Tired of hitting those pesky 1’s and 5’s because your darts keep pulling to the right or left? In this article I’ll be explaining the common causes of darts going sideways and how to prevent it from happening and achieving a straighter throw.
Why Do My Darts Keep Going Sideways?
The most common reasons why a dart may go to the left or right is because the throwing arm is not central to the middle of the dartboard, or because the dominant eye is not being used to aim. Rotation in the torso originating from the hip or shoulder may also cause the dart to go sideways.
To prevent the dart going to the left or right, make sure the throwing arm is lined up straight with the centre of the dartboard. Also, use your dominant eye to aim and keep your torso and elbow as still as possible during the throw and follow through.
Cause #1 Throwing Arm is Not Central
A common reason why your darts may be going left or right when you throw them is because you are not positioning yourself centrally with the board.
Some players, even professionals like to position themselves either slightly left or right and throw slightly diagonally. This is a personal preference however if you are struggling with your darts pulling to one side, then adopting a central stance can fix the issue.
Try standing so that your throwing arm is directly in line with the centre of the board. There are three possible stances:
- Standing with your feet evenly spaced and perpendicular to the board e.g. Phil Taylor/ Michael Van Gerwen style. Lean slightly so more of the weight is on the ball of your leading foot but make sure to keep your foot flat. Lock your knee and focus most of your weight through your leading leg.
- Standing so your leading foot faces the “20”. The leading foot should stay flat whilst the the trailing foot can be balanced on the ball.
- Standing so your leading foot is at a 10 o’clock position to the board.
Any of these three stances can be used to line up your throwing arm with the centre of the board. The positioning of your feet may vary slightly depending on your dimensions but practice standing in the correct position to ensure your arm is central.
The positioning of your feet will also depend on how rotated your torso is. Over-rotation of the torso in order to make you feel like you’re standing straight can also cause your darts to pull to one side as it can be hard to judge. If this is causing an issue, try moving your feet slightly to the left/ right instead.
A good idea is to line up a piece of string, or draw on the floor with chalk if possible to help to gauge whereabouts is central for you.
Cause #2 Body Rotation
Another very common cause of darts pulling to the side is rotation of the shoulder or a jerking movement when throwing the dart. Any rotation or movement in the shoulders is likely to lead to inconsistencies or cause the dart to pull to one side on every throw.
This is often caused by the shoulder turning inwards during the throw. If you are right-handed, this can cause the darts to go left, and if you are left-handed it can cause your darts to pull right.
Although the shoulder is the most common culprit of body rotation, hip rotation can also cause this problem as well.
Film yourself throwing a few darts. Either ask a friend to hold your phone, or try and set it up on a table and balance it upright with either a box or some books on a table. Or, get yourself a little tripod like this one from Amazon. It’s inexpensive and is a great investment if you want to improve your throws.
Position the camera in front but slightly to the opposite side of your throwing hand so it is not in the flight path. If you notice any rotation in the shoulder or hip you must stay conscious and try to fix it. Stand up straight and keep your torso still when you throw.
Cause #3 Elbow Drop
If you notice that your darts are dropping low and either to the right or the left then it is likely that the culprit is “elbow drop”. Like with the shoulders, the elbow should be kept in the same position throughout the throw to avoid the dart going off course. The elbow should simply act as a hinge.
Again it’s a good idea to film your throw to diagnose the issue. Instead of positioning the camera in front of you as described in the previous point, instead position it so it is facing your throwing arm at a right angle. This will allow you to see if your elbow drops at all.
As well as trying to stay conscious of your elbow position during each throw, here are several others things you can try:
- Ask a friend to watch your throws and call out if your elbow drops
- Place your opposite arm under your elbow to prevent it from dropping
- Practice the throwing motion in the mirror
Cause #4 Misaligned Aim
Everyone has a dominant eye. When you look at an object and close the eye which isn’t dominant it will move slightly. Hence, if you are using you are not using your dominant eye to aim, then your dart will not go where you expected it to go.
Find your dominant eye and make sure you hold the the dart in front of this eye and use it to aim.
Here’s how to find your dominant eye:
- Place your hand around 10 cm from your face.
- Close your left eye, if the object did not move to the side, you have a dominant left eye. Try closing your right eye and you’ll notice that the object will move slightly to the side.
- If the object stays in the same position when you close your right eye, you have a dominant right eye.
Things to Keep in Mind
- Find your dominant eye and use this to aim
- Make sure your throwing arm is central to the the centre of the board
- Film your throw and check for shoulder/ hip rotation or elbow drop
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