Now that you’ve bought your own darts, you want to learn how the professionals throw. Here are a few tips that will help you develop the right technique and avoid bad habits early on.

1. Keep Your Tip Up

A surprising number of people who just start throwing darts hold it like a pencil or, worse, with the tip pointed at the ground like it’s a throwing knife. These put you at an immediate disadvantage because your dart tip is not pointed at your target.

Hold your dart between your thumb and first two fingers and point it where you want it to go. When you throw, make sure you hand remains flat and you release before it starts moving downward. This is twice as important when playing with soft tip darts because electronic dart boards can be a bit more flimsy and tend to have more bounce-outs.

2. Make Your Body Follow

Everything about your body position should be directed toward where you want your dart to go. Ideally, you should minimize your horizontal profile as much as possible and try to orient your body toward the target. That means standing sideways with your dominant foot forward, keeping your eye, dart, arm, and target aligned. Point your foot in the direction of the board as well, since this will further put you in line with where you want the dart to go. Think of your whole body as part of the dart.

3. Bend Forward

You are allowed to bend slightly at the waist when you throw to get closer to the board and further stabilize yourself, but be careful with this. You don’t want to bend too far forward or you’ll throw yourself off balance. Moreover, bending forward too much can hurt your back over time, so just a little is fine.

Make sure that when you’re doing this, you put most of your weight on your front foot, but do not take your back foot off the ground. Lifting your back foot can drastically change the angle of your throw when you release, so keep both feet planted.

I’d say the number one reason people miss their shots is because they’re leaning too far forward to try and get an “edge” and end up with poor balance and aim because of it.

4. Move Only Your Throwing Arm

It can be tempting to throw with your whole body, but that will only ruin your accuracy. Once you’ve settled into your stance, you should only move your arm from the elbow to the hand. Everything else should stay as still as you can without tensing your muscles up.

Throw the dart with a smooth motion on a two dimensional plane. Darts is not a game of force, so there’s no reason to throw hard to cover the less-than-eight-feet to the board. Just loft it gently and smoothly, then let the dart do the rest.

5. Practice

There is no better way to get good than to play darts over and over again. Pros will play for hours every day. While you don’t have to be quite so dedicated, it helps if you set aside some time by yourself to throw some darts at your home board. Focus on technique and set yourself challenges.

Last but not least, your equipment matters a lot. Low quality darts don’t have as much weight to them and may feel flimsy. Investing in the best darts you can afford will improve your experience by leaps and bounds. If you see that a lot of your darts are bouncing off the board, it might also be too old (or just cheap). Again, investing in a high-quality dart board will make a worlds difference.

Throwing darts can be a lot of fun, and it only gets better when you do. And if you are looking for more advice check out this excellent video.