Practice Routines

If you're like me, this is one of the hardest things to make yourself do. Let's face it, practicing by yourself just isn't as much fun as head-to-head competition (hitting a Ton 80 without any witnesses is really depressing). The important thing to remember is to keep a record of your progress to see what parts of your game needs work. Below I've listed a number of different practice routines that I have either used or have heard of. If you have one that you'd like me to add to the list, just email me and let me know. Enjoy!

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Cricket Practice

Half-It

This is a rather straight-forward game which gives you good practice on your cricket numbers. You list the numbers on the scoreboard as shown below starting the game with 40 points. You will start the game by throwing all three darts at the 15. Every 15 you hit is then added to your score (if you hit four 15s, then your score would be 100). Here's where the game gets it's name, if you miss the 15 with all three darts, your score is divided in half (round up for odd numbers). Next turn you throw at the 16s, then at doubles, and so on until you've thrown at the bulls. Keeping a record of your games will not only show your progress but will also point out those numbers/targets that you have the most problems with.

scoreboard

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'01 Practice

Rotation (also known as Around the World/Clock)

You throw your first dart at the one and continue until you hit it. Once you hit it you move to the two and so on until you've hit the bull. If you hit a triple, you aim at the number that is 3 greater than the one you hit. if you hit a double, then move 2 numbers forward. You always finish the game with a double bull, it can not be skipped by hitting a double or triple. To track your progress, simply keep a record on how many darts it takes you from start to finish.

One variation to this which will help you on your doubles is to aim at nothing but doubles (ie. D1, D2, D3, ..... DB). Once again, keep track of the total number of darts it took you to finish.

There is another way to practice on your doubles. I do not know the name of the game but here are the rules (you can come up with your own name). Start off with a preset amount of points (I've heard people starting with either 29 or 50 points). Your first round will be aiming at the double 1. For each time you hit it, you add those points to your score. If you miss it, you subtract 1 from your score. The next turn you shoot at the 2 and so on until you get to the bull. So, for example, you have 10 points and you are aiming at the double 17 and you hit it twice, your score would then be 78 (2X17X2 + 10). But let's say you miss it, then your score would be -7 (10-17). This will help you track which doubles give you the most problems.

101 Double In/Double Out: This is a good game to play and can be won in three darts. A good practice routine would be to take turns aiming at a different double to start the game off in. Only the double one will not leave you with a two dart out.

Start games with 170 points and see how many darts it takes you to double out (yes, if you're perfect you can do it in 3 darts T20/T20/DB).


Here's an email sent to me by John Gowrie

I wanted to submit a practice routine that I think helps with most of the skills needed by a darter.

It's a variation of "Rotation" in which you must hit all the numbers, in order, with a perfect score of "3". This can be gotten in any possible combination, but you cannot score over "3". So, as you see this will force you to shoot either a triple , double and a bed shot, or 3 bed shots. Depending on your first dart thrown you will be faced with many different situations during your practice, unless of course you have mastered the tripleshot in which case you most likely don't need a practice routine ;) . My favorite thing about this routine is it really forces you to either aim for or avoid a particular area of the number you are shooting at. It also incorporates strategy at the same time. For the bull I open with a single and close with a double.

Hope some others find this as inspiring and challenging as I do.


Here's an email sent to me by Humberto Ricardo

Was going over the practice routines section of your site and thought I'd share mine. There's a great multi-part piece written by John 'Darth Maple' Part on the PDC website that I lifted some of the ideas from. I usually try to get at least some of these elements into every session depending on how much time I have and/or how I'm feeling. No sense in forcing it if it's not fun or if I'm just not feeling quite right. Anyway, I keep some scrap paper around that I use to jot down the results of everything on and then I transfer that in summarized form to a little notebook I have for this.

I start out by doing a good warm-up routine. First I go around and shoot 1 dart in each number - 1-Bull, anything goes here i.e. fat single, trip, dbl etc. Then I do the same thing but this time I shoot for just the skinny part of the single bed. Sometimes I'll do it again with the trips or doubles but usually I want to get started with the real practice session at this point...

On to the session...order of the elements are flexible but again, I make a best effort to get them all in.

Don't know what this is called but I call it Trips...Shoot all three darts at every triple on the board from 1-20. Triple=3 Singles=1 Doubles =0 This game is great for general accuracy and of course triples and it also keeps you motivated as you will always try to get a higher score. Also, because the values are the same for each number, you need to concetrate on each so hitting the trip 2's is the same as hitting the trip 20's for ex. I think the fact the I score the singles hit as well encourages me to be in the number which helps on those days when nothing falls into the trip and you have to grind out a cricket game one dart at a time. I do this one at least 3 times but sometimes more.

