Darts is a very simple game and easy enough for most beginners to simply pick up and play. I’m not saying you’ll be particularly good when you start playing but it won’t take long before you’re able to throw darts at the dartboard with some level of accuracy.
Even as players get better at darts though, there are still some common issues that you might come across and one of them is your darts slipping during a throw.
How to stop darts from slipping? To stop darts from slipping you need to ensure your hands are free from moisture and can provide some friction, this is best achieved by using darts wax. You can also increase the grip rating of your dart by using specific components.
In this article, I’ll cover in more detail the steps you can take to stop darts from slipping which will, in turn, increase both your accuracy and scoring potential.
Why Do Darts Slip
I’m sure most players reading this have been in this situation. You’ve either hit some trebles and are going for a maximum or you’re aiming for a double to win the game, you line the dart up, make your usual release… and suffer the dart slipping on release, and end up falling a few inches below where you were aiming.
This is a relatively common occurrence in darts and it’s especially true for beginners playing in tournaments or league games where nerves will also have an influence.
There are two main reasons why darts tend to slip during play and they are:
- The dart is too smooth and doesn’t have a high grip rating
- Your hands are too wet (likely from sweat)
The first point won’t relate to as many people but something that is relatable is how you are holding the dart (more on that later). The second point however is one that many players can relate to and that is your hands being too wet – which is usually the result of sweating.
The less friction you have between your fingers and the dart, the more likely it is that your dart will slip.
How to Stop Darts From Slipping
Increasing friction between your fingers and the dart, increasing the number of contact points you have on the dart, and utilizing some dart-specific products can all be solutions to stopping your darts from slipping when throwing.
Below, I’ll cover the three main strategies that you can use in more detail.
1. Analyze Your Grip
The first thing to consider when you notice your darts tend to slip is your personal grip, meaning how you hold a dart.
People hold a dart differently, while there are recommendations for how to grip a dart, it’s similar to holding a pen in that everyone will hold it differently depending on what feels comfortable. For a grip, you should always try to do what feels natural but there may be occurrences where this is hindering your throw.
The more touchpoints you have with a dart – meaning how many different parts of your fingers/hand make contact with the dart – the harder it will be to release the dart. The fewer contact points you have (like holding it with just your index finger and thumb), the less stable your grip and the more likely it is that the dart will slip.
Therefore, there is a balancing act between holding the dart firmly to reduce the chance of the dart slipping but also not gripping it so tightly that you struggle to release the dart.
For a more visual guide on recommended ways to hold a dart more firmly, check out the video below:
2. Increase Darts Grip Rating
If you don’t think the way that you hold a dart is causing you an issue, then the second thing you need to consider is the dart itself. Most darts will have a grip rating or grip level (check out Red Dragon darts filter search for a good example – my darts are the Razor Edge for reference).
If you look at a level 2 grip, these darts will be a very smooth barrel with minimal knurling or edging meaning the darts won’t ‘stick’ to your fingers. For players struggling with slipping darts though, the last thing you want is to be playing with a smooth barrel that offers minimal grip in good playing conditions.
You can also customize your darts to increase the grip if needed. Knurled points and etched shafts offer additional grip and don’t mean you need to change your darts completely. The only point to note on this is that the effectiveness will depend entirely on where you hold the dart.
Increasing the grip rating is a very personal thing and something that will depend on how you hold a dart and also what your individual comfort levels are – especially if you prefer holding a smooth barrel over a more aggressive grip design.
This is usually an important decision when it comes to choosing a set of darts, however, most people don’t realize the importance of grip rating until they’ve already purchased a set.
My dart set up as an example has a rating of 5 out of 5 for grip. My dart point has a knurled section for improved grip, the barrel has angled etching towards the front which is quite an aggressive grip and despite not being a rear gripper, the shafts I use are also called “razor edge” due to the etching similar to the barrel.
If you have a relatively smooth barrel and don’t want to change dart sets, there is one final thing you can do to prevent darts from slipping when you throw.
3. Use Darts Wax
Darts wax is an incredibly popular (and cheap) darts accessory that is used by both amateur and professional players. Have you ever watched a live game and noticed players either licking their fingers before throwing or standing by the break table rubbing something that they’ve taken from the dart case?
Well, players will first lick their fingers before throwing to provide some friction between the dart and their fingers. Not only will sweaty hands result in darts slipping but so will hands that are too smooth and dry.
The second point is one that is more relevant and that is when players appear to rub some mystery item between throws. This item is a product known as Darts Wax. Darts wax is a small, molded piece of wax that players rub between their fingers to get a small layer of wax on the surface of their skin.
This is a very minimal amount and is used to provide better grip and contact between your skin and the dart. It essentially increases friction on contact points which in turn provides a better grip. As this wax is so inexpensive, it can be a cheap and effective solution to preventing your darts from slipping when playing.
You don’t need to apply it excessively or during each throw but using it during games when needed (you’ll usually know when you need to apply it) can help to improve your grip and reduce the chance of darts slipping during a throw.
Even if you are skeptical, it’s worth keeping some darts wax in your darts case just on the off chance that you actually do need it or want to test it out. Darts wax is a fairly basic product but if you want to purchase some, I’d recommend checking out:
Darts slipping during a throw can be an incredibly frustrating issue and for some people, it can even be a common occurrence that is really affecting your scoring, darts averages, and even your confidence going into games.
Therefore, finding ways to stop darts slipping is an important factor for most players, regardless of your playing level or ability.
To summarise, there are three things that you can do to stop your darts from slipping:
- Use a firmer grip when holding the dart
- Increase the grip rating of your darts or get a new set with better grip
- Use darts wax to increase friction between your fingers and the dart
If you’ve found this article to be helpful then you might also want to check out my guide on how to get better at darts for some other quick and easy tips to improve your game.