How many times have you watched a player fly down the dartboard and get so far ahead it looks impossible for him or her to lose, only to see them mess up the finish and lose the game, or stop with a blank stare as they do not know what to throw at?
This happens every night of the week all over the world and is probably the number one cause of frustration in the game of darts. Knowing the out-shot combinations –I mean really knowing them – is a skill set that every dart player should strive to master, and yet very few ever do. There is no greater feeling in darts - other than winning the event - than hitting a 100+ finish when your opponent is sat on a one or two dart out.
We have all seen players that seemingly know every out-shot combination easily and effortlessly, and this is certainly true at the higher levels of play, but even the experts had to start somewhere. Practicing the doubles and knowing the finishing combinations should be the number one priority of any practice session.
Any player will tell you that the players they fear the most are the ones who are able to finish quickly and easily. No matter how superior they may feel they are at the scoring phase, these players are always worried about the ones who can hit the doubles when it counts, especially the ones who seem to know every combination like the back of their hands.
Throwing at the treble 20 and trying to hit the 180’s makes you feel good about your game, but it is the player who diligently and regularly practices his or her doubles and finishes that usually ends up being the better player and winning the important matches.
If you play 501 at any level competitively, knowing your out-shot combinations is the most important skill to learn. Knowing instinctively what to go for every time you step up to the board, no matter what number you are left with is a huge advantage over the player that aimlessly throws at the treble 20 hoping to leave himself somewhere near a double.
Equally important is the skill to immediately know what to do if one of your darts misses its intended target. Instead of stopping to work it out or asking the marker what is left (and then having to work out what to go for once he’s told you), you need to know what to do without missing a beat.
The Step by Step process to mastering the finishes
You might be thinking that only professional players, or people that excel in mathematics can attain this level of knowledge - and you would be wrong!
I have defined and devised a step-by-step process that will quickly and easily take any player from knowing nothing about darts finishing, to mastering the subject in as short amount of time as possible.
I have developed a 3-step method of mastering the finishes that is easy to understand, easy to learn, and applies to every single finish from the bottom to the top. Mastering the 3 steps to finishing leads you naturally and easily to the 4th and final step – Mathematical Enlightenment.
Mathematical Enlightenment is achieved when you instinctively know every finish you are left with – without any mathematics involved. Whatever you need, you automatically and easily know the solution. Reach this level – and it is nowhere near as difficult as you may think – and you will truly master the dartboard.
Commit yourself to learning these methods, and put in the required effort to do it. This is a one-time learning experience that will benefit you for the remainder of your playing career. This is as big of a win-win situation as you will ever encounter in darts, as it lays out the details before you.
The methods described in Darts Finishing Mastery: How to Master the Art of Finishing guide you every step of the way, from humble beginnings to absolute mastery of the dartboard. So, commit yourself to studying and learning this method. It will reward you for the rest of your life.
So, what are these step-by-step methods? Don’t be fooled by their simplicity. Together they create a logical and powerful path to finishing freedom and mastery, and once applied and learned, will become second nature:
The Step-By-Step process that you should learn by heart and commit to memory:
- 1Always know what you have left before throwing your darts
- 2Is your opponent on a finish? Yes, or No
- 3Knowing the answers to steps 1 and 2, always know how to finish the number you are currently left on
Let’s break this down some more:
Step 1 : Always know what you have left before throwing your darts
Before stepping up to the board to take your shot, you should ALWAYS know what score you have left. Steps 2 and 3 will dictate how you go for the shot, but the first thing you should know is what you need to hit in order to finish the game.
After each dart is thrown, always know what you have left. You will never be able to master the art of finishing if you don’t know for sure what it is you are throwing at.
At first, you may have to stop after throwing a dart to work out what is left before continuing. This is why you practice alone, somewhere you can be undisturbed and can concentrate fully on learning the different combinations.
Step 2 : Is your opponent on a finish? Yes, or No
The 2nd question can be answered quickly and easily before you step up to the board to take your shot. A quick glance at the scoreboard tells you everything you need to know, and is a simple yes or no answer.
Never assume that your opponent will not hit the finish he or she is sitting on. Even if it is 143, or some other unlikely finish, always assume they are going to get it. Many darts matches are lost because of opponents being underestimated. If you have a shot at taking it out when they are on a finish, do so. Let them worry about you, not the other way around.
Step 3 : Knowing the answers to steps 1 and 2, always know how to finish the number you are currently left on.
Step 3 is where Darts Finishing Mastery: How to Master the Art of Finishing concentrates. You will know exactly what to throw for in any set of circumstances.
Shot selection is greatly affected depending on whether you have 2 or 3 darts in your hands, along with the answer to question 2.
There are a couple of basic rules of step 3 that must never be broken:
If your opponent is on a finish, always try to take out the finish you are on with the darts that are in your hands. It is far better to go out on your shield by throwing for a shot and missing, than it is setting yourself up for the next turn. That next turn will probably never happen, so commit to the finish and go for it.
Never throw at the bullseye when you have 50 remaining when you have more than 1 dart in your hands. The bullseye is the smallest target on the board and the most difficult to hit. You always throw at the shot offering the greatest percentage odds. The outer ring doubles are a much bigger target than the bullseye, and should be used whenever possible to give you a greater chance of success.
Sure, you may hit it, and it looks great when you do. But you are playing Russian roulette with the board, and you will lose more often than you win. You may get lucky and land in an even single big enough to leave a double, but more likely you will land in an odd number, or the outer bull ring. Then all you can do is setup the shot for when you return the next time. There will probably not be a next time, so don’t do it.
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3 step process in action:
You stand behind your opponent while he is taking his turn on the dartboard. While he is throwing, you look to see what score you have remaining. You are left on 67. This is step 1.
Once your opponent has finished his turn, you look to see what he has left before you step up to throw. He requires 42. Step 2 asks one simple question – is your opponent on a finish – yes or no? In this example the answer is obviously yes, so this answers step 2.
Now step 3 comes into action. Because you studied the methods in Darts Finishing Mastery: How to Master the Art of Finishing, you know how to finish the number you are left on – in this example it is 67.
So, you walk up to the oche and throw the first dart at T17 to leave D8. It misses the treble and lands in the single 17. This is where all 3 steps combine, which is why it is a very powerful method that works every time.
Because you know how to finish 67 with all the options available to you, your knowledge answers steps 1 and 3 simultaneously. Step 2 doesn’t change while you are at the oche. Because you hit the single 17, you now require 50, which will leave a single 18, D16; a 10, D20; or even 14, D18, whichever is your preference.
The shot changes dramatically if you have 2 darts left in your hands:
You require 67, step 1 checked.
Your opponent is on 42. Yes, he/she is on a finish. Step 2 checked.
You have 2 darts in your hands and you have to try to take out the shot on this turn. Because you know every scenario you will ever need with the finish of 67, you know that you will throw for T17 with the first dart, trying to leave yourself on D8 with the last dart. You also know that if you hit the single 17, you will leave yourself on 50 with 1 dart remaining
If you repeat the above 3 steps every time you step up to the board, it will quickly become second nature and you will be doing it without even thinking about it. If you apply step 3 to every finish, in the linear order they are presented in Darts Finishing Mastery: How to Master the Art of Finishing, the numbers cease to be mathematical, and instead they become an extension of the dartboard. 67 is no longer just a number, it is now T17, D8, or single 17, 18, D16 etc. This is when you have reached step 4 – Mathematical Enlightenment.
Learning the finishes
The finishes build upon each other in a logical manner. By learning them one by one in sequence, you are guaranteeing that whatever you hit with the dart currently in your hand, you will immediately know how to get whatever number you leave, and this is the key.
By starting at the very beginning, you take all the guesswork out of what you have left when the dart in your hand misses its intended target. You apply step 1, readjust, and throw for the correct numbers. You keep your rhythm, you keep your momentum, and you retain your accuracy. Every time! Because learning the finishes one by one is so important, it is recommended that this is done solo. You will be amazed at how quickly you will get these down.
Once you learn the finishes from 2-60, you will know a huge percentage of the finishes you will ever find yourself on. Learn them from 2-80 and you will know around 90% of every finish you will ever need. Most of the bigger, 100+ finishes are just a smaller one with a big treble added to it.
This, and much, much more are detailed in Darts Finishing Mastery: How to Master the Art of Finishing. Click on the photo below to pick up your copy: