The game of darts is no different than any other skill activity, sport, or hobby. It is hard to become great at it, unless you fully understand and apply basic concepts. Darts seems very simplistic. You stand at a line, throw 3 darts each turn, and try to hit certain targets. Generally, about any person could do that and have fun without even thinking about the way in which they are doing it. But those folks genearlly would never become top notch players. To improve, a person would have to start focusing on the details of how they throw their darts, and the best place to start are the basics. This will be the first in a series about dart basics, and the best place to start is the stance.

The Stance

Don't I just stand at the line? As long as I am behind the line it is ok, right? It may not seem like a person would need to think too much about how they stand when they throw darts since most of the "work" is done by one arm. Actually, how you stand is quite litterally the base of your throw. If you don't have a smart and solid stance it would not really matter how you are throwing the dart.

First, where to stand at the line (oche - pronounced: ˈɒki)? Centered with the center of the board, right? I have seen/heard many arguments about where to stand according to a person's related position to the board. I have determined that there is no right or wrong answer for how a person lines up related to the position of the board, as long as you line up consistently. I personally recommend lining up somewhere close to the center of the board. I recommend this as it keeps your throwing angles and distances as close to the same as possible. A person who lines up way left or way right would have a greater change in angles and distance of their throw from one side to the other. The important thing to keep in mind to ensure you line up consistently is to not trust throw lines with numbers on them. More often than not, they will not be lined up properly with the board and would have you standing in the wrong spot if you were to use them. Get in the habbit of visualizing the center of the board back to the oche and identify some kind of marker (now you can use the numbers on those throw lines or a spot on the floor) to help ensure you line up in the same spot each time. This is also great practice and all of the big tournaments I have played in just have tape on the floor for a throw line, so there are no numbers. Also, you want to find a way to keep a consistent distance from the front of the line. I personally get my front foot (more on this in the next section) as close to the front of the line without going past.

There are two main factors to consider with how you stand. It needs to provide a solid base and it needs to be comfortable. It will not take long watching folks play darts to realize that the most popular stance is one foot forward and the other behind the front foot about a shoulder's width apart. The front foot being the same side as the arm from which the person is throwing. This turns a person's body so that their throwing arm is the closest body part to the board. Seems simple enough, but there are a couple of fine details to consider. I have seen lots of folks lean quite a ways forward. I guess their thinking is that the farther they lean, the closer they are to the board, the easier it will be to hit their target. I don't find this to be true at all. The farther you lean forward, the more off balance you become. You want to stand so that your body stays as stationary as possible. I tend to follow what I have heard as the 70/30 rule. You want to shift your body so that about 70% of your weight is on your front foot and the other 30 is on your back foot. This provides you a bit of a lean forward, but keeps enough weight on the back foot so that it provides stability.

The other question to be addressed is, do I stand completely sideways with the outside of my foot parallel with the oche, or do I stand more so that my toes are the closest to the oche. I would say whichever way is most comfortable without compromising having a solid base. This may be more determined by a later entry about throwing basics.

This a great start. Next time I will discuss throwing basics.

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