Many darts players have trouble with their darts angling with the flight downwards in the board which can block the segments underneath. A slight downward angle isn’t a big problem, look at Phil Taylor for example who’s darts land very flat or with a slight downward flight.
However, if your flights are dropping so low that they look like they could fall out, then the issue needs fixing.
The Quick Answer
To prevent your darts landing in the board with the flight tilting downwards, grip your dart closer to the stem. Choosing darts with a larger flight, lighter front-weighted barrel and shorter stem will also make the dart sit upwards more instead of entering the board “flight down”.
Why is a Dart Landing “Flight Down” an Issue?
When the flight is angled downwards on the board it can obstruct the segments underneath. This is a particular issue if, for example, you are going for 3 treble twenties, and your first dart lands just above the treble and essentially blocks the segment.
In a more extreme example, when the darts light angled downwards, they can be less stable in the board and more prone to falling out themselves or getting knocked out by an incoming dart. This is a particular issue if your dart’s point isn’t far enough into the board.
Why is the Flight Pointing Downwards?
The main reasons why a dart will land in the board with the flight tilting downwards are due to poor technique and not using the correct type of darts for your throw. Gripping the dart close to the point and using small flights and heavy darts will cause the flight to point downwards when the dart enters the board.
Let’s take a look at some technique issues you may be suffering from, and then how to adjust your darts system if that’s the culprit.
Remember, people throw darts with very different styles and no particular style is “correct”. It’s just important to understand your style so you can choose the best darts to support it.
Technique Related Issues
If you suspect that your technique could be causing your darts to tilt downwards then there are a few things you can look at.
Analyse Your Wrist Angle
When you throw a dart, it should be angled slightly downwards at the flight. However, if the angle is too low and you’re using a small flight with a soft throw, the dart will usually end up in the board with the flight down.
Practice the motion of drawing the dart back slowly and releasing it but without actually letting go of the dart in the mirror. Here, you’ll be able to see what angle your hand naturally places the dart at. It doesn’t matter whether it’s tilted more upwards or downwards, but you should take it into account when selecting your darts.
You May Be Throwing the Dart Too Softly
If you don’t throw the dart with plenty of force, then it is likely to drop in the air considerably and sometimes the flight will not be able to stabilise this so it will end up hitting the board tilting downwards. You’ll know if this is the problem, if your darts frequently fall out of the board after sticking in it briefly.
Go up to the board and see how far the point goes into the board. If it’s less than 0.8 cm then this is probably the issue. Focus on throwing the dart with more power by using a quicker arm motion which will result in a harder throw.
Try Gripping the Dart Closer to the Stem
The position you grip the dart has a big impact on the angle of entry into the board. If you hold your dart close to the point, then the dart will tilt downwards more when it enters the board. However, if you grip your dart further back (closer to the stem), then it is more likely to tilt upwards when you throw it so that it loops in the air and hits the board with the flight tilting upwards more.
Changing Your Darts System
To prevent your darts from landing with the flight down, you can:
- Use larger flights
- Use lighter darts
- Choose front-weighted darts
- Use a shorter stem
Use a Larger Flight
Larger flights such as standard and shape flights create more drag due to their increased surface area. This causes the dart to travel in a more curved trajectory, meaning the angle of entry of the dart is usually pointing upwards at the flight.
If you are using smaller flights such as super kites, slims and pears, then switching to a larger flight will likely cause your darts to sit upwards in the board rather than drop down.
Looking to find the best dart flight shape to improve your game? Check out my complete guide to flight shapes to learn everything you need to know.
Use Lighter Darts
Lighter darts have more of tendency to enter the board with the flight angled upwards, whereas heavier darts tend to lie flatter and enter the board with the flight angled comparatively downwards. If you’re using relatively heavy darts (over 24 g) then consider choosing a dart which is a few grams lighter and your darts are likely to land in the board with the flight tilted upwards more.
The weight of a dart impacts so many factors of your throw. Check out my comparison between light and heavy darts to learn everything you need to know.
Choose Front-Weighted Darts
Front-weighted darts suit players with a looping throw who want the dart to land with the flight tilted upwards. Since the majority of the weight is towards the point, this causes the dart to tilt upwards at the flight when the dart enters the board.
Centre-weighted darts offer a balanced approach, so may still allow you to get flatter darts as long as you’re not using a huge flight. However, if you’re struggling to get your darts to lie flat and they keep angling downwards at the flight, avoid rear-weighted barrels as these will exaggerate this effect.
Check out my article on front vs rear weighted darts to learn everything else you need to know.
Use a Shorter Stem
Shorter dart stems will cause the dart to tilt upwards at the flight, whereas longer dart stems result in the dart sitting flatter or angled slightly downwards in the board. If you’re using shafts over 40 mm, consider switching to a shorter shaft (around 35 mm or shorter) as this is likely to help correct the issue you’re having with the angle of entry.
The reason is because longer stems cause the balance point of the dart to be shifted further back. This is the same as when you use a rear-weighted barrel, as more of the weight is towards the flight it will cause the dart to lean backwards and tilt downwards at the back of the flight. Shorter stems ensure that the balance point remains further towards the point.
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