Category Archives: Practice Games and Drills

Drill of the Day – The Putting Green.

Area – The Practice Board  

Here is a gentle start to your practise, a fun game that is easy to play, but hard to master. The Putting Green involves single dart accuracy, board use and decision making. 

Stick or Twist?

The scoring is simple: 1 point for a treble, 2 for a double, 3 for a single and 5 if you miss the segment completely. The aim, is to score as few as possible. The twist is only the last dart thrown counts! 

So, if you throw your first dart and if it lands in the single segment you have a decision to make. Accept the 3 points? Or, throw again? If you choose to throw again you risk missing and piling pressure on your final dart. If you chose to gamble, perhaps by going for an obscured treble, you risk adding a 5 to your ‘scorecard’. 

We play this as a warm up drill, or fun finish, first go for numbers 1-9. A perfect ‘round’ would be 9 trebles and score 9 points. However, even the very best don’t get near that often. 

Jamie Caven, a master of the Putting Green (pic Unicorn)

The back nine (10-18) can be played either afterwards or as a break from a more serious session. 

From my recall the best ‘front 9’ was 14. A thirteen has been managed on the second set and the best continuous round was 29. Jamie Caven was a master at this drill as was Paul Cook, former News of the World champion.


 Article first appeared in Darts World Magazine (571).

Game of the Day – Bob’s 27

If you have been trying, some of the many, new practice drills and games that have been dreamt up, you may be wondering where they came from. SwitchBlade, Middle For Diddle and Sprint (Pro) Half-It were developed by A.I.M:, to assist players they coach and Kill Bull looks like a Mikko Laiho / Winmau game. Today you can hear, about one of the most famous doubles drills, from the man who invented it! Bob Anderson talks through his Bob’s 27 Routine.

Coach’s Comments:

Now I must own up to a bias, Bob is a man after my own heart in many ways. He was also a seriously good player! As important is his understanding of the game and how to improve and or maintain your performance. It is no accident that Bob had a very long Professional career and still plays to a very high standard, in exhibition and competitive matches, aged over 70.

It may also be significant that Bob was one of the first darts players to have a background in a different (athletic) sport. Gerwyn Price has repeated the trick in this era.

Bob’s first point is one of my favourite rules. Have an aim to your practice, don’t just throw aimlessly at the twenties, etc. Bobs next tip is to focus heavily on finishing and hitting that double, his ‘Bob’s 27’ is legendary. Watch it through and give it a few goes. This sets your benchmark and then you should add it to your daily routine. Many players use it as part of their early session or near the start of a longer one.

If you want evidence of how this improves your game check out Bob’s efforts in the 1986 World Masters:

The Limestone Cowboy was as good as they come and, in spells, was outstanding! 151,120,150 & 154! Not often you see that even today. These were hit under serious pressure, on a round wired board, in a major tournament and in quick succession.

So if you want to improve your doubles/finishing listen to Bob Anderson!


This is what ‘Coach’ calls a development (or reset) drill. While high-level players will play it as a warm-up or settling routine, shorter sharper drills can be better for those at the top. Bob’s 27 gives equal focus to every double, great when your developing, whereas sometimes a sharper focus on those that are used most often is more beneficial.

Pic: Steve Dazsko

BullShift – A Drill To Aid Your LDBs!

There are several situations during a leg where a dart at the bullseye can be very useful indeed. Whether its ensuring your end up on a two darter, instead of a three, or to ensure you have a finish at all, its basically a cover shot with two possible outcomes, this is BullShifting.

Match Example:

If you are on 201 and your opponent is not on a score where adding pressure might be relevant and you hit t20 s20, with darts one and two, this leaves you with 121 remaining and a single dart. A dart in either the 25 or Bullseye ,(a BullShift) will leave you with a handy two darter (either 96 or 71) whereas a single twenty or a stray (caused by a deflection, obviously!) will likely leave you with a tricky three darter including more complex treble possibilities.

MVG is a fluent and regular BullShifter!

