Darts is a game of fine margins. As a beginner, you’re usually happy just to get three darts in the 20 segment with some consistency but once you improve you’ll find it frustrating when you miss a dart by a few millimeters.
There are countless times where I’ll have two darts in the treble 20 and follow it up with… a treble 5!
Well, a more frustrating thing for many players is that you keep missing numbers the same way, which is when your darts keep dropping low and falling short of the target.
This is an incredibly common issue even for experienced players so read on and I’ll cover why this happens and more importantly, how to prevent it.
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Why Do Your Darts Keep Dropping Low
Darts will usually drop low due to incorrectly timing the release during a throw. The most common cause of this is that your elbow drops low during the release which lowers the trajectory of the dart or you over-extend to generate more power and lower the trajectory causing the dart to drop low.
It’s easy to get frustrated with darts dropping low when your scoring during a game as it can cost you vital points but what’s a bigger issue is that your darts will fall short on a double and cost you countless games as a result – especially with the added pressure that comes with needing to checkout to win!
While your technique is arguably the main reason why your darts keep dropping too low during a throw, there are a few factors that you should be aware of because any of these could be causing darts to fall short of the target.
1) Darts are Too Heavy
The first thing to consider is your equipment and one of the main causes for darts dropping too low is because the darts could be too heavy. In terms of dart weights, a common weight used is between 21g – 24g (even by the pros) but darts can be manufactured up to a weight of 50g.
There are very few people using darts that get anywhere close to this weight, however, once you start to use to weights that are 30g and above you’d need to have an equally forceful throw to ensure the dart doesn’t drop on its trajectory.
If your dart is under 25g in terms of weight then it’s unlikely weight is the issue but once you go over 25g, and in particular 30g, it might be worth considering that this could be too heavy.
Alternatively, the issue could be that the weight of your dart isn’t properly balanced. If the dart is front-loaded but you are using a short shaft combined with a slim, kite, or pear-shaped flight then the issue could be that the dart is dropping down too quickly on the trajectory.
Testing a longer shaft with a standard flight could help determine whether this is the issue.
2) Darts are Too Light
Surprisingly, while thinking that darts being too heavy could be the reason why your darts are dropping too low, one of the key reasons could actually be that your darts are too light.
The reason for this is that a lighter dart requires more force when throwing it, both to hit the number you are aiming for but also to stay in the board.
This means that where most good dart players have a smooth release with their elbow being the only moving joint and the forearm being the only moving part, with a dart that is too light you instead start to use your upper arm and shoulder in order to force a bit more power with the throw.
This leads to players either overextending on the throw which will cause the dart to drop a player jerking forward with their upper body which will cause a loss of accuracy and also a dart to drop low.
3) Elbow Is Dropping During a Throw
By far the biggest reason why darts are dropping too low for most players is that they allow their elbow to drop during a dart release.
The mechanics of a great dart throw involve minimizing the number of moving body parts. For a perfect release, the elbow should remain in the same position and act as a hinge, the forearm should be the only moving body part during a throw.
When releasing a dart, the trajectory will go in line with your arm and if your elbow drops during a release, your forearm/wrist/hand will all follow suit and this means when releasing the dart it could be dropping a few inches without you even realizing.
To demonstrate how important the elbow is during a release, check out the video below:
How to Stop Darts from Dropping Too Low
Once you know what could be causing your darts to drop too low during a throw, it becomes much easier to troubleshoot the problem. The first step should be to analyze your equipment and make sure they are not the issue.
As mentioned above, if you are using darts that are too heavy or equally too light then this could be the first thing that you should check. Even if you are using darts that are a fairly average or typical weight, the balance of the dart could be off and this could be causing the dart to dip low or may be causing you to alter your throwing technique.
Some things to identify include:
- Dart dropping quickly with tip pointing down – the dart could be front-loaded and may need a longer shaft and larger flight to balance the weight out.
- Dart dropping with the tip pointing up – the dart could be rear-weighted and in this instance, you may need to use a shorter, lighter shaft (nylon) combined with a lightweight slim flight.
- Test your throw with a different set of darts at a different weight. If the dart is still dropping low then the darts are unlikely to be the issue and it could be your throwing technique instead.
If you’re struggling to work out what dart weight to use, check out our comparison of light vs heavy darts.
The most effective way to prevent your dart from dropping too low is to make sure your elbow doesn’t drop during the release of the dart. Even a slight drop for the height of your elbow will simultaneously mean that that dart drops as well upon release.
This can be quite tricky to analyze so we recommend setting up your phone on record to watch your throwing motion and check how your elbow and arm in general moves throughout a throw. The best way to do this is to set up a camera with a side profile and then one from the front just to see if your elbow moves when releasing the dart.
If it does, there is a very strong chance this is causing the dart to drop and while it’s not an easy fix, you would then need to place a conscious effort on keeping your elbow as still as possible.
In the long run, this will only benefit your throw regardless of whether or not this is the issue but for 90% of the people experiencing a dart dropping, having your body parts moving during a release is usually the cause (especially your elbow dropping).
Having your darts drop low on a frequent basis can be a big frustration for many dart players, especially if you’re a beginner!
While it’s not easy to see why it’s happening, there are a few common reasons why it could be happening to you. Darts that are too heavy for your throw and dropping your elbow during the release of your throw are the primary reasons why most players see their darts drop low.
The quick fixes are to test different darts and to film your darts throw. Both can be tested with relative ease and fit most people one of these methods will quickly show where your issue lies.
If you think your darts are negatively impacting your performance then we’d recommend checking out our guide on how to choose darts next to see if your darts are well suited to you.