A handful rather than how many


Measuring skill level in darts is becoming standardized. The standard for how well you play in soft tip is points per dart (PPD) for 01 and marks per round (MPR) for cricket. The standard in steel tip for both 01 and Cricket is the number of darts used. Using these measures is a good thing – mostly. I say mostly it’s a good thing because both Points Per Dart and Number Of Darts sometimes get in the way of playing the 01 game with strategic out shot thinking. There is another way of thinking and that is simply to get the score as low as possible.


My take goes like this. The measures for how well a person plays the game are centered on how many darts are used to finish a game which is a good gauge for comparing skill levels of one shooter vs. another, but there is a problem when that mind set gets confused with the race to a double in an Oh 1 game. The game is played three darts per turn not one dart per turn and there are times when this needs to be remembered. When a person thinks in terms of PPD they may forget the handful fact with the third dart and continue attempting to set up a one dart out for the next handful.


This shows up when the remaining score is in the range where a preferred out shot double may be reached by sticking a triple with the third dart but one of the first two sticks in a single. Many people will then abandon the T20 and search for a “set up triple” instead of staying with the T20, which will not set up a double.


This search for a “set up triple” is advisable for those who know out shot combinations well enough that they can make the switch with their last dart of a turn without upsetting their rhythm but sometimes “get the score down,” even for those shooters, would be the best option. Certainly lesser skilled players need to consider having this approach built into their pattern of play.


Most of the time “get the score down” thinking will end in a score of a ton, ton forty or ton eighty rather than what ever score would have been made to leave a double. The advantages of this “get the score down” thinking is that there is no change of pattern required during a turn and the probability of hitting a triple with that third dart increases.


This “get the score down” approach springs from my belief in pattern play where a shooter has standard targets for the last dart of a handful for every likely number and thinking on the oche’ is not required. I’ve no objective basis for suggesting a shooter is more likely to stick the T 20 than they are a set up triple, only belief based upon experience and observation.  


Leaving a score such as 37 or 59 when the person may have left 40 or 32 really doesn’t matter when you think in terms of handfuls of darts rather than number of darts.  


For some people, having a “free” dart to shoot at a large target like the single helps in a stress filled situation.




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