In my Throwing Errors page I said that maybe I should make a more positive page on how to throw... let's see if it works!
This is just a big experiment, it isn't some tome of knowledge carved in stone!
Warming up is not practicing, it is not a game. It is something you do to get your arm limbered up so it wants to throw nicely. Once you are warmed up ... then you start to practice! Another way of thinking about warming up is that you need to get into dart playing mode. To start thinking or doing all the things that happen when you are shooting darts well. Warming up puts you back in that throwing zone.
Warming up can also help you notice and correct problems. What kind of problems? How about an odd fitting shirt, different shoes messing up your stance, or any other maladies that mess with your throw.
Because you always need to have a target, you need to choose some target areas on the board to use. One suggestion is to use an eye-level trip as a target area, to create a reference for all your other throws.
Although I list the following as seperate elements, you can do them at the same time ... just make sure you are doing all of them!
Walk into the board and your stance a couple of times. Remember to walk into each different shot. If you don't need to walk into a shot, just walk into the stance that you use. Make sure that you are balanced properly and comfortable on your feet.
How are you gripping the dart you are holding ready to throw? Is it the right grip, on the correct portion of the dart? Are your fingers right? How are you gripping your off-hand magazine of ready to throw darts? Does it all feel right?
If it doesn't feel right -- is it time for dart wax or rosin, or just going to wash or dry your hands?
Make some slow throw motions so see if your arm is pointing at the right part of the dartboard. Does it all feel right?
Try closing your eyes, making the slow motion, and then open your eyes. Is your arm pointed at what you aimed at? If you are not pointing your arm where you thought it should be pointing ... its maybe time to go to see if your stance is working out right.
What the heck is your wrist doing? Flopping around, releasing nicely????
If it is doing something weird it might be time to stretch out your arm and wrist so it has the proper flexibility.
Throw and see what happens. Throw again, and the 3rd dart too.
OK, so now you are getting warmed up. You are getting into a good stance and line-up You've thrown some darts at the board.
Now make some throws at some simple targets, stay on them, and see what kind of groupings you get. Throw ... lets say 2 ... sets at a target. Fix whatever goes wrong.
Once you are throwing well at the first, move to the next. Say you were on the left side of the board ... now go for the right side of the board.
Once you were done left/right, go up and down.
One warm-up regimen suggests doing 1/4s of the board and choosing one target in each to combine L/R and U/D. The important thing here is to see what your throw is doing in each quarter of the board, not what you are hitting there.
I find that sometimes hitting targets in the middle (up/down) of the board is harder than targets at the top or bottom. That's why I think a cross of 20/3 and 11/6 can work well -- it forces shots at midboard. But ... that starts getting into practice instead of warmup.
When warming up it is important not to go for game-related shots. You want to find out how your mechanism is doing, and what you might need to do to fix it today. Don't add the demand of a game in -- that's what practice is about!
So your throw is warmed up now. Your arm is nice an easy and you are throwing darts. Now you can practice!
The biggest thing I can say about practice before a game is that you don't want to:
If you are throwing cricket a lot, you'll only use 3 quarters of the dartboard -- UR, LR, LL. There aren't any Cricket targets in the UL quadrant. The thing is... if you are playing combined '01 and Cricket .. remember to get some practice in that UL quadrant too! That will give you confidence during the game to shoot at any portion of the board.
I think it is important to practice hitting mid-board (up/down). The bull is in the middle of the board. I mention this because I use a certain body position for shooting low, and a certain body position for shooting high. The in-between region ... mabye it needs it's own stance to shoot reliably there. Find out what you need now, not after a buncha rounds of cricket that has you shooting well high/low, but never at the bull!!
I'm a pool shooter. I've found that one way of getting warmed up for darts is to get warmed up on the pool table. It does all the important warm-up things of prepping my warm, wrist, etc.
After that I still need to check myself out on the dartboard, but I know my arm is all flexible and ready to go.
I find that going for T20s is a good sign of how well I am throwing. If I can walk up to the board and get some nice darts in and around T20 (and keep them in the 20 segment on a miss)... chances are I'm ready to go.
If I can't do that it can be a stance problem.
Missing things can be a sign that something is wrong with the playing area.
One problem can be that the dartboard is no longer zeroed with respect to the foul line. If you use numbers for shooting targets... they'll be wrong! It may be legal to put the board back on it's zero mark, or not. I think that the fo
It can also be a sign that the foul line is off-kilter with the dartboard and I need to re-zero numbers on the line.
Another thing that throws my throwing off (:-) is the dartboard being crooked to the line. It creates some sort of visual illusion which screws up my aiming quite a bit! A dartboard face being tilted is similar!