Pretty Green

I’ll drink to that! How to begin your new darts hobby

Lets ... Play ... DARTS!!!

Darts, the sport of champions. The great thing about it is that anyone can play. There’s no need to be fit and healthy, and your physical condition doesn’t really factor into it. Look at Phil Taylor, he’s not exactly the most athletic person out there, is he? It’s a fantastic way to socialise with people and it’s easy to fit into a busy lifestyle. It’s even a good way to improve your maths skills. If you’re looking to get into a sport but don’t have the time or the physique for something strenuous then taking up darts would be ideal.
There is a lot of speculation about how darts originated. Many believe that it started when Henry VIII told his archers to hone their arching skills all year round so they would be sharp and ready for battle. Due to the boredom, a lot of the archers started throwing the darts for fun. Because of the English weather, the game was moved indoors to the comfort of the local pub and the arrows were shortened to make it easier to play inside. Nowadays people don’t really need to stay sharp and ready for battle but still find it enjoyable to throw arrows at a board in the comfort of their local pub.
There are plenty of darts competitions on TV that you can watch to help whet your whistle. Check out the Premier League on Sky Sports. It’s a pretty close fought contest with a lot of contenders for the title, but Michael van Gerwen looks strong at the moment and at the time of writing betfair have him at 10/11 to win it. You might see Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor’s name on your new dart board but he’s an outsider to win it this year at 8/1. While watching, be sure to observe the player’s stance, arm movement and physical appearance, and try to emulate these things when you begin your new hobby. In darts it’s OK to be a bit overweight. In fact, it can even put you at an advantage as it helps to balance you out.
If you want to take up darts as a hobby, it’s really pretty simple. First of all you’re going to need to purchase some darts. Now it’s pretty important that you only use your own darts if you want to get good. People get used to the size and weight of their own darts and by practising with the same ones every time your game will improve quickly. All being well when you go down to the pub to play everyone else will also have their own set. You shouldn’t really be sharing. When purchasing your darts, handle a few different weights and see what feels right. The darts will choose you much like the wands do in Harry Potter.
Once you have got your darts set it’s time to get down to the local pub and test them out. Get a pint of your preferred tipple and start playing on your own to help you improve. Other darts players will start appearing once you’ve been playing the board for a while. That’s the thing about darts players, they just look like normal people until the arrows come out. If you didn’t know already then the green and red rectangles on the inside score you triple points and the ones on the outside are doubles. In a traditional game you need to end on a double so get some ground work in at aiming for these. Bullseye counts as a double but don’t try to be too cocky too early. A good way to improve your aim is to play  ‘Around the clock’  (see below) with your new mates. Basically, you have to try and hit every number in order, then doubles, then trebles. This can take ages to play so it’s a great opportunity to socialise and get to know everyone in the pub.

One of the best things about darts is the social aspect of it. Sometimes if you get enough people involved in a game or tournament it can last all evening. When it’s not your turn it’s a perfect opportunity to get to know people, or if you want to brush up on your maths skills then you could stand by the blackboard and keep track of the scores. A lot of pubs also have their own darts teams and take part in ‘darts and doms’ leagues. When you’re not playing darts, you can play dominoes, drink beers and socialise with people from other pubs that are in the same league. How many other sports can you name where you can get away with drinking beers while playing?
So there you have it. If you’re looking to get into a sport or just need a new hobby, look no further than darts. You don’t have to be fit, you can socialise while you play it and, best of all, the arena is the local pub.