When it comes to getting better at darts one of the most important factors that many people use is their darts average. A common trait among the best professional dart players is that their dart averages are similar depending on the level they play at.
The top 50 players in the world have a 3-dart average ranging from 90-100 whereas players on the verge of turning professional have a 3-dart average around the 70 mark. It’s worth noting that you shouldn’t place too much emphasis on your dart average as this can sometimes detract from the most important part of darts…
Hitting a double and winning a match!
As dart averages do provide a good indication of a players competitive standard, and ultimately how good they are at darts, improving your darts average is a key indicator that you are in fact getting better at the game of darts.
That’s easier said than done though, so below, we’ll show you how to improve darts averages so that you can go from a basic beginner to a competitive player.
How to Improve Darts Average
Improving your darts average means you need to follow steps that allow you to get better at darts in general. A darts average shows how highly a player can score but also how quickly they can checkout. If you’re a 100+ machine but then spend 20 darts trying to hit the double, your average will be dragged down as a result.
A steady player that can score well (nothing spectacular) and check out a double under pressure is usually someone you don’t want to play against, regardless of a dart average. Therefore, to improve your darts average and get better at darts, you need to take the following steps:
- Calculate your darts average
- Practice grouping darts and scoring highly
- Hitting doubles in as few darts as possible
Besides the first step, the following two are much harder to implement so we’ll go through them in more detail now.
1. Calculate your Darts Average
Before Improving a darts average, you need to know how to calculate your current average – otherwise how would you know whether or not you’re getting better?
There are two dart averages that are beneficial to know, a 1-dart average and a 3-dart average. As you get 3-darts per throw, both of these will indicate a similar standard and for the best reference point most players will look at their 3-dart average as this is what the pros use.
To calculate a 1-dart and 3-dart average you can use the following formula:
- 1-dart average = 501/number of darts in a leg
- To calculate a 3-dart average, multiply your 1-dart average by 3.
Example (using a 21 dart leg):
1-dart average = 501/21 = 23.85
3-dart average = 23.85 x 3 = 71.57
We have a full guide on how to calculate dart averages, though, for any American readers that primarily play cricket, you’ll instead want to calculate your MPR and PPD instead of the averages mentioned in this article.
2. Practice Grouping Darts
One key to achieving a high darts average comes from scoring. In order to register a good darts average, you need to be able to get from 501 to a checkout in as few darts as possible.
This means scoring highly on every throw is essential if you want to get and maintain a good dart average. Players that are heavy scorers are often very intimidating to play against because you feel the pressure to hit trebles in order to just keep up with them.
On the flip side, if you’re a heavy points scorer then you’re more confident about getting down to a checkout quickly and this can minimize some of the pressure you feel on each leg. The ability to score heavily though comes from having a consistent throw. Being able to group darts is a sign that a player is both accurate and capable of scoring.
This is because a first dart hitting a treble is more likely to be followed up with another treble. The main thing that stops beginners from being a better thrower is that their focus is on hitting a treble 20 rather than developing a consistent throw.
Darts is a game of repetition, if you keep throwing at the same number you’ll eventually get good at hitting it but this won’t make you a strong scorer.
To score highly you need to be able to group darts. This means that if you block the treble 20, you need a cover shot to be followed up with two accurate darts and this can’t be done if your practice routine is essentially throwing at a treble 20!
To improve this, you need to pick spots on the dartboard (which can be the treble 20) and try to throw all three darts the same. This involves building up a technique and consistent throw rather than just trying to hit numbers.
One thing that you could make use of is a set of darts practice rings. Placing these around high-scoring numbers like the treble 20 and treble 19 for cover shots will help you group your darts better during game situations.
You can also pin a piece of paper to the board covering numbers. This will help you throw your darts as a group without being distracted by trying to hit specific trebles. Grouping darts means they land closely together (within a few millimeters) rather than being spaced out around a number.
Anyone can practice on one number and get better at hitting that number but to get better at darts and improve your average, you need to be able to group darts and throw each dart with the same motion and consistency as the previous dart and this is something players should look to practice.
It can be boring throwing at practice rings or a piece of paper but this helps you become more accurate.
3. Practice Doubles
It’s common for players to become good scorers, you can get into a rhythm and a few steady 100+ scores can quickly inflate a 3-dart average. Once you get down to a finish though, this is where you see the difference between a decent dart player and a top-level one.
To maintain a high dart average, you need to be able to hit a double within a single throw. In competition, if you get a throw at a double and miss, it will usually cost you the leg. Poor finishing always quickly brings an average down and can easily be the difference between a pub player or someone wanting to become a professional dart player.
The best players only need a single dart to hit a double. Obviously, even the Pro players miss doubles but when a player gets a shot at a double, they need to be able to hit it. To translate this to a casual player, you need to be able to hit a double within three darts on your throw, sometimes you’ll only get a dart or two at a double but a standard for competitive play is to check out a single double within three darts.
This translates to both winning games and also improving your darts average. For each dart missed at a double, your average drops by 5-15 points for players checking out in under 30 dart legs and drops by 1-3 for players checking out in 30+ dart legs.
To rectify this, you’ll need to get comfortable practicing and finishing doubles. There are two parts to this:
- Hitting the double
- Finishing a checkout
Being able to hit any double on the board is preferential but people should get particular practice with high percentage shots. Double 20, 18, and 16 all leave you with a second dart opportunity should you miss the double and hit the single so leaving yourself on one of these numbers and practicing them often improves your percentage chance of hitting a finish.
To demonstrate, if you throw for double 20, miss, and land in the single then your next dart can be thrown at the double 10 meaning a finish is still possible. If you instead leave yourself on 38 (double 19), miss, and land in the single then you’re left on an odd number with no follow-up checkout. This means you’ll need to throw an additional dart to leave yourself another outshot.
As mentioned, with each additional dart thrown your average will decrease, and your chance of losing the leg or game increases. Therefore, holding your nerve in a game situation will come down to being confident in hitting doubles. A good doubles practice routine is 420 darts or for a more casual doubles game you can try Bob’s 27 darts which is a little more challenging.
The second point is knowing your checkouts. Players with a good average are able to hit 2 and 3 dart checkouts. To do this you need to know your outshots and play to your strengths. If you’re left with 101 you can have a 2 dart checkout with treble 17 and bullseye but if you’re not confident on either number you can alternatively use three darts and hit treble 20, single 1, and finish on double 20.
You don’t need to be good at math to know outshots, just memorize some that you constantly find yourself landing on and start practice with a 2 dart checkout whilst working your way up from 41-110.
A darts average doesn’t make a good dart player, it’s just a statistic and shouldn’t be a player’s primary focus – or even secondary focus to be honest. With that said, a darts average is a good indicator of a player’s current ability. Even in practice with no pressure, it can show how you currently throw and what level you could potentially play at (based on your current average).
For a guide on this, check out our article on good dart averages.
While you should focus on a darts average, trying to improve it will ultimately improve your game. The best way to improve a darts average is to consistently score more by grouping your darts and by reducing the number of throws it takes you to hit a double and checkout.
The second point is where many people struggle, so getting better at finishing doubles is arguably the best way that as a player you can improve your darts average.