As a beginner, it is entirely normal to struggle with a few things in darts, including dart fishtailing. Fishtailing is when the darts become wobbly when thrown and start spinning uncontrollably towards the board. This is quite common for novices, and I know since I’ve struggled with it as well. So, how did I get over it? Let me tell you.
So, how do you stop your darts from fishtailing? There are several possible causes of fishtailing. However, this is primarily caused by unintentionally adding rotational energy as soon as it is thrown, causing it to spin. So, to prevent it from doing so, make sure that you follow the proper grip and take care of anything that may cause it to misfire, such as sweat or moisture.
Why Darts Fishtail
If you play darts, then you should be well aware that there are several standards you need to follow to throw a dart properly, such as having the correct stance, grip, dart choice, and throw technique.
Together with these, you should also know that mastery does not happen overnight. In fact, it will take a lot of practice to perform better.
With that said, most beginners, if not all, often experience darts fishtailing or wobbling. Of course, this can be incredibly frustrating. After all, not only does it prevent your dart from flying straight into the board, but it also causes it to bounce off in some cases.
In this case, wobbly darts or darts fishtailing are caused by several factors, including the following:
- Dart accelerates in a non-parabolic curve
- The flight system does not complement the aerodynamic standards
- Throw error
Ultimately, this is primarily because you may not have thrown your dart properly or had an incorrect stance. So, what happens then is that instead of flying straight forward, your dart will start to wobble midair.
In addition, it may also land on the board sideways, which messes up your aim and increases the chances of it bouncing off.
Why Your Darts Hit Sideways
Overall, darts hit sideways for two main reasons: not holding your dart in its correct center of gravity and not releasing your dart on time.
So, to know your center of gravity, you should be aware of the type of dart you are using, as these may differ in weight. Furthermore, this weight may be focused on one side of the dart.
With that said, here are the different types of darts:
Front Weighted Dart
A front weighted dart should be held towards the front before throwing as these darts have most of their weight at the front. So, holding this type of dart towards the back will increase the chances of dart fishtailing.
Rear Weighted Dart
In contrast to front weighted darts, rear weighted darts are heavier at the rear. Hence, it must be held towards the rear instead of the front. Moreover, holding it incorrectly will only cause it to land on the board while pointing downwards.
These have equal weight on both ends and are best for beginners since it’s easier to find the center of gravity with center-weighted darts.
However, that doesn’t mean that players who use these types of darts are unskilled. In fact, many professional darts players prefer to use these for convenience.
Hitting the Darts Straight
If you can’t seem to throw your darts straight into the board, the common reason is there must be something wrong with your posture, stance, or throwing motion. So, to fix that, let’s backtrack on the correct stance to throw darts better.
In general, you can try several stances, but it’s best to start with the one foot forward approach before you decide to experiment with other stances as a beginner. To do so, you must have one foot forward just behind the oche, keeping it parallel to the other foot.
Your leading foot, or the one at the front, should bear around 70% of your body weight during the throw. This is to keep your stance stable.
Next, adopt a slight lean to your stance, as this also adds up to your stability. By doing so, your body will naturally shift its weight to the front foot as soon as you throw, preventing you from losing your balance.
Finally, your grip on your dart should be as stable as it can be. Then, hold the dart with at least three fingers – the thumb at the bottom of the shaft and the pointer and ring fingers at the top. After this, take a deep breath and relax before making your throw.
For a more solid and straighter throw, make sure to put enough power into your throw and release as soon as the dart is aligned to your target.
Defining a Good Throw
So now that we know how to correct dart fishtailing, let’s proceed to another question – how do you know when you did a ‘good throw’?
To give you a clear visual, here are the elements of a good throwing motion:
- The throw is aligned to the target
- The grip is stable and moves in a straight or slightly curved trajectory
- The player uses only the forearm to throw and keeps the elbow in place
- Slow backstroke followed by a steadily accelerating throw
- The dart follows through
Typical Throw Errors in Darts
Of course, aside from darts fishtailing, there are many other problems you may encounter as a beginner in the sport. However, don’t worry too much because all of these can be corrected through practice.
With that said, here are some of the common throwing mistakes you may have experienced and what causes them:
- Dart suddenly flies high? This may be because of a release error called the ‘wrist flick.’
- Dart suddenly flies low? This may be caused by an ‘elbow drop’ during your throw.
- Dart spins as soon as it is released? Your grip must be either improper or unstable.
- Dart travels in different directions? A moving elbow also causes this.
- Dart travels opposite to your aim? You may be unconsciously adding Body English during your throw.
To know more about Darts Fishtailing, here is an exciting video about Wobbly Darts: