From the start of these Covid affected times Darts World has sought to give credit to those, within the darts ecosystem who have stepped up to provide players, and fans,, with extra opportunities to help out.
Winmau have put together a threesome of free/trial offers that will boost your practice performances and may improve your game. Amongst them is SwitchBlade, a game which Darts World introduced to the world a few weeks back. Great to see our friends giving it an even wider audience!
With more people playing darts at home right now than at any other time on earth, we want to make sure that your putting your time to good use and progressing as well as you can. This treble of FREE games developed with our amazing partners GoDartsPro will make sure you have the easiest way to play some really exciting practice games that add a real edge to your game and understanding of how to get better – good luck we hope you enjoy them and as ever feedback always really welcome.
Tips for what can you take from Michael’s dedication to the game?
The World No 1 has offered a handful of strong pieces of advice. Darts World’s resident coach is very impressed: “It’s unusual for the top players to give such good information. Often the just say generic things.
“These five offerings are things that can be seen to work fir Michael and might also be practice for improving players.”
1. Perfect the set up
Michael used to have a habit of getting offline as a youngster and in fixing his set-up position allowed him to become a consistent winning machine. Try very slow motion back and through darts throws to see the true line of your dart aim.
2. Obey your natural rhythm
Great Rhythm is something Michael has always had from a young age, and has been extremely careful never to mess with it. His throw has a start and a beautiful finish with no bits and pieces inn-between. See your throw as one movement not separate pieces.
3. Start smooth forwards
Another area Michael has perfected is the transition. The shoulder stabilises the throw so make sure it stays stable as you smoothly accelerate forward.
4. Stick the finish
Michael’s trademark is his sublime extension and throw finish showing perfect balance and power. That can’t happen without a lot of good things happening in your throw first, so stick your finish.
5. Find your weakest link
A few years ago Michael found that his mind was wandering halfway through many games. Identifying that this was linked to focus and stamina Michael got himself ready for the dip, so find your weakness and make it a strength.
Lockdown has given many people the opportunity to practise their darts in new and interesting ways. It has also given some of those who operate online systems a huge amount of information on how people practice and what can help.
Mixing up your practice Darts is all about the right mind-set. That’s why you need to practice games and routines that you enjoy. But they also need to be suitably challenging. Their difficulty-level must be right for your current level and you need to want to do them over and over again. You need to gain some wins under your belt. Might they be just small wins? A win might be just a proper score or getting through your favourite routine swiftly. That’s how you learn to win, because your biggest opponent and nemesis has always been and will forever be yourself.
Practice only fully focused This is easier said than done with family, work, social media fighting for your attention. That’s why your training sessions need to be short to be able to be fully focused. Leading productivity experts discovered through extensive research that a human first burst of full concentration lasts approximately 25 minutes, and requires a short break of 3-5 minutes before attempting a second burst of focus. After your first 45-60 minutes of practice it’s time for a longer break of +30 minutes to maintain peak performance.
Practice needs to be fun After two or three focused practice sessions (2 x 25 min) do a longer break (at least 30 minutes) I suggest you do a round or two of the ongoing challenges on GoDartsPro.These challenges are a fun way to practice and put you under more pressure since you want to score better than the other members. Try to reach the leaderboard and try to stay there until the challenge is ended.
DW Resident Coach – The GDP folk have built a very interesting practice engine that can be both enjoyable and effective.
The tips above align almost perfectly with much of what I have always practiced. The timings are close although, with most players, I would reduce them to 20 mins and not 25 if possible.
Even with elite players I always try to end on good note or a fun game!
Original text by Go Darts Pro: Try their practise games and routine here: Go Darts Pro
The guys at Winmau have teamed up with Mathematician Harm Nieuwstadt to launch a new way to test your self against the best. The Darts World ‘Coach’ thinks its a very accessible way to get an idea of where your game is and how you compare to the world’s elite:
We are always searching for methods to help darters all over the world, so when we were approached by the World’s finest Darts, Mathematician Harm Nieuwstadt, we jumped at the chance to work with him on this fantastic project.
Your dart accuracy can be represented by a single number anywhere between 0 and 3.
This number is called the Darts Deviation Value (DDV).
Simply the lower your DDV number, the more accurate and precise you are in throwing your darts.
The World’s top 16 Elite Dart Pro’s have the lowest DDV of all dart players ranging between 0.6 – 0.8 depending on current form.
You can find your own DDV by carrying out the following simple test:
Measuring your DDV: The Nieuwstadt-Test
Throw 200 darts at a treble of your choice and count the number of successful hits – this can be done over multiple practice sessions.
