The Search for the Perfect Stroke

Discussion in 'Articles' started by VanO, Jul 26, 2019.

  1. VanO

    VanO Moderator Site Moderator

    The search for the perfect dart stroke. Back in the 1960’s a book was written called “The Search for the Perfect Swing.” It was a profound work that truly explained many of the intricacies of the golf swing. As I mentioned I t he article about custom darts, my background was in the golf industry. I was a professional player, instructor, custom fitter, and alteration and repair technician. Now, since my psychosis of choice is darts, I am searching for the perfect dart stroke. One that is sound physically and easy to repeat and one that can be depended on. I know it may sound crazy but I think it is do-able. I will log my thoughts and the lessons learned here. I hope it turns out like I plan and becomes something someone can read and enjoy and implement into their own quest for excellence! Wish me luck!
     
    Erik likes this.
  2. VanO

    VanO Moderator Site Moderator

    First step in the search for the perfect stroke has to be the hold. I have given the some thought in the same way as was applied to the golf swing. In golf the intent was to have the palm of the dominant hand be relatively parallel to that of the club face. Some players would adjust their hands a bit in one direction or the other but, parallel was a good starting point. In darts, in my opinion, it would seem best for the palm of the throwing hand to be relatively parallel to the barrel of the dart. This would setup the bones of the forearm to be in that same “plane” also. Now, off to conceive of how to achieve this most effectively and consistently. With the golf club my goal was to feel like my hands were at rest when holding it. Much the same as a birds feet are are rest holding a branch.
     
    Erik likes this.
  3. Squiggle

    Squiggle Active Member

    Good luck in your endeavor. I was in search of the same thing once. Then, as I watched so many pros on TV, on video and in person I suddenly realized none of them threw the dart the same way. Each and every one of their strokes were unique and different in one way or another. The only consistent thing I found among the smoothest throwers was a consistent lack of movement beyond the throwing arm itself. Everything else past the arm just seemed to be a stable platform. Finally, it all fell apart when I started searching YouTube for old dart videos and matches. It was there that I discovered a man whos stance and stroke threw everything I thought was right about how to throw a dart out the window. Yet he was a world champion and a top player for several years. Not to mention one of the all time great characters of the game. The great Jocky Wilson.

    Jocky became one of my favorite players all time. If you are in search of the perfect stroke, Jocky will ruin everything you thought was right about how to throw a dart, but his trophies and accomplishments proved to me that, in the end, I know nothing, and overthinking it just made me worse. Now I feel like my stroke is about as good as it's ever been. My darts (for the most part) land in the board just slightly above level (which is what I wanted) and they aren't skewed or at a odd angle. My accuracy seems to have gotten more consistent as well. It all happened when I stopped searching for something that doesn't exist and got back to what really mattered... just enjoying the game. I've seen players with the prettiest stroke I've ever seen lose severely to players who have never thrown a straight dart in their life. But a skewed and angled dart in the triple 20 counts just as much as the straightest one.

    I'm not saying you shouldn't search for your "perfect stroke". Just don't lose the enjoyment of it all in pursuit of perfection. No one is perfect. One day you may get your darts to a point where you feel like they are going in at the perfect angle and your accuracy is at it's best. Then you're going to come up against someone you've never seen before. He or she will have the worst lunge or hop you've ever seen. Their darts will be in the board at such a skewed angle that you'll have no idea how they even stick! Heck, some may bounce out. But they will magically hit every triple they are aiming for, the get every lucky deflection and hit the game shot while your perfectly stroked darts are still 100 points behind. Darts is a funny ol' game that way.
     
    VanO likes this.
  4. VanO

    VanO Moderator Site Moderator

    Squiggle I wholeheartedly agree with you in very many aspects of your post. My goal in this is not to create what may be called the “perfect stroke,” but rather to identify the principles by which one may develop their”perfect stroke.” We are all different when it comes to assembling the “machine” that is our dart stroke. Some players are taller or shorter with shorter or longer arms, etc and on. Each one of those orientations require different mechanics of the stroke. So far I have come up with these. We should try to hold the dart with as few points of contact as possible(IMO 3 is ideal). One should try to keep the palm and the barrel of in the same or similar(I.e. railroad tracks). plane. I have seen a great many golfers in my time copy or attempt to copy another player’s swing only to fail miserably. That is certainly not my goal. My thinking is this, when Michelangelo was asked how he could create something so beautiful as the stair of David his comment was something like all he had to do was break away the pieces that didn’t belong.
    Thanks for the encouragement on this though. I think you’ll enjoy the results!
     
  5. Squiggle

    Squiggle Active Member

    Awesome. It looks like you have the right mindset. I've just seen a few that were looking so hard at the mechanics and minute details of it all that they forgot about why they got involved in darts in the first place. Because it's fun! But it looks like you haven't forgotten that. I have a book you may really like. It's called a Comprehensive Study of the Game of Darts. I've had it for years and it reads like a physics textbook. It is full of graphs and scales and every little detail of the mechanics and aerodynamic theory of how a dart works. I'll see if I can find a link to it. I'm not sure if it's still in publication or not.
     
