Well the Ladbrokes World Championships are underway. The competition is fierce. Today Wes Newton hit the 500th Ton80 of the event with averages in the low hundreds. James Wade pulled in front to take a come from behind win 5-4.
So how do we help the average dart player get their averages into true competition mode? I could begin by saying, “Turn off your computer. Quit your job. Just throw darts for 6hrs a day!” Now we know this is rubbish. It does take a lot of practice but smart, dedicated routine will do and keep the misses off your back. (pun intended)
The game that defines world match play is “501”. In America, another key favorite of pub play is “Cricket”. So in order to enhance your play, lets review the rules.
The game of “501” is fairly simple. Each player begins with 501 points and subtracts the sum of the segments where the darts land to work their way to zero. The final dart thrown must land in a segment of the outer ring or center bullseye. A perfect game, is by throwing the least number of darts to achieve this, which is 9 darts.
The goal of “Cricket” is to be the first player to close all the cricket numbers and have a higher or even point total. Cricket uses the numbers 15 to 20 and the bull’s-eye. To close a number, it must have been scored 3 times in any fashion, on one or more turns. Hitting the triple will close a number in one throw; a single and the double will close it in two throws or three singles will close it in three throws. Numbers do not have to be closed in any particular order and several numbers can be hit in the same turn. A scoreboard is used to keep track of the hits on all the numbers. Hitting a number once is shown by placing a slash (/) beside the number, second hit by turning the slash to an X, and the third by a circle (O) around the X.
Because of the acute accuracy of professional players, cricket is rarely used in major competitions due to the length of time it would take to finish a game. We spoke in our last article of working on your groupings without worrying about the board in general. So what’s next?
Now that you have practiced your grouping, we’ll put it to the test. Each segment is broken into four segments. The double, the “fat”, “trips”, and the “inner single”. We are going to focus on the FAT. Of the 20 numbers on the board, each alternates black and white. In this exercise, you will go around the world. Begin at the 20 segment and throw your darts at the large area. Next handful, move to the 18 and so on around the board in succession (13.10,2,3, 7,8,14,12). Circle the board 5 times before you quit. If you like to keep track of your progress, count the darts that achieve their mark. Remember only the fat area counts in this exercise. Since accuracy is the key, other areas of the number do not count.
Once you are comfortable hitting a consistent 3 marks, move on to the skinny area and eventually your doubles and trips.
Good luck with this exercise and feel free to leave me comments on your progress.
Be sure to check out the World Championship Darts from Alexandra Palace in London at www.pdc.tv You won’t be disappointed.