Divide the number of successful hits by 200 I.e. 35 / 200 = 0.175
Multiply the number (0.175) by 100 to get the percentage of darts that successfully hit the treble: 0.175 x 100 = 17.5%
Bounce outs count as a throw so do not re-take them.
When you have your percentage draw a line across the graph below to find your DDV.
Note that you should be able to get a percentage of 5.5% or higher to be able to use the graph, otherwise head to the Winmau Practice Zone.
I.e. 17.5% would give a DDV of 1.6
Of course your accuracy depends on the occasion, so if possible, do this test a couple of times on different occasions until you feel that the tests represent your average accuracy.
Then take the average of the DDV you got from the tests to get your average DDV.
Now you’ve got your DDV where do you stand against the top 16 in the World?
Let us know how the test went for you.
(Test Compliments of H.A. Nieuwstadt, Analysis of the dartgame, Mathematics Today, Vol 43, No. 4.)
A new Drill from ‘Coach’ and our friends at A.I.M: This time we’re looking to improve your BullShifting.
By now you should have got stuck into the selection of tips, drills and games that Darts World, and friends, have served up So its time for a few more. Today’s offering is BullShift, (Careful! We know what your thinking) we’ll let ‘Coach’ tell you more:
There are several situations during a leg where a dart at the bullseye can be very useful indeed. Whether its ensuring your end up on a two darter, instead of a three, or to ensure you have a finish at all, its basically a cover shot with two possible outcomes, this is BullShifting.
If you are on 201 and your opponent is not on a score where adding pressure might be relevant and you hit t20 s20, with darts one and two, this leaves you with 121 remaining and a single dart. A dart in either the 25 or Bullseye ,(a BullShift) will leave you with a handy two darter (either 96 or 71) whereas a single twenty or a stray (caused by a deflection, obviously!) will likely leave you with a tricky three darter including more complex treble possibilities.
In addition there are many other situation where two at the twenties and one at the bull/outer will be required. These may include shots at 170, 130 to finish or 90, 105, 130, 145 or even 170 to set up a finish.
So its important to be be a bit of a BullShifter with your last dart!
Although I like most drills to be based around five turns this one has to involve at least 6.
For each turn you will take two darts at the twenties and one dart at the Bullseye ring.
There are six possible outcomes if you hit the twenty bed twice & BullShift: 170, 145, 130, 105, 90 and 65. Each time you hit a score it is removed from scoring. As an incentive, and to give every throw mean, the Bullseye counts as 50, if hit with the last dart (LDB), even if you have repeated a score or not hit two in the twenty bed.
Turn 1: T20 T20 Bull – 170
Turn 2: T20 T20 25 – 145
Turn 3: T20 s20 Bull – 130
Turn 4: T20 s20 25 – 105
Turn: s20 s20 Bull – 90
Turn 6: s20 s20 25 – 65
Total – 705!
Realistic Run Through:
Turn 1: s5 T20 25 – 0
Turn 2: s20 s20 25 – 65
Turn 3: t20 s20 25 – 105
Turn 4: s20 t5 Bull – 50
Turn 5: s20 t20 Bull – 50 (repeat score)
Turn 6: s20 s20 Bull – 90
You can vary this drill a number of ways. But beware of driving yourself into a fit of frustration.
A tough variation is to list the possible numbers on the marking board, 65-170 inc and then give yourself a set number of throws to knock them all out. Example: use 10 turns and mark how many 65’s, 90’s etc that you clock. But also mark how many times you miss the twenty bed with either of your first two and how many last dart bulls (LDBs) you manage!
As you can see from the variations you can set your own level and then simply try to better your best. Total score after 6 turns, number of finishes hit after 10 turns etc. But here is a guide:
Amateur: 1 lower BullShift (65 or 90) and an LDB. 115 to 140
Pub Team: 1or 2 BullShifts and an LDB. 115 to 220
Higher: 2 or more BullShifts and an LDB. 250 or more
Elite: 3 or more Bullshifts and a LDB. 400+ (often!)
Who is the biggest BullShifter?
Top Score: 665 (145,130,65,170,0,50,105)
Fewest Turns: All six BullShifts were taken out in only 11 turns by a player who has flirted with the PDC top 32 but flew a little too close to the sun.
Enjoy Bullshift and let us know how you get on below or via @Darts_World
In response to a Darts World article, and player demand, Go Darts Pro have turned SwitchBlade into a fully fledged part of their training program:
Just because Darts World has been going for almost 48 years does not mean were not bang up to date with what dart players need and want! As soon as Isolation, and LockDown, started to hit home, we asked our resident ‘Coach’ and our friends at A.I.M: to help us with practise tips, structure and some fresh thoughts to keep you all entertained.
