The darts practice routines we have explored so far are challenging and are designed to rapidly improve both your confidence and ability on a dartboard. The one thing they are not are easy.
Variety is the spice of life so the saying goes, and this is very true when it comes to darts practice routines. If you don’t vary up your sessions, eventually they will become stale and your progress will drop off. You can avoid this by switching them out from time to time to keep your interest up and your focus sharp.
In this post I will introduce some more fun and challenging routines that you can add to your repertoire. As before, they are adaptable to any level, and they make you try with each and every dart.
Painting by Numbers
I don’t know the names of some of these routines because they are one’s I have developed myself over the years. I don’t lay claim to inventing them – I am sure there are many different variations of these routines being practiced all over the world, but I have never personally seen them published anywhere before, so I created my own rules as I went along.
The one thing I never did was to give them a name, so please forgive me for the names I have adopted for them. As I said, you may know the routine under a different name, and if so, please feel free to use the one’s you already know.
Although it works great solo, this routine is a great practice session for two or more players.
Here’s how it works:
The aim is to go around the board on every double from 1 to 20, then the bullseye, and then go all the way back down to D1, finishing once again on the bullseye.
If you hit one or more doubles on each turn, you continue until you miss with all 3 darts. Then your opponents have their turn.
So, let’s say you win the cork and start the game. Your first dart misses, the second dart goes in D1, and the third dart misses D2. You hit one or more with the 3 darts, so you continue. Your next 3 darts are a perfect set; you hit D2, D3, and D4.
You give yourself a pat on the back and continue. However, you miss all three darts at D5. So, your turn has ended, and your opponent begins his turn.
Unfortunately, he/she misses the D1 with all three darts, so you return to resume your turn. You then go for D5 again, and so on.
Once you get to D20, you have to hit the red bullseye, and then go straight back for D20. Continue backwards down the doubles until you reach D1. The game ends when the first player hits the red bullseye.
Here’s a beginner’s routine:
If you are just starting out, make sure you play this with a player of similar standards to yourself, or you will find yourself sitting watching them most of the time.
If you do play with someone of a higher standard, allow yourself more darts per turn than your opponent.
Let’s say you are a newcomer, and you play this game against an established ‘A” player. In this case, allow yourself an extra set or more per round. This keeps both of you sharp, focused, and gives you both realistic targets to aim for.
Give yourselves 6, 9, or even 12 darts per turn to hit a double and the bullseye can be either the green or red part (not just the middle bull).
If time is short you can shorten the game to just one round of doubles and the bullseye, but otherwise go both up and down the doubles so you hit both of them twice.
It’s a great routine that makes you try with every single dart. Many times, a player can come back from being way behind with a good run on the doubles. The ultimate aim is to go around the board without missing a turn, but this is very difficult to achieve. The good thing is that players of all levels can play this game, and as long as you are evenly matched it can be a very exciting game to be involved in.
Round the Board
This is a routine that should be in everyone’s practice regimen. It’s a great warm-up and can also be used as a standalone session by itself. It is very similar to the warm-up routine I explained in a different post HERE:
The big difference is that this routine is to be done linearly and doesn’t follow the finishing patterns of a 501 game.
This is a game that can be measured to monitor your progress over the weeks and months ahead. Starting at D1, go around the board hitting every double from D1 to D20, and then the bullseye. Keep a count of the number of darts it took you to complete the task and see if you can break your record. By doing this it becomes competitive, and you will try as hard as you can with each and every dart. And that is how you improve.
Once you have gone up the board in doubles, start again at D20 and go all the way back down to D1 before finishing on the bullseye. Again, keep a count of how many darts it takes you to complete it and try to break your records.
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This is a brilliant routine for practicing combination finishing, especially when used in combination with Darts Finishing Mastery: How to Master the Art of Finishing. Give yourself 6 darts (or more if you are just starting out) and try to finish 101. If you can do it in 3 darts (or 2 if you really want to go for it that way), then great, but the majority of the time you will be doing it within 6 darts rather than 3.
You will get plenty of practice on the big trebles, and you will throw at different parts of the board to setup your shots at the finish. It will also help to ingrain the all the finishes you encounter, and it will cement them into your brain, so you won’t even have to think about them anymore – you will just know instinctively what they are.
This can also be a good two-person routine. You can rotate who starts the shot so you both get practice on different aspects of the finish. It always feels good being the one who takes out the 101 out-shot!
This is an excellent game for both scoring, finishing, and setting up your finishes. It is one of the best practice routines you can do, and as such you should use it often.
As 101 above, this should be used in conjunction with Darts Finishing Mastery: How to Master the Art of Finishing in order to get the most out of it.
