In the previous posts we went over the five critical ingredients that must be included in your practice sessions if you are to see continued and steady improvement.

We also talked about the importance of avoiding perfection, and instead aim to increase our base level consistency – our “B Game” so to speak.

If you haven’t already seen the previous articles, I encourage you to read them now before moving onto this one:

Over the next few posts I will add some great practice routines that all adhere to the 5 critical points as discussed in the earlier posts, and if you stick with them, you will see improvements in many areas of your game.

These routines not only adhere to the 5 critical criteria already discussed, but they also add to your game in these 5 other very important areas. They will:

All the routines are scalable to different skill levels, and you should pick out the one’s you like the best and stick with them. You should also change them out from time to time to avoid burn out and staleness. This happens more than you may realize, and it can negatively affect your game if you are not careful.

The first thing you should always do when getting ready for an intense practice session is to put aside the ego.

This is easy to say and not quite so easy to accomplish. If you go into it thinking it is easy, and that you should fly through the routines, you may find that you become frustrated, angry, and very upset with your game. This is a vicious spiral that will not help you at all. To get the most out of any practice session (and indeed matchplay too, although this is a whole different subject), you should go into them with an open, empty mindset, and be prepared to work hard.

**So, without further ado, here are the routines:**

**Adapted Warm Up**

Always warm up before starting your main sessions. This gets your arm going and ensures full extension – which is critical if you want to achieve consistency in your game.

The Warm Up routine described previously is ideal for this, and it can also be adapted to be a great standalone routine by itself.

Depending on your skill level (or your ability to tolerate frustration), you can go around the routine ensuring that you hit 2/3 every time – so you would have to get at least D20/D10 – D5/D5 – D10/D20 – D19/D19, D18/D9 etc; all the way down to D11 and perhaps even 2X Bullseye, which is difficult by any standards.

The great thing about this is that it gets you throwing accurate darts all over the dartboard. Switching to different targets will become easier, and you will improve in all areas of your game.

For example, you will be able to switch down to T19 if the T20 is blocked and you need a new, open target; or you will find it easier to hit that T18 when switching across going for a finish.

The benefits of gaining proficiency in these areas are immense, and it is time well spent in your practice routines.

**It is adaptable for any skill level:**

If you are not yet ready for 2/3, you can go for 1/3 – 1/9 – or even 1/12 or more. It depends on your current level. Always try to aim at something just slightly above your comfort zone, but not so far that it will end in frustration and failure.

With this routine, you are not able to move on until you have hit the required number of doubles in the amount of darts you allowed yourself.

**Here’s a beginner routine:**

The rules are straightforward – if a little challenging:

You have to hit two of each double.

You allow yourself 12 darts (or 6, 9, 15 or even 18 - however many you need to get started on the pathway to improvement) at each double. If you fail, you move back one double.

*If you hit a double with the FIRST 3 darts, you are locked in and can not go back beyond this double. It becomes your new baseline.*

If you hit a double with any of the 12-allocated darts, you move on to the next one. There is no reward for hitting more than one double with any set of three darts (except for personal gratification), - you just reset the number of darts back to 12 and move onto the next double.

The game is completed once you have hit 2XBullseye’s (either green or red).

Once you can do it comfortably with 12 darts, lower it to 9, and then 6, and eventually down to 3. Once you reach that level, you will be have reached a very good standard and you can be rightly proud of yourself for persevering through some difficult practice sessions.

**Here it is in action:**

You start on D20

Obviously, you can’t go backwards from here, so if you miss with the first 12 darts, reset and start again. Once you hit it, move down to D10 and reset the number of darts to 12.

If you hit it within the 12 darts, move on to D5 and reset again back to 12. If you miss with the allocated 12 darts, move back to D10, reset to 12 darts, and go at it again.

Let’s say you hit D10 with the second dart of the allocated 12. * You have achieved one of the objectives of hitting a double within the FIRST 3 darts,* so you are now locked into D10 as your base number. You cannot go any further back from here. Remember, this rule only applies when you hit a double with the first 3 darts from any set of 12.

