You’re up at the line, one dart left, and you need that double 20 to win. You take a deep breath, hold your arm up, line up the shot, extend, release and TING! Your dart bounces right out of the dartboard and falls in a mess on the floor 🙁 It has happened to everyone who plays darts. Sadly a dart that does not stay in the board does not count. So how do you stop your darts from bouncing out of the board?
There are three main reasons your darts may bounce out of the dartboard and land on the floor the dart, the board, and the player (yes you, sorry). We will go over many of the reasons why your darts are not sticking
The number one reason that darts fall out of the board is if you hit the wire. You will know this has happened as you will usually hear the metal on metal sound of the dart hitting the wire before it bounces out. If your darts are sharpened and this is often happening, the issue may be the board itself.
If you are playing on an older or cheaper dartboard, it may be time for an upgrade. Dart boards are made out of sisal fiber and will lose quality with age and use. Older or cheaper boards may not have what it takes to hold your dart in. They will also have thicker wires and staples holding those wires in place. The older the board, the more times the wires have already been hit causing them to flatten out and be even more of a problem.
Newer boards have many features that are made to stop your darts from bouncing out. Most modern boards do not have staples. In the past staples were used to hold the wires down. They not only made a more prominent target at the crossover point but they are mounted directly into the scoring area (often in the double or triple zone).
New boards also have specially angled wires that are thinner and more flexible. Flexible wires are designed to bend out of the way when hit, helping to make sure your dart gets into the board. If you are in the market for a dartboard, understand you get what you pay for. A cheaper board may not have such features.
If you get a stapleless board with thinner wires, there is an added benefit. It actually increases the size of the scoring area. This is a win-win. The Winmau Blade 5 boasts an additional 9mm² in the doubles and 6mm² in the triples. It is my current board of choice. (Read our Dartboard recommendations here)
If you are a reasonably accurate player, you will notice that the sisal in high target areas gets worn down. You should rotate your board often to ensure even wear throughout the board (except for the bullseye). If you play for a couple of hours every day or two, rotating your board once a week is not too often. I’ve heard some frequent players will even rotate daily. Use your judgment.
If darts bouncing out only happens on rare occasions, sharpening your darts with a sharpening stone may help. A properly
You can also purchase “no bounce” dart tips that are spring-loaded. This design allows the tip to move when it hits the wire. It decreases the impact of the collision, enabling the dart to continue its momentum through to the board.
If your problem is the dart going into the board then falling out, the dart may be too light. A lighter dart does not penetrate the board as deep as a heavier one and will fall out more often. Try a heavier dart to see if there is any change. I’m not suggesting to run out and buy a new set, just ask around to see if someone has a heavier set and try them out to see how they feel.
Some darts have ridges in the tip that are designed to hold your dart in the board. I have never been fond of these darts as some dartboard manufacturers warn this may cause additional wear on your dartboard so use at your own risk.
If your tips do not have this feature, a better solution is roughing up your tips with a bit of sandpaper. This is a common practice among players. The rough surface grips the sisal of the board making it less like for the dart to fall out once it has penetrated.
If you are a light thrower, your dart is more likely to fall out of the board. It is also more likely to be stopped by a wire if hit. Throwing slightly harder may help if your darts are prone to falling out.
Lastly, the angle of your throw could affect. Hitting the board at a weird angle or hitting a wire from the side will cause the dart to bounce. Try to change your positioning so that the angle you are hitting the board straight on.
If your dart still bounces out
So you did everything you could to prevent future incidents, what should you do if your dart still bounces out and lands on the floor? My advice for when a dart does bounce is to ignore it. Bounces will always happen but now you can do your best to minimize them. Don’t get upset. Don’t pick it up. Don’t even look at it. Keep your eyes on the board. Stay focused and throw your next dart. You are in your zone, stay in it.