Beginners Guide to choosing dart

1. Weight
Beginners should start at the heavier end of the weight scale and will probably find they prefer lighter darts when their action/grip becomes consistent.
(a) If in doubt and since the maximum permitted weight is 50g!!
Starting around the middle at 24/25/26g would be a sensible beginners weight.
This gives scope for movement in both weight directions and a very wide choice of darts.
(b) If the player is short however and has a lighter grip (many women and kids), then starting lighter is better, so 20-22g would be a good choice.
(c) If you want to change weight, only change by a couple of grams, that doesn’t sound much but it will make a significant difference.

2. Shape/Grip
Even in the first few throws, beginners instantly demonstrate their natural/preferred grip. Pick up a marker pen or a Biro/ pencil and pretend it’s a dart. What grip feels the most comfortable?
(a) If the grip is three point (two fingers and thumb) close together, then shorter/stocky barrels are better. Also, if that grip is close to the front of the dart then forward weighted will be better.
(b) If the grip is wide or pencil style, then normal cylindrical barrels are better.
(c) If the grip is at the back of the dart then a scallop may be better.
(d) If the grip is light, narrow barrels are likely to be better
(e) If the players hands are naturally dry (usually men), then go for some light knurling or ‘ghost’ grip on the barrels.
(f) If the players hands are very dry (manual workers), go for knurled barrels.
(g) If the players hands are well moisturized (most women), smooth barrels with perhaps just a few grooves should be fine.
(h) If the player has large hands, a larger diameter barrel will be more comfortable.
(i) If the player finds it difficult to pick the dart up with the same grip each time, then barrels with some registration marks (depressions or grooves in the barrel) would be better, so the fingers are placed in the same positions every shot.

3. Flights/Stems
(a) Start with standard flights and medium stems.
As you progress and start to experiment ( ‘Known as Tweaking’) you will develop your own preferences
(b) Darts typically come with a set of stems/flights that suit the dart,
but avoid using anything that is ‘radical’, so no V shaped flights or rotating stems for example, (at least at the very beginning)
(c) If a flight is damaged, change it. Otherwise you will either always throw one wild dart, or you’ll begin to compensate for it.
(d) If you Robin Hood a dart, you will probably damage the stem, so replace it, otherwise the flight will not be seated properly and that dart may not fly true.
(e) Standard flights and stems are cheap, so it’s no problem to buy a few sets as spares. If you always use the same design, then you can replace only one without your darts looking odd.

4. Cost
(a) An expensive dart does not mean you will play better!
Many expensive darts are a waste of money, they are just ‘flashy’ or ‘cosmetic’ versions of a cheaper dart.
Players are judged on their playing skill not on how much their darts cost or how good they look. Playing well with cheap darts is great, because you can buy some spare sets.
(b) Expensive darts can go walkies, so they’re not worth the stress.
(c) It’s a good policy to try and steer clear of highly specific darts styles, because they will not be around forever and it may be hard to buy a replacement set if you lose or damage your old ones.
(d) Many accomplished players use darts which are at the cheaper end of the price scale. There is no shame or disgrace in using darts that cost £5 for example. For a beginner, spending £5 to £10 on a set of darts is about right. There are many excellent darts available in this range.
(e) If you really take up darts seriously, I would suggest having two sets, one you practice with and a match set which you keep pristine.
(f) Tungsten is the industry standard for dart players, due to it being durable, robust and giving weight to a smaller surface area.
Allows a thinner barrel for better grouping.

6. Practice and Experiment!!
Experienced players will inevitably say “use whatever suits you”, so do not be afraid to experiment with different darts and flight and stem combinations.
Ultimately you will learn more by trial and error

If you socialize with other players, you can try out their darts and are happy to show off their favourite darts

There are increasingly less shops around that allow you to try before you buy, but many shops have a returns policy where you can swop them if they don’t work out. There’s always The on-line auction sites too.
If you should feel the urge to change darts, stick with the new ones for about a month or so to see if you improve.

Once you find a set of darts with which you feel comfortable, stick with them!!
Don’t be tempted to keep buying or changing darts in the hope that one day you’ll find a set that ‘work properly’.
Once you’ve got a smooth, repeatable consistent action, you’ll know you are going in the right direction

Remember that a good player can play a competitive game using any cruddy old set of darts. It’s your skill that wins games, not the darts.
You can always come to this forum if you need some help.

Darts is inevitably a game of exceptions as regards who uses what, so the points above are very generalised, there are big/tall guys who use light/thin darts, their are short/slim women that use chunky/heavy darts. Anything goes…

And remember…Practice, practice, practice!!


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