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THE EASIEST WAY TO IMPROVE SCORING IN 501 – DAX MUNNA #4

Something in this game is allowed to be easy. I am not going to ask that you make any physical changes to what you do for this, but let me be clear, there is no magic pill; there is work to be done. All I am going to do is ask you to think about your decision-making regarding Cover Shots and Markers.

“Wait a minute. Why should I cover? I am better on the 20s and can hit 60s and 100s all day long”. We all have friends who epitomize this, and we know that twice as many of those 60s are 41s and twice as many of those 100s are 81s. The goal, in part is to make the 41s into 59s and 97s, and the 81s into 99s and 137s. This is done with your cover. While this may seem lofty to some, this is meant to provide eye-opening perspective for beginner and intermediate players who are looking for an edge to get to the next level. The more advanced players already know this. – How do you think they got advanced ? 😉

Before dissecting what Cover Shots and Markers are, let’s look at familiar scenarios that put us in a position to think about our decision-making.

Scenario #1

You throw 2 well-aimed darts into the single 20 above the triple, and the 3rd dart veers into the 5 or the 1 without deflecting.

Scenario #2

You throw the first dart level/low just inside the upper T20 wire. You think it’s a great marker, but the 2nd dart you spray/deflect one way, and the 3rd dart you spray/deflect the other way.

Scenario #3

You throw the 1st dart below the T20 wire, flight up. The 2nd and 3rd darts deflect on the flight(s) and/or veer left or right without deflecting.

Have you made the right decision in staying on the T20 in these scenarios?

These scenarios and others are common, and where a cover shot is helpful. Sadly, such instances are not often recognized in the heat of the moment, as a result we don’t often learn from them. Instead, we make physical/trajectory adjustments as opposed to deciding to shoot another target. We convince ourselves we are doing something physically wrong when our shots go awry. We then attempt to correct one physical adjustment with another. The problem can spiral from there.

Defining the terms to better understand the challenge:

Many of us have heard the terms “Cover” and “Marker”, but let’s define them in a more digestible way.  

Cover Shot: Throwing at a different triple (most often the T19 or T18) because the T20 is covered or concealed by the 1st and/or 2nd dart in the board.

Marker: A dart that is either in, or close to, the intended target that can and should be used to channel (to convey or direct into or through) the next dart(s) into the intended target.

While focused on scoring, a dart in the board should be viewed as one or the other, a Cover Shot or a Marker – that’s it.

(Note: Sometimes a dart “in” the intended target is a not actually Marker.)

Distilling the Cover Shot Further:

Covered vs. Concealed

When a triple is “covered” by a dart, what should come to mind is – physically blocked. The lie of a barrel and/or flight is physically in the way of the T20. Even if a part of the triple is visible, you can see that the likelihood of hitting that triple with the next dart has greatly decreased.

A “concealed” triple is one that may not seem physically blocked, but is visually obscured or the trajectory of the next dart will be impeded by the lie of the dart(s) already in the board. In other words the clean flight of the next dart has been taken away even though you may be able to see the target clearly. Recognizing your concealed T20 is incredibly challenging and the instance where many more cover shots need to be taken.

Something to have in the back of your mind regarding covered and concealed targets: Your sight line is a straight line, likely not horizontal on the T20 (unless your eye level is at 6’0”), and the dart does not fly on your sight line. It flies in a parabola, or curved line. That curved line of the dart’s flight intersects your sight line twice, once upon release, and again as it contacts (or approaches contact) to the board. This is what makes us think that a target is more open than in truly is.

remember, When it comes strictly to scoring:

If it is not a marker, it is a cover shot.

Here is some perspective.

The ‘First 9’ is a stat sometimes kept in playing 501. The first 9 darts at any level are all about scoring. Would it surprise you to know that the best player in the world, Michael Van Gerwen does NOT shoot the T20 on 30% of his first 9 darts thrown in a leg? That’s right. He takes his cover shot. (https://www.pdc.tv/news/2019/01/10/stats-analysis-running-cover)

Why? He does it because he recognizes his cover shot and markers better than anyone and does so seamlessly in middle of a turn.  If he does it so often, why don’t we?

Reasons we don’t cover as much as we should:

  1. 57s-59s are more challenging when chalking. (As are 95s-99s).
    • Practice your math by chalking more. This has been made easier with scoring apps.
  2. Many local leagues award “all-star points” for scoring 100+.
    • As an appeal to all steel-tip leagues: Change your all-star rules to incentivize 95+. Players are not learning the game properly if they are attempting to receive personal accolades by staying on the T20 instead of covering when logistically and mathematically appropriate.
  3. There is sometimes a social stigma on “19 shooters”.
    • This is ridiculous. If you can theoretically start on T19 and throw 5 of them in route to a perfect leg there is nothing wrong with shooting it.
  4. American interest in Cricket.
    • It generally dictates needing to move your feet on the oche to stay on covered or concealed targets.
  5. A stubborn approach in thinking we are good enough to “fit it in”.
    • Our community is full of great, proud players who are not always willing to try something new or admit there is a better way.
  6. We are unsure how to differentiate our own Cover shot from our own Marker.
    • Read on! It is about to get easier.

The Lie of Your Dart: The most important factor in Recognizing Your Cover:

There are many variables that help you recognize your cover: Your barrel, shaft, flight, sight line, handedness, are just a few but, the most important one is the lie of your dart in the board. For the force used in an average dart throw, a dart can only really stick in the board from slightly below 0° (level), to about a 50° angle.

(For the purposes of this article we will not get into the nuances of the less frequent/aggressive horizontal angles, but you can be sure if you have an odd horizontal lie, it is worth covering more often.)

While darts go in differently for each player, it is easiest to look at how your darts lie in 1 of 2 ways: 

  1. Flights up – above a 20° angle.
    • (Devon Petersen, Danny Noppert, Benito Van De Pas)
  1. Flights between a 20°-0° angle, down to a Level/Below Level angle. – These will be approached the same way.
    • (Michael Van Gerwen, Peter Wright) down to (Phil Taylor, Justin Pipe)

 (Angle measurements are approximations. You can measure your dart lie with the ‘Measurement’ app on your phone if you are curious.)

Guidelines for Cover shots with your 2nd and 3rd darts:

2nd Dart: 

Assessing the lie your 1st dart is crucial. Remember we are concealed more often than we realize. That being said…

If your flights are up- above a 20°angle, and your 1st dart is:

Above t20

it's A Marker.

below t20

It's a cover shot.

If your flights are between a 20°-0° angle, down to a Level/Below Level angle, and your 1st dart is:

Above T20

It's A cover Shot.

Below T20

It's A Marker.

3rd Dart:

There are 2 safe and smart guidelines (regardless of dart lie) for covering on your 3rd dart assuming the cover shot does not leave a bogey.

With 1st and 2nd darts, one is above the T20, and the other is below the T20. In this case the target is likely covered and concealed. There is no need to try to “fit it in”. Both darts are potentially in the way. Covering is a better choice than trying to fit in between/force/finesse darts to the target

Cover Shot. 

With 1st and 2nd darts, the grouping is tight, and the barrels are crossed in any way. When barrels cross, and form an “X”, they become a strong physical obstacle to your target, to which neither dart can be used as a reliable marker. Bad deflections or rejection become more likely.

Cover Shot.

Despite these guidelines it will be a mental challenge to overcome the habit and desire to stay on the T20. How do you know if a particular dart lie is a cover shot or marker until you throw it? The answer is, you don’t. You must throw it ad nauseam in practice. You must test it and yourself repeatedly. Use similar 1st dart lies and throw some as a marker and some as a cover shot and informally assess your findings.

