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How to Play Darts for Beginners




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key takeaways:

  • Darts is a game where players throw pointed projectiles (darts) at a circular dartboard. The main objective is to accumulate the most points by targeting specific regions on the board.
  • To play darts, players need a dartboard, a set of darts (typically three per player), and a scoreboard. Darts come in various styles and weights; hence, choosing a comfortable set is vital.
  • The dartboard should be placed at a height of 5 feet 8 inches. Players should stand about 7 feet 9 1/4 inches away, facing the board with their dominant foot slightly forward.
  • There are different games in darts, including “501”, where players start with 501 points and reduce to zero, and “Cricket”, where players hit numbers 15-20 and the bullseye three times.


Darts is a classic and captivating popular game that offers hours of fun and friendly competition. Whether you’re brand new to the world of dart players or have only dabbled in a few darts games before, this comprehensive guide is designed to help beginners get started on their dart-playing journey. With a focus on the basics, tips, and tricks, we will provide you with the essential knowledge and techniques needed to play darts confidently and enjoyably. We are going to explore how to play darts for beginners.

How to Play Darts for Beginners

In this guide, we will cover the fundamental aspect of darts, including the equipment you need, how to set up a dartboard correctly, and the basic darts rules. For those new to the game, holding that single dart and aiming can be quite intimidating. Thus, we will also explore proper throwing techniques, from the right way to bring the dart to eye level to ensuring a consistent throw.

As a beginner, it’s essential to understand that darts is not just a pub game. It’s about more than throwing projectiles at a board; it’s a game that requires focus, technique, and a touch of strategy. With practice, patience, and the tips shared in this guide, you’ll be well on your way to playing both friendly game sessions with pals and maybe even professional matches if that’s a goal. So, whether you aim to become one of the professional players or just want to have fun, this guide has got you covered.

Darts is not just about throwing projectiles at a board; it’s a game that requires focus, technique, and a touch of strategy. With practice, patience, and the tips and tricks shared in this guide, you’ll be well on your way to enjoying the exciting world of darts and impressing your friends with your newfound dart-playing prowess.

So, let’s dive into the world of darts together and discover the joy and thrill of this timeless game for beginners.

To play darts for beginners: Stand behind the line. Aim at the dartboard. Hold the dart with 3 fingers. Pull arm back, keep elbow still. Throw dart with a smooth motion. Try to hit the center. Practice often and have fun! Remember, safety first. Don’t walk in front when someone’s throwing.

What are Darts?

Darts is a game that involves throwing small, pointed projectiles (also known as darts) at a circular board (dartboard). The aim of the activity is to gain points by targeting regions on the board. The participant who accumulates the most points by the conclusion of the game emerges as the victor.

Darts Equipment: What You Need

To play darts, you will need the following equipment:

  • A dartboard
  • A set of darts (usually three per player)
  • A scoreboard

Darts come in various weights and styles, so it’s important to choose a set that feels comfortable in your hand. It’s also recommended to have extra flights and shafts on hand in case one of your darts breaks.

How to Play Darts for Beginners

Setting up the Dart Board

Before you start playing darts, you need to set up the dartboard. The dartboard should be hung on a wall at a height of 5 feet 8 inches from the floor. The board should also be secured in a way that it doesn’t move when you throw the darts.

Setting up the Dart Board

How to Stand Correctly

When playing darts, it’s important to stand correctly to maintain balance and stability. Stand about 7 feet 9 1/4 inches away from the board, with your feet shoulder-width apart. Your body should be facing the board, and your dominant foot should be slightly forward.

Stand Correctly for Playing Darts

How to Grip the Dart

There are many ways to grip a dart, but the most common grip is the “three-finger grip.” Hold the dart between your thumb, index finger, and middle finger. Your thumb should be underneath the dart, and your index and middle fingers should be on top. Find a grip that feels comfortable and natural for you.

Grip the Dart

Aiming for the Bullseye

The bullseye is the center of the dartboard and is worth the most points. To aim for the bullseye, line up your dominant eye with the target. Focus on hitting the center of the board and try to release the dart smoothly and consistently.

Scoring in Darts

There are many ways to score in darts, but the most common game is 501. In this game, each player starts with a score of 501 and takes turns throwing three darts at the board. The score for each turn is subtracted from the player’s total score. The objective is to reach zero using the fewest number of darts possible.

Different Types of Dart Games

  • Cricket – In this game, players aim to hit numbers 15-20 and the bullseye. Each number must be hit three times before it can be scored. The first player to score all numbers three times and have a higher point total win.
  • 301 – In this game, each player starts with a score of 301 and takes turns throwing three darts at the board. The objective is to reach zero using the fewest number of darts possible.
  • Around the Clock – In this game, players aim to hit each number on the board in order from 1 to 20. The competitor who successfully hits all the numbers on the board, along with the bullseye, first emerges as the winner.
  • Killer – In this game, each player tries to hit the numbers 1 through 9, plus the bullseye, in any order. Once a player has hit all the numbers, they become a “killer” and can aim for their opponents’ numbers. The last player standing wins.

Basic Dart Strategies

  • Stance – Your stance is important for maintaining balance and accuracy. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, facing the board at a slight angle with your dominant foot forward.
  • Grip – Find a grip that feels comfortable for you, whether it’s a pencil grip, pinch grip, or other style. Hold the dart with a loose grip and keep your fingers relaxed.
  • Aim – Focus on a specific target on the board, such as the triple 20 or the bullseye. Aim for the same spot each time and adjust as needed.
  • Follow-through – After releasing the dart, follow through with your arm to ensure accuracy and maintain consistency.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

  • Gripping the dart too tightly – This can cause tension in your fingers and make it difficult to release the dart smoothly.
  • Overthinking the shot – It’s important to focus on your aim, but overthinking can lead to hesitation and missed shots.
  • Inconsistent stance – A consistent stance is crucial for maintaining balance and accuracy.
  • Aimlessly throwing darts – Take your time and focus on your target before throwing the dart. Haphazardly throwing darts without a plan will lead to inconsistent results.

Etiquette for Playing Darts

Darts, whether a pub game or a serious competition, requires decorum. Avoid the blunder of a Robin Hood – that’s when a thrown dart lands in the shaft of another dart already on the board. It’s a rare feat and a testament to an accurate dart throw, but it can be disruptive in serious play.

  • Wait your turn – Don’t throw your darts until it’s your turn. Wait patiently for your opponent to finish their turn.
  • Respect other players – Avoid distracting other players while they are throwing darts. Don’t talk or move around unnecessarily.
  • Remove darts safely – When removing darts from the board, do so carefully and safely. Don’t pull on the darts or twist them, as this can damage the board.
  • Keep score accurately – It’s important to keep track of the score accurately and honestly. If there is a dispute, refer to the official rules of the game.

Practice Makes Perfect

Just as you wouldn’t point aimlessly in any aim in darts, practicing without a plan will yield inconsistent results. If you’re starting, it might be worthwhile to get a complete darts set with a variety of weights and styles to understand what works best for you.

  • Start with the basics – Practice your stance, grip, and aim before moving on to more complex strategies.
  • Focus on consistency – Try to hit the same target repeatedly to improve your accuracy and consistency.
  • Mix up your targets – Practice hitting different targets on the board to improve your overall game.
  • Play with others – Playing with others can help you improve your skills and learn new strategies.

Frequently Asked Questions

What equipment do I need to play darts?

To play darts, you’ll need a dartboard, a set of darts, and a designated throwing area with ample space. Make sure to choose high-quality darts that feel comfortable in your hand and are suitable for your skill level.

How Do I Set Up a Dartboard Correctly?

Hang the dartboard securely on a wall at the regulation height of 5 feet 8 inches from the floor to the center of the bullseye. Ensure that there is sufficient distance around the board, known as the “throwing area,” to avoid any obstructions and provide ample space for throwing.

What Are the Basic Rules of Darts?

In general, the objective of most dart games is to reduce your score from a starting number, such as 501 or 301, to zero. Players take turns throwing three darts each and aim to hit specific target areas on the dartboard. Different games have variations in rules and scoring methods, so familiarize yourself with the specific rules of the game you’re playing.

How Can I Improve My Throwing Technique?

Focus on maintaining a smooth and consistent throwing motion. Stand with a comfortable and balanced stance, hold the dart with a grip that feels natural to you, and release it with a fluid motion. Practice regularly and seek feedback from experienced players or coaches to refine your technique.

What Are Some Strategies for Improving Accuracy?

Concentrate on aiming for specific target areas on the dartboard, such as the triple segments or the bullseye. Focus on your target and visualize your throw before releasing the dart. Experiment with different aiming points and adjust your aim based on previous throws. Regular practice will help develop your muscle memory and improve your accuracy over time.

How Can I Practice Effectively?

Dedicate regular practice sessions to sharpen your skills. Focus on specific aspects, such as aiming for certain target areas or practicing specific game scenarios. Vary your practice routines to cover different aspects of the game, including accuracy, consistency, and finishing. Practice with purpose and maintain a positive mindset.

What Should I Do to Stay Calm and Focused During a Game?

Take deep breaths and maintain a relaxed demeanor before each throw. Stay focused on the present moment and avoid dwelling on previous throws or anticipating future ones. Practice mindfulness techniques and develop a pre-shot routine to help you stay calm and focused under pressure.

While darts may not require intense physical exertion, warming up your arm, wrist, and fingers is beneficial. Gently stretch your arm, rotate your wrist, and flex your fingers before playing to help loosen up the muscles and improve your range of motion.

Final Thoughts

By following the tips and tricks provided in this comprehensive guide, you now have a solid foundation to start your dart-playing journey. Whether you’re playing with cheap darts or the most expensive darts in the market, remember that the key is consistency and practice. As you continue to play, you’ll develop an accurate dart throw that even seasoned dart players would envy. We have explored how to play darts for beginners, and we hope you enjoy every game, from casual pub games to intense professional matches.

As a beginner, it’s essential to focus on mastering the basics. Practice your throwing technique, experiment with different grips, and familiarize yourself with the rules and scoring system. Start with simple game formats like 501 or Around the Clock, and gradually progress to more challenging variations as you gain experience.

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