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What Is the Oche In Darts?

What Is the Oche In Darts
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Darts is a game with strange dart terms and phrases. If you listen to a live PDC game, you’re bound to hear phrases that make you stop and think “what did they just say?”. Well, one in particular that you might have done across is the term oche. 

What Is the oche in darts? The oche in darts refers to the throw line from which players must stand on/behind when throwing. This usually ranges in length from 7’6ft – 8ft depending on tournament regulations and the game you are playing. 

The above is a very brief overview of the oche in darts. In this article, we’ll cover the oche in more detail and look into whether or not you need one and if it’s any different from a regular darts mat.

What Is the Oche In Darts?

The term “oche” refers to the throw line in a game of darts

The throwline is the line from which a player must throw his or her darts to have their move be considered valid and count toward their score.

Players must not be even a foot over the throwline or their throw will be considered void. If over the throwline, players might even be forced to forfeit the match. This being said, players can lean their torsos over the oche, though — as long as their feet/toes and all – do not cross it. 

Generally, it’s best practice for the entire foot to be behind the line and not touching it at all.

What Is the Oche Length In Darts

The distance of the oche is usually between 7’6″ and 8′ away from the bullseye of the dartboard. On steel-tipped dartboards, they are typically 7′ 9 1/4″ away and on soft tip dartboards, 8‘.

In some areas, the oche is raised off the floor, which is done on purpose to help players maintain proper foot placement and prevent them from overstepping the line (whether it be on accident or on purpose).

Occasionally, players are allowed to throw their darts from either side of the oche line. But even when this is the case, they must remain behind the boundaries that would be there if the oche line was extended a few inches in either direction.

Failing to follow this rule results in disqualification the same way it would if the player was throwing from behind the main portion of the line.

How to Pronounce ‘Oche’

Oche is pronounced similarly to the word hockey (Ockey) but without the H. Typically, it’s pronounced either “aah-key” or “oh-key”. There may be small variations of these two pronunciations floating around, but those are generally regional, with most variations being found in England and other European countries.

Why Is the Throw Line Called the Oche?

The reason that the throwline became known as the oche in darts is unclear. There are a number of theories as to how the name came about, though, with one of which being that the name comes from an old Finnish word for “spit”.

In Finnish, this word is “hocken”, which fits with the game because, in the old days, it was said that players used to spit to determine the throwline.

Alternatively, it’s thought that the name comes from an old English word – “hockle” – which also means to spit, or a Flemish word meaning “notch” or “knick”.

Another popular theory is that the word came from the 1920s; more specifically, the News of the World, a sports company that offered individual games of darts and other sports. Originally, the word used for tournaments was” hockey”, a term that was meant to mean ‘a line from which you throw’ in a game known as Aunt Sally.

Aunt Sally was a skittles-type game played in parts of England but most commonly in Gloucestershire. It’s possible that the term “hockey” was misheard and pronounced as “oche”.

Final Thoughts 

I’m sure there are some of you that have watched darts before and listened quite perplexed as a commentator mentions the term “oche”. While modern darts tend to use the term throw line or toe line, the oche was the traditional term used to define the throw line in darts. 

To this day, an oche is a term used in the UK but unless you are playing a specific tournament, you’re unlikely to come across an actual oche – the raised platform types. 

Therefore, I wouldn’t Intentionally look to buy and oche, if you are looking to get a throw line then I’d recommend checking out my guides on:

Best dart mats
Best laser throw lines

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