You must process your practice in order to learn from it.

For example:

Based on each 1st dart’s location and lie:

  1. Did the 2nd or 3rd dart deflect into/out of the intended target?
  2. Did the 2nd or 3rd dart veer left or right without deflecting?

This meta-analysis should be part of every form-focused practice.

Retraining Our Minds To Answer The Question: Is it my Cover Shot or my Marker?

Projectile motion goes back to Galileo and involves more science than you signed up for with this article, but for the sake of understanding let me outline how our brains improperly process what we innately know, with respect to darts.

Imagine for a moment you are having a football catch and the distance to your target stays fixed. You are aiming and throwing. As you do this, you hone the motion and energy you need to get the ball to your target accurately. Now put a defender in the way. If you keep throwing the same pass the ball does not get to your target. What do you do? You unconsciously make a change in trajectory to try to get around/over the obstacle. We look to avoid the confrontation. 

This is different than what needs to be done with relation to your cover shot. With a dart that covers or conceals your target the key is to change targets, not trajectory.

With cover shots the goal is to change targets to avoid  confrontation. With marker darts you need to embrace confrontation to channel the subsequent dart(s).

Question: Have you ever seen a 180 hit where the darts don’t bang into each other on their way to the T20? 

I haven’t. It doesn’t happen.

There is evident and needed confrontation.

If you feel the need to finesse around a dart lie to get to your intended target, you are looking to avoid confrontation. That being said, this is YOUR cover shot. More times than not in trying to avoid the obstacle, we change trajectory, and pull into the 1 or 5 without even deflecting. So don’t do it. Shoot the unobstructed cover shot on the T19 instead.

You must continue testing the limits of covers/markers. Once you get to know your cover shot better, by default your marker recognition becomes better too. That is when your groupings get tighter and 60s become 100s, 100s become 140s, and 140s become 180s. As this happens more you will truly embrace the confrontation of the darts banging into each other when they are supposed to.

Now that you know how to approach the challenge here is why you should do it.

Reasons to cover:

  1. You cannot stay on the triple 20 to throw a perfect leg.
    • This may seem like a grandiose starting point, but it is also true.
  2. Other triples will be needed for out shots.
    • You might as well find the range on them more often throughout a match.
  3. If you have to cover twice in the same turn (2nd dart at T19, 3rd dart at T18) you are shooting each dart at an unobstructed target and theoretically scoring no less than 57.
    • You see Adrian Lewis and Rob Cross doing this especially early in a match as they find the range with their high-angled lies. They often hit the T18 for a 93.
  4. You cannot deflect on the 1st dart with 2nd and/or 3rd dart if you change targets when necessary.
  5. Your rejection rate will be lower.
    • The PDC has fascinating analysis of a 2-year study of darts that don’t make it to the board. My main takeaway from this article is that players with a lower rejection rate also tend to recognize their cover shot more readily. Many players with higher rejection rates have incredibly high-angled lies. -> This translates to less room at the target, less point gripping the sisal, and the unavoidable correlation of not recognizing their cover as well. This data also does not account for bad deflections. (https://www.pdc.tv/news/2019/09/16/rejected-darts-research-data-and-analysis)
  6. Changing targets is easier than accurately changing trajectory.
  7. You do not have to move your feet to get a better view of a different target.
  8. The mental edge you create by showing your opponent you can hit different targets with the same accuracy is invaluable.
  9. Not covering when you ought to can put you on tilt.
    • When you try to finesse around/through covered or concealed targets too often, it leads to spraying many more darts. That can lead us to come undone.

Now comes the fun part

Watch Like a Spotter:

Keith Deller, and the late Eric Bristow have/had worked behind the scenes as “spotters” for Sky Sports helping production determine which of the cameras should be live on television. Part of this job is about reading/knowing a particular players’ tendency to take their cover shot. 

That being said:

  • Start watching matches of your favorite players to read the lie of their darts and analyze when they decide to cover. 
  • Find videos of a professional who has a similar dart lie to yours. Watch what they do. It will be a great place to start assessing when you should cover.
  • Watch the Championship Dart Circuit Championship League home tour matches to assess how some of the best in America and Canada shoot their cover shots. These are the North American players who recognize their cover well. These are the players that know what they need to employ to compete on the biggest stages.
  • Finally, watch opponents when you return to league play in bars/clubs. It’s empowering when you recognize someone else’s cover shot, especially when they don’t take it. It can breed confidence and provide the edge you need to win a leg, simply by observing.

Respectfully,

Dax

Dr. Manhattan

FOLLOW DAX ON SOCIAL MEDIA​

If you want to reach out to Dax or stay up to date, follow him on Facebook here.

Remote Darts League – International Battle of the Sexes!

The GeoComply Remote Darts League (RDL) second league has begun! 16 professional players worldwide have been invited to join season 2, including one of our very own Magic Darts’ sponsored Player Stacey Pace!

Stacey Pace Colonial Signature Barrels: https://bit.ly/2X7SDKt

Stacey Pace Signature Jersey Replicas: https://bit.ly/3cMqQFW

Player Profile: https://www.a-zdarts.com/stacey-pace.html

Stacey “The Raven” Pace is the highest WDF ranked female American in the U.S. and ranked 25th overall in the world. We are delighted to see her take on some of the world’s best-including fellow American competitors Larry Butler and Joe Chaney.

Join us in wishing The Raven the best of luck as she competes against four finalists from the first Remote Darts League season and three other top-ranked women. Ten countries are involved this time around spread across three continents: North America, Australia and of course Europe.

Here is the list of players-shown with WDF ranking, name and country:

4 Darren Herewini – New Zealand

16 David Cameron – Canada

223 James Richardson – England

Jim Williams – Wales

41 Joe Chaney – USA

30 John O’Shea – Republic of Ireland

168 Justin Thompson – Australia

52 Larry Butler – USA

8 Laura Turner – England

6 Lorraine Winstanley – England

25 Paul Hogan – England

27 Richard Veenstra – Netherlands

25 Stacey Pace – USA

Thibault Tricole – France

13 Tina Osborne – New Zealand

110 Tony O’Shea – England-s

It’s pretty incredible to see such a varied list of quality international players participating remotely around the world. The Remote Darts League started May 18th and will end June 8th. 

Live Darts every night on the Remote Darts League Youtube. If you missed the opening night you can go back and watch here

Follow @RemoteDartsLeague on facebook as well for more details.

Legendary MC “Little” Richard Ashdown returns as the master of ceremonies introducing the league at the start of the live streams, interviewing the players and calling the matches.

Richard Ashdown providing commentary for Remote Darts League

At the completion of the round-robin, we will see the league move into knockout finals beginning early June. The top 4 advance into the semi-finals then the completion of the league with a finale to crown Season 2’s winner! James “Ruthless” Richardson hopes to defend his title as reigning champion from Season 1.

'Ruthless' James Richardson playing in the Remote Darts League

Here is the latest news as explained by the RDL on their Season 2:

Link to original article: https://www.remotedartsleague.com/latest-news/round-2-the-geocomply-remote-darts-league

There will be 120 league matches for three weeks culminating in a knockout finals day at the beginning of June. With £35k of prizes in the pot, there are international bragging rights not to mention the battle of the sexes this time round. 

“It’s certainly ambitious,” says Kevin Dale from host organization Farawaysports. “RDL1 was a challenge, but through the platform supplier FSB we were able to establish a unique live contest complete with data feeds, odds feeds, video feeds, Youtube channels and widespread bookmaker distribution across Europe. This time around, we’re going global.”

RDL are also proud to welcome GeoComply, as their title sponsor. Since launching in 2011, GeoComply has become the North American iGaming industry’s trusted solution for reliable, secure and accurate geolocation services. This North American theme also extends to players and distribution too.

“It’s great to see four top North American darts players including Larry Butler, Stacey Pace, Joe Chaney and David Cameron in the new GeoComply Remote Darts League,” says David Briggs, CEO of GeoComply. “With league approval from regulators in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, the 120+ matches will be traded across a range of US sportsbooks.”

Whilst the world of sport is making a tentative return to the pitches and courts, stadiums will be empty. Meanwhile, travel restrictions will make international events even more difficult. The GeoComply Remote Darts League is a fantastic advertisement for live international sport and with its growing acceptance, may run for some time yet – even beyond lockdown.

 

Be sure to follow our facebook page to stay up to date of RDL livestreams @MagicDartsInc

Championship Darts Circuit: A Bright Future – 2019 Review

A new year is upon us and although it has not started off great we can expect great things from the Championship Darts Corporation (CDC).  The CDC plans on pushing ahead with home streamed events.  This could not come at a better time as most of us are in Covid 19 lock-down and need entertainment (other than the Netflix’s Tiger King).

The current schedule is located on Championship Darts Facebook here.  While we wait for the next event, we can pass the time by looking at last year’s events.  Listed below is a collection of all streams covering CDC 2019, along with articles published by Tom Beresford on each event.

 

Weekend #1 - Philadelphia

Weekend #2 - Ontario Canada

Weekend #3 - Illinois

Weekend #4 - Ontario Canada

EVENT #5 - ILLINOIS

Event #6 - Illinois

Event #7 - Chicago

Event #8 - Chicago

2019 Continental cup

Dart Flights – Everything You Need To Know

What types of flights are there?

There are two things to consider when looking at the difference between dart flights, the shape and the formation. The first thing I want to touch on is the formation.  There are two main distinctions between how a flight is made and that is if its foldable dart flight or if its molded dart flight.

Foldable Flights

What is a foldable flight?

The main point of note about foldable flights is that well… you must fold them open. Jokes aside, foldable flights are characterized by having 4 sheets glued together in such a way that it forms the shape of a flight we all know. Because the flight is comprised of 4 separate sheets it makes it susceptible to nicking with some force. One key benefit to these flights, is their ability to lay flat. This allows you to carry them in smaller cases, or even in your pocket; a feat which might be uncomfortable with a molded flight. Another key feature is they are simple to manufacture which allows for a much larger range of designs and shapes. Additionally, foldable flights have been on the market much longer than molded flights and do not require any “special” or proprietary accessories.

What do you need to use foldable dart flights?

Foldable flights work with any shaft that has the standard 4 prong holder.  You could consider using a flight protector also.  This is a small cap typically made from nylon or aluminum that goes on the back (or top) of the flight.  It helps to eliminate robin hooding of your flight by deflecting in-coming darts, while also keeping them square.  

Variations

Foldable flights are offered in a wide variety of thicknesses measured in microns (µm). Starting at 75µm and topping off at 180µm.  You can find foldable flights that are glitter, metallic, dimpled, ridged with a V pattern, and just plain (I’m sure there are more I haven’t mentioned here).  The point is-there is a large variety for players to play with and find what works best for the individual.    

Dimplex are flights have small dimples in them to help increase drag and wind resistance.  This affects the flight of the dart in the same manner as increasing the size (surface area) of the flight, as it helps the flight slow the dart in the air increasing lift and reducing side to side instability.  Dimplex are not recommended for players with a fast-straight throw, as they will gain lift and not have a chance to exit the arch of flight before contacting the board.

 

Some flights are available extra thick. The thickness does not affect your throw as much as offering an increased durability (and extended lift) of the flights. Most foldable flights are 100 microns in thickness, anything over 120 microns could be considered extra thick.

Pro's and Con's of foldable flights

Foldable flights are inexpensive due to ease and speed of manufacturing, along with lower cost of material.  The inexpensive prices allows players to stock up with a wide array of choices available to them.   

Depending on your groupings, the life of the flight may vary-either end of the micron spectrum can get damaged.  The 75 microns may rip, while the 180 may just show nicks in the material.  The most popular foldable flights are 100 micron-which allows for moderate flex while still stiff enough to withstand most impacts.  

Select a case to store your darts in fully assembled.  Repeatedly removing your flights from the shaft will wear the bottom point faster so they no longer stay in the shaft or will bend while trying to insert onto the shaft again.  Storing the flights with less than optimal room can crush them causing them to curl or lose their shape.

Note:  When you insert a set of flights onto your shaft for the first time-reverse fold them open-to “square” them off.

 

Molded dart Flights

What is a molded flight?

It’s a little tricky to describe molded flights without getting into the manufacturing process of each different band.  To put it simply, molded flights come in their final shape and prefer to stay in that shape.  This rigidity helps to ensure that your flights remain in constant shape.  You may find they are easier to assemble onto a shaft with a cone or socket type opening design.  Thus, also reducing or negating the chance of “robin hooding” your shaft. To get into the other aspects of molded flights we need to look at different Brand versions. 

0 %
of the time i get mad when my flights pop off.
John Baxter
Dart Player

Condor flights are unique in that they are a flight and a shaft combo all in one.  This reduces the number of parts a player needs.  The key selling points of Condor are your flights will never pop off and increased durability, zero robin-hooding. The Condor “Zero Stress” flights feature a softer material with increased flexibility in the shaft and flight fins.  Increased flexibility allows for tighter grouping and reduced deflections.  The Condor “AXE” flights are engineered from a more rigid and elastic material. Thereby letting the flights better retain their shape and provide more flex.

 

The LStyle system does not require you to use their proprietary shafts but it is recommended.  You must certainly only use nylon or plastic shafts with these flights as they are too thick to use with aluminum shafts.  LStyle offers a few different types of molded flights.  First their traditional Pro series.  This flight has a hole pre-punched for use with a cap. The cap locks into the flight while compressing the shaft for a tighter fit and prevent robin-hooding.  The second is the EZ flight, which does not require a cap, as it is pre-molded into the flight. It slides over a traditional 4 prong nylon or plastic shaft.  This flight also provides for a bit less rigidity and thereby potentially less flight deflection.  The third type is their “soft” flight.  This molded flight also has a pre-punched hole-requiring a cap to lock onto the shafts-and provides for a lot of flex.  It is almost as flexible as a foldable flight.  You can find within the LStyle line different shapes as well as different microns and ridged flights.  Depending on the shaft you use, you would be able to make this flight a spinning or locked flight.  

Fit flight offers three different type of flights: original, Air and Pro.  The original material is a stiffer blend of plastic.  More durable but can provide for dart deflection.  The Air material is a softer blend of plastic, which allows for less dart deflection, but can be damaged easier (than the original) from incoming darts. The Pro flight is a thinner flight designed for flexibility but has a reinforced grid texture to provide for durability and strength. The Fit Flight system uses a proprietary snap on locking system for assembly of the flight to shaft.  The flights are currently offered in 11 different shapes in both Air and original material with a wide range of colors.  The unique Pro system offers players the chance to dial in their throw with three different basic shapes of flights and six different sizes within each shape range.  The Fit Flight system offers eight different lengths for proprietary shafts in plastic, aluminum, carbon and titanium.  You can make your flight either spinning or locked depending on the shaft you purchase.     

 

Dynastar is the original -the granddaddy-of the molded flight market.  These flights lock onto their proprietary shafts using a “locking ring” inside the flight that snaps onto a grooved thin pin on the shaft. The original idea behind the Dynastar system was to offer a longer lasting flight material (over foldable) and a zero-robin hooding shaft/flight system.  These flights spin on the shaft (unless you pinch them at the locking ring).  The material is medium-soft, designed to allow less dart deflection off the flight, however, depending on your groupings, you can still rip or nick the flight.  The proprietary shafts are available with an aluminum or nylon base.  Dynastar is the only manufacture that has produced a shaft to work with Bottelsen’s GT darts (specialty threading).  Footnote: Our founder, John Baxter, was one of the first players sponsored by Dynastar when he threw professionally.

8 Flight’s unique design was intended to eliminate the irritating problem with some molded flights – the dreadful flight “pop off”.  Once flights are screwed onto these shafts, it is very difficult to pull them off.   The flights are made of a medium-soft plastic which provides flex while generally preventing ripping and nicking.   This system is the “baby” in the molded flight market having only launched in 2018.  Currently, the 8 Flight system offers four shapes and basic colors with a few prints, although we know there is more to come for this line.  The proprietary threaded shaft is offered in five different lengths.  The shaft colors are limited, but again, more to come.  Although this system doesn’t look like it could spin-it does.  The shaft you purchase will determine if your flight will spin or stay locked.  

Robson Plus Flight is a very user-friendly flight.  Another “baby” coming to the molded flight market within the last five years. The opening for the shaft has a + which cinches down into the shaft and pushes the shaft prongs open.  The tapered cone design of the opening compresses the shafts which eliminates robin-hooding and tightens the flight onto the shaft eliminating flight “pop off”.  This thin molded flight material designed for aerodynamics, is also rigid with an elastic flex.  The flight does not require special shafts-however, we recommend only using 4 prong non-metal shafts.  Plus flight offers five shapes in a variety of colors and prints.  The flight will spin or lock depending on the plastic or nylon shaft you provide.  

Harrows Clic system offers a molded flight made from a uniquely soft material with a lot of flex.  Unlike other soft-material molded flights, Clic offers a reinforced edge around the flight to help maintain shape and prevent ripping.  The base of the flight stretches over the shaft and snaps into a groove-thus locking the flight in place.  While Clic flights are offered in a variety of colors, it is only offered in one shape- Standard.  This flight system is designed as a snap on flight using a proprietary shaft. The shafts come in 2 shapes: Slim, a thin tapered shaft with high flexibility, and Normal, a thicker more rigid shaft. Both are available in 3 lengths and a variety of colors to match the flights. The Clic system is a spinning flight system- until you add an o-ring at the top near the flight to deter the flight from spinning. 

 

Different Shapes

Dart flights are offered in a wide array of shapes with different shapes coming and going by various manufactures.  While we have tried to list all the shapes below, there is bound to be one or two mini flights or a discontinued flight that didn’t make our list.  The key difference between these sizes is its surface area.  As a rule of thumb, the softer you throw (aka if you lob), then you want a flight with the most surface area.  The same can be said with the opposite in that if your throws are fast and straight then you should consider using flights with less surface area.  Phil Taylor is a perfect example of fast throw, small flight.

 

Standard Shapes

The largest flight giving the most lift and is the most stable in flight, but tends to be slower.

Slightly smaller than Standard thus being a little faster with a little less lift, while being just as stable.

Faster than kite, but less stable, it provides greater lift than say a slim or fantail and is more stable than those as well.

One of the smallest sized flights, offering a lot of speed with little lift.

Slight Variation Shapes

Smaller than a shape, but not as small as a slim, this flight offers speed and about as much lift as a kite, while being very stable more like standard.

A shape sized flight with a tapered end that lets it come off the hand faster and smoother than a traditional shape, but does become a little less stable as a result.

Meant for a smooth medium speed thrower, this flight offers great lift and stability with less resistance than a shape sized flight, so it is faster than the shape.

Faster than a f-shape or fantail, but less stable as well. It offers more stability than a slim while giving the speed near a slim size. Great for a faster thrower, who doesn’t have nearly any arch to their throw.

Faster and less stable than a kite, but gives quite a bit more lift than a slim or astra, the fantail is similar to a pear, but a smidge faster.

Somewhere between a fantail and a pear in shape it offers greater lift than an astra, but is nearly as fast.

Extremely fast, little to no stability, but has greater lift than a slim with the speed of a slim.

More lift and stability than a super kite.  The bullet has great speed with decent stability.  It also offers more lift for a smooth throw at fast speeds; works well with heavier darts than a smaller flight would with a same weight dart due to the increase in lift and stability.

Unique Shapes

More lift 17% more lift than a standard offers, these flights work well when having changed a shaft length the dart still lands tail down, the extra lift pulls up the tail, and bring these darts into a flat position. Often 30+ gram darts will need these larger than standard flights to get the lift these weights need.

A newer flight shape, it’s as if you could get the speed of a slim and kite to blend, and the stability and lift of a vortex in one flight. It’s a very impressive shape for all speed throwers, and offers good stability and speed, but is slower than a kite, and faster than a shape.

Similar in lift and speed to a standard the shape offers a bit of an edge in speed, giving less drag for a smoother release to medium or medium fast throwers.

An elongated pear, that is slimmer gives you a faster flight than pear with more stability and lift.

Not common in play, but looks cool, right? The skull offers lift similar to a shape, but is faster like a pear.

Slimmer than a kite, and the cut out in the tail end of the flight, offers less lift than a kite, and more speed. Good for faster throwers.

Looks cool, but is not common in play. A bit more lift than a kite while offering better looks than the traditional kite.

Very fast, but stable flight normal paired with a micro shaft of extra short, on small barrels, which don’t weigh much. Not a lot of stability, but good speed, and more lift than a pear, probably similar in lift to a fantail.

Looks pretty, and gives a good amount of lift, similar to a shape, but a bit faster off the hand.

Very similar to a V-Wing, but is a more stable due to the increased surface area. Between a super kite and a traditional kite in size, and feel.

Phil “The Power” Taylor. These flights demand good follow through for success, but are incredibly accurate if you can control them. More lift than previously small sizes, the Vapor S gives you tight grouping from your best forms, and a mess when you lose focus.

A similar design to Edge flight, but with a more consistent pattern of throws due the consistency of the shape. It will require great follow through to be used correctly.

Designed by Phil Taylor after he watched a documentary about submarines, the design is for smooth flight in the air, with little blocking your next dart from hitting the much needed third triple! 

Common Questions

The best size is the size that works best for YOU.  As you can see there are many different shapes-and shapes that offer similar, but slightly different results.  What do you use? Find a shape that works for you and tweak your throw from there.  Remember, the smaller the flight, the faster and straighter trajectory to the board.  The bigger the flight, the more arc trajectory and the dart will slow down as a result.  Some players gain control over their darts when the dart slows down.

First-for clarification- Is it not the flights that spin, but the shafts.  Second-Spinning does not help with your throw or trajectory, only the dart/flight deflection of the second and third dart coming in to land a score.  With this in mind-do you use a spinning shaft?  This depends on how tight your groupings are and if you are experiencing a lot of dart deflection from your flights. If you have tight groupings and darts deflecting into a different pie after striking a flight, then the answer is yes, you would most likely benefit from spinning shafts.  

Thicker flights such as 150 micron or 180 micron for folding flights are going to be a sturdier flight; otherwise, consider a molded flight that suits your budget and your throw.

Just like a golf ball the dimples give the flights more lift.