There are two ways to approach this, so you can mix it up and keep it interesting.
The first method is to give yourself as many darts as it takes to finish 201. Once you have done it, try to beat it on the next turn. Keep doing this over and over and see how well you can do it. If you can do it in 9 darts or less consistently you will be a very dangerous player.
The other method is to give yourself a set number of darts to finish 201. 9 darts are the optimum, but it can be set at whatever level you are currently at. If you are a beginner, set it at 15, 18, or even 21 darts if you want to. You will be amazed at how fast you will progress if you are serious about it.
9 darts are the optimum for this routine. As I stated above, if you can consistently take out 201 in 9 darts or less you are a very capable player indeed.
100 to 130
Following on from the 101 routine above, this one takes it a step further and gives you practice at a whole plethora of finishes.
As with the one’s above, this works best if you have a copy of Darts Finishing Mastery: How to Master the Art of Finishing alongside to aid with the correct finishing methods.
Give yourself 6 darts (or 9, 12, or even 15 if you are just starting out) and go for the 100 finish. If you hit it, you move up by one. So, then you go for 101. If you miss with 6 darts (or more), you go back a number. Once you reach 130 the game is over, and you start again or move onto a different routine.
Conversely, set yourself a low number as well. 80 is a good number that gives you a great range of finishes to go for. If you reach this low number, the game is lost, and you start again.
This is not as easy as it looks, and it will give you some great practice on many different finishing combinations. It will also get you used to actually hitting these out-shots, and you will begin to feel comfortable when you are faced with them in a match-play situation. It’s a state of mind, and when you are hitting them every day in your home practice routines, you begin to expect to hit them when it counts, and that is the winning mindset you are trying to cultivate with your practice.
Here is another variation of this routine:
Start at 100 and set yourself a low number of around 80. Give yourself 6 darts (or more if you are just starting out), and practice it as described above.
The aim – as above – is to reach 130, except this time you introduce consequence and reward.
Here’s how it works:
Let’s say you allocate yourself 6 darts for each of these finishes. (Don’t worry if you are not quite ready for this yet, just up the number of darts to a level that is only slightly above your current standard.)
Start the routine on 100. If you hit it with the FIRST 3 darts, you are then locked into this finish and cannot go any lower. This is the reward factor.
Should you fail to hit the finish within the allocated number of darts, you go back a level. This is the consequence. As above, if you go as low as 80 you lose the game and start again.
If you finish 100 within 6 darts, you move onto 101. Let’s say you finish that in 6 darts, so you move up to 102 and so on, until you reach 108. Then you fail to finish within the allocated number of darts, so you move back a number to 107.
You miss again with all the allocated darts, so now you are back on 106. You then take it out with a great shot in 3 darts.
You are now locked into 106 and cannot go back beyond this point.
This enables you to finish the entire routine in a timely manner whilst challenging you and pushing you to try with every dart. It is a difficult and yet rewarding routine, and it is very addictive.
32 and up
This is a good routine that will give you plenty of practice on the finishes in the hot zone. You will spend the vast majority of your playing career going for finishes within this range, and for this reason, these are the most important finishes you will ever learn or practice. Get these down and you will move ahead of 90% of the darts players out there.
The Hot Zone as I like to call it, incorporates every finish from 2-80. This routine takes a subset of these and really drills them down.
As with all the other routines in this mini-series, it works better in conjunction with Darts Finishing Mastery: How to Master the Art of Finishing.
Here’s how it works:
Starting at 32 (you can, of course, change this to whatever starting number you desire), give yourself 6 darts to get the finish. If you hit it within the two throws, you move on to the next number (33) and repeat all the way to 80. If you miss with the two throws, you go back a number.
This gets increasingly more difficult the further you get, so players new to the game initially might want to give themselves more than just 6 darts.
Like the routine above, set yourself a low number as well. If you hit this target you have lost the game and start again. A good starting number is 20.
If you are an advanced player, you do this routine with just 3 darts rather than 6. This makes it a very tough routine, and as you get nearer the finishing mark of 80, the same tensions that you experience in regular match-play will arise. This makes it a great practice routine to add to your repertoire.
You can also adapt this routine to fit with the one above where you lock in your number if you hit it within 3 darts.
I would love to hear how you are progressing with these darts practice routines, so please take a couple of minutes and leave a comment below.
Until next time I wish you all darting success…
All the routines in this mini-series work best when used in conjunction with Darts Finishing Mastery: How to Master the Art of Finishing.
This book guides you through every finish you will ever encounter, and it knocks years off your learning curve.
Click on the photo below for details on how you can grab a copy: