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Well, I finally got a good long practice session in last night. I tried the finger flicking practice to perfect my release. Not easy. In fact, kinda painful. I have arthritis in my fingers and what this exercise teaches you is to get your fingers to ‘snap’ the dart at the release point. If you have sore knuckles is there an alternative? Normally when I throw, I have good follow-through but my fingers don’t open up much. My grouping’s good, targets hit isn’t terribly bad, well, my doubles kinda suck…but is this finger release an important requirement? I don’t wanna have to take pain killers just to throw darts.


George S.

The short answer is no, not if it hurts. Shooting darts shouldn’t hurt. Physical ailments such as arthritis, of which I have a mild case, can interfere with a person’s game but it appears that how you do it accommodates the arthritis and you get the groupings you do, so maybe the finger release is not something suited for you. Not everything is best for everyone and the point of it all is that you become satisfied that you are doing as well as you may expect too, which I hope is how you feel and that maybe you find help from some of the other drills and “stuff.” Please get back to me via email and we’ll explore this some more.


Like everyone else I need a little re-enforcement once in a while that Flight School “stuff” helps, and this report and other posts here, helped a bunch. I read so many posts on SEWA from people who are struggling with certain things which I know I talk about in Flight School, I get anxious about why they don’t get the point. Then this post shows up, among with the others here, and I get happy again. I got as much excitement from your experience as you, Wolf, well – maybe a different kind of excitement. I love it when I can think I might have contributed a little to someone’s success, even though all I did was suggest some “stuff” and they did all the work.


George Silberzahn: Wolf wrote Fri Apr 20, 2007 10:58 am    Post subject:


Please be careful that you don’t compete with yourself? That could be a disaster


Wolf wrote: I’m guessing that’s the whole idea behind Flight School, to keep the practices from being a competition with yourself? I can see how that would have a reverse affect.


George Silberzahn: OK, I can sleep tonight.


I thought I would share a few bits on my progress since really starting on the drills a week ago. I have, where possible, set aside at least one a day for a week to go through the drill that George has sent me. Some of the drills can become extremely tedious; however you must remain focused and commit to hitting the target you have set yourself. Over the last week I have seen a gradual increase in the accuracy with the hitting of trebles and doubles I set each practice session.


My arm action, release and follow through have all been feeling good. Even my focus and concentration feel as though it has been ‘getting’ there. However, last night I played in our regular Wednesday night league and the whole arm action, release, focus etc., all went t!ts up! I lost 2-1 and threw the worst darts I had thrown all season. Why would this happen after all the ‘right’ practice and warm-up before the match everything felt good, I know it wasn’t nerves?


BTW I’m not quitter; I was so disgusted with the way I played last night, that before I set off to work this morning I decided to have 15 mins on the board just to reduce the potential mental damage and guess what, everything was back to normal, even hit a 180! I will be back on the board again tonight, but in the meantime please share your thoughts and progress.


John Part

Sometimes when you practice in a very regimented fashion you develop a comfort factor within that practice format and place. You invest much time on the practice board, and all of a sudden the league match seems like a very foreign place, with none of the comforts of home. Try to play as many real games as you can at the league venue on the night before play to help re-adjust your mindset to the real world.



I will certainly give that a go John.

In between comps, do you find practicing alone or playing 501 with some else best to improve your game and focus?


John Part

I have traditionally found practicing alone very effective. I like to supplement that with sessions against good players to help with the more practical side of playing in the real world.



Well back on the board last night and it was a good practice session, generally hitting all the targets I went for most of the time, grouping and accuracy were also good.

Arm action and release felt good.

Begged the wifey to let me out to the pub tonight so that I can get some ‘valuable’ (that’s how I put it) practice against other players ahead of an important cup match next week.

One thing is sure about darts and that is that 90% of the game is mental, if confidence is low, boy are my darts poor, but these are all areas to work on and using George’s practice routines definitely help with confidence.


George Silberzahn

It’s so good to hear the “stuff” works for you. I can’t tell you how that brightens my day. I hope you get a note from wifey so you can get that ‘valuable’ practice. Have a pint of practice for me?


Just thought I would check-in and share some more progress, because that’s what it is, positive progress – onwards and upwards!


I’ve been concentrating on the drills again this last week and can see a small improvement in the way I play the game.


Certainly from reading the additional information in George’s book (a must for all dart player’s) I now understand and feel when my stroke is good and bad and also I’m in a position where I am able correct it if the first dart thrown is poor. This is definitely slow going but I can feel benefit.


I’ve been concentrating on the drills again this last week and can see a small improvement in the way I play the game.


Don’t get me wrong I won’t be taking on the likes of Phil Taylor and beating him, but my grouping and consistency has without doubt improved in practice, especially if the first dart lands plum in the ‘Lipstick’.


Last night I played in our league in the Cup final, which as a team we won, now although I won my game 2-0 in 34 and 25 darts (50.95avg) which isn’t going to set the world on fire, but both times I set up a 1 dart finish and hit it first dart right in the centre of the double!


To be fair the venue the final was played at was crap and to maintain focus and concentration was a nightmare for all of us, but I think spending the hour’s, and I mean hours, practicing on your drills was what helped me win.


BTW, I did get that ‘valuable’ practice on Friday night, played one guy best of 13 legs, won 7-0 with a 60.12avg and best game I had was 16 darter.


I shall report in again soon!



Hi George, I’m still playing and what a difference I have made to my game since been an original member of flight school.


We have just completed our Winter League for 2007/08 and although we ended up runners-up for the 3rd consecutive year my average has improved.


At the end of our Winter League for 2006/07 I had stats of:

Played 14, Won 7, Legs Played 36, Legs Won 17, Tons 33.74, Tons/Leg 0.93, Highest Finish 93, Fastest Game 18, Overall Average 50.91.


This season:

Played 13, Won 9, Legs Played 32, Legs Won 21, Tons 44.96, Tons/Leg 1.40, Highest Finish 83, Fastest Game 18, Overall Average 57.39.


As you can see a good improvement, but its all down to practice and more importantly the RIGHT type of practice. Thanks for the tips George.        


steve_g  Fri Oct 19, 2007 8:55 am    George, since I started flight school, i have come on leaps and bounds, in the last few weeks i have increased all of my PB’s in the practice ranking games, and all because of the little word of advice you gave everyone some time ago, which in my own words read as, relax, remain calm and trust your mechanics. If I could do that, I found I was hitting my targets with more consistency and also what everyone wants, MORE ACCURACY!


I also like everyone else here at flight school am saying many thanks for your words of wisdom and encouragement.


Keep the good advice coming, am loving it all!!


Steve G.



Man I love Flight School.


Hi, My name is Greg and I am a dart-a-holic. I play in a social league team (4th highest league in our area) and I am a so-so player. Some good darts, but mostly bad darts…. I used to be one of those throwers who would just pound the board aimlessly for a long while, or would always try to better my PB’s and get HIGHLY upset and frustrated when I could not. I would practice for 2 hours at a time, and leave the practice board feeling terrible about my darts. I considered quitting on many an occasion. I would start off well, but by the end of the practice, i was angry, frustrated and could not hit the broadside of a barn with a banjo….


But then, this year, I decided to commit to FS. It took me a while to do so, I actually got the initial documents last year some time…


So far I have been following the grouping and accuracy drills and have done 3 sessions so far. the first one was a real eye opener, I had 6 targets (30 marks in total, 5 each in T20, T19, T18, T17, T20 and 2x Bull). Took me 40 odd minutes to complete, I thought it would take me well over an hour. it used to take me half an hour plus just to hit 1 mark in each T20 – T10 and 2x Bull in order. I still felt strong after another hour of focused practiced games (this had never happened to me in the past). 2nd session, T20 – T10 and 2x Bull, 3 marks each (36 total targets) took me 45 minutes to complete, this after an hour of playing a well ‘oiled’ bar patron who seriously got under my skin and irritated me. Yesterday was the 3rd session, D20 – D10 and 2x Bull. took me 37 minutes to complete. Now I was expecting a full hour or so as doubles are not my strong point. After these few sessions, I now have a plan to increase my targets over the next month or so, until I am hitting 60 total targets in less than 1 hr.