    VanO likes this.
  6. Squiggle

    Squiggle Active Member

  7. VanO

    VanO Moderator Site Moderator

    Thanks! I’m gonna try and check it out!
     
  8. VanO

    VanO Moderator Site Moderator

    Another couple of weeks have passed so I thought it was time to share some of my newer thoughts. Sadly I have a bit of a contest going with @Mountain that is suffering a bit because of my conscious thinking about what makes a dart stroke “tick.” As I’ve said in previous posts the hold was the first place to begin. Since the last post I still contend that three real points of contact is best(I don’t count a fingertip resting on the point for instance). Barrel as close to parallel with the palm is another. That I feel means “knuckling up” in a way. That would mean not spreading your off fingers away from the dart. That turns your palm towards the board and would require both actions of the wrist joint to release. That complicates the “machine.” I feel the thumb pad should be under the balance point and index and middle fingers opposed to one another on either side. Next point is address. I don’t think foot position matters much but, I am with the boys at Darts Performance Centre in saying get as central as possible on the oche. As for structure, stand tall, form an L with a line from your shoulder joint to a point on your forearm just above your elbow joint(when in your stance) and up your forearm to the dart.
    Next update will be on the first part of the stroke...the draw! Happy darting!
     
    Mountain likes this.
  9. Mountain

    Mountain Member

    The Dart-Throwing Motion of the Wrist: Is It Unique to Humans?
    Scott W. Wolfe, MD, Joseph J. Crisco, PhD, Caley M. Orr, MA, and Mary W. Marzke, PhD
    From the Hand and Upper Extremity Center, Hospital for Special Surgery, New York, NY; Biomechanics Laboratory, Brown University Medical School, Rhode Island Hospital, Providence, RI; and the Department of Anthropology and Institute of Human Origins, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ
    Abstract
    Kinematic analysis has shown a near-stationary proximal carpal row during the dart-thrower’s motion, which is believed to provide a stable platform for the generation of force and accuracy during certain power and precision grip activities. This finding is consistent with evidence in the human hand of adaptations that enabled effective manipulation of stones, cylindric wood, and bone tools for throwing and clubbing. There are at least two possible explanations for the observed human proximal carpal row kinematics. One is that it is retained from a previous common ancestor with great apes and previously adapted to some form of foraging or locomotor behavior involving the hands, but was recruited for tool use after we diverged from the apes. The second is that it evolved after our divergence from apes, in synchrony with adaptations in the human hand to the manipulation of tools, and central to the development of the human’s unique ability to aim and accelerate tools and weapons.

    Warning, after reading this my darts started going sideways. Over thinking is a killer. Get the basic mechanics right as you have said Van, then practice until your mechanics are invisible. I have better things to waste my time and energy worrying about...
     
    VanO likes this.
  10. VanO

    VanO Moderator Site Moderator

    I had read similar things when teaching golf. Very technical stuff. The stationary aspect of this was obviously not something one could do in golf. Part of the time you have to hinge the wrist and other times cock it.
    An interesting part of this all that is hinted to in your post refers to the clubbing or hammering action. It is fundamental and familiar to nearly everyone but, it isn’t thought of with regard to throwing mechanics. If we were instead holding a hammer to drive a nail pointing down out a little past arms length and, at or about shoulder height the mechanics of the hit would be nearly the same as those of our dart stroke.
     
  11. Mountain

    Mountain Member

    It’s funny because when I was practicing 100 @ 20’s I was imagining 33 people I had to defeat. If I hit three marks I broke their shield and could start scoring hits. Hitting the lipstick was smashing their defence. Now I have moved on from skirmishing to pitting phalanx’s against each other, the collective beating the individuals. Helps me not be too bored because practice sucks
     
    VanO likes this.
  12. VanO

    VanO Moderator Site Moderator

    Ha! That’s good stuff! You’ve almost made a game within the game. Moe Norman had a great saying that @Erik found profound during his dartitis challenges “alert attitude of indifference.” Cheers my friend! I have to get at it cause you’re ahead of me on the practice rankings again!
     
  13. bulldozer

    bulldozer Member

    I play my best darts when I am not thinking about anything, the darts just go where they are supposed to most of the time. In practice I try to make sure that I try to keep my dart in line with my eye aim to the treble.
    My bad habit is to turn my wrist to the right on my take away, when I am playing well it doesnt matter but if my timing is a millisecond out the darts spray by millimeters left and right.
     
  14. VanO

    VanO Moderator Site Moderator

    Exactly what I’m trying to accomplish in writing this. Playing without conscious thoughts is most certainly the goal. Putting the dart in line with your “laser line” to the target is one of your fundamentals of setup.
     
    bulldozer likes this.

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