Guide on How to Hold a Dart for Precision and Control

Master the art of dart grip for precision and control. Learn techniques, emulate pros like Phil Taylor, and elevate your game.

Guide on How to Hold a Dart for Precision and Control
Louis Hobbs

Written by: Louis Hobbs

(Senior Sports Writer)

Fact checked by: Naim Rosinski

(Content Manager)

Last updated: 2024-05-08

14 minutes read

How to Hold a Dart

Darts is a game that requires a blend of skill, precision, and control. Among the multitude of factors that influence your performance, one of the most crucial is how you hold the dart. Your grip sets the foundation for your throwing technique and can significantly impact your accuracy and consistency. In this guide, we delve into the intricacies of dart grip, exploring various techniques and tips to help you find the best way to hold a dart. 

Finding Your Grip

Before delving into the nuances of grip, it's essential to familiarise yourself with the basic anatomy of a dart. A dart comprises four main components: the point, barrel, shaft, and flight. The barrel is the part you grip during play, although some players may also touch the point or shaft while throwing.

Your grip is as unique as your playing style. Experimentation is key to discovering the grip that feels most comfortable and natural for you. Most players opt for a three-finger grip, utilising the thumb, forefinger, and middle finger. However, variations such as the two-finger grip (thumb and forefinger) or even a four-finger grip (excluding the pinkie finger) exist.

Furthermore, the placement of your grip on the barrel can vary. Rear grippers hold the dart closer to the flight, front grippers near the point, while middle grippers opt for the centre of the barrel. Different dart designs cater to these preferences, with "front-loaded darts" tailored for front grippers, for instance.

What's The Best Way to Hold a Dart?

  1. Comfort is key: Ensure your grip feels natural and allows for consistent positioning of each dart.
  2. Stability matters: Aim for a stable grip that provides control without excessive tension. Beginners often find the centre of the barrel to be a good starting point for stability.
  3. Experiment with finger placement: Don't hesitate to try different finger combinations and placements to find what works best for you.
  4. Maintain consistency: Once you've found your ideal grip, strive to replicate it with each throw to enhance your accuracy and control.
  5. Avoid gripping too tightly: A light but firm grip is ideal, allowing for fluid movement without sacrificing control.

Is There a Wrong Way to Hold a Dart?

In the realm of dart throwing, there's no definitive answer to whether a grip is right or wrong. It all boils down to personal preference and comfort. While holding a dart with five fingers might seem unconventional, what matters most is what feels comfortable for you. If a grip feels natural and comfortable, even if it's not the most conventional, it may be the right choice for you. Ultimately, prioritise comfort and consistency over strict adherence to traditional grip techniques. Remember, it's your game, find what works best for you and stick with it.

2024PLSF_Littler14.jpg

Image credit: PDC

How to Aim a Dart

As you prepare to throw, consider how you'll aim your darts. Begin by holding the dart in your dominant hand, bringing it up to eye level. For right-handed players, use the right eye; for left-handed, use the left.

Position the dart to the side of your eye while ensuring your throwing arm's elbow points towards the dartboard. Keep your shoulder, elbow, and hand aligned, forming a precise 90-degree angle as illustrated below. Focus your dominant eye on the target on the dartboard rather than fixating on the dart in your hand. Visualise hitting your desired spot for optimal accuracy.

For a steady throw, maintain a level elbow as you release the dart. Consistency is vital, so avoid any upward or downward movement in your elbow during the throw. Think of your arm as a stable base, minimising lateral elbow movement for a controlled release.

How to Hold a Dart when Throwing

Now that you've established your stance, grip, and aim, it's time to execute your throw. Follow these steps to ensure a smooth and accurate release:

  1. Aim and Retrieve: Aim your dart towards the target, then bring it back towards your body in preparation for the throw.
  2. Forward Motion: As you initiate the throw, move your arm forward in a controlled motion. Aim to release the dart as your arm nears full extension.
  3. Wrist Snap: Add momentum to your throw by snapping your wrist as you release the dart. This action ensures a swift and precise delivery, with your fingertips pointing towards the target.
  4. Follow-Through: Allow your throwing arm to continue its motion after release, ensuring it extends fully in front of you. This follow-through motion contributes to the accuracy and momentum of your throw.

Maintain a relaxed posture throughout the throwing process, focusing on keeping your balance at the oche. Both feet should remain firmly planted on the ground to minimise any rocking motion while throwing.

Limit the movement of your body to only your hand and wrist during the throw. Keeping the rest of your body still helps maintain consistency and accuracy in your throws.

By adhering to these techniques, you'll develop a smooth and controlled throwing motion, resulting in improved accuracy and consistency on the dartboard. Practice regularly to refine your technique and enhance your performance.

How Do Pros Hold and Throw a Dart?

Professional dart players employ a range of gripping techniques, each tailored to their unique style and preferences. Despite this diversity, certain commonalities emerge among professional dart grips:

  1. Three-Finger Grip: Most professionals grip the dart using three fingers: the thumb, index finger, and middle finger. This grip offers stability and control during the throw, with the fourth and fifth fingers typically left relaxed.
  2. Light Grip Pressure: Professional players often opt for a light grip on the dart. This allows for a smooth and consistent release, essential for precision on the dartboard.
  3. Central Barrel Grip: Gripping the dart at the centre of the barrel is a prevalent technique among professionals. This positioning helps maintain balance and control throughout the throw.