Coach has been using a drill, with elite players, for several years but he freshened it up and it seems to have caught on! Players then began to petition Anders. a founder of GDP, to include the game. The Go darts pro guys developed the new game speedily and its now ready to go!
Coach is particularly pleased that the drill proved popular at the current times and that its was GDP who took it on:
Mikko was Unique wonderfully intelligent & passionate, about all things darts, we agreed on almost everything. To have one of Our drills included in Go Darts Pro is extremely rewarding.
Mikko Laiho was the co founder of GDP and one of the best darts practise experts we have known. ‘Coach’ added:
That it was players, and readers of Darts World, who flagged it to Anders is the icing on the cake.
So check out the article that started it all here and then head on over to GoDartsPro.com and play the challenge version. Either way your sure to find your switching fluidity improves and you can add a new drill to your daily routine!
Darts World, and our friends at A.I.M:, have been doing our bit to keep darters occupied in during the Covid-19 Lockdown. Little did we know that one of our, ‘Darting Isolation‘, drills, SwitchBladewould begin to get a life of its own!
After its appearance last week SwitchBlade proved popular with readers who then began requesting that our friends at popular practise platform Go Darts Pro, turn the game into one of their challenges. Site operator (and co-founder) Anders got in touch and sought permission to use the game.
A.I.M: were more than happy to see a drill that they have used, with elite players, for many years gain a new lease of life. After a couple of minor tweaks Go Darts Pro have moved through the development stage and are nearly ready to feature the game.
There is more work to do and perhaps a surprise too for those who have been playing it! DW will keep you posted and let you know when you can play:
In many sports you may hear the refrain, from modern pundits or commentators, “the game has moved on” or ” he has raised the bar”. We all like to compare the greats, of our favoured era, with players active today. It makes for great bar-room conversation and fires up the social media ‘opinionistas’.
Our resident ‘Coach’ takes issue with the “game has moved on cry” he says:
In darts direct comparisons with previous eras can be made. Players often cross more than one “era” and with so many statistics, information and analysis tools available the archive is a virtual complete history of the modern game. Obviously factors such as opportunity to pay, competition level and equipment, must be taken into account but much can still be learned.
More important, than the booze-fuelled debates on who was the greatest, most talented, best stylist…….etc., is that almost any player can benefit from studying what has gone before. Often, especially with beginners, you will hear remarks like, “whatever feels comfortable is ok”, “don’t copy anyone else” and other similar remarks. These are meant to encourage players to develop naturally and not try, and fail, to play like someone else.
This is all well and good, as far as it goes, but to reject the information available seems wasteful at best and arrogant at worst. Bearing in mind that everyone, especially the young, will try to emulate those that they admire, or who are in the public eye, it seems questionable if they are all trying to play like MVG or Gary Anderson.
Players of almost any style and stage of development could learn a thing or two from some YouTube and or dartsdatabase.co.uk research. Some myths may be dispelled, and more confidence be found in your own method, if you seek common cause with the greats of the game.
Coach Takes a Stance!
An excellent example is in terms of stance. If you were guided by current players you might think that standing in a side on position was almost compulsory. Taylor, MVG, Cross and many other adopt versions of this position. The more face on stance could look awkward or old fashioned. In addition, you may think the short, wristy throw is a thing of the past. Yet a quick look at the most successful players, with very long careers, over many years, offers a different story.
Bob Anderson made his TV debut in 1979 and still featured in the International Darts League in 2007. Along the way, he claimed the World Championship and three consecutive World Master’s titles. Bob was unfortunate enough to have to compete with Eric, John, Jockey and then Phil all in their prime. But despite his individual style few would question his place in the elite of the game.
Overlapping, with Bob, is the career of another face on, whristy short throw, tall player. Simon Whitlock first competed in the PDC in 2004. In 2018 he was ranked back in the top ten and featured in the Premier League. Whitlock is one of the few still active, to have played in both BDO & PDC World Finals and was a major finalist as recently as 2017.
A close look at footage of both players reveals many similarities. They are tall upright men in their normal posture. Both lean in with the majority of their weight on the front foot. Both get the best results when they level the dart before release. Both are very still and deliberate in their stance but once the throw begins they are very fluid and rat-tat-tat with the three darts. Both are good at moving on the oche and their finishing can be unstoppable.
In terms of equipment both use mid length barrels, 50.8mm, medium stems and a standard shape flight. Both seem to prefer the larger surface areato the flight to get their dart to stand up in the bed.
Simon has seen the light, and now uses the tapered dart, thus both use slim fronted darts to allow superb grouping. Simon has been experimenting recently with equipment and accessories. Bob was also keen to adapt to the times and switched to aluminium stems quite early and later adapted the grip on his signature darts due to a lessening of sensation with age. Simon has not yet turned fifty so could emulate Bob’s longevity. It may be that there is something to be said for this style even today!
So if you have a wristy throw, or face on stance, take heed of these great players. Maybe look at your darts, set up or both. Make one small change at a time, to ensure that you can tell what is helpful and what is not, and give each one a decent chance to work in all conditions.
During this period of Darting Isolation or Darts Distancing, we at DW have been trying to give you fresh games or fresh perspectives to help with your practise. Here ‘Coach’ looks at those awkward but must hit shots.
The modern player has switching skills that many in previous generations would ‘die for’. However, possibly as a result, the ancient art of oche movement seems to be declining. Phil Taylor may have been the last great exponant of the art.
There are, however, good arguments for being able to hit your target from any angle. Firstly you should go for the most likely hit target, as often as possible, for most players that is the treble twenty. Secondly, it can be vital that you can hit certain targets even if they appear obscured. Going for a big finish needing two treble 20’s may result in a very awkward second dart or avoiding a bogey/reaching a finish in the first place, may require an angled effort!
To help a player who, due to his set up and technique, seemed to get a lot of awkward lying darts, we devised BedBlocker:
First you will need a spare dart. Ideally this will be a ‘4th’ one of your own set up. If you don’t have a spare, identical to your own, then try to get as close as possible, especially in length, and with the same flight and stem set up.
Now throw at the treble twenty, with the spare/s, until you get what for you in an awkward lying dart, a BedBlocker! OK,You can place the blocking dart in if you must!
Blockers vary according to player. As I throw from the right, of the oche, the dart pictured (right) ensures I have to move!
(In order for you to see clearly I have made the BedBlocker distinct by using a black point and flight.)
Now, using your normal darts, try to hit two into the remaining part of the treble (use all three of your darts). The aim is to get two more in the target bed, in this case t20!
The pic on the left shows a successful attempt. After overcooking the first dart (from further right) I hit the treble with dart 2. I moved across to the left and hit what was a nicely framed target.
Once you have managed this, note how many turns it took, move to 19s, 18, 17, and then the Bullseye. Simply total the number of turns it takes you to get 2/3 past the BedBlocker!
N.B. – The Bullseye is an exception, there are few (if any) reasons to go for two bulls after missing with your first dart, and definitely not if the BedBlocker is in the Bull! For this reason you may choose to be content with moving and hitting it once.
As we move on to 19s, 18s etc. You must be honest about what is a blocker for you, just below the target, or in it and a little flat? Perhaps your nightmare is a dart thats just above and hangs a little, true of stackers especially. Regardless you must place or throw your bed blocker in a place that demands you to adapt to hit it once and then probably again to get 2/3 in the bed.
The example to the right gives an example of my worst nightmare when going for 19s. If I throw straight at it its likely to be deflected and force me to move anyway. If I move right the third dart will be further obscured.
But by playing BedBlocker, quite a lot, I am confident and smooth enough to move either way. I am also happier to vary how far and in which direction.
Once you improve your level of confidence, in moving, the decision to move or go straight through becomes easier and eventually automatic.
As you can see, from the shot on the left, you sometimes have to adapt more than once. here I miscalculated dart 1 and ended up deflected and losing a flight. I looped dart 2 over the BedBlocker and then used it as a target after moving to the left for dart 3.
Sometimes its about instinct. I probably should have moved after dart 1, but the auto correct kicked in and resulted in a great dart 2! But then cool headedness prevailed and 3 was a much easier dart.
You can vary this drill in many ways. Altering the placement of the BedBlocker to force you to one side or the other or placing it above, below and then dead centre. Keep repeating it till you are proficient, and comfortable, from any angle.
If your struggling set a lower bar and just try to get one more in the target bed.
You can even use two darts to block the bed and then try to get one out of three in! There will be deflections but the drill is about adapting so both good and bad luck!
A fun variation is to play BedBlocker Half-It! Simply get the marker to place the spare dart in the blocking position for each number. Then the players must score as many as they can within normal Half-It rules (not including the BedBlocker).
This drill is really about getting confident and comfortable so improvement is the key. Play a couple of times with a limit on the number of attempts. Three at each number will get you going. Note how often you manage to hit 2/3 (or 1/3 if your starting out).
Once your happy with the drill try to finish each number before moving on.
The record so far is 2/3 in 20-17 (and first thrown dart in the bull) in eleven turns.
See if you can do BedBlocker in less than 11 turns and then comment below or drop us a tweet: @Darts_World.
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