The key is experimentation here.  Start with a flight that appears to work and experiment with similar shapes to perfect your throw.  Always remember the shaft/flight combination that works with one barrel, may not always work with a different (shorter or longer) barrel. You may have to adjust shaft length and flight size accordingly.  Again, if you want a faster, straighter dart, use a smaller flight.  If you want your trajectory to arc and to slow your dart go up in flight size.  Note:  your shaft length can also affect this trajectory.

No, spinning shafts do not help you throw more accurately.  As stated previously, the use of spinning shafts is to aid in less dart/flight deflection. 
If you are using non metal shafts with folding flights, switch to metal shafts.  The prongs hold tighter and do not flex (like nylon or plastic material).  You can even pinch metal shafts to hold the flights better.  If you are using nylon or plastic shafts and won’t give them up with foldable flights, consider using stem rings or spring rings to pull in and tighten the prongs of the shaft.  If you are using pre-molded flights and the flights, try a system like 8-flight that screws on to the shafts, or Condors which are one piece and can’t come off.
 
With folding flights you can use flight protectors to help keep the flights from splitting, and if you are playing steel tip you can use One80 tridents or Condor guards, since most barrels have a precise 90 degree angle where the point is pressed in, which causes the most shredding of flights or cracking or pre-molded flights. Also, if you are using steel tip darts you could also try tapered points like, Target storm points (all types), Voks tornado points, Red Dragon Specialist points or the new Harrows Apex points. These tapered points like the tridents or guards allow the front of the dart to glide over the flights instead of smashing the edge causing less damage over the life of the flights.
 
Many pro players use either a Shape or a Standard.  If the best players in the world use a bigger flight, then don’t fret over anything a friend says to you as you beat them match over match.  Remember the best flight-is the flight that flies best for you!
 

The 4 keys (that no one tells you) of dart form – Dax Munna #3

Since we all have more time than we ought to, this is the optimal time to share this. I know everyone is hitting the practice board hard right now with too much time to think.  Here is what you should be thinking about while working on your game.

Now that we have covered what muscles we ask to work when getting into (and holding) our dart form on the oche, lets focus on the posture itself.  What is it that we ask our body to do? What is dart form?

THE FACT OF THE MATTER IS THAT COMMON DART FORM IS NOT AN ATHLETIC STANCE AND IT IS NOT A POSTURE THAT IS SEEN ANYWHERE ELSE IN THE COMPETITIVE WORLD.

 

Much like golf, it is a skill-specific form and motion that is only applicable for the task at hand. Balance is involved, but it is an unbalanced balance. As a dart player you know what this means but it is challenging to maintain. We ask our body to get into a unique position. We do not need to exert a lot of energy in order to get the dart to the board accurately. We need to be still. As a result we have all surmised correctly that we don’t want extraneous motion.

The challenge with the posture is that it is hard to describe what we are doing and what must be done. Many of us have watched professional darts as a fan. By the end of this article I want you to watch from an entirely new perspective. If you are reading this, you are more than a fan of the game, you are a student; start watching like a student. Observe, breakdown, and learn. In being observant over the years it has been my goal to distill the essential from the extraneous. These 4 keys are what has been distilled. They are easy to understand and employ. These are things that great players do. They may not know they do them, and if they do, they might not know how to perfectly describe them as a root to their success.

“THOSE WHO KNOW, DO. THOSE THAT UNDERSTAND, TEACH.” – ARISTOTLE

I will outline what MUST be done with these 4 keys and give notes as to what you should experiment with based on your own preferences, comforts and body. In order to fully soak these up there is one mantra you must OWN:

Be willing to sacrifice a level of physical comfort and familiarity to improve.

  1. 80/20 Weight Distribution between front/back feet.

This is a guideline. You must feel it out for yourself. Your front, throwing-side leg should remain straight. The foot should be/stay flat-footed with 80% of your weight on it. Your back foot is simply a counter-balance to the action of your arm following through. Your back foot should have 20% of your weight and should NOT move with your arm action.

            NOTES:

-Some players are not immediately comfortable with this much weight on the front foot repetitively like this. Many have been too comfortable in a posture where not enough weight has been on the front foot. The thing to remember when building this endurance and durability is that you do not have to hold the posture for that long. (As a reference point Phil Taylor gets his three darts out in about 10 seconds once he has approached to the oche).

-If you need extra time deciding what to throw, take the weight off your front foot to reassess so that you don’t get uncomfortable. Then lean back in when you are ready to throw.

-How you place your front foot at the oche is a personal choice.

-Your back foot can be on your toe or the ball of your foot. It is hard to imagine that you would be able to keep it flat on the ground with that distribution, but if by chance you can, so be it. The key is that it doesn’t move/come off of the ground with the action of your throw.

  1. Torso should be leaned out over hip and oche.

The lean of your torso IS the stored energy of your throw. The energy does not come from your arm (This will make more sense when you see how it is connected to #3)

This sounds easier than it is. It is challenging to find the same lean repetitively as you fatigue. As you fatigue you will unconsciously relax your lean and become more upright, taking away your energy to the board.

            NOTES:

-It takes experimentation to find the optimal lean. Too much and you are likely to throw yourself off balance. Too little and you ask the arm to do too much work.

-The lean is out “over” the hip and oche, not “into” the hip. “Into” the hip is less taxing and would actually push the torso slightly away from the oche.

MVG leaning his torso over his hip and oche.
  1. Elbow height should start below the height of the shoulder.

This is crucial. The arm is a lever; the elbow is a fulcrum that CAN NOT move until full extension on the follow-through. Upon full extension on the follow-through the elbow has no choice but to meet the height of the shoulder as you finish fully extended, pointing at the target.

           NOTES:

-If the elbow starts equal to, or higher than the shoulder, OR rises during drawback of the dart, all the stored energy from #1 and #2 gets transferred to the shoulder. If you feel like you are chopping at the board, the elbow is starting too high. 

-We talk of “throwing” darts, when in fact it is more of a push. 

-You don’t necessarily have to move the arm to change elbow height. You can help dictate elbow height with your torso lean.

Taylor's starting elbow height is below the height of his shoulder.
  1. Off-hand arm should be locked to your torso.

This is the easiest to do, and yet the easiest to forget and get lazy on. It seems like it shouldn’t do anything, but, humor me and do a quick experiment. Stand up. Take that empty off-hand and give yourself a pat on the side of the belly… Harder. What happened? Even though it was your own hand, and you knew it was coming, your brain told your abs to contract. It sensed a threat (however minimal), and protected the organs inside. Locking your arm to your core for the duration of your three darts tightens your core, and allows for less extraneous motion. Believe it or not, this leads to tighter groupings. As an ancillary benefit, your throwing hand is able to retrieve the darts much easier from the same spot. Your off-hand should NOT move. It should NOT hand-off the dart to the throwing hand. The throwing hand should always retrieve the dart.

            NOTES:

-Your anatomy will help determine what part of your arm (wrist, forearm, elbow) you want tethered to some part of your core. Experiment to figure out where it best suits you.

RVB's off-hand (left hand) locked-in to his torso.

While there are other parts of a throw that are important, these 4 keys are the foundation of form that focus on the ability to keep that unbalanced balance through repetition of the arm action.

Keys 1,2 and 3 are directly correlated. They will work in concert with each other. The weight distribution (1) helps dictate the lean. The lean (2) helps dictate starting elbow height (3). Key 4 is not tied to the others directly but it does help lock Keys 1-3 (your form and balance) in place.

Now, I want you to go to video of some stronger, more consistent professionals and watch them as a student. You will start to view their forms in a different manner. The one thing you will notice is, there are very few glimpses of Key 1. The profile camera angles don’t capture their lower bodies for very long. The best time to capture a good profile view of their postures is while they are taking their warm-ups on stage before a match begins. The roughly head-on view you get with the split screen does a good job of capturing Keys 2,3 and 4. Sadly, in my search of still images there are no profile images that have head-to-toe coverage of a player’s form.

Players that do these things well: Michael Van Gerwen, Phil Taylor, and Raymond Van Barneveld. I didn’t choose these three because they are World Champions; they are World Champions (in part) because they do these things well. In studying what the best-of-the-best do, I distilled these keys as in-common traits (individualized to themselves). I also chose them because they have different physical profiles/ages/body types, and they do these things well despite the differences (proof-positive that YOU can do these things no matter your age or anatomical gifts). 

There are others too. I want you watch it all anew. Send me a private message in Facebook if there is someone who you think displays these 4 keys well. I would love to learn from your observations as well.  After all…

…The highest form of learning is teaching.

Respectfully,

Dax

Dr. Manhattan

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Fallon Sherrock makes history at the World Championships

“Women can play against men and beat them.” – During the Darts World Championship, Sherrock became a pioneer in this sport by pursuing her dream.
The world of darts has evolved a lot, not only in terms of mixing. Originally, darts were a form of entertainment in bars. In recent years, it has become a real competition, and amateurs have been able to play darts online, betting on darts events, watching tournament broadcasts, etc.

One game for History

The 25-year-old Englishwoman became the first woman to win a darts world championship match against a man on Tuesday night in London. She’s making history in her sport becoming the first woman to dominate a man in a Darts World Championship match this week, Fallon Sherrock extended her incredible adventure this weekend and dreams of knocking down one wall after another in a very masculine discipline.

The world of darts is at the dawn of a new era. The revolution is underway, and Fallon Sherrock is the embodiment of it. The 25-year-old young woman is the standard-bearer of her generation and made history in her sport. The former hairdresser, still determined to assert the rightful place of women in this very masculine environment, did it again this weekend against the world’s 11th-ranked player, 47-year-old Mensur Suljovic, to advance to the third round of the world professional darts championship (PDC for Professionnal Darts Corporation).

Fallon Sherrock broke a glass ceiling. The name doesn’t mean anything to you but this English woman is the first woman to win a darts match at the “men’s” World Championships in this very Anglo-Saxon discipline which has been mixed since 2001. Since her victory on Tuesday, the video footage of her victory has gone viral on the networks has been seen nearly a million times. The young woman won her match against Ted Evetts 3-2 after a tense duel like in a chess game. But to say the least, the crowd at London’s Alexandra Palace exploded after her last winning dart.

“I’m speechless, I don’t know what to say,” said the dart shooter, very moved on stage after this concert of singing and shouting. “I’m really happy because I proved something for women’s darts, that women can play against men and beat them, so we must keep our fingers crossed, it’s a step in the right direction. I’m over the moon, I can’t believe it! “she repeated after her victory.

The Buckinghamshire-born Englishwoman was honoured by the country’s most-watched morning show, Good Morning Britain, and played a game with Piers Morgan, one of its hosts, who is a celebrity across the Channel. She beat him, of course.

Only one victory in 15 years!

The women had a revenge to take. To get an idea of the magnitude of the achievement, the very first woman to compete in the men’s draw at the World Championships was Gayl King from Canada. She had been dominated in her meet and lost in the first round in 2001. After her, we had to wait until 2009 to see the second woman to do such a tournament, Anastasia Dobromyslova. She failed last year, when two women out of the 96 participants were allowed to compete for the first time. Both qualified, Anastasia Dobromyslova and Lisa Ashton were knocked out in the first round. Women’s world number one Lisa Ashton lost 3-1 to Jan Dekker, and Russia’s Anastasia Dobromyslova was defeated 3-0 by Ryan Joyce.

This year, in 2019, Fallon Sherrock, whose twin sister Felicia also plays, earned her spot in this competition by winning the women’s qualifying event in the United Kingdom and Ireland and was able to seize her chance. She has won over £65,000, 76,000 Euros, since the start of her career.

Among her colleagues, Japan’s Mikuru Suzuki, who accompanied her to the trials, had won the BDO Women’s World Title in January and came out victorious in the qualifiers for the rest of the world. Weary, she finally failed to break the famous glass ceiling and lost in the first round against James Richardson in a match that ended in sudden death on Sunday. The defeat of the latter, instead of bringing down Sherrock, gave her extra motivation. The rest you know.

“I’ve proven that we, the women, can beat anyone. I just beat two of the best players in the world,” she congratulated herself. To realize the importance of this victory, we have to keep in mind that the PDC World Championships have been mixed since 2001. Farron Sherrock is only the fifth woman to qualify for the main draw since the emergence of the pioneers, whose path she has followed.

The dream continues

The feat is all the more tasty for the young English girl from Buckinghamshire, as it has the value of revenge. Fallon Sherrock fell ill after the birth of her son Rory in 2014 – she still suffers from kidney problems – so she has received medical treatment that has caused her face to swell, prompting taunts from internet users and followers alike, who are convinced she will never be able to equal the men in the biggest competitions

Under the spotlight now, the vice-champion of the women’s world in 2015 (of the championship organized by the British Darts Organization), can dare anything, and even venture to dream of a title in these PDC world championships. Barry Hearn, promoter of sporting events in England and president of the Professional Darts Corporation, said she has been selected to compete in the US Darts Masters 2020 in New York (a prestigious stop on the World Series of Darts) on next June 5 and 6. For Fallon Sherrock, the dream continues. 

Throwing Consistent Darts – A Case For Gerwyn Price: Dax Munna #2

When I ask players about their goals in receiving dart instruction I often hear a common response. “I really want to be more consistent.” Well yes, of course, but what does that mean? Whether you are a new player or have been around a while, we all have caught a wave where everything is working perfectly and we ride it as long as we can. Until, all of a sudden, it’s gone and we don’t know why it came or went. Wanting to be consistent is a bit amorphous. We don’t want to be consistently bad, and in the same vein we need to slow down and be mindful to understand what we are doing-when we are doing it consistently well. The more pointed question to find the answer to is: What leads to good consistency? 

Good consistency is in large part about finding, keeping and repeating good balance on the oche.

Before delving into particulars of dart form lets talk about – Balance (physical and emotional). In doing so, allow me to make a case for Gerwyn “The Iceman” Price, the former professional rugby player who is currently ranked#3 in the PDC Order Of Merit.

For those of you unfamiliar with him, he is an athletic and temperamental sort. He often steps back towards his opponent with prolonged uproarious fist pumps. In doing so, it sometimes impedes the opponent from stepping to the oche in rhythm. In his World Championship semi-final match against Peter Wright there were many throws of Wright’s where Price was standing with his feet in the yellow exclusion zone, and on a few occasions he was nearly throwing his first dart at Peter Wright’s head as Wright was retrieving his darts from the board.

My case for Gerwyn Price is not to defend or decry, but in recognizing: what can we learn from him with regard to his physical and emotional balance ? 

There is always something to learn, whether we like a particular player or not. In saying so, let’s treat his participation on the big stage as a great case study.

Some history in brief: Price came into the PDC in 2014 after qualifying through Q school. As a former rugby athlete, training was a combination of strength and endurance workouts. Through his early dart career it is evident that he still trains and stays in peak physical condition. By 2016 he cracked the top 32 in the PDC Order of Merit-a huge threshold to cross to be automatically invited to all tournaments.  I argue that he was able to achieve this so quickly in large part because of his balance.

Physical Balance: There is no dart player in better physical shape. Though not in professional rugby anymore, he has made a decision to stay fit. His choice to stay fit is worth noting for players of all levels. It is a choice, one we all can make. From an outside perspective most people would laugh in thinking about fatigue in relation to darts. But as players, we know when we are in our stance for a while repetitively over a night, an event, a weekend, we feel the strain. Over the long haul, this wear and tear builds up quietly and our body unconsciously compensates ever so slightly by adjusting our stance-unknowingly we compromise consistency for comfort. I argue that physically Gerwyn Price has better balance than most, and theoretically fatigues slower than others because he is fit. His core is strong. Having a strong core leads to greater physical balance.  In comparison physically: Gerwen Price is 34 years old, Adrian Lewis is also 34, Michael Van Gerwen-30. We have seen Lewis and Van Gerwen playing for many years with neither presumably at their fittest currently.  The argument being made is getting and staying fitter can only help your performance on the oche.

Overall I like advocating for general life wellness, and in saying so to the dart community, I know moderation can be challenging at times. When it comes to the important muscle groups we use in a dart throw; the lower back, abs and obliques (think: side abs) all engage repetitively with everyone’s dart posture. These muscle groups are often referred to as your core. Primarily they are for standing straight and walking. The way to look at any type of exercise is for life benefit first. Therefore, if it can help life, it can help darts. Hyper-extensions/Toe-touches (lower back), and side bends (obliques) can be done at home. They can be done to a greater degree at the gym. We all know what a basic sit-up, crunch or plank (abs) looks like.  Now, before anyone gets out of breath thinking about exercising for the sake of darts, think about when we have seen an opponent (or ourselves) bending over behind the oche to stretch something tight. That something is related to core muscles that have fatigued.

While I am not the epitome of a chiseled physique, I incorporate these very basic exercises into my life on a routine basis.

Something else that is good for basic wellness with ancillary benefits to the dart game: Cardio. Think about what we often do in a pressure-laden moment before we step to the oche. We take a deep breath, and let it out. Why? What happens when we do this? It is multifold but it is all in an effort to relax, calm nerves, be still. On a cellular level we are oxygenating our blood, and attempting to slow our pulse. When we are at ease (balanced) we tend to shoot better than when we are tense. I am a huge proponent of getting a cardio workout in the day of a match. Getting the blood pumping, the lungs breathing deeply, and the pores sweating, for just 20 minutes feels great. A fast walk, running, biking, steps etc. You feel a unique serenity on the oche that night. I could do it justice with words, but reading about exercise can only do so much for you, and, if you are willing, you need to experience it for yourself to see the profound difference it makes.

For those who shun even the word “exercise”, think of it more as the edge you need against your opponent. A type of practice to improve your balance that your opponents are not engaged in. Sometimes a trick of the brain is all we need to do something healthy in life.

(A few disclaimers: We all are at different levels of wellness, fitness and health. We all have ailments or injuries that prevent us from doing certain things. No one should do anything they are not able to or are comfortable with based on their station in life. Consult your doctor or a personal trainer for more information regarding your ability to do anything physical. Also, if you do anything physical, please recognize if you are not used to such activity, or it has been a while, there is obviously the potential to feel sore on the oche. Work it all in to your routines and lifestyles as you see fit, and drink plenty of water, on and off the oche.)

Emotional Balance: Back to Gerwyn Price. We have seen the levels of professional etiquette morph over the years. There are plenty that took issue with Michael Van Gerwen’s excitement during his ascension to #1. Gerwyn Price’s “look at me” moments are during the matches though and directly affect his opponent (and perhaps himself). Regardless of what you think of his behavior, there is something to learn here.

Being boisterous and intimidating on the oche is nothing compared to what happens on a rugby pitch. That is no excuse for not exhibiting the proper decorum of his new chosen profession. More importantly he should recognize how being in better control of his emotions might benefit his own game. Staying emotionally balanced is so vital. The exultations on great shots and the vehemence on horrible ones can really mess with mental focus and physical balance. You can feel the adrenaline spike and dump with each show of emotion. The swings can be too great to overcome. In addition, it is equally valuable not to show your opponent any cues as to what is going on inside of you. Just like a ‘tell’ in poker, showing your emotions on the oche can lead to bad results.

Eventually we all end up coming across a player who thrives on being animated and riling up others. It is challenging to deal with. My advice: Don’t get mad. Don’t react. Don’t take it personally because it has nothing to do with you. Recognize what the behavior is about and allow it to motivate you to get better. Use these moments as a reminder to keep your emotions calm. Don’t feed into such behavior. Getting mad does not help your cause, your team, or your bar. If you are not the kind of player who thrives on that type of energy you will go on tilt, and then you have lost, the confrontation and the leg.

No matter how justified your feelings and response might be, be the model of what you expect from and for your dart community. Be above the fray.

Overall the game would be more respected without such behavior. (Notice, I said “behavior”, not “people”). Behavior can be modified. On the pro level it is often modified with suspension or fines when rules are enforced. If those who make the rules decide not to enforce them, then a larger statement is being made about the narrative they are trying to sell. I think it is fair to say if all the players failed to keep their emotions in check, a lot of the league/personal sponsorship would dry up. On a local level, such behavior usually corrects itself in time. Either the offending person recognizes their missteps in a community, or they slowly ostracize themselves. I think the important thing to glean from this is that poor sportsmen can be skilled and win, but you don’t have to be a poor sportsmen in order to win. Many winners aren’t. If Price could find the stoic emotional balance of many of the past greats, I think he could be recognized and revered like them because of how skilled and physically balanced he is… Take the good, leave the bad, and recognize what this case for Gerwyn Price can teach you about your game if you stay willing to be the consummate student.

Respectfully,

Dax Munna

Dr. Manhattan

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If you want to reach out to Dax or stay up to date, follow him on Facebook here.

The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the policy and position of Magic Darts, Inc / a-zdarts.com.  Opinions and assumptions proposed are not reflective of any other entity except that of the author’s.

Nexus Dartboard – Play With The Pros Event 2020

Play against the pros on your target nexus dartboard!

Come join some of the pros by jumping on your Target Nexus dartboard.  Each player will be online and ready to play against on the specified day and time.  So come join the fun!

*Times and dates are subject to change*

Glen durrant

jan 16

Johnny Lackey

jan 17

6-7 am pst

alan norris

Postponed

debra ivey

jan 25

3-4 pm pst

ricky evans

jan 28

10-11 am pst

danny pace

jan 29

12-1 pm pst

Stacey pace

jan 30

11 am - 12 pm pst

Adrian Lewis

feb 5

10-11 am pst

Chris Quantock

feb 12

10-11 am pst

RVB

feb 18

8-9 am pst

Leighton Bennett

feb 26

8-9 am pst

Dont Have a Nexus Dartboard?

Should You Take Dart Lessons? – An Introduction to Dax Munna

Dart Lessons? Really?

YES! REALLY!  Is it a far-fetched question? As I write this, the William Hill World Darts Championship is underway. North Americans now have easily identifiable paths to qualify for it via the Championship Darts Circuit, AND the payout (even if you lose in the first round) is greater than any current grand prize North American tournament. Logically, the question is-if you really want to get better, why wouldn’t you take dart lessons?

 

DOES ANYONE GIVE DART LESSONS? THE ANSWER IS, YES. I DO

Now wait. Hear me out. It is not how I earn a living but I do make money doing it. I don’t throw the word “professional” around and I am not writing to brag on myself.  I am writing to bring easily digestible tips, approaches, observations and use of time techniques to the community.  I am writing to ‘pay it forward’; an imperative tool to the health and growth of our community. I know what some of you are thinking. ‘Who are you?, and ‘Why should I read on?’.  These are valid questions, especially for our skeptical community. Certainly if you feel you have nothing left to learn than read no further… Otherwise allow me to better introduce myself…

My name is Dax Munna. I am a native of New York City and have been playing steel tip for 15 years and giving lessons for 7.  For those of you that enjoy the fun nicknames of our game/apparel I was given the name Dr. Manhattan by a local player in NYC some years back for it’s ‘ominous association’ to my bald head, my philosophical, level-headed approach, and the simple fact that I am from Manhattan.  I am not a household name like Darin Young or Larry Butler, nor are my accomplishments as vast.  I have played with and amongst some of the best national players, while maintaining my desire to be communal and inclusive on the league and recreational level.

 

While living in Providence, RI, I sought out one of the top ranked ADO players at the time, Freddy Krueger (real name).  We became religious practice partners and under his wing we won the Seacoast Open Doubles Cricket; the first event I ever played.  Despite that I found greater joy in playing/meeting new players in RI , MA, and CT and getting introduced to long format 501 with the PDSL (Pro-Development Singles League) via DoubleCork.

 

I brought the PDSL to New York City, and with Anthony Eugenia, helped build it into 15 divisions of various skill levels-including the New York City Premier league.  I took great pride in organizing the elite players of the metropolitan area.  Even though I won it twice against top national shot Jim Widmayer, I humbly say I take greater pride in the fact that I had to lose to him in the final 4 times before learning how to win.

 

Residing in Los Angeles, I won the inaugural DPLA (Dart Players Los Angeles) championship, but a prouder achievement was stoking the coals of the Southern California Dart Assoc. league which had been in disarray and dwindling.  I enjoyed playing my part in helping David Irete and company revive steel tip in Southern California.

 

I present this background because I want to illustrate that I have a level of acumen that can hang with some of the country’s best, while highlighting the more important things to me along way have been enriching the locales I have lived in. 

In many professional sports, some of the best teachers/coaches are not recognized as the best players nor did they even play their sport at the highest level.  They have the desire and ability to impart knowledge, to pass on a distilled blueprint gained from their experience of skill, bad beats, and triumphant wins.  My aim is to impart what I have learned over my darting career to set you on a path which may help you achieve your goals.

 

Golf Coach showing How To Swing A Club

Just like with golf or tennis, there are plenty of darters that have fun going out and throwing regardless of results or level of play.  A few beers and laughs with friends and all is right with the world.  No one needs lessons to have fun. Lessons are a tool to improve. Too often is the case that people in all such activities think “they know” what they’re doing wrong and how to fix it. In reality they are simply uncomfortable admitting that they have no idea what they are doing (rightly or wrongly) and/or have too much pride and stubbornness to ask for and accept help.  When one recognizes, ‘I don’t know, what I don’t know’, all the doors of learning open up.

“When the pupil is ready, the master will emerge.” – Sun Tzu

This is one of my favorite quotes about learning. It basically says there is always someone there to teach if there is always someone there to learn. The student’s receptiveness is equally as important as the teacher’s ability to impart the lesson. If you continue to read this column you are in a place to be receptive.

 

When I reached out to A-Z darts about doing this column I was happy they were receptive.  I am passionate about the dart community and look forward to enriching it further through this forum.  It is my hope to touch on many topics related to common threads in stance, posture, grip, and practice; as well as tangental topics like fitness, lifestyle, equipment and history, plus some metaphysical-such as psychology and sociology.  I hope you enjoy this series and feel free to contribute with comments and questions.    

Respectfully,
Dax
Dr. Manhattan

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Darts and eSports: More similar than you realize

The opinion that darts needs to become a recognized Olympic sport is shared by darts players of all levels as well as fans across the globe. Even the World Cup-winning former coach for England Rugby has expressed his admiration for the sport, stating that “Darts should be an Olympic sport. No, seriously…the Olympics is evolving, and I want to see darts in the Games.”

The forthcoming 2020 edition of the Olympic Games, to be held in Tokyo, will contain five new (and one returning) sports, among them skateboarding, surfing and karate. Darts, unfortunately, has been passed over once again.

Meanwhile, the recent news that the discipline of competitive video gaming, aka eSports, has been able to secure an Olympic-sanctioned tournament in the run-up to the games next year has started a debate amongst fans of ‘arrows’. Disgruntled darts lovers the world over believe that their favoured sport has more of a reason to be included in the Olympics than video games.
The debate continues, however, and on closer inspection, it seems that there are quite a few similarities between the two different disciplines, not least their global popularity and diehard fanbases. Let’s take a look at some of them.

Both sports create mathematical geniuses

Well, maybe you won’t find the next Pythagoras, Euler or Terry Tao amongst the ranks in a video gaming or darts arena, but the chances are that the top players in both disciplines are pretty good at numbers.

Having a fundamental grasp of mathematics is necessary for most things in modern life, but successful darts players – and more recently – eSports players are renowned for their sharp maths skills. If you can’t quickly figure out 501 minus triple 1, how do you know what to aim for? Similarly, eSports players have to keep tally of things like hit points and physical damage, as well as make superfast calculations on things like Critical Strike Chance when executing major objectives.

Both sports have equally loyal fanbases

Going from a pub game to world domination in a relatively short space of time has meant that darts has grown a loyal following amounting to millions. During the 2018 PDC World Championships, 1.4 million people in the UK tuned in to watch Rob Cross finally scoop a title win, accompanied by a 2.7 million German audience.

Some eSports tournaments have also been rumoured to generate viewing figures that compare only to the Superbowl (easily one of if not the most-watched event in the sporting calendar). Whether or not that’s actually true, there’s no denying the sheer popularity of the discipline with specific demographics.

And as far as the industry goes, large numbers of loyal fans equals big bucks, especially when it comes to secondary income streams. Darts betting, for example, is immensely popular and most of the leading bookies will open numerous odds and betting markets for darts events.

Much like darts has created its own sports betting markets, so too has eSports. According to stats laid out in the best eSports betting guide from CasinoSmash, by 2023 the discipline will have over 600 million players participating worldwide, leading some analysts to believe that eSports betting revenues could become the largest income stream in the industry.

Both sports generate unique atmospheres at events

You may not think that a discipline that, until the last decade, was mostly carried out in participants bedrooms would translate well in a stadium environment. However, when it comes to eSports, you’d be wrong.

With some events offering combined prize pools in excess of $30 million, the atmosphere at an elite-level tournament is a mixture of camaraderie (many of the games are played in teams), spectacle and competition. Audience members feel at home with hundreds of thousands of strangers because they are united in their love of all things geek. Watching an eSports tournament is in many ways the ultimate indulgence of geekhood.

The unique and buzzing atmosphere at a darts competition is, of course, renowned. Staying true to its pub game origins, even darts world championship events still manage to have that loud atmosphere.

See for yourself in Singapore

You don’t just have to take our word for it when it comes to the similarities between darts and eSports. Hop on a plane and head to the Bountie Arena in the heart of One-North, Singapore. This 6,600 square foot “premier eSports and gaming lifestyle venue” has both eSports and darts playing facilities all under one roof. The new arena has a main gaming area that features 60 ASUS Republic of Gamers desktops alongside five state of the art Phoenix Darts digital darts machines. 

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