Let's explore a few examples of distinct grips used by renowned players:

Michael van Gerwen: Van Gerwen employs a classic three-finger grip, holding the dart at the centre of the barrel with his thumb, index finger, and middle finger. His remaining fingers remain relaxed, ensuring minimal interference during the throw.

2024PL13SF_Van_Gerwen01.JPG

Image credit: PDC

Peter Wright: Wright utilises his signature "Snakebite Grip," gripping the dart at the back of the barrel with his thumb and index finger. His middle finger rests on the shaft just below the point, offering stability and precision. The fourth and fifth fingers remain uninvolved, allowing for a fluid release.

Gary Anderson: Anderson adopts a three-finger grip, anchoring the dart at the front of the barrel just below the flights. His thumb, index finger, and middle finger provide stability and control, while the remaining fingers remain relaxed for optimal performance.

By studying these professional grips, aspiring players can gain valuable insights into the nuances of dart handling. Experimentation and refinement of grip techniques are essential for finding what works best for individual players, ultimately enhancing their performance on the dartboard.

How to Hold a Dart like Phil Taylor

Having explored the gripping techniques of various professional players, let's delve into the mastery of the greatest of all time, Phil Taylor. While the precise details of Taylor's grip remain enigmatic, an examination of his approach provides invaluable insights for aspiring players. Here's how to replicate Taylor's legendary dart grip:

  1. Finger Placement: Phil Taylor adopts a grip reminiscent of holding a pencil, known as the pencil-grip technique. This method involves placing the dart in the open palm and rolling it towards the fingertips using the thumb. While slight variations in finger positioning may exist, the central idea remains consistent. Taylor's grip emphasises locating the dart's centre of gravity and positioning the thumb slightly behind it for optimal control and stability.
  2. Grip Pressure: Taylor's grip is characterised by a balance between firmness and fluidity. Finding the right grip pressure is crucial for achieving consistent releases. The grip should be firm enough to securely hold the dart but flexible enough to facilitate a smooth throwing motion. This delicate balance ensures that Taylor can maintain control over the dart's trajectory, leading to accurate throws.
  3. Consistency and Muscle Memory: One of the hallmarks of Phil Taylor's grip is its unwavering consistency. Through repeated practice and muscle memory development, Taylor has honed his grip to replicate his throwing motion with exceptional precision. This consistency allows him to hit specific targets on the dartboard consistently, contributing to his unparalleled success in the sport.
  4. Harnessing Natural Abilities: Taylor's grip technique aligns with his natural throwing motion, harnessing his innate abilities for maximum effectiveness. By utilising the pencil-grip method, Taylor has found a grip that complements his throwing style, ultimately contributing to his extraordinary accuracy and success on the dartboard.

Emulating Phil Taylor's dart grip involves understanding the principles behind his technique and adapting them to suit your own playing style. By prioritising consistency, control, and alignment with your natural abilities, you can elevate your game and strive for precision akin to the legendary darts player himself.

phil taylor.jpeg

Image credit: PDC

Conclusion

Mastering the art of dart grip is a journey of exploration and refinement. By understanding the nuances of grip technique and experimenting with various approaches, you can elevate your game to new heights of precision and control. 

Whether you're a seasoned player or just starting out, the key lies in finding a grip that not only feels comfortable but also empowers you to unleash your full potential on the dartboard. So, pick up your darts, experiment with your grip, and let your journey to dart mastery begin!

For more exclusive interviews, news, and guides in the world of darts, make sure to stay connected with SportsBoom.com

Related Articles

How To Throw Darts Like A Pro

Darts

How To Throw Darts Like A Pro

If you're new to the realm of darts, the initial skill to grasp is the art of throwing a dart. Despite the seemingly effortless throws by top professionals on television, there are essential fundamentals to consider for a proper dart throw. This guide aims to establish the groundwork for dart throwing, offering comprehensive information to equip you for practice and skill development.

Louis Hobbs

2024-01-02

two darts on a bullseye

Darts

An Overview to Darts Rules

This overview provides a comprehensive understanding of the rules governing the classic game of darts, delving into its objectives, equipment, scoring, and key regulations. Whether one is a seasoned player or new to the world of darts, understanding these rules sets the stage for an enjoyable and competitive experience in this universally cherished game.

Louis Hobbs

2024-01-05

dart board with scores

Darts

The Rules of 501 Darts

Dive into the world of 501 darts with this comprehensive guide that unravels the rules and strategies of the game. From doubling out to doubling in, scoring techniques, and strategic tips, this article equips you with the knowledge to become a master of precision and strategy in the thrilling game of 501 darts. Whether you're a seasoned player or a newcomer to the sport, this guide will enhance your skills and elevate your dart-throwing experience.

Louis Hobbs

2024-01-05

Louis Hobbs

Louis Hobbs

Meet Louis Hobbs, our esteemed authority on all matters sports-related. With a wealth of knowledge and experience, Louis effortlessly emerges as our go-to expert. His particular expertise in the realms of darts and snooker sets him apart and brings a level of insight that goes beyond the ordinary. Louis also holds a deep affection for all things related to US sports, with a special emphasis on basketball and American football, which stand out as his particular favorites. His content may not resonate with you, if you don't consider Lamar Jackson the most skilled player in the NFL.

More articles by this author