In the article about proper darts stance, we discussed how stance is not just where you put your feet but rather the position of your entire body.
The one thing we did not go into great detail about is where to put your throwing arm. This is because before you can position the arm you first have to know what you are shooting for. So, how do you aim a dart?
To aim a dart you must bring it up to your dominant eye and make a direct line of sight between your eye, the dart, and your target before throwing.
Let’s take a look at the steps required for improving your aim with darts.
Find Your Dominant Eye
What Is A Dominant Eye
Most of us have two eyes. But not all things are created equal. It is easy to notice you may have one arm stronger than the other but when it comes to eyes the differences are not so apparent.
Your dominant eye (also known as ocular dominance) is simply the one that your brain prefers visual input from. For some people with eye problems, it may be obvious which eye is dominant but because your eyes work in tandem it can sometimes be tricky to work out.
It is important to know most (but not all) people have a dominant eye, and the amount of dominance varies from person to person.
For the majority of people, if you are left-handed you are left eye dominant and you are right-handed you are right eye dominant. So you may already be using your dominant eye without knowing it.
Why Does It Matter For Darts
Even though you have two eyes, your dominant eye is relied on for accurate positional information. When doing any activity that requires precise aiming, your dominant eye helps to more accurately determine the position of the target.
In darts it becomes even more important as part of the throwing process is to bring the dart up to your face.
When you raise the dart you should be positioning it in front of your dominant eye. This will increase your ability to properly judge your shot.
How To Find Your Dominant Eye for Darts
There are a few simple tests you can do to find your dominant eye for darts while standing at the oche.
Standing at the line and facing the board, put your hands out in front of you touching your index fingers and thumbs to form a triangle.
Now hold your arms up so you can see the bullseye through the hole that you made with your hands.
While looking at the bullseye, slowly bring your hands to your face, the whole time making sure to focus on the bull.
Once your hands get up to your face, you will find they are not in the middle, but rather in front of your left or right eye. This is your dominant eye.
Another test you can try is to extend your finger in front of you and point to an object in the distance. Then close one of your eyes.
If your finger appears to have moved far from the object then the closed eye is your dominant eye. If your finger is still pointed at the object, the open eye is your dominant eye.
I prefer the first test as the dominance of my one eye is very slight. Often times when doing the pointing test my finger moves a similar amount with each eye.
When throwing darts you should get used to bringing the dart up to and aiming primarily with your dominant eye.
This does not mean you should close your other eye. It is still needed for depth perception. It just means that your dominant eye should be leading the way.
Find your target
Once you approach the board it is important to know what you are going to be shooting at.
You should be planning this and eyeing your target as you are walking up as it will affect where you will be standing on the oche.
As you move left and right along the oche to find your key position your eyes should always be fixated on the target. Don’t just look at the board. You should be focused on the actual segment you are going to be aiming for.
You should not just walk up to the line and throw. Don’t be afraid to move, readjust your position or even step back for a moment to take things in.
Get Into Your Dart Stance
Now that we know your dominant eye and you know where you want to shoot, its time to get in position.
If you have read our article on proper dart stance, you’ll know you should be well balanced and positioned in such a way that eye and dart line up with the target. This is called your line of sight.
If you have not read the article, you may want to go back and check it out to make sure you are getting the most out of your darts stance.
Depending on your throwing arm/dominant eye combination, you may need to readjust your stance to ensure balance and a proper line of site.
Try not to veer too far away from what feels comfortable.
Getting Your Arm Into Position
Bring the dart up to your face in front of your dominant eye. Once you have the dart up you need to consider the position of your arm.
Because most of your throw takes place at the elbow, the position of your upper arm is one of the biggest factors into where your dart is going to go.
Generally, you want your elbow pointed towards your target with the upper arm as parallel to the ground as possible.
Use A Marker For Your Line Of Sight
When finding your line of sight with the board you have to decide where on the dart or your hand you are going to use as a reference. You can line up your knuckle, the tip of your dart or an extended pinky depending on your grip.
What you want to do is position your arm and hand in such a way that the marker you choose lines up directly with the target you are aiming at.
The important thing is to find what works best and being consistent with it. Changing your marker for your line of site with change your throw and shift where the dart will land.
Aim The Tip Of The Dart Up
Finally, before throwing the dart, you want to make sure the tip of the dart is pointed slightly upward. This will ensure a proper trajectory when thrown.
How much you should tilt the dart is dependent on a number of things like how heavy your dart is and how hard your throw is.
Determining the actual angle of your dart is something that we will adjust over time. The important thing we are looking for here is just to make sure it is not pointed down.
Now you are are ready to throw your dart.