When played casually, a game of darts with some friends can be an excellent way to relax and unwind after a long day. On the professional level, darts is an exhilarating sport that tests a player’s skills in the game – from the accuracy of their throws to their strategic thinking.
Moreover, although playing darts isn’t as physically strenuous as other sports, there’s still a fair amount of movement involved. After all, players will need to walk to and from the dartboard to retrieve their darts after their turns.
This can make you wonder, “just how far do darts players walk in a match?” If so, continue reading to learn more about the answer.
How Far Do Darts Players Walk in a Match?
As mentioned, players can actually get plenty of movement when playing in darts tournaments since they need to walk to and from the dartboard to retrieve their darts after their turns. So, how far do they walk?
Overall, you can expect players to walk as far as 1,612 feet or around 0.49 kilometers or 0.31 miles for every match in most darts tournaments held by the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC).
In some types of tournaments, you can even expect them to walk as far as 7,520 feet, which is approximately 2.29 kilometers or 1.42 miles, for the entire tournament.
However, the total distance will still depend on several factors, such as the tournament’s format, number of turns per game, and the distance of the player from the dartboard.
Moreover, aside from these, you should note that these numbers only account for the time darts players go to and from the dartboard. This means that these figures don’t account for all the other times that darts players walk during matches.
In fact, some have claimed that darts players can cover a distance of up to 24.1 kilometers or 15 miles in a single tournament.
A Breakdown of Darts Matches: Scoring Systems and Number of Turns
So, to better understand how far darts players can walk in a match, let’s first discuss the breakdown of darts matches. In this case, darts tournaments tend to use two distinct formats for determining winners: the best-of and sets.
This is vital since, depending on the format used, the specific number of turns players need per match will vary as well. With that said, check out both formats below.
Most tournaments held by the PDC are played using the guidelines of the famous 501 game, with each match divided into several legs, played in a “Best-of” style. In this case, many matches use the basis “Best of 11 Legs” to determine the winner.
This means the first team or player to win six out of the eleven legs is declared the winner of the match. With that said, to win a leg, players must take turns throwing three darts each, with the first player to double-out or reach a score of zero from 501 is considered the winner.
Of course, there is no definite number of turns for each player since they need to reach zero before the other player does. However, you can expect an average player to finish one leg with around 30 to 50 darts, which is around 10 to 17 turns per game.
Alternatively, for more competitive players, you can expect them to finish a single game with only 15 to 18 darts, approximately 5 to 6 turns in one game. Of course, others have even achieved the perfect nine-dart finish, wherein the winner finishes the game with just nine darts or in 3 turns.
Considering all that, if you’re playing in a match using the format “best of 11 legs,” you can expect to win the match in around 18 to 102 turns for six legs, depending on how competitive you are and how quickly you can finish a game.
With that said, since players need to retrieve their darts after their turns, you can expect them to go back and forth from the dartboard around 36 to 204 times during the entire tournament.
In some tournaments, like the World Grand Prix and PDC World Championship, the format used is a little different. Instead of using the “best of 11 legs” to determine the winner, matches are divided into several sets.
In such cases, players need to win one set first in a “best of five” setting, which means they need to win three games out of five. After this, the sets increase until the championship match, which follows a “best of 13” format.
This can result in as many as 476 turns for the entire tournament, which means going back and forth to the dartboard as frequently as 952 times.
Official Dartboard Distance: How Far Do Dartboards Need to Be?
Of course, aside from the number of turns players need for each match, another factor that affects the cumulative distance they walk during tournaments and matches is the distance of the dartboard from the player.
As mentioned, players need to retrieve their darts after their turns, and once the scores have been recorded, so this means they need to cross the distance between the throwing line or “oche” and the dartboard to do so. Aside from this, they will also need to cross that same distance to return to the oche.
With that said, officially, the dartboard must be placed at a distance of 7 feet 9 ¼ inches from the player’s throwing line when using steel-tipped darts. In contrast, a player needs to be at a distance of 8 feet from the dartboard when using soft-tipped darts.
These measurements allow players to keep a safe distance from the board, especially since a game of darts can be dangerous. After all, the darts can bounce out of the board, allowing them to be far away enough to avoid any stray darts.
Considering these measurements, players will need to cross around 15.8 feet to 16 feet whenever they retrieve their darts then return to their place at the throwing line.
So, combining that with the average number of turns needed per game, they can cover a distance of up to 1,612 feet in a single “best-of-11” match or around 7,520 feet when it comes to tournaments using a set system.
Darts As a Form of Exercise: Is It Possible?
We’ve all heard how exercise is critical to maintaining our health and wellbeing. After all, ensuring you have enough exercise can do wonders both for your physical and mental health.
Of course, this doesn’t mean engaging in full-body workouts every time; walking can be an excellent way to get some exercise as well. In fact, some studies have shown that walking for at least half an hour every day can significantly improve your health.
For example, it can improve your circulation, reduce the risks of heart diseases, strengthen your bones, lower your body fat, enhance your endurance, among many others.
With that said, considering now just how much walking darts players actually engage in during matches, can playing darts be considered as a form of exercise?
Simply put, yes, darts can actually be an excellent way to get that much-needed physical movement. In fact, it can be a fun and budget-friendly way to get some physical activity. After all, in darts, all the equipment you need would be some darts and a dartboard.
In contrast, in other sports, you’ll need other equipment to play more effectively, along with the proper attire. Plus, you can ask your friends and family to join in to make the activity more enjoyable for all.
Moreover, aside from all that, you don’t even have to participate in tournaments or official matches just to benefit from playing darts. In this case, even just practicing darts at home can help you get a bit of exercise as well.
In fact, some have stated that you can cover as much ground as 1.85 kilometers or 1.15 miles practicing in a single hour. So, it’s highly recommended that you wear comfortable shoes to ensure your feet don’t become sore from all that walking.
However, before you switch out your workout routine with darts, you should also note that the CDC recommends taking at least 10,000 steps per day or around 5 miles or 8 kilometers. Taking fewer than 5,000 steps per day is considered sedentary by most doctors.
So, while going back and forth from the dartboard to retrieve your darts can help you become more active, it’s not really a replacement for other types of exercises. Nevertheless, it can be an excellent place to start, especially if you’re really not that active on a regular basis.
Darts vs. Other Sports: How Darts Compare to Other Sports
So, it has been established that playing darts can be an excellent way to get some exercise. However, how does it do against other, more physically demanding sports? Moreover, what about similar types of sports?
With that said, check out some of the typical distances athletes cover in various other sports below.
It’s no secret that there’s a lot of running involved when one plays basketball, with every team running back and forth on the court to score the most points. However, how much distance do basketball players cover in a single game?
In this case, on average, a basketball player can cover as much as 4 kilometers or 2.5 miles in a single NBA game.
In contrast, an average NFL player can cover as much as 2 kilometers or 1.25 miles per game. In this case, the players that do the most running are the cornerbacks and wide receivers.
Aside from the previous two, tennis involves a lot of running and walking as well, with most players covering around 5 kilometers or 3 miles during a single tennis match.
Surprisingly enough, despite the vasts field baseball players use, most of them only cover around 0.603 kilometers or 0.375 miles in a single game. In fact, a baseball player would need to hit approximately 15 home runs just to cover a 1 mile or 1.6 kilometers.
On the other hand, soccer players cover a lot of ground compared to other sports, with most players covering an average of 11.27 kilometers or 7 miles in a single soccer match.
Similar to tennis, badminton players tend to do a lot of running in a single game. Still, surprisingly enough, many badminton players cover as much as 6.4 kilometers or 3.98 miles in a single game, which is slightly higher than the amount of ground covered in tennis.
Like darts, disc golf is a throwing sport, wherein darts are substituted with plastic discs. However, despite their similarities, disc golf players tend to do more walking than darts as well. In this case, most disc golf players cover around 1.6 kilometers or 1 mile for every round.
As an indoor sport, bowling can be a fun game to play with friends and family, similar to darts. Of course, bowling tournaments can also entail a high level of competition as well, making it more exciting.
Aside from this, most players can expect to cover around 0.6 miles or 0.96 kilometers in a three-game series.
With all that said, it can be surprising to know that darts matches involve a fair amount of physical activity, with players covering as much as 1,612 feet in a single game in most tournaments or 7,520 feet in others.
Of course, while these distances may not be as vast a distance as in other sports, playing darts can still be an excellent place to start if you’re looking for a fun way to become more active.
In fact, aside from being a good form of exercise, playing darts also offers numerous other benefits, including better hand-eye coordination, improved agility, enhanced cognitive function, among many others.
In addition, it can also be an excellent way to unwind and relax, as well as spend some quality time with your loved ones.