I have never felt more controlled and focused with my darts. The drills, the reading material, all of it are a huge help.


Now I know that I may not be setting any records with my performances, but to me, I am twice the player I was at the beginning of the year and can feel that there is a whole lot more to come.


I just want to say a huge THANK you to George for allowing me to use this remarkable tool.


Karl Hartman

No Problem as far as I am concerned. Go ahead and use the article. I felt that I learned a lot in Vegas and it has already shown up in my practice scores. I still have not hit over 500 in Bob’s 27 but it will come soon. I’ve topped a few other scores but do not want to post until I beat Bob’s 27.


I learned two important things in Vegas. 1. Nothing batters but the dart in my hand. 2. Throw at my own pace. Never allow someone to speed me up or slow me down.


I like the idea of having a bubble around myself. I threw some great games and lost to some very good players. I will do better next time.


Thanks for your help.




Not long ago, with the help of George Silberzahn, author of the book “How to Master the Sport of Darts.” I discovered a new way of practicing; well new to me anyway. I imagine many of the dart players out there are thinking, “Duh! What took this guy so long?” Ok, I can take a good ribbing now and again, no problem. Setting all that stuff aside, I have found the following information very useful and so I thought I would share.


For the past two years I have been hitting the oche fairly hard. I’ve been throwing darts 3 to 5 hours daily. Throughout this time, I have been playing two types of practice games, games against the board and statistic gathering games. Little did I know, but there was a third way to do it.


In games against the board, a player simply assigns a specific number of marks in cricket or points in 01 to the board for each round. This is a bit like playing an imaginary opponent who might score 4-marks per round in cricket or 85 points per round in the game of 501. The goal of the game, besides getting better at darts, is to beat your imaginary opponent (the board).


In statistic gathering games, the goals are a bit different. In these games the goal is to improve your statistical averages and when possible top your high score. An excellent statistic gathering game is “100 Darts at the 20.” In this game a player simply throws 100 darts at the number twenty (any target can be used) and then adds up the hits and misses. Triples count for three points and doubles count for two. Write down you finishing score and then try to beat it the next time you play.


Around the World is another good “Statistic Gathering Game.” Throw three darts at each of the numbers 1 through 20, counting triples as three and doubles as two, and then the bull. Add up the number of hits, get an average score, and then try to do better the next time you shoot.


It was my urge to “do better the next time I shot,” that drove me to SEWA Darts.com, a dart site created by Erik McVay and my online meeting with George Silberzahn. (I hate to just plug George here because there are a lot of great players over at SEWA and loads of excellent practice advice. Unicorn Darts is a sponsor of the site and I have received assistance with my game from people like John Part, Bob Anderson, Steve Brown, and more.) There is always someone at SEWA who can answer my questions or tell me to stop thinking so much and just throw more darts!


As it happened this time, George S. and I were discussing practice routines; actually, I was describing mine when George made the following suggestion. “Using the cricket numbers, 20 through 15, go around the board and hit a 7-mark in each number and then finish with a 4-mark on the bull. Once you start a game, you must stay at the oche until you finish it.”


Ok, that was easy enough. The first game took me about 45 minutes. These days I can finish the game in 10 to 12 minutes. There is improvement. But more than improvement, there is a new way of thinking about being at the oche. A new way of practicing! I enjoyed this way of practicing so much that it has bled into all my other practice games. I have dubbed it, “Performance Based Practice.”


Performance Based Practice (PBP) is the third way. It is about expecting a specific level of performance from your mind and body as you play. Once a goal is set and a dart player steps to the oche, he or she may not leave the oche until the goal is achieved. (Setting a realistic goal is quite obviously important or a player might starve to death at the oche.)


This is my understanding of George’s advice. Tell yourself that you will hit 7-marks in each of the cricket numbers and then do it. Do not leave the oche until you have accomplished the task and this way of thinking has absolutely changed the way I practice has now found its way into all of my practice games.


