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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 – 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

Premium Darts for Bargain Price – It can still be done.

A.I.M: Produced this Top 5 for Darts World Magazine a couple of months ago. Many of the deals discovered are still available!

Darts World has noticed that the costs, especially player and premium, of darts have increased substantially over the past few years.  Increased and improved cosmetics, together with some technical innovations, can be blamed for some of this. But, the increased popularity and worldwide expansion of darts seem to be resulting in a golf or tennis like spiralling of some equipment costs. 

Not quite within our bargain criteria, but the Pro-Line is an excellent dart for a mid-range price.

Less than five years ago very few sets of darts would cost more than £50 and the vast majority were between £20 & £35. These often included accessories such as a case and or spare flight & stem setups. Today, a brief look at any of the major sellers reveals thirty or forty different models with an RRP of over £60 with a handful of models on or around the £100 mark. 

Does all this mean that darts is becoming a rich pursuit for those with more disposable cash? Can the average young person still get a decent start and does all this extra cash actually make much difference? 

Darts World asked A.I.M: to look into the best value darts available and to put them through their paces. We set them a maximum of £25 per set and asked them to assess quality, performance, value, and accessibility.  Here is the first summary of what they found; 

1) Pro-Style (21-26g) – Darts Clearance £12.99-14.99http://www.ebaystores.co.uk/dartsclearance?_fsub=7330512015& 

These are a lovely dart for the £15 cost.  The 22g model is 48mm x 7.2mm (widest) and has a slight taper from the front to rear. There is a small blank near the stem and the grip is what could be described as an original Bob Anderson style grip but slightly more aggressive. They have a slight front weight but still, feel well balanced. Almost indistinguishable from the McKicks Alan Glazier darts. 

The darts come with nothing but a point protector in order to keep the costs, and postage fees, at an absolute minimum. They were popular with all our testers and all standards. Even our elite player was very impressed. The ‘Pro-Style’ compared well with other models even those of higher cost. The tungsten content will be at least 80% and may be higher.  

Pro-Style – Excellent value at a bargain cost.

2) Winmau Diamond 23g – Red Dragon Clearance £24.90 (RRP £55)  – http://www.reddragondarts.com/winmau-diamond-3-23-gram-12105.html

These are a serious bargain. Originally £55+ they represent the combination of high-quality tungsten and a diamond fusion grip. Winmau seems to have abandoned this grip style and thus you can now pick up some serious bargains. 

Winmau Diamond Grip – Currently less than half price.

These have a great deal in common with John Lowe or Andy Fordham shape darts. The extra grip near the nose can be handy. They are 90% tungsten and measure 40.6mm x 7.7mm. The diamond grip was very popular and will be missed by some serious players. However, after a while, it can rub the other darts into looking shabby and wears itself down. 

In short, these are a premium dart for a one-off price. I doubt these will last long. Well worth a try or even to get yourself an extra set if you use them already. 

3) Designa Dark Thunder – £22.95 – http://www.dartscorner.co.uk/product_info.php?products_id=42991 

A lovely dart, in a classic style, for under £25.

These are a very good value, 90% tungsten dart. They have a lot in common with Unicorn (Taylor) Phase 1. The black barrels with natural highlights are a popular look and have a touch of the Noir range about them. A very grippy dart that is not chunky in the hard or over-complex in design. Various weights are available with 22g and 24g being the most popular. With Darts Corner moving their priorities to Mission darts these may not be around forever as the Designa badge may fade away. 

Monster – The Cobra – £24 (RRP £50+)  – http://www.dartscorner.co.uk/product_info.php?cPath=1190_1692&products_id=31539

These are available in the clearance section of dartscorner.com and may not be for very long at this price. This model became Jelle’s signature shape and style for quite a few years and during his most successful PDC spell.  

The Cobra – A £50+ premium dart for a
clearance price.

90 % Tungsten, superbly designed and engineered to be a superb combination of aerodynamics and style. 42mm long x 7mm (at the widest) they are highly individual and you might wish to try before you buy! Although badged as 22g this is misleading the barrel weight is only 20.4g. 

Two of our testers loved these and one has kept them! However, our third player could not get used to them at all. It seems that ‘The Cobra’ is a bit Marmite! 

Alan Tabern – V180 – £20– http://www.a180.co.uk/product.php/10304/v180-alan-tabern-90-tungsten-darts-21g

A classic player dart for only £20. Alan Tabern’s simple barrel.

You don’t get many classic player darts for under £20. However, V180 makes a small range, all of which are pitched at a great price. Perhaps the best of these is the Tabern dart. These could be made by Target, Alan’s old sponsor, they are a classic style ring grip dart. Only Alan’s 21g edition is available. They are a little over 47mm x 6mm wide they feel very well balanced and are 90% tungsten. 

Our players thought that these were a lovely dart. The only downside was that they are not as heavily gripped as some current models. Our more traditional testers were fond of these darts, whereas our younger player, seem to find them over delicate and harder to control. 

It can be seen from the above, that despite the recent increases in the cost of premium products, high-quality darts can be sourced. A little creativity and patience can result in darts of the same very high standard for a lot less of your hard earned.