25 - You have this described on your site somewhat. You start with 25 points and go for each double with all 3 darts from 1 - Bulls. You add however many doubles you hit but subtract the value of the double from your score if you don't hit it. Ex. Miss the dbl 1 you now have 23, hit 2 double 2's you now have 31 (23+4+4) and so on...You're out if you run out of points. To be honest I don't usually finish this game every time I play so I jot down how far I get, or if I do finish, what my final score is. I'll play this until I either finish one or until I've played it enough that I want or need to move on.

170s - Again, you have this on your site. Start at 170, try to get out in as few darts as possible. To strcture it though, I break it into 10 leg sets. If I shoot it out in 9 darts or less, I win. 10-15 darts I lose. If I don't take it out in 15 darts I chalk it as a DNF (did not finish) and move on to the next leg. You could set these limits to whatever you like of course adn adjust them to your level. I don't go over 15 darts because I don't want to derail the session chasing a pesky x1 for 15 minutes and I don't just phone it in after I've lost (darts 10-15) because in a real match, my opponent might flub his out too and it's important to remain engaged even when you think you've lost. After the 10 legs I summarize it: Ws/Ls/DNFs I try to do 3 sets of this.

Corks - Simple one. I take 10 throws at the cork and count how many I can hit. I try do 3 sets of this as well.


Here's a routine that was sent to me by Rick Ferreira

I use this as a warm-up and as part of my practice routine. I learned this technique when I was playing soccer and it works for just about any sport.

Pick your target and then purposely miss it, but don't take your eye off the target. Miss it above, below, left, and then right. Take 2 or 3 turns at each direction. Then shoot as you normally would.

This never fails to increase my accuracy and tighten my grouping.

I hope this helps,
-Rick


Here's a routine that was sent to me by Ray Charlebois

Hi Crow, here is a practice game that I use, I call it 57 or over.

I play a regular game of 301,401 etc. your choice. You have to hit 57 or over to start, each turn after you have to still hit 57 or over to count, then towards the end you must watch, because you have to score 57 to count and or 57 or over to finish. For instance if you have left yourself somewhere in the 80's or more range then you have to finish on that. no scoring 57 and leaving 23 etc. It sure helps with higher finishes. Good darting to all!


Here's a routine that was sent to me by Paul 'Radar' Logan

Double Practice

Here is a drill that I have been using for 13 years. Pick you double that is most significant to you (The one you double out on the most). For example I like DBL 16. I will start by hitting DBL 16 than DBL 1, DBL 16 than DBL 2, DBL 16 than DBL 3, etc. etc. until you finish with the DBL Bull. I write down on a dry erase board on the left side:
16,1,16,2,16,3,16,4,16,5 until I finish 16,10. I then write on the right side of the board 16,11,16,12,16,13 until I complete with the DBL Bull, 16.

I give myself six darts to hit each double. As soon as I hit the double I indicate a "O" to mark it hit. If I do not hit it within six darts I will mark an "X" for not being hit. After completing all of the doubles I try to see how few I miss with six darts. After the drill I will go back to hit those other doubles within six darts. Obviously the goal is to hit all of them within six darts. But realistically you set your own goals.

I hope some may find this helpful.


Here's a variation of Rotation that was sent to me by David McKay

My own version of the 'Rotation' method goes like this:

Start at '1' with the first dart, '2' with the second and '3' with the third dart. . . each dart hits the next number. . . . single, double or triple, it doesn't matter. . . the next consecutive dart is thrown at the next consecutive number. Miss a number ? Return to '1' with the next consecutive dart, then '2' and so on. Shortly you will experience the highs and lows of a normal dart game.

    This practice routine achieves 3 objectives:
  1. Soon puts pressure on your practice (why should practice be any easier than a true game);
  2. Simulates the 'must hit this next number' situation (ever busted or missed a number to straighten up that Double you just missed?);
  3. Helps you get used to pressure when standing at the oche line. Believe me, try this routine, when you have missed that 'easy 17' and are once again returning to '1', the perspiration flows, the heart pounds, the elbow begins to ache and your hand begins to shake !!

I have found that this routine has two advantages over most other '01' practice routines... it has hardened my resolve to get those must get shots, and that... when throwing in competition, needing this particular dart to get that particular number is no way as stressful as when I'm at home going through this routine, so it actually relaxes you (while not making you complacent).


Here's a routine that was sent to me by Lukas Kucera

I would like to add one of the practice routines I enjoy very much.

We call it Hockey. To gain the puck (to win the face-off) you have to hit single bull. Then you can score by hitting doubles going round the clock. In case you hit double bull you gained the puck and scored at once. If either player hits a certain double, the players play the next one.

It is a great practice for doubles and bulls.


Here's some routines that were sent to me by Greg Spicer

Here are a couple of practice routines that I haven't seen posted on your site. When I'm practicing '01, I'll shoot a complete game, marking my score for each shot. Include busted outs (or missed ins if you're playing 301). After I finish that game, I shoot against my first score, marking the score for my new game next to the first. If I beat my first score, I leave my new score posted and play against it. If I lose to the first score, I leave it and play it again.

For cricket, I start at the 20's and work my way down to bulls, throwing three darts at each number. I don't give my "opponent" a set number per throw; his score varies depending on what I hit. Here's how it works: The game starts with me shooting at 20's. If I hit no 20's, my opponent scores 60. If I hit one 20, my opponent scores 40. If I hit two 20's, my opponent scores 20. Three and it's a wash. Four and I score 20. Five, I get 40, and so on. Only one trip to the ochre for each number. It's a tough enough game to win. I've been ahead many times only to lose by hitting only one or no bulls. Your "opponent" scores big on those!


Here's a routine that was sent to me by BRIANTS58@aol.com:

The objective of this game is to hit doubles and triples on demand. This game incorporates both single and double formats. It begins with the double 20. Each shooter must hit the double 20 to begin the target rotation. Having hit the 20, the shooter scores 5 points and moves in a counter clockwise direction on the dart board skipping the 5 and shoots for the double 12. If hit the shooter hits their target, they will receive double the score from the previous score, or 10 points. Skipping the 9 the shooter moves on to the 14 and so on. Each time the shooter is successful at hitting the desired target without a setback the score earned increases to double. Example: Hits the D20=5, hits the D12=10, hits the D14=20 Score=35. How does one get setback? The only marks that count for anything in this game are those that hit the "Double" when in the Double rotation or "Triple" when in the triple rotation. So, as I am attempting doubles, there or no points or penalties for "outside", "single" or "triple hits". However, If a double is hit that is out of the rotation, such as after hitting the D20 I hit the D5, I now must hit double targets in that numerical rotation, skipping every other number. Example: Shooter hits D20=5, D12=10, D14=20, D11=0, D16=5, D19=10, D3=0, D2=5. If a double is hit behind the number being thrown or more than one number ahead, the following occurs; a double behind simply results in that double being equal to zero and the start of the rotation. Example: Shooter throws a D16, D19, then throws a D7, the rotation will begin on that number and no score is earned. If the shooter throws ahead, the shooter must return to the number that began the rotation. Example: D16=0, D19=5, then throws a D2, play returns to the D16 with the shooters next dart. The shooter will earn 5 points by hitting the 16 mark and will, of course move on. When the shooter completes the double rotation, either at 18 or 1, the triples will come into play starting with the T20. The first shooter to complete both rotations ends the game, however, the player or team with the highest score wins.


Here's a routine that was sent to me by Amanda:

"Start with 41. And try to double out with three darts. Single 1, Double 20 It's not really focused on any specific out, and I say that meaning, if you go for the one and screw up and hit an eighteen or twenty, you still have your two darts to take it out from that point. Ex: Single 18, Single 3, Double 10 If you hit your out you advance ten. Ex: If you hit 41 you are now throwing three darts to take out 51. If you miss your out, you lose one point. Ex: You miss 41, you are now throwing at 40. Anyway you continue going to see how high you can go! Playing by yourself or rotating turns with others. Ex: One person shoots 41 and takes it out, the next goes for 51."


Here's a routine that was sent to me by Kathy Watkins

Read your practice routines...have one to add. It's alot like Amanda's, but I start at 50. I just like to know that if I get to 50 I can get out. I usually take the 18 D16 as my first choice, but I try all variations, taking it out with 1, 2, and 3 darts.

I also do the around the clock routine, but go singles, doubles, then triples. Once I've been doing this for a few months, I don't stop until I end with 2 double bulls.


Here's some routines you can do with a deck of cards that was sent to me by Kevin V. -

"I have a practice routine I use for '01 games I wanted to submit. basically it's pretty easy and can be done with any number of players you want to use as a cash game too.

I take a deck of cards down to the bar and shuffle them really well. I draw 1 card at a time, then shoot at the double of the number drawn. I can either stay with it until I hit it, or throw each into a pile of one's I hit and a pile of one's I missed ... working on them accordingly. The best thing is this covers all the numbers other than the cricket numbers because Aces can be a 1 or a 14.

