How Far are Darts Thrown From?

When you’re hanging your dartboard you’ll want to make sure that you’ve got a room with enough distance to be throwing your darts in – you don’t want to be trying to throw darts around a corner or in a cramped room!

The first time I hung a dartboard and measured the throwing distance I was actually quite surprised at how far it felt. It certainly made things more challenging than when we played down the pub and didn’t know how far away to stand!

How far are darts thrown from?

Darts should be thrown from behind the Oche (throwing line). The distance from the back of the Oche to the face of the dartboard is 2.37m (237cm or 7 feet and 9.3 inches)

The distances above are taken from the Darts Regulation Authority (DRA) rule book (2019 edition) and I’ve converted into a couple of measurements to keep it easy for you.

How far does a women stand from a dartboard?

In official tournaments and across most leagues, men and women throw from the same distance.

The rules don’t stipulate a difference in throwing distance. I assume that this is because darts is more a game of skill and technique than raw power, as such there doesn’t need to be any adjustment in distance.

Having said that, some local leagues do reduce the distance that women throw. It’s not uncommon to see distances down to 7 feet used.

The same goes for children playing darts, there is nothing in the DRA rules about reducing the height of the dartboard or the distance to the Oche, however most games I’ve seen where juniors play has a lower hung dartboard so that the board is at a similar height relative to the junior players as it is for the adults.

Typically I wouldn’t recommend reducing the distance that you’re throwing below the DRA regulations, I can see two negatives which could affect your gameplay:

1 – If you’re used to throwing shorter distances from practice and then enter a tournament and have to throw full distance, it can really throw your technique off. I’ve seen a couple of good players struggle to adjust to distance changes because you get used to what you practice with.

2 – Dart bounce backs. Whilst you would have to be very unlucky to get such a big bounce back, every player has seen some nasty bounce backs, often they don’t come back straight either. You wouldn’t want to put yourself or anyone else in danger by standing too close to the board.

Can you lean over the line (Oche)?

There’s nothing to stop you leaning over the Oche to try and squeeze a little bit of a shorter throw out if you have long legs or arms!

There is one rule you should be aware of though

“5.7.3 – During a player’s throw, no player shall tread on any part of the raised Oche nor shall the player deliver any dart whilst their feet are in a position other than grounded on the floor behind the toe edge of the raised Oche. Where this section is breached the score from the thrown dart will not count towards the score”

So just make sure, if you are going to try and get a bit of a distance advantage that your feet stay grounded and that you don’t step on the Oche and risk having your dart discounted.

Why is the throw line called an Oche?

The short answer – nobody knows!

When I first heard the word, I thought I had mis-heard. I’ve tried to do a little bit of research and there seems to be a number of theories flying around, however I’m not particularly taken with any of them.

One theory goes that there was a brewery in the west country of the UK called S. Hockey and Sons who had crates which were just the right distance to measure out the Oche.

Oche is pronounced the same way as Hockey, but without the ‘h’ and hence there is the link. The theory goes that someone along the lines of communication misheard the word hockey and over time we’ve ended up with the word Oche as a replacement.

Whilst I do enjoy the theory, I can’t find any evidence to back it up! If anyone happens to know the origins of the word and has evidence to prove it, I would love to hear!

What should you put behind a dartboard?

If you’ve just got your dartboard, hung it on the wall, measured out the distance to the board and thrown your first ever three dart throw, you’ve probably seen the problem.

If it’s your first time throwing there’s a good chance that one of your darts landed in your back wall and has left a nice little hole!

So what should you put behind a dartboard?

There are typically two routes people take, the DIY option or the pre-made option. Whatever you pick the main thing to consider is how thick you need the material to be.

In my opinion the safest thickness of material is at least 1 inch of dense foam. The foam will catch your dart and if the foam is nice and thick it will stop your dart going all the way through and hitting your wall.

If you’re going for the DIY route then make sure you pick a dense foam, and you may need to rotate your foam around if you notice that you end up striking the wall protection in a similar location each time, you don’t want the wall protection to wear away and a stray dart still get to your wall.

A dartboard wall mount can be an expensive option if you’re good with your hands, however, for most of us, it’s saved a lot of cost in wall repairs, so well worth picking a wall protector which gives you coverage of a big area and will last you.

I have this octagonal wall protector which I got from Amazon, whilst a little pricey for some  people, it’s been a life saver on a number of occasions. I’m also really glad that I got a larger size rather than one of the smaller ones as occasionally I still let a very loose dart out of my hand!

Octagonal Wall Protector

This wall protector will give you a big area of coverage, making sure that you don’t accidentally end up with holes in your wall from any stray darts!