Here is how PBP works with games against the board. Let’s say I am playing 501 and I know I can throw a 15-dart game but I don’t do it that often. I decide I will throw a 15-dart game (or three 15 dart games if I’m feeling particularly brave) before I leave the oche. (Obviously one may choose his or her own objective.) Then I throw as I normally would. My imaginary opponent is still someone I want to beat he helps to keep me involved in the game, but I must keep playing until I hit that magic 15-darter. I would do the same with 100 at the 20, around the world and any other game I chose to play. Set a goal and do not stop playing until that goal is achieved. In cricket, I give the board 4-marks per round. I play until I have won three times. These days I am winning 1 or 2 out of five. Nevertheless, if I have not warmed up properly or I am a bit off my stride, I can spend hours at the oche knowing that I am capable of beating the board and not doing it until I dig down deep and force myself into throwing the darts I know I am capable of throwing.


Nothing is more frustrating than missing shots and wanting practice to end when you have made the commitment to remain at the oche until the desired behavior is achieved. Statistics and high scores are fun to talk about but it sure is easy to throw a lot of off games when the expectation of performance is missing from practice. If pain is gain, there is no better way of torturing yourself at the oche than by expecting a specific level of performance. Missing games by a single shot can cause waves of frustration mirroring that of missing an important shot in a game. Expecting performance that does not easily come can carry a darter to the point of physical and mental exhaustion. And when the goals are met! There is a flood of accomplishment and pride in Knowing a game was well thrown and that will go far to carry a darter into the next practice session.


I wish you luck and skill with your practice.


Karl M. Hartman (AKA: Taechon)



Joskibob Kandahar, Afghanistan Fri Nov 30, 2007 3:52 am   K soooo I’ve done 2 sessions today.. The first one was very frustrating. I was just trying to group darts and work on my drawback. Trying to get it in a straight line… then I sent an email to George and at the very end of it he put “Everything good comes from the forward motion of your stroke. Everything done before that has no effect and isn’t worth worrying over.”


After reading his email I did another half hour or so and was drawing it back the same every time. And all of a sudden things started clicking and somehow someway (I have no idea how) I’m actually making descent groups. Even hitting 2 triples in one series of 3 darts (is there a name for that?) Not to mention that once I relaxed and focused on the target and not my drawback I was doing it in a straight line fashion.


I think my mind was relaxed but, my body was stiff. I kept trying to shoot in unnatural positions. My elbow was to high and my shoulder was to stiff… which was causing it to jerk real hard at the end of the throw.


Any who that is awesome. Darts just got even more fun and relaxing for me. WOOOOO thanks dude!



Mon Dec 10, 2007 3:10 pm    Well I finally got my groupings tight like a proper shot group. I finally started doing the accuracy drill. I picked 4 numbers T20, D16,T15,T18. It took me very long to finish up 5 hits… 1 hour and 15 minutes. But I finished and I finished strong. Around 1hour and 10 min in my concentration and focus basically shattered. I realized I through 6 darts at the board and was hardly focusing on what I needed to throw at. Soon after I re-grouped acknowledged that I was not going to hit my last 20’s without focusing (not to mention it was Sunday and everyone was watching football in the common area right next to my room) I really dialed in on the 20. I mean like more focus than I have ever had on one single number. Drew back shot a dart at the trip 20 and HIT! WOW, IMAGINE THAT. Picked up another Dart and said “good shot just like that one more time” Drew back focus – focus – focus… shot and another trip 20!!! I’ve hit two darts in the triples before but not the 20. So I did the same thing and just – JUST slightly above the last 2 darts but was more than satisfied that I was able to regroup, re-focus and acknowledge the fact that my brain was tired.


George is very correct. That the real training is when your going for those ones that you’ve been chasing down the whole practice session. I didn’t realize until last night how important “focus” is. To me it’s become more important than anything else. It seems like everything else pretty much comes naturally already.


Thanks again George. Your practice sessions have already provided me with hours and hours of enjoyment.

Jon Robinson

From: “Jon Robinson” June 18, 2007 2:54 AM

Subject: Re: Yips


Dear George


Thank you so much for your help. I must apologize for not responding to you earlier but my wife gave birth to our first baby boy on Friday (3 weeks early) and I have been in a spin ever since. However, I did manage read your notes whilst I was sitting in the maternity ward with bubs waiting for my wife to come out of recovery after her cesarean. I have also done some practice on the finger/wrist exercise and have found it extremely useful.


Firstly, without sounding like I’m blowing your trumpet I was astounded by your incredible sense of understanding about the mechanics of darts and the problems that dart players experience. You have taken me from a position of thinking I was a hopeless case and that my problems are so many and varied I should give the game away to a place now where at least I don’t feel alone and there is some hope.


>> I was also fascinated with your spin on practice. I have spoken to many old and wise dart players and they have said to me practice is good only if it is the right type of practice such as setting goals and practicing at hitting targets like the triples, doubles and pegging out. However, I have always said to them that I there is no point me engaging in that sought of practice unless I can hit the target. To make an analogy with golf there is no point in trying to learn how to fade and draw a golf shot unless you can hit the ball properly in the first place.


The real buzz for me however was to read and learn about the finger/wrist drive. You see I am a self taught dart player and in the early days I relied heavily on the information I gleaned from a little book written by John Lowe many years ago about the basics of darts. I never thought that the power in a throw was generated primarily from the action of the wrist and fingers. I always thought that it came from the thrust of the forearm. I am now wondering if my physical problems (i.e. tennis elbow and tendonitis) are the result of straining and trying to throw the dart firmly at the board caused by poor form.


I have been practicing the finger/wrist drive and if I concentrate really hard it works very well for me. Unfortunately, my flawed throwing action is ingrained and hard to shake and it will take a lot of dedication/commitment yet to overcome. I hope I’m up to the task. The re-focus on the basics has also helped my yips and given me a new lease of confidence – I hope it continues. Although there appears to know real definition of dartitis – for me it has come from a loss of form which has sapped all my confidence. Mentally, when I approach a game I am very negative and expect to lose. I have developed a stutter in my forward push to release the dart accompanied with a late release and loss of power. The finger/wrist drive approach has given me a more positive mind set because I know I have a lot of power in my wrists.


All I got to do is concentrate on that aspect of my throw and ignore the negative thought of not being able to get the dart to the board which has been the undoing of my game.


George, if you have any other literature which dissects the dart throw I would love to read it. Also, I would also appreciate any advice/information on how one builds confidence. Is all this information available in your book because, if so, I can’t wait till I get a copy of it? Can I become a member of your flight school?


Kind regards, Jon

John Evans

Good day George,


     I was kind of thinking that it is time for you to take some responsibility for what you have done. I made some changes to my practice routines including cutting down the number of targets in the accuracy drill and getting rid of all the clocks including the one in my head. Refocused on stroke and consistency and started working on what I call “No wasted darts”.

     At the last minute I heard about all the players bailing out of the Oregon Open and not wanting the Tournament Organizers to lose their collective shirts I cleared my schedule and loaded up the car for the three hour drive to Portland. I had three goals going down and although they may not seem too significant they were my goals and I own them:


Make it out of my flight in the Friday LOD

At least one top 16 finish

At least one top  8 finish


All of the events were Modified Round Robin to Top 32 knockout except Doubles Cricket which was straight knockout and I entered 5 events (LOD, Cricket and 501, singles and doubles)




LOD – top 16 with a local guy who read about it the paper and decided to show up. May have been the best darts of the weekend for me but I was so busy putting out fires on the board that I honestly don’t remember much except that he was a really nice guy and I felt really sorry for him because he felt so overwhelmed.

Doubles Cricket – top 8

501 Singles – top 16




Had a GREAT time and successfully moved between the social atmosphere and competition.

First tournament 9 count since returning to the game

First tournament 180 since returning to the game

Two 100+ outs in 01 singles plus a dart at the double from 141, 155 and 157 in the 01 events

All goals met and I got home safe with money in my pocket


Honestly it doesn’t get much better than that. Thank you so much for everything you do it really does make a difference in the real world. Be sure to tilt one for yourself on this one because it wouldn’t have happened without Flight School and your support.


Sincerely, John Evans