In addition there are many other situation where two at the twenties and one at the bull/outer will be required. These may include shots at 170, 130 to finish or 90, 105, 130, 145 or even 170 to set up a finish.

So its important to be be a bit of a BullShifter with your last dart!

Game Overview:

Although I like most drills to be based around five turns this one has to involve at least 6. For each turn you will take two darts at the twenties and one dart at the Bullseye ring.

There are six possible outcomes if you hit the twenty bed twice & BullShift170, 145, 130, 105, 90 and 65.

Each time you hit a score it is removed from scoring. As an incentive, and to give every throw mean, the Bullseye counts as 50, if hit with the last dart (LDB), even if you have repeated a score or not hit two in the twenty bed.

Perfect Example:

  • Turn 1: T20 T20 Bull – 170
  • Turn 2: T20 T20 25 – 145
  • Turn 3: T20 s20 Bull – 130
  • Turn 4: T20 s20 25 – 105
  • Turn: s20 s20 Bull – 90
  • Turn 6: s20 s20 25 – 65
  • Total – 705!

Realistic Run Through:

  • Turn 1: s5 T20 25 – 0
  • Turn 2: s20 s20 25 – 65
  • Turn 3: t20 s20 25 – 105
  • Turn 4: s20 t5 Bull – 50
  • Turn 5: s20 t20 Bull – 50 (repeat score)
  • Turn 6: s20 s20 Bull – 90
  • Total: 360

Variations:

You can vary this drill a number of ways. But beware of driving yourself into a fit of frustration.

I suspect Bully Boy would be superb at BullShifting!
PIC LAWRENCE LUSTIG

A harsh variation is to list the possible numbers on the marking board, 65-170 inc and then give yourself a set number of throws to knock them all out. 

Example: use 10 turns and mark how many 65’s, 90’s etc that you clock. But also mark how many times you miss the twenty bed with either of your first two and how many last dart bulls (LDBs) you manage!

Levels:

As you can see from the variations you can set your own level and then simply try to better your best. Total score after 6 turns, number of finishes hit after 10 turns etc. But here is a guide:

  • Amateur: 1 lower BullShift (65 or 90) and an LDB. 115 to 140
  • Pub Team: 1 or 2 BullShifts and an LDB. 115 to 220
  • Higher: 2 or more BullShifts and an LDB. 250 or more
  • Elite: 3 or more Bullshifts and a LDB. 400+ (often!)

Records:

Who is the biggest BullShifter?

Top Score665 (145,130,65,170,0,50,105)

Fewest Turns: All six BullShifts were taken out in only 11 turns by a player who has flirted with the PDC top 32 but flew a little too close to the sun.


Originally published for the dartsworld.com Darting Isolation Series during the Covid-19 Lockdown of 2020.

Game of the Day – Kill Bull!

We are often asked for ideas for your home practice sometimes others come along that are too good to miss.

The Kill Bull Game from Winmau.tv is one of them. This one has been featured on social media so we had a look. Its a nice, quick, game to work on your bull hitting.

Coach says: “This is nice simple game that can be scaled up or down depending on ability/experience. This means different players can race to their own target while playing together”.

Simon Hall features on Winmau.tv ‘s Practise Zone

A.I.M:’s ‘Coach’ commented:

Downsides: “Often those who try to devise games make then two hard or the consequences of a missed dart/s too great. This is one of those“.

Play the game two ways: “First play it as simply a chase the target or opponent game.” If your doing well, add in the penalty for missing. “When you first add the extra penalty in reduce your target.”

Darts World Logo

Overall though, its a good drill,if kept within a wider setting. The DW staff had a go and managed the 300 level reasonably soon even with the penalty. The higher levels were indeed tough and frustrating!

Too much time spent on one drill leads to complacency and or frustration. Neither of these is good within a practise session”.


Review/Summary of Kill Bull Proved to dartsworld.com

Credit – Winmau, winmau.tv

Game of the Day – SwitchBlade.

