cleaner release by automatically causing the fingers to splay away from the dart barrel as though they were tripped by a spring. With this release a dart travels in a shallow arc with little or no rotation. I have seen some good players throw accurate darts that spin, but if the dart is rolling off your fingers, the potential for fliers is greater. Look at Tony’s open hand after he releases his dart. This allows the dart to travel to the board in the straightest possible line at maximum speed. No matter how hard you throw, gravity is going to do its thing, but you can minimize the trajectory of the dart through a clean release with little or no spin. If the dart is dragging on your fingers as you let it go, that becomes a motion that will be difficult to replicate with any consistency.
In summary, keep your feet flat on the floor and your body English minimal. Movement should be confined to the throwing arm below the shoulder. Cock your wrist, and throw the dart by tripping the forearm like it was spring-loaded – snap the wrist at the board at the end of the stroke. Master this form and you will be well on your way to throwing game winners.