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Tips and Advice

This is the place where shooters come to improve. Dont beleive it? Just read on and practice using these tips which will be updated regularly.

Happy New Year! I know I've been writing nothing but 01 tips lately.  Todays tip is also for 01, but I will also touch on cricket. I've come up with a great practice 01 game. Nothing special, but it works better with a group of people (2-4). Start out by shooting for cork to see who goes first. The game consists of shooting for every double on the board (1-20 and the double bull). Whoever wins the cork chooses the double. If they hit the double they call then they get 1 point and get to go again until they miss. When a player misses then the # they called is attempted by the next person, so on and so forth until its hit. As I said before when you hit a # then you get 1 point and go again (and choose the next double). The player with the highest score wins. This practice game has really improved my ability to hit doubles, give it a try! let me know if it helps.
     OK, now for the cricket favorite game. Why? is it because its more fun than 01...NO, does it take more skill to win in cricket than 01...NO...then why is it so popular. I'll tell you why, theres less strategy in 01 and its less about what your opponent hits. In 01 its you vs. the board (not necisarilly your opponent). Whatever your opponent hits in 01 doesent affect you, but in cricket it does. If someone points you in cricket you have to work to get back into the game and win...that doesent happen in 01...get it? Cricket involves so much strategy I could write a book on it (close to it). Heres a little friendly help. I've said this before, but make sure you stay well ahead of your opponent in the points column. This is a real hard sell for the beginner or even intermediate cricket player. Alot of times anything can happen in the lower divisions and you may win by not pointing, but I shit you not, if you try closing #'s while someone is ahead of you in points in the higher divisions you will see your winning % drop significantly. I used to get mad and frustrated when I felt I was being overpointed (or pointed in general), but now I take it as a personal insult if someone has the opportunity to point me and doesent. When someone doesent point me I think 1 of 2 things...either my opponent doesent know how to play(bad strategy) or they think i cant shoot...either way I have the upper hand and the clear advantage. Take that mentality with you and you'll not only win more, but you'll get less frustrated when people throw points. Remember, when someone throws five 20's to start out a cricket match dont lose focus...just think about the look on their face when you throw seven 19's! even if you cant do that yet...dont forget...Ive done it several times and I was in your shoes once! good luck, Marc 
This week I had the opportunity to play with one of the great dart throwers around Brooklyn, Phil Fried [freed]. Between games Phil introduced me to one of the best practice 01 games I've seen, 101 double on, double off. Great practice 01 game...try it, you'll like it and see improvement in your game too!
Today's tip is for the 501 enthusiast. It is located on a file on this page. It is a 501 out chart with an explanation of every out in 501. This chart is what the pros use! check it out its pretty cool! 
Tip for the week of 9-26-04
Before I even write anything I need some input. If you are reading this tip or have been reading my weekly tips please goto the comments link @ the top of the page and just let me know you were here.
     Last week we touched on practice, this week I'll elaborate on practice routines and how to improve your game. First of all theres 2 types of practice:
 1:Accuracy practice
 2:Strategy practice.
Accuracy is best practiced alone with no distractions (if you dont have a dart board @ home get one or you'll have to visit pubs on a regular basis to improve). Strategy is best practiced when playing in money tournaments (there are money tournements almost every day of the week, to find them in brooklyn check out or Keep in mind that you can improve strategy and accuracy many ways, the methods I'm speaking of helped me improve my game the fastest. Lets first talk about Strategy.
Theres not a whole lot to say except-Play in money tournaments to improve! Why? Because its in a money tournament that you'll learn how to win. You won't be as concerned about "am I pointing too much?" or "what should I throw?". When playing for money (with money you've layed out) you immediately realize "I dont care what I do or how much points I throw, I'm here to win money". Sure, darts are great but when playing for money it's not about good darts, its you versus everyone else for the bucks. when playing for money you learn to play cut-throat or you lose (unless everyone else in the topurnament sucks). Bring that attitiude with you to league night and you'll win more often...Trust me!
Practice should be done alone @ home or in a quiet pub (ALONE). You should try to practice @ least 1 hour a day. If you cant then try to throw at least 15 minutes every day. When practicing concentrate, dont just throw. Examine what you do and what you'r doing wrong...look @ mechanics (is the tip up, hows your stance, is your grip OK etc...). Remember...this is very improtant: when practicing look @ mechanics, but when playing (league or otherwize) never think, use what you've practced and throw. What Im trying to say is if you think about practice techniques when playing in league night youll drive yourself nuts and throw terrible. Practice is about thought and mechanics, league night is about clearing your mind of practice routines and concentrating on winning the game @ hand. Here are a couple of practice routines which I've found helpful:
practice routine #1: shoot @ one number 10 times. Pick any # (15-20) and throw @ it. Count how many times you hit 3 #'s (3 singles, 1 treble or any combo) do this 10x. (=30 darts). If you can hit a number 3 times for 10 strait turns (10/10) then your a pro and stop reading. 7-9/10 your a platnum shooter congrats! 5-6/10 your a solid shooter, keep practicing. Anything less than 5/10 keep'll eventually get better (trust me). 
Practice routine #2: shoot @ the double: practice hitting every double on the board. Start with the most common doubles (16, 15, 6, 11, 8, 10, 4, 12, 20, 1). If you can hit all these then work atround the board (you'll never know when you need to hit one of these doubles)
Practice routine #3: Practice your corks!: even if its all you shoot for 1 week strait, just throw @ the cork...its the most powerful # on the board and has saved me more times than I can count.
Practice routine # 4: Practice all trebles: dont walk away from the board until you've hit all of them from 15-20.
