If you’ve ever watched a cinematic dart scene – like the beginning of any tournament – you’ll see a graphic with a dart spinning at speed toward the bullseye.
When I first started playing darts, I tried to copy the pro players’ throws and because I was young at the time (7 or 8 years old) I didn’t actually have the power to throw darts with force or accuracy.
Therefore, something I got into the habit of was spinning my darts to try and generate more force.
When doing this you feel as though you’re throwing with more accuracy, however, should darts spin when thrown or is this something that is holding players back and keeping your average low as a result?
Below I’ll cover whether or not darts should spin because for most people, you probably shouldn’t be spinning your darts…
Should Darts Spin?
While darts can spin naturally when thrown and a number of professional players appear to spin their darts, you should never intentionally spin darts.
Darts shouldn’t spin if it’s not the result of a natural and straight throw. If you are intentionally trying to spin the dart when throwing it, you’re more likely to lose accuracy as the dart will wobble through the air (fishtail) or go to the left/right of where you are aiming.
See also – Darts keep going left? How to avoid it
At the time of writing this, Michael Van Gerwen is ranked 3rd in the world but has come off the back of a decade dominating the sport and will go down as one of the best dart players of all time. If you look at his natural throw, there is now spin whatsoever on his darts:
Another accomplished and gifted player is Michael Smith. We don’t know if he’ll go down in history just yet but for a prolific scorer with unique throw, you’ll notice that he too has minimal spin on his dart:
For these players, the follow through of the wrist and the aim is what creates the consistent accuracy.
If you don’t naturally throw with a slight spin then chances are you’ll be trying to force it and it’s this unnatural spinning that you should avoid when throwing darts.
Finally, Peter Wright – another dominant player from this era of darts – will turn his dart when getting set for a throw, however, on his release there is almost zero spin as the commentator in this video analysis brilliantly points out:
There are definitely exceptions to this and a lot of pro dart players will spin their dart when throwing. However, as I’ve mentioned this will naturally be part of their throw and not forced.
If you’re trying to spin your darts intentionally, chances are you’ll be less accurate as a result!
Why Do Darts Spin When You Throw Them?
If your darts are spinning when you throw them and you’re not doing it intentionally (you could be doing it and not even know) then it will be for one of two reasons:
- Your grip and release is too tight/loose
- Your darts are not set up correctly
Gripping a dart is one of the most essential things you should consider as a beginner but it’s also something you need to consider even as a more experienced player.
Related – How to hold a dart (grip explained)
The way you hold and release a dart can be the difference between a treble 20 or a single 5. When something is traveling at speed, the slightest knock can send it off course – this applies to most things on the planet, not just a dart.
When spinning a dart, if your finger flicks or spins the dart as it’s leaving your hand, the last action could actually make the dart spin in an uncontrolled manner. Even the slightest flick can move the dart enough to lose accuracy.
If you’re gripping the dart too tight or too loosely, you could be spinning the dart by accident. A relaxed (not loose) grip like on the videos above is how you prevent your grip from causing unnecessary spin.
Secondly, if you’ve got a heavy front weighted dart with a long stem and slim flight, the balance of the dart will be completely off. Darts need to travel with a specific trajectory where air can catch the flight and stabilize the dart as it travels towards the board.
If your darts don’t have a good balance though, then the air resistance can catch the flight or dart and cause it to spin. If you look at a skydiver that loses balance, they’ll start to spin uncontrollably and it’s kind of similar with your darts.
^^ I don’t think the skydiver is relevant to the dart set up, it’s just a good example of how something can spin uncontrollably when impacted by air resistance and gravity.
Therefore, it’s good to look at testing different dart set ups to get the right balance. A short, light (<15g) dart with a long stem will often travel point up because it is too balanced toward the rear of the dart.
There isn’t a perfect set up though so it’s best to test different stem/flight combinations to see what works best.
We’ve got a guide on the best dart flights and dart shafts which talk through some good combinations based on weight of your barrel, length, etc…
Should You Spin Darts When You Throw Them?
I think I’ve answered this above but just to summarize, you can spin darts if it’s part of your natural throw and the spin is both controlled and minimal.
If, however, spinning the dart is not something you naturally do when throwing then you should not intentionally try to spin the dart. I think the key thing with spinning a dart is the conscious effort.
If you’re spinning the darts or flicking your wrist to generate spin (which I’ll come onto) then this conscious effort is likely making you a less accurate player and ultimately a worse dart player.
Therefore, you should only spin your dart if you do so as part of your natural throwing motion. Even when this is the case, it’s worth evaluating your throw because this spinning action could be an issue.
If you try to throw with a relaxed grip and no spin, you might be surprised to find you have more control and accuracy when throwing.
This obviously isn’t guaranteed but if you could throw with more consistency and accuracy then it’s worth testing over a few practice sessions isn’t it?
Should You Flick Your Wrist When Throwing Darts?
The key to an accurate throw is to keep all of your body straight and unmoving except for the elbow. If you look at any professional player, they are always incredibly still when throwing.
The only thing that you’ll see move is the forearm as the top players bring the forearm back using only the elbow and then firing forward to create the desired trajectory and velocity.
These are fancy terms but in a nutshell, if any body part is moving during a throw and release, the path your dart travels can easily be altered.
When you flick your wrist during a throw, the snatching motion will change the dart trajectory.
This is the same as the thought process I mentioned earlier, when something is traveling at speed in a straight line, if you do anything to know that course of direction the is will veer off track.
Flicking your wrist can generate unwanted spin on the dart or simply direct it away from where you think you’re aiming.
It’s only the exception where you’ll see someone who flicks their wrist and is still a highly competitive player and like in most sports, there’s always a handful of people with a “quirky” technique that they can somehow use to their advantage.
If you’re the average person however, it’s best to stick to proven fundamentals.
If you’re still having issues with your technique then check out some of our similar articles like why your darts might be dropping too low or how to use a marker in darts for better grouping.