Coaching – A Bit Like The Pirates Code?
Coach’s Court is our regular look at how to improve your darts game. Our coach has been helping players improve for over a decade. Bringing unknown players to world prominence, boosting the careers of those who have stalled, and turning around players in a slump. He has also developed younger players, those recovering from injury and those who wanted to win their local league/pub games.
Coach’s Court will be looking at all areas of the game, physical, technical & psychological, and all levels of player. Whether your MVG or Mr/Mrs. Smith, if you want to get better, keep an eye here.
As with all major events, the upcoming World Championship will inspire people to play, or improve their current standard. With that in mind our first “Coach’s Court” will concentrate on the first question for any player:
How you stand dictates a lot of how you play as a darter. The thing most often forgotten is that you must be solid and stable, you must also be able to adopt the stance easily and without thought. Like most things in darts, your stance must be exactly repeatable without having to be reconstructed with every visit to the oche. If you take-up your stance and get a playing partner to nudge you from the side, does a gentle nudge causes you to lose balance and sway from side to side? If so you are vulnerable to moving on the shot. Although most players have their weight mainly on the front foot they use their other foot as a counterbalance to ensure they are secure.
There are two main schools of thought with regard to stance. They can be summed up as side on or face on. The majority of the greatest players stand with their front foot turned sideways to the oche. The rear foot is then held, with the heel raised, behind. The head is then turned to align with the front shoulder. Check out this YouTube analysis of Red Dragon’s Peter Wright to see a great example here.
Legends, such as Eric Bristow and many current elite players, including MVG, favour this general stance.
The other main school chooses to place their front foot pointing forward as if walking toward the board. Most turn their heel slightly for solidity. Again, the rear foot acts as a counterbalance to the weight on the front foot. The position of this foot, and its elevation, vary greatly between players of this style. Bob Anderson began his career with a superb example of this style. Some have the rear foot flat, and directly behind the front one, and others move it quite a long way to one side and lift their heel. Your weight should feel centered on the ball of your front foot. The body then mirrors the slight angle of the feet giving a straighter, less twisted shape to the torso and neck. Winmau’s Simon Whitlock has a very straight on version check it here.
As with all techniques there are many variations between the two extremes. Multiple World champions of past and present, Gary Anderson & John Lowe, are also superb examples of solid easily repeatable stances that could be described as a middle way.
If, after 20-30 mins of playing, part of you is hurting, it is likely that your stance is placing too much strain on that bit of your body or you are compensating too much because you are out of natural alignment. A future piece will look at alignment more closely.
OK, so you’re now standing comfortably at the oche waiting to throw. Over the next few “Coach’s Court” sessions we will look at where you’re going to aim, what you’re going to throw, and how you’re going to hold it.
Coach Says: “Darts is a bit like The Pirate’s Code, it’s more set of guidelines…….”
Get in touch with your questions or queries. ‘Coach’ will answer as many as possible. Drop us a line via our Twitter or Facebook pages and add #askcoach