Practice routine #5: Play against yourself: this is one of the harder routines to explain, but imagine your playing against someone good. After you throw think of something they hit which makes you think and puts pressure on you. This routine is extemely helpful when playing against better players because (if you have a good imagination) you've played them already (maybe even won in your head). Thats all for this week, good luck practicing!
Tip for the week of 9/19/04
     This weeks tip is geared more for the intermediate shooter. A lot of people play darts for years and get progressively better each year, however they never seem to get as good as wish they could be. People look at shooters like Gerard Burns, Phil Fried, Erick Vega, John Twomley...etc (sorry if I missed you) and think to themselves "Ive been playing just as long as them, why cant I get that good?" Is it skill? Maybe, but this weeks tip may assist you in getting over the hump and becoming one of the top shooters around your city.
     I too was one of those shooters who have been playing for many years and could never get better...never get over that hump. Heres a couple of things that greatly improved my game and got me over the hump (If your wondering where I stand...I'm still not as good as Burns, Vega etc... but I could hold my own in the top division of any league).
     Step1: Practice!-I know you do (everyone does), but make sure you throw every day. I'm not going to get into specific practice games (we'll save that for another week), but just make sure you practice alone every day! People think that tournaments or league play will improve their game (which will improve strategy, buit not skill). Forget it, the best most efficient way to get better is to practice alone.
     Step 2: Take a positive mental approach. This is the most important thing you can do to get better. there are alot of dynamics to this step.
          First: never get caught up in who your should be confident yet relaxed for each game you play (even if its against someone better than you).
          Second: dont get mad!...alot of things happen during the course of a game, some people get pissed when too many points are thrown, or if their way behind in #'s, stay focused and relaxed...remember that a round 9 is not common, but have the faith to know that your capable of throwing one at any time to bring you back into any game.
         Third: don't waste darts...remember that each dart is worth 33% of your turn. If you are behind in a game and miss with your first 2 darts dont get frustrated and feel like the 3rd dart is meaningless...have confidence that the 3rd dart will hit a treble.
        Fourth: Never get cocky when winning or show that your a sore loser. I am the worst sore loser...I hate to lose!, but 99% of the time you'd never know if I won or lost. I always try to maintain focus and composure not only throughout the game but after as well. Remember there are more games to be played, always show your opponents respect-win or lose! You will find that this will improve your concentration in a night which will ultimately lead to you throwing better darts. Practice controlling those me!
Thats about all I can figure out for now, If I can think of any more techniques I'll post them. Good luck!, Marc
Tip for the week of 9/12/04:
Sorry I missed last week (where does the time go?).
     This weeks tip is for beginners but its still worth a look at if your experienced. Also, if your just starting out playing darts or if your willing to adjust your throw and stance then read on.
     People throw darts 100 different ways. You'll find people who do very strange things, but which way is the right way? is there one? I think that whatever works is a fine approach, however I'm a geek and I beleive that there is a best way to throw. I also beleive that if you practice throwing the "correct way" then NO ONE who deviates from this technique will ever have the possibly of being as great shooter as you. Have I got your curiosity? heres the tip: Its comprised of a few things:
     Step 1: NEVER move your body when throwing...the dart throw is only forearm hand and elbow (like a handshake). You will see many people move their body's or "jerk" themselves in odd positions. Stay still, remember: hand, forearm, and elbow!  Check the picture on the top right of this page for an example of this. In addition keep your same throw for all 3 darts (some people move differently when throwing the 3rd dart...not good)
     Step 2: always follow through with a handshake...its an easy way to tell if your following throught (when you finish releasing the dart make sure your hand is pointed at the target as if you were shaking hands). 
     Step 3: KEEP THAT POINT UP! Always make sure your dart is either level or pointed up...before and after the throw...MAKE SURE! a dart pointed down is less accurate and more likely to wobble.
     Step 4:If you notice I haven't  mentioned proper grip...thats because there really isn't one. Whatever works. If your confused about the proper grip goto a bar...stand about 20 feet away from the board and throw the dart @ the board...dont aim, just try to hit the board...Then examine the grip you used for that throw and you've found "your" grip. ALSO PRACTICE Its
    Step 5: Practice every day @ least 1 hour a day (if you can) or else just make sure you throw at least once a day.
    Step 6: If you havent settled down with a good set of darts then let me give you some excellent advice. Start out with heavy darts (24-28gm darts) then go light (22-18gm darts) when you get better. Heavy darts will straiten out your throw and provide consistancy, but you will never be as accurate a shooter as someone with light darts. Light darts are more difficult to throw, but when you become an advanced shooter you will be a much more acccurate with light darts. This is a hard sell...many people in brooklyn who are just as good as me use heavy darts, but they will never get over the hump and become legendary shooters without lighter me...95% of all pro dart throwers use light darts...Good luck using my advice and good darts!-Marc    
Tip for the week of 9/5/04:
     Cricket is a points game. The shooters in the higher divisions all know this, but for the lower division shooters (who make up the majority of most leagues) remember to always stay well ahead of your competitors.
     One of the greats (who will remain nameless) told me to always stay 3 darts ahead. This is a big deal. Think about it...its rare, but it happens. Your cruising along... your about 2 #s and 20 points ahead of the competition and they hit a round 7-8-or9!... now your behind in points. You goto point back but no matter how much you get your opponent slowly gets back into the game and ultimately wins. F~!k, I hate it when that happens. You think your in control and then lose. For a moment you sit and wonder what you could have done to win...POINT. The choice of champions and Fully Armed.

click here to download 501 out chart the pro's use!

The proper throw...notice the point is always up!

Another example of good throwing technique


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