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How to Practice Darts: Darts Practice Routines

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This article will teach you how to practice darts effectively. I’ll show you how to approach darts practice and introduce you to some tried and tested darts practice routines that will help you improve specific areas of your game.

When coaching darts players, I often recommend the practice routines featured in this article. From experience, I can tell you that some routines will suit you better than others.

I encourage you to try out a few and see which you find easiest to stick with, as persistence is key when it comes to darts practice.

New to darts? Fear not, there are routines here for players who are learning how to play darts, as well as more advanced players.

On this page:

  1. How to Practice Darts Deliberately
  2. Practice with Purpose
  3. Darts Practice Routines
    1. Around the clock
    2. Bob’s 27
    3. Frustration
    4. 121
  4. Want more?

Let’s start by looking at how to approach darts practice in a way that makes it more likely you’ll improve after every practice session.

How to Practice Darts Deliberately

I’m a firm believer that to improve substantially as a darts player, you need to perform something called deliberate practice. Deliberate practice isn’t just the act of deciding to practice; it’s much more than that.

Deliberate practice is the opposite of just aimlessly throwing darts over and over again without making a conscious effort to improve.

With deliberate practice, you should be constantly aware of how you’re standing, how you’re gripping a dart, your throwing action, and how changes to these aspects affect the outcome of your throw.

Top tip: Don’t overdo it. You may be used to throwing countless darts for hours on end, hoping to improve. That isn’t how deliberate practice works. Deliberate practice isn’t easy, and it requires all of your attention. It isn’t something you can do for long hours.

Practice for 20-25 minutes, take a short break, then another 20-25 minutes. That’s all it takes each day to make great improvements with deliberate practice.

A good way to adopt deliberate practice while practicing darts is to imagine that every dart is the crucial dart. Picture yourself in a real game with real stakes, and you have to land this dart, or it’s all over.

Keep yourself in that frame of mind, and try to relax. Go through everything you’ve learned about how to play darts in your head, and make sure you have set yourself up perfectly.

Top tip: If you find yourself slipping out of the moment and throwing aimless darts, just hoping for the best, then try throwing one dart at a time then walk away from the oche before walking back and setting up for your next dart.

After each throw, think about where you went wrong, or what you did well. Did the dart fly straight? Was that luck? Or was it because you were relaxed and kept great alignment throughout your throwing action?

You don’t have to worry about making small tweaks after every throw. Just the act of reflecting on your previous throw will cause you to improve far faster than you otherwise would.

Deliberate practice in small bursts is a far more effective means of practice for new and intermediate darts players in my experience.

It’s much easier to practice intently for half an hour a day than it is to throw darts for three hours aimlessly. You’ll see the improvements quicker, too.

Practice with Purpose

Just playing games of 501 darts is a great way for beginners to get accustomed to counting, scoring, and finishing. However, players who are looking to improve through practice rapidly should be practicing with purpose.

Practicing with purpose means having a goal in mind. What do you want to improve? Do you want to practice finishing? Is double 16 giving you trouble? Is it your scoring that’s letting you down?

Pick a definite aspect of your game and set about improving it with a darts practice routine that has been designed especially to improve it.

Most practice games are tailored around finishing. Finishing is the most important part of your game; because if you can’t finish, you simply can’t win.

Beginners will benefit from better-rounded games such as around the clock, but intermediate players should focus their practice drills on something specific, like doubles.

Darts Practice Routines

Now that you’re aware of deliberate practice, and know that you should be focusing on every aspect of your throw and analyzing what works and what doesn’t, let’s look at some darts practice routines that you can try practicing with at home when you’ve got your dart board set up.

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Around the clock

For those unfamiliar with the around the clock darts game, I’ll quickly explain it. You must hit the numbers from 1 to 20 in order, then finish with the outer bull then inner bull.

Around the clock is a perfect practice game for beginners. If you have a friend, you can both play and race to the finish. It’s a whole lot easier than counting scores playing 301 when you’re not too sure confident with darts counting yet.

As you improve and start to make your way around the clock with more ease, you should up the stakes. Try playing with the same goal, but going all the way back to 1 if you miss three darts at any number on the way.

For an even tougher challenge, and to work on finishing or scoring, try hitting only doubles or trebles all the way around, even!

Bob’s 27

Bob’s 27 is a practice game created by Bob Anderson, a former Darts World Champion from the 1980s. Bob’s 27 is a brilliant darts practice routine to practice hitting your doubles and work on improving your finishing.

Starting with a score of 27, you must make your way around the board, double-1 to double-20, then the bullseye.

You get three darts at each double, and each time you hit the double, you add the score on to your total. If you miss the double with all three darts, you deduct the value of the double from your total score.

Since you’ll be starting with three darts at the double-1, let’s use that as an example. If your first dart hits double 1, you add the score, which is 2, to your total of 27. You now have a total score of 29.

Your next two darts miss the double-1, but you don’t deduct any score because you hit the double at least once with your three darts.

You move on to double-2, and miss all three darts at it. You deduct the value of the double, which is 4, from your total of 29. You now have 25 remaining.

Continue this way, moving around the board until you hit a score of 0. The aim is to get all the way around to the bull.

Bob’s 27 is a fantastic game that ups the stakes as you get further around the board. It practices throwing for doubles under pressure and punishes mistakes harshly. You can hear it explained in Bob’s own words in this YouTube video.

Frustration

Coined by Justin Pipe, Frustration is a wonderful darts practice routine for advanced players to work on finishing under pressure.

Frustration is simple and effective. You must score 80+ with your first two darts, then hit double-1 with your third dart.

If you manage that, you continue and do the same again, but with your final dart aimed for double-2. Keep this going all the way around the board and finish on the bull.

The reason Frustration is such an effective darts practice routine is that it leaves you with a single high-pressure dart for double.

Scoring 80 isn’t guaranteed, especially for amateur or intermediate players, so when you do finally earn yourself a dart at the double, the pressure is on to make it count.

121

I recommend playing a darts practice game called 121 to players who are struggling with counting. It’s also suitable for advanced players who want to reinforce some fast finishing routes.

The premise is simple; you have nine darts to take out a score of 121. After nine darts, beginner players should attempt 122 next, regardless of whether they took out the 121 or not.

Advanced players should only progress to 122 if they took out the 121 in nine darts. If they fail at any point while climbing up to 123, 124, etc., then they should return to 121. See how high you can get.

Playing 121 is an effective way to memorize finishing routes, and will often result in you having to adjust and count on the spot when you miss a dart.

Want more?

If you’re struggling with a certain aspect of your game and want a darts practice routine to help out, then book a coaching session with me.

I’ll help you diagnose the issues you’re having and help you put in place effective practice routines to improve it.