Today’s, darting isolation, drill/game of the day is called SwitchBlade. It’s a very simply way to get your eyes, & body, used to switching away from its main target. The art of ‘positive switching‘, to hit higher scores rather than from a maths views, was mastered and illustrated by Dennis Priestley, in his first World title run he amazed viewers with his habitual clocking of treble 18. This ensured he was swiftly ‘on a finish’ in minimum darts.

Players in the modern era (PDC and Sky TV), have developed switching to a fine art. Some such as Adrian Lewis and Micheal Smith almost seem to prefer it. Let’s get you more proficient, and automated, at this:

Game Overview:

SwitchBlade aims to improve your accuracy and fluidity when switching from one treble bed to another. This applies equally to switching due to vision blockage or to ensure leaving a finish.

Ideal Start?

As with many of our drills it is based around five turns at the board:

  • Turn 1 : Aim for Treble 20 with all three darts.
  • Turn 2: Aim your first two darts at t20 then your third at t19
  • Turn 3: Aim your first two at t20 then the third at t18
  • Turn 4: Aim your first two at t20 and the third at t17
  • Turn 5: Aim your first two at t20 and third at the Bullseye

Example:

  1. t20,s20,t20 = 140
  2. s20,t20,s19 = 99
  3. t20,t20,t18 = 174
  4. s20,s20,t3 = 49
  5. t20,t5,Bull = 125
  6. Total = 587

Variations:

You can vary this drill in many ways, you can use 1 dart at the treble 20 and two at the others or insert a treble you use often from scores such as 180 or 191. Most often used are t13 or t14.

N.BThe core skills are in the template above and that’s the one we use most.

Levels:

SwitchBlade can be played by any player and doing it regularly will improve your overall play. Higher level players should really push themselves to get this to be second nature.

Level One – For those starting from a lower bar the first order of business is to hit the target aimed for so the 2 in the 20 segment and then one in the aimed for switch. If you manage this for each segment you will gain a score around 299.

Level Two – You should be aiming to hit one treble 20 or one on the switch. Scoring visits should total around 100 (+/- 10). Thus the total will be 450+

Level Three – You should now be looking to hit two trebles quite often. When you don’t hit two you should still be hitting one. Scoring visits will be regularly 131+ and predominantly 91+. Scoring regularly over 550 will put you on a level with our best players.

Records:

SwitchBlade requires rhythm and calm, a competitive streak also helps! The highest score, hit with marker/witnessed, is 659. On this one, we shall keep the record hitter to ourselves. It was struck during a private prep session for a very big name a few years ago!

Enjoy SwitchBlade and drop us a line to tell us how you’re doing. Comment below or tweet us


 Published previously in abridged form on dartsworld.com (@Darts_World)

Pix credit – Winmau design.

Game Of The Day – Middle For Diddle?

Hopefully those of you who have been socially isolated are managing to keep up with routines and things to keep yourself busy. Here is another ‘daily drill’ to add to your list:

Middle for Diddle:

A drill that focuses on the bullseye, first dart, to ensure you need less recalculation needed during match play. Recommended to be played after your warm up and between other drills/games that are more scoring focused.

Game Overview:

There are a number of finishing points, in a leg, where the bullseye (inner or outer), is the best/only option with your first dart. If you become familiar, and automated, when you see these numbers, your success rate will go up and you will react smoothly to any variation (or cock-up!)

Take one turn (3 darts) at these five outshots using the bull:

61, 65, 82, 125 & 132

Award yourself points on the following basis:

  • 61,65 & 82
  • 2 Dart Checkout –10 Points
  • 3 Dart Checkout – 5 Points
  • Left a Double – 1 Point
  • for 125 & 132
  • Checkout – 10 Points
  • Double Left – 3 Points
  • Single – Double Finish left (not single bull!) – 1 Point

Example:

  • Turn 1 – Bull, s3, d4 – 5 Points
  • Turn 2 – 25, Tops! – 10 Points
  • Turn 3 – 25, s17, 0 – 1 Point
  • Turn 4 – 25, t20, Tops – 10 Points
  • Turn 5 – 25, 19, t20 – (28 Left) – 3 Points
  • Total Score = 29

N.B. A single point is scored when going for the 100+ finishes by leaving the double e.g. for 132 – Bull, 25, s17 would leave tops and score a consolation 1 point. The same applies if you miss the double after setting it up with darts 1 & 2.