There are also a million ways this can be modified, for instance I can use the hit / miss, or keep-with-it methods above ... I can play with 6 or 7 other people by handing out 5 cards to each of us at $2.00 each, and force a 'last-card' call with a penalty, this buys somebody's beers for a while ... I can set the red cards as the triples and the black cards as the doubles and get extra practice on those too ... and I can even set up a 'set' of cards that will give me an exact count of 101, 201, 301, 401 ... all the way up to 1001 by the values of the cards and try to take out the game EXACTLY as I would love to in a league game - dart for dart ...

I can usually find a set of cards 2/$1.00 in my area too, so I can pass out decks to all my players for less than $5.00 and be a good Captain."


Here's a couple of routines that were sent to me by Mark Massa -

Cricket routine
As everyone knows, hitting the triples and bullseyes is paramount in winning. You start at the 20s. You throw at the trip 20 until you hit 3 triples in two consecutive turns. Once this has been done you throw at the bullseyes until you put three darts in the bull in one turn. Then you throw at the 19s until you hit 3 triples in two consecutive turns. Then on to bulls where you need 3 in the bulls before you can move on to 18s. You do this until all Cricket numbers are completed. This can be modified to any persons skill level i.e. try to hit a five count on each Cricket number and only hit 2 bulls in between the Cricket numbers. This routine should only take a hour as not to bore or frustrate a darter too much.

501 Doubles
Start at double 1 and throw at it until you put two darts in the bed in one turn. Then go to double 2 and so on until you have gone around the board including bullseyes.


Here's a couple of routines that were sent to me by John Blosser -

'01 double out practice: I start at 60, if I take it out, I add 10 to my score, and try to take 70 out. If I miss, I subtract 1 from my score (e.g. make 60, go to 70. Miss 70, go to 69. Miss 69, go to 68. Make 68, go to 78, etc.). It's a good way to practice your outs, you get a good variety of numbers.

'01 practice: I alternate going first or second against an opponent who scores a set number of points each time (he's very consistent). When he gets to where his set number is less than what he has left (i.e. it's time to double out), I always have him take two turns to get out. For instance, if I have him shooting 50 each time, he will get to 1 left (I ignore the fact that this can't really happen). When he's at 1 left, he gets out the 2nd time, not the first. Also, If we're playing double-in instead of straight-in, my opponent gets in on his second try. I usually start my opponent at 45 points/turn, and by the end of the evening he's to 65 or 70, in increments of 5, till he beats me 2 out of 3.

For cricket, I do the same as one of your readers already stated, my opponent hits a set number of marks/round. I score it so that he doesn't "point monger" me, he hits only what is needed to get ahead.

To make all of these tougher, I usually do my practicing on a Champion's Choice board, I heartily recommend it for anyone who is serious about improving their game. There's nothing quite like nailing a 180 on this board!


Here's a routine that was sent to me by Brad Petrie -
"I have a practice routine I use for myself just to check out how I'm averaging for *01 games... I throw 3 darts for 10 turns and then add up the score and divide it by 10 to get the average. I repeat this step 2 more times so I have thrown in total for 30 turns and check every 10 turns to add up the separate 3 scores. After I have the 3 scores I add them up and divide by 3 to get the overall average. If your averaging over 60 your doing very well!"


Here's a routine that was sent to me by Carl and Sharon Dingwell -
"Write numbers on pieces of cardboard or paper then cut each number out and put them in a container. Draw a number and try to double out in three darts. For example, if I draw the number 55 I would shoot 9,14,D16. Very good practice for doubling out."


Here's some routines that was sent to me by Garry Simmonds

  1. "I use to practice 2 ways years ago, One way was to nominate a certain number of darts (30) to finish a game of 501 in which ever came first 30 darts or I pegged out before I had use my 30 darts and as I got better and better I would lower the number of dart that I could use..."
  2. "The second way I would practice was to make a video tape of winning games of darts that I taped of the TV and then I would play John Lowe, Eric Bristow and so on and these guys were the best in the world about 16 years ago. Mind you I didn't win many but I did win a few as these guys were throwing about a 33 average per dart in those days..."


Here's a practice routine that was sent to me by Mark Lacombe:
"I have a great practice routine for cricket, it helped me earn 8 Southern Illinois Dart Association cricket doubles titles. This is a practice that you can do as a doubles team or as singles. You throw as if you are playing someone else 20's to start. Say you hit 2 twenties, the ghost gets 3 marks on his next turn, now you've got to be honest with yourself, if you were in the ghost's shoes what you would shoot next, otherwise you would only be cheating yourself. The ghost gets 3 marks every turn and you have to beat him. It's tougher than you think, you must consistently average 3.0 marks per round to win. I rarely ever won this practice but it sure helped my game. I know of a player who did 4 marks per round, he said he has only won once but he was considered the finest and most deadliest cricket player in the state of Missouri. You are only going to get better by playing better competition."

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