So, you now move to D5. If you miss with the 12 darts, you go back to D10 and resume from there. Should you miss again, you cannot go back any further because D10 is your baseline. So, you start again from D10 with a new set of 12 darts.

If you hit D5 within 12 darts, you go at it again (you have to hit it twice remember)

Keep going like this until you hit 2XD11, and then end the game by hitting 2XBullseyes. At this stage, the bullseye can mean either the green or the red part. You can go for just the red bit once you have improved your accuracy a little more.

The sequence is the same as the Warm Up routine, and here is the chart so you can follow along:

20 | 10 | 5 | 5 | 10 | 20 | ||||

19 | 19 | ||||||||

18 | 9 | 9 | 18 | ||||||

17 | 17 | ||||||||

16 | 8 | 4 | 2 | 1 | 1 | 2 | 4 | 8 | 16 |

15 | 15 | ||||||||

14 | 7 | 7 | 14 | ||||||

13 | 13 | ||||||||

12 | 6 | 3 | 3 | 6 | 12 | ||||

11 | 11 | ||||||||

B | B |

**Here’s a routine for good players:**

As before, you start on D20. Because you are a good player, you MUST hit at least one double on each set of 3 darts or you move back a level.

**You can set a new base number by hitting the double with the FIRST dart only.**

**Here is a sample routine:**

As always with this routine, you start on D20. To progress, you MUST hit at least 1 double per 3 darts. Obviously, you can’t go backwards from D20, so if you miss with any set of 3 darts, go for it again until you hit it. Once you hit D20, the routine begins.

Move down to D10 with the next set of 3 darts. There is no reward for hitting more than 1 double with any set of 3 darts – except that you move around the routine faster.

You hit D10 with the first dart. This now locks you into D10 as your base number and you cannot go back any further than this.

Move up to D5, where you need to hit two of them. Again, you hit it with the first dart. D5 now becomes your base number, and you go for it again with the next set of 3 darts.

You miss with all 3, so now you drop back a level. In this case, your base is the first of the two D5’s, so you go right back at it until you hit it as you can’t go back any further.

When you hit it, the next set of 3 is also at D5. Let’s say you get it with the 3^{rd} dart. Now you go back to D10 (remember, you have to hit each double twice). You hit that with the 2^{nd} dart.

Now you are back to D20 for the second time. You miss with all 3 darts. You go back to D10 where you miss again. Go back to D5. The furthest you can go is to your base level where you hit the double with the 1^{st} dart, so in this example you cannot go back any further than the first D5 – until you hit another double with the first dart so that becomes the new base number.

This is a difficult routine, and one that will test you for sure. Do not attempt it until you have done it a few times within 6 darts, because by then you will be ready (even if you don’t think you are).

At this level, the game should be ended on the red, middle bullseye. This makes it even more difficult, but your game will improve beyond recognition if you persevere with it.

**Here’s a routine for very good players:**

Once you can manage the above routine without too much drama or frustration, the ultimate level is to up the difficulty to where you have to get 2/3 before moving on.

The key here is to avoid frustration, so you need a safety net – and in this case it is where you do not move back a level if you hit at least 1 double with any set of 3 darts.

**Here’s an example:**

This routine is done in pairs – so the first set is D20/D10. Obviously, you cannot move back from here, so the routine starts once you have hit D20/D10 with one set of 3 darts.

Unlike the one’s above, this routine does have a reward attached to it:

*If all 3 darts are in a double they all count*

**Here’s what I mean:**

Let’s say you get D20/D10/D5 with a set of 3 darts. Because you didn’t miss with any of the 3 darts, they all counted. Two things happened:

The next paring you aim at is D5/D10

This also becomes your new base level that you cannot go back from.

Once you score another pairing in a set of 3 darts, this becomes your new base level that you cannot go backwards from. In this manner you can continue moving forward until you complete the routine.

If you manage to hit 1 double within the set of 3 darts, you do not move backwards from the pairing you are currently throwing at. So, even if the first 2 darts miss and you cannot complete the pairing on this turn, you still have to try with the last dart, so you don’t move back a level.