Variations:

There are shots that can be swapped in and out depending on your personal preferences and in order to ensure that you cover the possibilities that can crop up in a game situation.

63 and 135 are the most likely where you may use the middle ring as an option in certain circumstances or even as your default.

Levels:

In this drill it’s more overall aims than levels. The first order of business is to get shots at doubles. So a good aim is to get shots at all three lower numbers. Then set up the bigger ones.

  • An amateur or pub player type should aim to get shots at the lower finishes, and hit one. Score guide – (circa) 10
  • league player should be looking to take one of the lower ones in two darts & scoring points on the bigger shots. Score guide – 15+
  • higher level player should be looking to take two of the lower ones in two/three darts and gaining points on the others. Score guide – 25+
  • Elite level players should be regularly hitting 33 or more. (Importantly this should be spread across all 5 finishes and be repeatable if the numbers are swapped)

Records:

Frankie Dean profile
Play M4D between more 20’s type drills. Pic: Lawrence Lustig / PDC

This is a tough drill at the higher end. It sucks the mind into being too deliberate so dont play it two many times. Use it as a break drill between others and do no more than two goes in a row.

The record for this drill was set a few years ago, a duel code World Championship player hit 61 in 2, 65 in 2 and 82 in three then left 40, after three, going for 125 and checked out 132 – totalling 38.

Middle for Diddle is a harder drill that requires a switch in focus and then another half way through. It puts the Bull at the heart of your efforts for a section of every practice.

Enjoy and lets us know if you can beat 38 or if it helps improve your ‘Bulling’!


Originally published (with variations) at dartsworld.com

Pics: PDC / L Lustig

A.I.M:

Game of the Day – Half- It Pro

Those of you beginning to get used to the idea of the new isolation guidelines, whether self or precautionary, will hopefully be able to fit in some more darts practice. Perhaps we will see remarkable improvements in averages later in the year!

A.I.M: thinks that practise is better with a structure an an aim. So he has outlined a warm up method and a drill or two to get you going. He is his ‘Drill of the Day’.

Sprint (or Pro) Half-It!

Ok this is a variation we use to get tour players extra sharp on the segments they use most, with a little pressure added, it can be used by all as a short and sharp drill.

Game Overview:

This is version of the popular social game Half-It, but stripped down to focus on the important areas for competitive darters.

Take one turn (3 darts) at each of the following numbers/segments:

20, 19, 18, 17, Doubles, Trebles, Bull.

Note the total scored from that number only. Add the cumulative score as you go. If you miss the segment with all three darts your score is halved!

N.B. – On the doubles & trebles turns you get the score from any double or treble hit during the turn. If the score to be halved is odd round up to the nearest whole number.

Example:

  1. 20s: s20, s5, t20 – Score = 80
  2. 19s: s19, T19, s19 – (Score 95) Running Total = 175
  3. 18s: s1, T4, 13 – (Score 0) Half It! Running Total = 88
  4. 17s: s17, t17, t17 – (Score 119) Running Total = 263
  5. Doubles: s20, out, d5 – (Score 10) Running Total = 273
  6. Trebles: s20, t20, t5 – (Score 75) Running Total = 348
  7. Bullseye: 0, Bull, Outer Bull – (Score 75)= Total Score = 423

Variations:

Half-It is a game which can be varied many different ways. The two which best suit those trying to improve, at a higher level, are:

  • Adding your favourite treble that you use often. Many add t10 as they use it often to get to a double. This also gives you a personal game to improve at.
  • Making the last turn inner bullseye only. This can help to refine your ability to hit the bull under pressure, especially last dart! Imagine having a huge score dependent on hitting a, partially obscured, bull with the last dart in hand!

Levels:

A guide to some benchmark to aim for would be:

  • Level One – To complete the game without being halved – Min total = 104
  • Level Two – To complete the game and hit the eqivalent of three of each scoring segment and one of each general segment. 60,57,54,51 + 1 x double 1 x Treble and 1 x 25/Bull.
  • Level Three – The equivalent of 5 of each scoring segment and one of each of the rest.
  • Perfection – 180+171+162+153+120(3xTops)+180+150 (3 x Bull) = 1316

Extras:

If your playing with others, perhaps your children etc, then you can introduce handicaps to level the playing field a little. The better player has to hit a treble on one, or more, segments, or has to hit two doubles to prevent being halved.

Half it is one of the games in which everyone can win. I have witnessed a seventeen your old baby-sitter win ££££s by hitting at least a single every time, then getting lucky on the trebles, then the better players buckled, and her last dart 25 ensured she collected the pot!

The Wizard hit a 770 total in late 2017.

Records:

Sprint, or Pro, Half It brings out a very competitive urge if you have two similar level players! But the pressure also increases.

In a marked and witnessed game the best scores we have recorded are:

  • Solo: 900+
  • Competitive: 770 (Other player scored 550+)
  • This was set by Colin Osborne in 2019 – 120+133+90+102+80+120+125

(The Wizard would have scored higher but for a bounce-out on his third shot at t17)

Half-It Pro (or Sprint) is a great drill and should be done regularly in between other drill to re focus on the important board areas and to maintain consistency.

Enjoy and let us know how you get on !


Feature Pic: PDC

Article originally featured in a slightly different form at dartsworld.com

New Game A Day II: Sprint Half-It.

If you’re beginning to get used to the idea of the new isolation guidelines, whether self or precautionary, will hopefully be able to fit in some more darts practice. Perhaps we will see remarkable improvements in averages later in the year!

Instinct – Pinpoint 180!

A.I.M: Are always looking to keep practise fresh. New, but useful, drills are vital.
The DW resident ‘Coach’ thinks that practise is better with a structure an an aim. So he has outlined a warm up method and a drill or two to get you going. He is his ‘Drill of the Day’.

Sprint (or Pro) Half-It!

This is a variation A.I.M: use to get tour players extra sharp on the segments they use most, with a little pressure added, it can be used by all as a short/sharp drill.

Game Overview:

Add 100 to your Pro Half-It total!

This is version of the popular social game Half-It, but stripped down to focus on the important areas for competitive darters.

Take one turn (3 darts) at each of the following numbers/segments:

20, 19, 18, 17, Doubles, Trebles, Bull.

Note the total scored from that number only. Add the cumulative score as you go. If you miss the segment with all three darts your score is halved!

N.B. – On the doubles & trebles turns you get the score from any double or treble hit during the turn. If the score to be halved is odd round up to the nearest whole number.

Example:

20s: s20, s5, t20 – Score = 80
19s: s19, T19, s19 – (Score 95) Running Total = 175
18s: s1, T4, 13 – (Score 0) Half It! Running Total = 88
17s: s17, t17, t17 – (Score 119) Running Total = 263
Doubles: s20, out, d5 – (Score 10) Running Total = 273
Trebles: s20, t20, t5 – (Score 75) Running Total = 348
Bullseye: 0, Bull, Outer Bull – (Score 75)= Total Score = 423


Variations:

Half-It is a game which can be varied many different ways. The two which best suit those trying to improve, at a higher level, are:

Adding your favourite treble that you use often. Many add t10 as they use it often to get to a double. This also gives you a personal game to improve at.
Making the last turn inner bullseye only. This can help to refine your ability to hit the bull under pressure, especially last dart! Imagine having a huge score dependent on hitting a, partially obscured, bull with the last dart in hand!


Levels:

A guide to some benchmark to A.I.M: for would be:

Level One – To complete the game without being halved – Min total = 104
Level Two – To complete the game and hit the eqivalent of three of each scoring segment and one of each general segment. 60,57,54,51 + 1 x double 1 x Treble and 1 x 25/Bull.
Level Three – The equivalent of 5 of each scoring segment and one of each of the rest.
Perfection – 180+171+162+153+120(3xTops)+180+150 (3 x Bull) = 1316

Extras:

If your playing with others, perhaps your children etc, then you can introduce handicaps to level the playing field a little. The better player has to hit a treble on one, or more, segments, or has to hit two doubles to prevent being halved.

Half it is one of the games in which everyone can win. I have witnessed a seventeen your old baby-sitter win ££££s by hitting at least a single every time, then getting lucky on the trebles, then the better players buckled, and her last dart 25 ensured she collected the pot!

Records:

Sprint, or Pro, Half It brings out a very competitive urge if you have two similar level players! But the pressure also increases.

In a marked and witnessed game the best scores we have recorded are:

Record Holder – The Wizard hit a 770 total in late 2017.
(Pic: PDC)

Solo: 900+
Competitive: 770 (Other player scored 550+)
This was set by Colin Osborne in 2019 – 120+133+90+102+80+120+125
(The Wizard would have scored higher but for a bounce-out on his third shot at t17)

Half-It Pro (or Sprint) is a great drill and should be done regularly in between other drills to re focus on the important board areas and to maintain consistency.

——————————————————————-

Enjoy! and let us know how you get on – boss@aim180

Originally published at: dartsworld.com (@darts_world)

Feature Pic: PDC

A New Game A Day – To Keep Isolation Blues At Bay.

Coaching a variety of players, for extended periods, means A.I.M: have to keep things fresh. As part of this we are always thinking up new drills and games.

Being as many more of you may be practising at home over the coming weeks we will publish some of ones we have drempt up over the years!

Lights – Out

The is a board use game that concentrates on the main scoring and set up numbers. It is mainly used for warming up and for improving consistency.

Like many of the A.I.M’s games it is based around five turns being ideal and is flexible for different skill levels.

Game Overview:

Take one turn at each of the following segments: 20, 19, 18, 17 & Bullseye.

If you his 4* or more of the segments it is eliminated.

The Bullseye aim is 2* darts within the outer or inner bull.

If you did not put all the Lights – Out (in round 1) go again at the numbers you are left with.

If you manage to put all the Lights-Out (4 or more of each and two bulls) you should not how many turns it took and try to get it down to less than two rounds (regularly) then you may wish to try 5* of each number and 3 Bulls (Count the bull as 2 and the 25 as 1)

N.B: If using the game pre-practise session, or during gaps between matches, limit yourself to a max of ten turns.

Example:

Round One:

  • 20’s – 100 (5)
  • 19’s – 95 (5)
  • 18’s – 36 (2)
  • 17’s – 51 (3)
  • Bull – 25/-/25 (2)

Round 2:

  • 18’s – 72 (4)
  • 17’s – 34 (2)

Round 3:

  • 17’s – 85 (5)

Bold Numbers are Lights-Out & Game Completed in 3 rounds or 8 visits.

Variations:

  • Level 1 – 3 x Scoring segments & 1 dart within the outer bull ring.
  • Level 2 – 4 x Scoring segments & 2 darts within the outer bull ring.
  • Level 3 – 5 x Scoring segments & 3 darts in the 25 ring or 1 Bull & 1 25.

Extras:

As you get near the higher levels keep a note of your total score in the first round. Its a handy reference for your various treble hitting % and another stat to brag on!

Elite player can drive themselves further with 6,7,8 or even 9 as the target in the scoring segments and various bullseye aims. But A.I.M: find these take too many turns and can be counter producutive!

Records:

Lights-Out has not yet been hit in 5 turns at level 5 or higher. One of our elite talent player managed to hit all 4 x 5 in the scoring section and missed his third dart at the 25/Bull!

The best round one total score so far is 515

Lights – Out is both a good fun game and a very handy drill for working on cumulative hitting in different board areas.

Drop us a line with your scores or comments and try to enjoy playing even in these trying times!

A.I.M: