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Why Do My Darts Land Sideways

Why Do My Darts Land Sideways (Wobbling & Bad Release)

Having a smooth and consistent throw is not only satisfying when you see your darts landing in the target number but a smooth and consistent throw is essential for accuracy. 

When you consider the components of a dart, you’ll see that they are designed in a specific way not only to stick into a dartboard but to be aerodynamic and accurate when thrown at the board. A good dart’s throw (combined with the right dart parts) is therefore one that is straight with minimal movement on the dart’s trajectory towards the board. 

While that sounds good in practice, a lot of players notice that their dart will wobble in mid-air as it travels towards the board, or worse, it lands at a bad angle when it hits the board with the most obstructive being when your darts land sideways. 

Why do my darts land sideways? Darts will land sideways in the board due to a bad release or having incorrect dart components. If you spin your darts or grip them too tightly on release then this will lead to the dart hitting the board at the incorrect angle while flights, stem length, and dart weight can also have an influence. 

If your darts are not landing straight in the board, it’s going to be very difficult to improve as a player because you won’t be able to develop consistency of throw, especially if your dart lands in treble 5 but is leaning sideways and blocking the treble 20 bed!

Therefore, in this article, I’ll cover why your darts are landing sideways in the board and some of the steps you can take to rectify it. For some, there will be a quick fix whereas for others you might need to completely change your throw or dart components, which is more of an effort but worth it for a straighter throw. 

Why Do My Darts Land Sideways

If your darts are landing sideways, then you likely have a bad release when you are throwing. This is something you’d need to rectify immediately if you want to get better at darts.

If your dart comes off of your fingers wrong, it will land sideways at a different part of the board than where you expected.

Having too tight of a grip on the dart can lead you to have a bad release and the dart may end up landing at an angle on the board.

Try keeping a loose grip on the dart – tight enough so that it is not falling out of your hand but loose enough so that it releases easily. The grip should feel natural and not like you are tensing your handle muscles to hold the dart.

Your best bet is to practice holding the dart in a neutral grip and to let the dart release cleanly when you throw it. You can also work on holding the dart with three fingers – some dart players prefer to use two fingers but using three will help to guarantee a cleaner release as it offers a more stable base to throw from.

If you are having trouble with your darts landing sideways, try moving closer to the board so that you can see more clearly how your dart lands. A poorly released dart will fly toward the sides of the board whereas a properly released dart will soar toward the middle.

Why Do My Darts Go in at an Angle

Darts landing on the sides of the board or getting stuck into the board at an angle both likely have to do with a bad release. When the dart is released poorly, it cannot fly straight and will likely get stuck into the board at a strange angle. 

This could be that you follow through at an angle instead of having a release with your arm moving straight towards the target number, you could be spinning the dart with your fingers which puts additional movement onto the dart after release, or you are not using the correct dart setup to match your throwing style (covered below).

What Angle Should Darts Hit the Board

Darts should hit the board at an upward angle of 20 degrees. So, the tip of the dart should be lower on the board than the flight of the dart. There are exceptions to this, arguably the greatest dart player ever (Phil Taylor) would land his darts at close to a flat angle and even with the point slightly upwards. 

For most people though, the correct angle should be the one mentioned above and the reason for this is that darts follow an arced trajectory as they glide through the air after release. 

When your darts land flat or pointing upwards you’re either using a dart that is too long (with long stems), using a slight that is too small and slim so it travels through the air much quicker, or you are releasing the dart with too much power. 

The correct dart setup is one that factors in the length and weight of your dart alongside your throwing technique. If you use a light dart as an example, a standard flight combined with a long stem will increase the drag on the dart and will make it ‘float’ more towards the board whereas a shorter stem combined with a slim or pear-shaped flight allows for a flatter trajectory. 

I’ve got a separate article which covers what type of flight you should use for your darts in more detail. 

How To Properly Throw Darts

If you are having trouble with your darts landing at a strange angle or landing sideways on the board, it may be worth it to review the grip and stance of throwing darts.

  • Aim: in general, you want to keep the end of the darting pointing up while you are throwing.
  • Neutral grip: you definitely don’t want to be clutching onto the dart for dear life. Too tight of a grip will result in a bad release, which then results in your dart landing sideways. Keep the dart secure in your grip but not held tightly as this is likely the biggest cause for your bad release.
  • Use at least three fingers: as mentioned previously, some dart players will grip the dart with just two fingers. This works for some people but may not provide enough stability for others. Try to grip with at least three fingers to ensure a clean release.
  • Try different sized barrels. The length of the barrel varies from dart to dart, and you may need to experiment to see which works best for you. Depending on the length, you may need to grip the barrel with more or fewer fingers to ensure a clean release.

Your grip is important, and so is your stance. Having an incorrect stance may make your dart go off course rather than to the desired location. Some great tips for a great stance:

  • Keep your right foot forward. Assuming you are right-handed, you will want to step forward with your right foot before you throw. Try to study the stances of good dart players so that you can better understand a great stance. 
  • Distribute your weight properly. Your weight should rest primarily on your forward leg, with your back leg there to support you and balance you. 
  • Leaning – it may take some practice to figure out how much you should lean forward while throwing. The more you lean forward (especially if you lean over the line), the closer your body gets to the board, but your throw may become unbalanced. Try to practice with different amounts of leaning and see what works best for you.
  • Balancing – you should maintain your balance when throwing your darts. Your leg should not lift off the floor at any point.

Practice Is the Key To Success

Darts require a lot of skill and it can definitely feel frustrating to not be successful all of the time. Like anything, darts require practice. To make steps toward improving, follow these tips.

  • Practice consistently. Like anything, most people will not be able to just pick up darts every few months and be perfect at it. It requires consistent practice. Try to practice as often as you can and be intentional when you want to improve an aspect of your throwing. If you want to improve your grip, make a plan that will focus on improving that aspect.
  • Practice with another player. When you practice with someone else, you can see how they do things and what works for them. Not every technique will work for everyone, but it can be eye opening to see other player’s grips and stances.
  • Get feedback. Like anything, it is important to get feedback in order to improve. Have a friend or fellow dart player critique your grip, release, or stance. It is likely that they will see all the problems that you may miss. 
  • Practice in front of a mirror: If you don’t know anything that you can get feedback from, try practicing your throw and stance in front of a mirror. This may help you to see what you need to tweak and what you can change. A better option would be to record your throw and watch it back to analyze any throwing errors.
  • Watch others throwing darts. As mentioned before, watching another player practice can help you to see new techniques. It may even be worth it to watch players on YouTube or on TV. You’ll be able to see the techniques that the pros use, and you can try to apply them to your own practice!

Final Thoughts

Watching your dart soar through the air towards your target number is satisfying, what is not so satisfying is when your dart wobbles towards the board and lands sideways or at an awkward angle. This is the frustration for many beginner players and comes down to a few key factors. 

The way you hold and release the dart will be the main culprit for most people. A release should be smooth and trying to spin the dart, gripping it too tightly, or gripping it too loosely will all result in a bad release. There is not a correct way to release a dart but the above are things you should look at in your own throw first. 

Secondly, make sure your dart parts complement each other and your throw. Test different size/shape flights, different sized stems, and as a last resort, even test out some different darts of varying shapes, sizes, and weights.