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Our third coaching clinic blog looks at focus and concentration issues. We also discuss the importance of having a solid base to throw from!

Coaching Clinic 3

Posted: 17.08.11 in Coaching Clinic Blog category

Our third coaching clinic blog looks at focus and concentration issues. We also discuss the importance of having a solid base to throw from!


Last month in Darts World, Wayne Baker, author of the popular “Darts People” column mentioned the well publicised dramas in the recent history of James Wade. Wayne also suggested that arguably dart players do seem to be lagging behind many sports when it comes to the use of the many different areas of sports science; psychology, performance analysis and video analysis of a player’s technique for example. These are areas other sports now take for granted.

Darts is Mental?

‘90% of darts is played in the head’ is a recurring theme from around the darts world. We get dozens of messages from stressed players with shaky hands, sweaty palms, nerves and the like asking for help in overcoming their own particular demons. But for grassroots players, a flaw in their technique can often be at the root of the problem. Perhaps it is easy to blame the mental aspect of a player’s game without considering the true source of the problem and we should step back and take a more objective view of every aspect of what it takes to be a proficient dart player? 


Focus Issues

A good example of this is a player who contacted us who lost focus halfway through a match. We know this is a common problem. We dug deeper and the player mentioned how he gets more and more frustrated as his dip in focus leads to missed doubles. It didn’t take long to get to the root of his woes on this occasion.

Frustration! Anger! Annoyance! Are these emotions you have inflicted on yourself during a darts match? If you have then you will probably know they are a dart player’s biggest enemy. We simply asked our player what right does he think he has to hit the double every time he goes for it? Nobody has ever perfected darts; 9 dart finishes would be the norm if they had.

Our suggestion was to alter the way he was thinking about his darts. We thought that instead of striving for the impossible of never missing the double (and perhaps putting it down to a loss of focus) to work instead on staying calm, focused and relaxed when the tide turned against him. How you handle yourself and your emotions so they don’t affect your throwing technique during a match is the area every player should look to be proud of at the end of the game. Why? Because when you are on the oche it’s the only area you have any control over. Unlike snooker for example where the shots that your opponent plays can affect you.


Another “COG” in the Wheel

Video analysis is vital in darts is to understand what actually happens to the different parts of the body when a player throws their dart. My colleague Andy Humphrey studied the important part the Centre of Gravity (COG) has on a player’s throw.  The COG is essentially the anchor for your body; it gives you the solid base that is fundamental for a repeatable darts throw.

These are the key coaching points to achieve this:


  •  Have your front foot parallel or round to 45` to the oche.  This side on position will stop the ankle joint from moving. 
  • Position the majority of your weight over your front hip. Your front foot should bear all of your weight and the majority of it above the foot and the heel
  • Your rear leg is there for support. It will compensate for the fully extended throwing arm.

 A strong solid base is the first building block of a repeatable and efficient technique.

Further Reading -

Wibble Wobble

Coaching Clinic 1

Coaching Clinic 11 





The Darts Performance Centre is a resource to assist dart players of all standards play better darts. The site is arranged as an on-line coaching manual.

There is advice on technique, nerves, psychology, goal setting, practice games, an area to log your statistics and an interactive area where your darting questions are answered by two sports scientists, one with 30 years dart playing experience! Membership is just £25.00 per annum. 




Author: Paul Gillings and Andrew Humphrey ( paul@dartsperformancecentre.com )

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