If you’re reading this then the following scenario is something that you can likely relate to:
- You aim at the 20 section (presumably treble 20)
- You throw for the 20
- Your dart goes left and you hit 5 (or treble 5)
You’re likely amazed by how frequently this happens but I bet most are more frustrated than interested. No matter how much you practice, you can’t stay consistent on the 20 and find that a dart (or more) goes left each throw.
If 30, 45, 85, or 15 is a score you find yourself frequently putting in the scoreboard then read on. I’ll cover why your darts keep going left and also how to fix it and hit more 100+ scores.
Why Do Your Darts Keep Going Left?
Darts going left and hitting the 5 is a common problem for many right-handed throwers. This is usually caused by players not being aligned centrally to the board and throwing across their bodies. The most common reason for darts going left is players not having a square stance (they have a twisted torso facing more to the left) and also having elbow movement during the release.
There are a number of throwing errors or outcomes that plague most dart players and a dart going to the left is definitely one of them.
Usually, this is caused by body and arm positioning affecting the dart follow through. A perfect throwing mechanic is to have your arm and dart aiming in a straight line at the target number. During the throw, your forearm should be the only moving part.
If people frequently find their dart does go left, the most common reason is that they have moving body parts during the throw with the key culprits being the elbow and shoulders.
Think about your throw – or better yet film it – as it’s likely the issue is in unnecessary body movement. Look at this videos below showing how the professional players throw:
You can see movement is non-existent except for the forearm. Amateur players will drop or move their elbow on release, start reaching for the next dart before they’ve finished releasing the dart they’re throwing, and even jerk forward with the throwing arms shoulder to generate more power.
All these factors impact how straight you release the dart and result in darts going fractionally to the left which can be the difference between scoring 45 or 180!
How to Stop Your Darts from Going Left
There isn’t one specific fix to stop darts from going to the left or frequently hitting the 5s. The reason for this is that people will be struggling with this for different reasons so, in order to stop this and become more consistent on the 20s, you’ll want to test a few different solutions.
1. Find Your Dominant Eye
Firstly, it’s important to find your dominant eye when aiming in darts. This is essential for throwing where you’re aiming.
Does that sound confusing?
To clarify, where you think you’re aiming vs where you’re actually aiming could be two very different things and the reason for this is that you might not be aiming with your dominant eye.
Most people have a dominant eye which is used for depth perception, distance calculation, and aim. If you’re left eye dominant but hold your dart in front of your right eye when aiming, your actual throw will be misjudged.
How to Find Your Dominant Eye
To find your dominant eye, do the following test:
Create a diamond with your fingers and thumbs like in the image below.
Now hold it up in front of you and focus through the diamond-shaped hole you’ve created on a fixed object 5ft – 10ft away. In this example, I’m focusing on the bullseye on the dartboard.
Now, hold your gaze on the fixed point through the hole in your fingers and only focus on the object. In this example, I am only focusing on the bullseye. Taking turns, you will hold your hands steady and close one eye starting with your left eye.
Has the bullseye (or whatever object you’re looking at) stayed in focus?
Now keep your hands in the same position and close your right eye whilst keeping the left eye open.
Has the bullseye (or whatever object you’re looking at) stayed in focus?
What you will likely find is that when closing eyes, one eye, in particular, will keep the object in sight through the hole in your fingers whereas closing another eye has likely moved it out of focus completely.
The eye that keeps the object in view through your diamond-shaped hole is your dominant eye and this is the eye that you should be aiming your darts with.
When I do this test and close my left eye, the object stays in view because I’m right eye dominant but when I close my right eye, the focus through my fingers moves an entire 2 feet to the right. The bullseye is no longer even in view.
Once you’ve found your dominant eye, try aiming and lining the dart up with this eye to see if that improves your aim and straightness of the throw.
This is a key tip and one of the first points we cover in our beginner guide on how to get better at darts.
2. Maintain a Straight Follow Through
The dart release is incredibly important for ensuring the dart goes where you aim. As shown in the video earlier, pro players have an incredibly straight release and follow through when throwing a dart which means that as long as the dart was lined up with the target number in the first place (more on that next) the greater the chance that it will hit the target.
Therefore, to prevent your dart from going left you need to ensure your throw is straight.
3. Position Yourself Centrally to the Dartboard
Similar to utilizing your dominant eye to aim, many players don’t position themselves centrally to the dartboard. Some people have individual preferences like standing slightly to the right or left of the oche when throwing and often, this preference results in a wayward throw.
Try to position yourself centrally so that your throwing arm is in line with the centre of the dartboard. To prove how essential this is, just consider the Winmau Sight Right
This is an innovative product that allows dart players to stand centrally to the dartboard by following a specific line of sight. If you see a straight line on the throw line, you’re standing centrally. This sounds simple and obvious but the reviews alone demonstrate that when people think they are standing centrally, they are in fact standing off-center and therefore the aim will be off.
While you don’t need to buy a product to get central, it will help and is something you should definitely test if you’re a frequent 5 hitter.
4. Enure Your Torso Is Not Twisted
While you might be standing centrally to the dartboard, many players do not face the dartboard with their shoulders both squarely facing it. Most people angle their body with the throwing arm and shoulder taking the lead. This is fine provided your forearm is the only moving body part during a throw like we mentioned earlier.
Unfortunately, that’s not the case for most players.
Having a twisted torso means that while you think and feel like you’re lined up centrally to the board, you could in fact be slightly facing to the left. The reason players don’t pick up on this is that their head is facing straight and therefore the assumption is that you must be aiming straight.
Again, filming your throw would be best to see how your body is positioned during the release of a throw. If you are noticeably twisted then this could be causing your dart to go to one specific side. You’d therefore want to try and square yourself more towards the board or take a step to the right for your throw.
5. Keep Your Elbow Position Consistent
This usually cures (and causes) most throwing issues. The elbow has a huge impact on the follow-through of a dart and any adjustment to it usually results in a stray dart landing where you didn’t aim.
This is one of the reasons why many players struggle with their darts dropping too low and it can also be the cause of darts going to the left.
Your forearm, wrist, and ultimately the dart will go where your elbow is pointing. I’m generalizing this slightly but as the elbow joint is a fixed hinge (meaning it moves in one direction), provided your elbow points directly at the 20, your throw shouldn’t deviate from the target unless you move another body part like your shoulder.
By analyzing elbow position, you should be able to maintain a more consistent (and straight) throw. This will take a focused effort and will be difficult at first but if you stay strict with keeping your elbow facing the same direction then muscle memory over time will allow this to be the default when throwing.
This is how professional dart players become so consistent with their throw.
Darts going left and hitting the 5 is a major issue for many players. This is something that prevents most people from maintaining a good darts average and is difficult to fix if you don’t know what the main cause is.
For most players, body position, elbow position, aim, and body movement are all factors that could be leading to a throw going left and missing the intended target. To fix this, you should film your throw from the side and from the front to analyze a few things:
- Does your elbow move when throwing?
- Is your release straight?
- Do body parts move during the release – mainly your shoulders?
- Are you set up with your throw lined up straight or are you angled slightly?
- Have you found your dominant eye and do you aim with it?
All of these factors can have an impact on how straight your dart goes when throwing it and if you follow some of the troubleshooting methods outlined in this article, there’s a good chance that one (or a few) of them are the issue and need to be fixed.