*This ensures that every dart counts, and you have a good reason to try with each and every dart.*

In this example, once you have managed D10/D5, you move onto D20/D19, and then D19/D18, D18/D9, D9/D18 and so on.

Some of these doubles are not as important as others, but the main thing you gain from this routine is that you will become proficient on any part of the dartboard – and this is vital when you are up against good players and you are either moving to an open target for scoring, or you are trying to set up or take out a finish.

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**You can also use it to where you finish as you would a normal game:**

You have to finish 40 with 3 darts – so you go for D20. If you hit single, go for D10, then D5 and so on. If you hit 1 then go for 39 etc. Once you get 40, then it’s 20, and then 10. And then once you have finished 10, move onto the 19’s and finish 38, then 36, 18, 34, 32, 16, 8, 4, 2 etc - all the way down to 22 (D11). You can also do 50 at the end if you have the desire.

Again, this game can be adapted to different levels. For a new player, rather than having to finish in 3 darts, you can do it in 6, 9, 12, or even more until you start to improve.

**Here’s a good beginner routine:**

Starting on 40, you have 9 darts to finish it (or 12, 15 etc - whatever you need to find it challenging but not impossible. Remember, where you start doesn’t matter, it’s where you end that’s important).

*You lock down a number ONLY when you hit it within 3 darts.*

So, you start on 40 and you have 9 darts to finish it. You take it out within the 9 darts, and you move onto the next finish – which is 20 (D10).

You hit it with the 2^{nd} dart, so you have now locked down this number and cannot go back any further.

You move onto the next one – which is 10 (D5). You manage it on dart 7, so you move onto the next one, which is 38 (D19). There is no need to hit every finish twice – you are trying to finish as you would in an actual game, so once per session is a good target.

You take out 38 in 5 darts, so now you move onto the next one, which is 36 (D18). Can you see how this follows the same patterns as the Warm Up routine? Although you are practicing actual finishes rather than just pure doubles, this is still the same fundamental set up as the Warm Up routine – it’s just adapted to make you try hard with every dart and to be a more intense practice session.

Even though you have reached 36 (D18), you are only locked in at D10, because that was where you finished it within the first 3 darts. Should you miss with the allocated 9 darts, you go back one finish at a time until you reach the locked in number. This is why it is important to try to take out the finish within the first 3 darts if at all possible.

In the above example, you take out D18 with the first dart, so now you are locked into this number and you cannot go back any further than this. By continually locking down the numbers, it gives you the ability to go through the entire routine successfully, even though it is not easy in the slightest.

You can end it on 22 (D11), of go for 50 (Bullseye if you so desire).

The above routine not only gives you great practice at hitting finishes under pressure, it also simulates matchplay tension (as far as this is possible) by giving you consequences if you miss.

It is a brilliant routine for really getting these low finishes firmly entrenched into your brain. By repeatedly doing this routine, every finish from 2-40 will become second nature, even when a few darts go astray. You will know exactly what to go for with no mathematics involved, and there will be no hesitation whatsoever when you miss. This is one of the major goals with this routine, and it sets you up for the higher finishes perfectly.

**Advanced Players**

There is still merit in this routine for more advanced players. Once you can comfortably do this routine within 6 darts (and that is not as easy as it may appear on paper), bring it down to just 3 darts.

**At this level, you ONLY get locked into a number if you hit it with the first dart.**

Otherwise, it is a fluid routine that is fast moving and takes you all over the dartboard, improving your accuracy and ensuring that you maintain good form throughout the entire session.

**Continuous Improvement**

The above routines are set up in a kind of ladder formation. This ensures that every player – from beginner to tournament winner – has a path to continuous improvement.

The routine is adaptable to every level and creates an opportunity for all players to get the most out of it.

It is available to you for years to come – no matter where you are currently at in your game, and no matter how advanced you become.

You now have a step-by-step method to rapidly improve your game, and with hard work and dedication you can take it as far as your talent and ambition allows.

I hope this helps you out a little. If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to email me. I am always available to answer any questions regarding finishing.

In the following posts I will continue this mini-series on practice and add further routines that will keep your interest up and your game sharp.

Until then I wish you all darting success….