Drill of the Day – BullShift!

A new Drill from ‘Coach’ and our friends at A.I.M: This time we’re looking to improve your BullShifting.

John Lowe: A master exponent
of BullShifting? (pic: J Lowe)

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.

Match Example:

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.

MVG is a fluent and regular BullShifter!

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!

Game Overview:

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.

Perfect Example:

  • 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
  • Total: 360

Variations:

You can vary this drill a number of ways. But beware of driving yourself into a fit of frustration.

I suspect Bully Boy would be superb at BullShifting!
PIC LAWRENCE LUSTIG

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!

Levels:

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!)

Records:

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

Check out some other Drill of the Days


Thanks to ‘Coach’ & AIM: @aim180ltd

SwitchBlade Goes Global! Darts World Fuels Demand For New Practice Drill!

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, SwitchBlade would begin to get a life of its own!

Image
An early screen promo of SwitchBlade by A.I.M;

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:

SwitchBlade online with Go Darts Pro


Check out the original piece and where the SwitchBlade story started here.

Daily Drill: Bed Blocker! A Game To Really Move You.

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.

Coach’s Intro:

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.

Phil Taylor
‘The Power’ is not often described as a good mover. However, he was in one way!

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:

Overview:

A ‘nightmare’ 1st Dart?

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.)

Two from the right, & one from the left, gets us past the BedBlocker!

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.

Example:

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.

Variations:

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.

A decent score in BedBlocker Half-It!

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).

Levels:

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.

Drill Of The Day – Bob’s 27. A Doubling Classic.

If you have been trying, some of the many, new practise drills and games that have been dreamt up, you may be wondering where they came from. SwitchBlade, Middle For Diddle and Sprint (Pro) Half-It were developed by A.I.M:, to assist players they coach,and Kill Bull looks like a Mikko Laiho / Winmau game. Today you can hear, about one of the most famous doubles drills, from the man who invented it!

Bob Anderson Talk’s Through his Bob’s 27 Routine.

Coach’s Comments:

Now I must own up to a bias, Bob is a man after my own heart in many ways. He was also a seriously good player! As important is his understanding of the game and how to improve and or maintain your performance. It is no accident that Bob had a very long Professional career and still plays to a very high standard, in exhibition and competitive matches, aged over 70.

It may also be significant that Bob was one of the first to have a background in a different (athletic) sport. Gerwyn Price has repeated the trick in this era.

Bob’s first point is one of my favourite rules. Have an aim to your practice, don’t just throw aimlessly at the twenties etc. Bobs next tip is to focus heavily on finishing and hitting that double, his ‘Bob’s 27’ is legendary. Watch it through and give it a few goes. This sets your benchmark and then you should add it to your daily routine. Many players use it as part of their early session or near the start of a longer one.

If you want evidence of how this improves your game check out Bob’s efforts in the 1986 World Masters:

The Limestone Cowboy was as good as they come and, in spells, was outstanding! 151,120,150 & 154! Not often you see that even today. These were hit under serious pressure, on a round wired board, in a major tournament and in quick succession.

So if you want to improve your doubles/finishing listen to Bob Anderson!


This is what ‘Coach’ calls a development (or reset) drill. While high level players will play it as a warm up or settling routine, shorter sharper drills can be better for those at the top. Bob’s 27 gives equal focus to every double, great when your developing, whereas sometimes a sharper focus on those that are used most often is more beneficial.

Darts World will show you a few of these over the coming days and weeks.


Drill of the Day – Kill Bull

We often ask ‘Coach’, or our friends at A.I.M:, for ideas for your home practice, sometimes others come along that are too good to miss.

The Kill Bull Game from Winmau.tv is one of them. This one has been featured on social media so we had a look. Its a nice, quick, game to work on your bull hitting.

Coach says: “This is nice simple game that can be scaled up or down depending on ability/experience. This means different players can race to their own target while playing together”.

Simon Hall features on Winmau.tv ‘s Practise Zone

Our resident ‘Coach’ commented:

Downsides:Often those who try to devise games make then two hard or the consequences of a missed dart/s too great. This is one of those“.

Play the game two ways: “First play it as simply a chase the target or opponent game.” If your doing well, add in the penalty for missing. “When you first add the extra penalty in reduce your target.”

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Overall though, its a good drill,if kept within a wider setting. The DW staff had a go and managed the 300 level reasonably soon even with the penalty. The higher levels were indeed tough and frustrating!

Too much time spent on one drill leads to complacency and or frustration. Neither of these is good within a practise session”.


Game of the Day – SwitchBlade! A Short Sharp Scoring Drill.

The Menace (above) was a SwitchBlade Master!

Today’s, darting isolation, drill/game of the day is called SwitchBlade. It’s a very simply way to get your eyes, & body, used to switching away from its main target. The art of ‘positive switching‘, to hit higher scores rather than from a maths views, was mastered and illustrated by Dennis Priestley, in his first World title run he amazed viewers with his habitual clocking of treble 18. This ensured he was swiftly ‘on a finish’ in minimum darts.

Players in the modern era (PDC and Sky TV), have developed switching to a fine art. Some such as Adrian Lewis and Micheal Smith almost seem to prefer it. Let’s get you more proficient, and automated, at this:

Game Overview:

SwitchBlade aims to improve your accuracy and fluidity when switching from one treble bed to another. This applies equally to switching due to vision blockage or to ensure leaving a finish.

Ideal Start?

As with many of our drills it is based around five turns at the board:

  • Turn 1 : Aim for Treble 20 with all three darts.
  • Turn 2: Aim your first two darts at t20 then your third at t19
  • Turn 3: Aim your first two at t20 then the third at t18
  • Turn 4: Aim your first two at t20 and the third at t17
  • Turn 5: Aim your first two at t20 and third at the Bullseye

Example:

  1. t20,s20,t20 = 140
  2. s20,t20,s19 = 99
  3. t20,t20,t18 = 174
  4. s20,s20,t3 = 49
  5. t20,t5,Bull = 125
  6. Total = 587

Variations:

You can vary this drill in many ways, you can use 1 dart at the treble 20 and two at the others or insert a treble you use often from scores such as 180 or 191. Most often used are t13 or t14.

N.B: The core skills are in the template above and that’s the one we use most.

Levels:

SwitchBlade can be played by any player and doing it regularly will improve your overall play. Higher level players should really push themselves to get this to be second nature.

Level One – For those starting from a lower bar the first order of business is to hit the target aimed for so the 2 in the 20 segment and then one in the aimed for switch. If you manage this for each segment you will gain a score around 299.

Level Two – You should be aiming to hit one treble 20 or one on the switch. Scoring visits should total around 100 (+/- 10). Thus the total will be 450+

Level Three – You should now be looking to hit two trebles quite often. When you don’t hit two you should still be hitting one. Scoring visits will be regularly 131+ and predominantly 91+. Scoring regularly over 550 will put you on a level with our best players.

Records:

SwitchBlade requires rhythm and calm, a competitive streak also helps! The highest score, hit with marker/witnessed, is 659. On this one, we shall keep the record hitter to ourselves. It was struck during a private prep session for a very big name a few years ago!

Enjoy SwitchBlade and drop us a line to tell us how you’re doing. Comment below or tweet us – @Darts_World


Drill Of The Day – The Darting DT’s!

We at Darts World realise that our fellow darters will be trying to enjoy the nice weather during this first weekend of social (we prefer physical) isolation. However, we shall keep asking ‘Coach’ for his drill of the day. If you don’t get chance to try it out, straight away, it can be added to your dart day routine!

The DT’s:

This drill is to get you more fluid when travelling big distances between segments. The percentage rate for hitting or getting a shot at these finishes is much lower than those where two of the trebles are close together. This drill is best done daily, or as often as you practise, but not repeated too many times in a row due. I do not like practising missing too much!

Game Overview:

The most regular finishes with Distant Trebles (DTs) are 167, 161, 157, 151 & 153*. The more your reaction to these numbers is automatic and drilled into your arm, the higher your performance will be. It is especially important to react (or not react!) properly to a missed dart. Getting used to missing and not letting it interrupt your flow, or mind, is vital.

So where do you throw your second dart if your first misses? What if you hit t5 first dart or t7, for example, second? These are the things that need to become automatic. They are almost as important as checking out the finish!

Take one turn (3 darts) at each of them. award yourself points as follows:

  • Checkout in 3 – 20 Points
  • Shot at a double – 10 Points
  • Leave a double (no shot) – 5 points
  • Non Treble finish left – 1 point (e.g. Turn at 161 – t20,s17,s20 & leaving 64)

* 153 is our example of a distant treble (DT) finish that does not involve Bull or Tops if you have another that comes up regularly then use that initially.

Example:

  • 167 – t20,t19,Bull – 20 Points
  • 161 – t20,T17,25 (missed bull) – 10 Points
  • 157 – t20,s19,T18 (leave d12 ) – 5 Points
  • 151 – s20, T20, s19 (leave 52) – 1 Point
  • Total – 36 Points

Between players of similar standard, keeping your focus, even after a stray dart, deflection or bounce out, and completing the set up makes all the difference!

Variations:

As noted above, the fifth shot is variable according to player preference and or stats evidence of your regular ‘leaves ‘ during games.

The other main variation is for those who choose d16, where possible. They should still work on the above five as they can, and do, come up all the time. But they can look at at five that might reflect their regular paths.

Levels:

This is a high level drill and for many player does not lead to high scores. But it should lead to improved ones!

  • Amateur/Pub: 5 Points
  • Team/League: 5-10
  • Superleague: 10-20
  • Higher Level: 25+
  • Pro: 35+

As with all our levels the points is a guide its the improvement and consistency that matters!

Records:

The record for this drill is 56 . Hit by a current elite player about 6 years ago. He checked out 161 and 153, wired Tops on 157, left 28 from 167 and 52 from his effort at 151.

It was an exceptional effort, but came from the fact that he consistently set up finishes or had shots in 4/5 of his turns.

So, there you go, a daily dose of the Darting DT’s that are not too painful or full of bad memories. Enjoy!


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Drill of the Day – ‘Middle For Diddle’. New Games to Keep Your Practise Fresh.

Hopefully those of you who have been socially isolated are managing to keep up with routines and things to keep yourself busy. Here is another ‘daily drill’ to add to your list:

Middle for Diddle:

A drill that focuses on the bullseye, first dart, to ensure you need less recalculation needed during match play. Recommended to be played after your warm up and between other drills/games that are more scoring focused.

Game Overview:

There are a number of finishing points, in a leg, where the bullseye (inner or outer), is the best/only option with your first dart. If you become familiar, and automated, when you see these numbers, your success rate will go up and you will react smoothly to any variation (or cock-up!)

Take one turn (3 darts) at these five outshots using the bull:

61, 65, 82, 125 & 132

Award yourself points on the following basis:

  • 61,65 & 82
  • 2 Dart Checkout –10 Points
  • 3 Dart Checkout – 5 Points
  • Left a Double – 1 Point
  • for 125 & 132
  • Checkout – 10 Points
  • Double Left – 3 Points
  • Single – Double Finish left (not single bull!) – 1 Point

Example:

  • Turn 1 – Bull, s3, d4 – 5 Points
  • Turn 2 – 25, Tops! – 10 Points
  • Turn 3 – 25, s17, 0 – 1 Point
  • Turn 4 – 25, t20, Tops – 10 Points
  • Turn 5 – 25, 19, t20 – (28 Left) – 3 Points
  • Total Score = 29

N.B. A single point is scored when going for the 100+ finishes by leaving the double e.g. for 132 – Bull, 25, s17 would leave tops and score a consolation 1 point. The same applies if you miss the double after setting it up with darts 1 & 2.

Variations:

There are shots that can be swapped in and out depending on your personal preferences and in order to ensure that you cover the possibilities that can crop up in a game situation.

63 and 135 are the most likely where you may use the middle ring as an option in certain circumstances or even as your default.

Levels:

In this drill it’s more overall aims than levels. The first order of business is to get shots at doubles. So a good aim is to get shots at all three lower numbers. Then set up the bigger ones.

  • An amateur or pub player type should aim to get shots at the lower finishes, and hit one. Score guide – (circa) 10
  • A league player should be looking to take one of the lower ones in two darts & scoring points on the bigger shots. Score guide – 15+
  • A higher level player should be looking to take two of the lower ones in two/three darts and gaining points on the others. Score guide – 25+
  • Elite level players should be regularly hitting 33 or more. (Importantly this should be spread across all 5 finishes and be repeatable if the numbers are swapped)

Records:

Frankie Dean profile
Play Middle for Diddle in between more 20’s type drills.Photo: Lawrence Lustig / PDC

This is a tough drill at the higher end. It sucks the mind into being too deliberate so dont play it two many times. Use it as a break drill between others and do no more than two goes in a row.

The record for this drill was set a few years ago, a duel code World Championship player hit 61 in 2, 65 in 2 and 82 in three then left 40, after three, going for 125 and checked out 132 – totalling 38.

Middle for Diddle is a harder drill that requires a switch in focus and then another half way through. It puts the Bull at the heart of your efforts for a section of every practice.

Enjoy and lets us know if you can beat 38 or if it helps improve your ‘Bulling’!


Frankie Dean profile

In Darting Isolation? Here’s Coach’s Drill of the Day. ‘Half-It Pro’.

Those of you beginning to get used to the idea of the new isolation guidelines, whether self or precautionary, will hopefully be able to fit in some more darts practice. Perhaps we will see remarkable improvements in averages later in the year!

A.I.M: Are always looking to keep practise fresh. New, but useful, drills are vital.

The DW resident ‘Coach’ thinks that practise is better with a structure an an aim. So he has outlined a warm up method and a drill or two to get you going. He is his ‘Drill of the Day’.

Sprint (or Pro) Half-It!

Ok this is a variation we use to get tour players extra sharp on the segments they use most, with a little pressure added, it can be used by all as a short and sharp drill.

Game Overview:

This is version of the popular social game Half-It, but stripped down to focus on the important areas for competitive darters.

Take one turn (3 darts) at each of the following numbers/segments:

20, 19, 18, 17, Doubles, Trebles, Bull.

Note the total scored from that number only. Add the cumulative score as you go. If you miss the segment with all three darts your score is halved!

N.B. – On the doubles & trebles turns you get the score from any double or treble hit during the turn. If the score to be halved is odd round up to the nearest whole number.

Example:

  1. 20s: s20, s5, t20 – Score = 80
  2. 19s: s19, T19, s19 – (Score 95) Running Total = 175
  3. 18s: s1, T4, 13 – (Score 0) Half It! Running Total = 88
  4. 17s: s17, t17, t17 – (Score 119) Running Total = 263
  5. Doubles: s20, out, d5 – (Score 10) Running Total = 273
  6. Trebles: s20, t20, t5 – (Score 75) Running Total = 348
  7. Bullseye: 0, Bull, Outer Bull – (Score 75)= Total Score = 423

Variations:

Half-It is a game which can be varied many different ways. The two which best suit those trying to improve, at a higher level, are:

  • Adding your favourite treble that you use often. Many add t10 as they use it often to get to a double. This also gives you a personal game to improve at.
  • Making the last turn inner bullseye only. This can help to refine your ability to hit the bull under pressure, especially last dart! Imagine having a huge score dependent on hitting a, partially obscured, bull with the last dart in hand!

Levels:

A guide to some benchmark to aim for would be:

  • Level One – To complete the game without being halved – Min total = 104
  • Level Two – To complete the game and hit the eqivalent of three of each scoring segment and one of each general segment. 60,57,54,51 + 1 x double 1 x Treble and 1 x 25/Bull.
  • Level Three – The equivalent of 5 of each scoring segment and one of each of the rest.
  • Perfection – 180+171+162+153+120(3xTops)+180+150 (3 x Bull) = 1316

Extras:

If your playing with others, perhaps your children etc, then you can introduce handicaps to level the playing field a little. The better player has to hit a treble on one, or more, segments, or has to hit two doubles to prevent being halved.

Half it is one of the games in which everyone can win. I have witnessed a seventeen your old baby-sitter win ££££s by hitting at least a single every time, then getting lucky on the trebles, then the better players buckled, and her last dart 25 ensured she collected the pot!

The Wizard hit a 770 total in late 2017.

Records:

Sprint, or Pro, Half It brings out a very competitive urge if you have two similar level players! But the pressure also increases.

In a marked and witnessed game the best scores we have recorded are:

  • Solo: 900+
  • Competitive: 770 (Other player scored 550+)
  • This was set by Colin Osborne in 2019 – 120+133+90+102+80+120+125

(The Wizard would have scored higher but for a bounce-out on his third shot at t17)

Half-It Pro (or Sprint) is a great drill and should be done regularly in between other drill to re focus on the important board areas and to maintain consistency.

Enjoy and let us know how you get on – @darts_world


Feature Pic: PDC

Darting Isolation – Warming Up and Putting The Lights Out!

If, as a result of Covid-19, you are going to be able to practise more, it is important to get the most out of it. Yesterday’s article talked about the right amount of time to practise for. At dartsworld.com we asked our resident coach for more suggestions:

A.I.M: Help players to reach their potential.

Coach: The most important thing about darts practice is to treat it more like training for any other sport or physical task. If you are increasing, your practice efforts, you may well be playing at times of the day you are not used to. The bits of you that get used in playing darts usually have hours doing other daily jobs beforehand, this leads us to the (false) sense that we don’t need to warm up.

Those self isolating might be playing much earlier in the day and before you are loose and fluid. Therefor a Warm-Up is more important. Warming up has different purposes, but when at home its mainly to the loosen the limbs and tighten the mind!

A Full Warm Up:

If you are planning a decent practise session (40 mins or more) then you please take 10 mins, or so, to warm-up. Initially, just throw toward the twenties in a very relaxed way, just go through the motions, without any explosive type effort, concentrate on your action and follow through and not the result of the individual darts.

Frankie Dean profile
Start by loosening up your throw. Use the popular areas but with no pressure. Photo: Lawrence Lustig / PDC

Once you feel that your your body is relaxed, and your throw is smooth and fluid, start moving to the different areas of the board. A few darts at D20, D10, D16 and the Bullseye will get your body, & eyes, coordinated with the more subtle movements which seem almost automatic normally. As long as the darts are going in the correct general area do not be too hard on yourself just yet!

Lights Out:

A good drill/game to, bring your warm-up to a close and, begin to narrow your focus is one I call Lights-Out. Simply throw three darts (1 visit) at the 20, 19, 18, 17 & Bullseye segments in turn. If you score 4* or more, of the target number, then it’s knocked out.

So a perfect drill is to take five turns to eliminate the 5 areas. To do this you must score 80+ (20’s), 76+(19s), 72+(18s), 68+(17s) for the Bullseye we half the requirement so two darts within the outer bull completes the set.

After this first go around you will, hopefully have hit the 4* and knocked out one, or more, segments. On round two you may only have 17s and Bullseye left. If you knock them out with your next turn, say 5 17s and two in the ’25’, you will have put the ‘Lights-Out’.

Lights-Out can be played in any and all circumstances, alone or even with a group on an event practice board at the PDC!

Keep a mental note of how many turns it takes to do this. If you begin to knock the ‘Lights-Out‘ in five or six turns regularly then its time to step to 5* darts in the numbered segments and a total of three in the bull ring ( 3 x 25, 2 x 25 & a Bull or better!).

If you are at a newer stage, in your development, then start with 3* in the 20-17 sections and 1 dart in the outer or inner bull.

Lastly when your using this game as a warm up to do not chase it, give your self of limit of say, ten visits. Used in this way ‘Lights-Out‘ is simply the transition between warm up and real practise!

Hopefully you are now relaxed, warmed up and enjoying throwing? Time to get stuck in!