Guarantee the Shot: how to hit your target every time

how to play darts

"My tip may seem an obvious one, but over the many years of travelling the 'circuit' and playing pro darts, it’s amazing how many players do not do it. I myself have been guilty of such rash throwing, but I now follow this basic rule, ‘guarantee the shot’.”

Sounds easy when Matt ‘Superman’ Clark says it, aye? Wouldn’t it be great if us mere mortals could be sure of consistently nailing it? In this post, Matt gives us the skinny on his strategy to guarantee the shot (more often than not). 

“Let’s say you’re on a 3 dart finish, 121 for example. There are lots of trebles (Ts) you can hit, and if you miss that particular treble, a shot may still be possible. But at what cost? for example, if you went for a T19 and missed, you would not have a shot, at best you could leave it nice if you get another go. But I’ve seen this tactic a thousand times, and it’s likely to mean you don't get a shot.”  

“Play the averages, go for T20 if you miss, you can still go for T17 to leave you one dart at the bull, it takes time, but eventually you remember which trebles will leave you a second chance and which don't! There are plenty of other shots like 121 where you can incorporate these tactics into your practice or your match play. I recommend allowing yourself nine darts, and starting at 121. Once you’ve hit 121 in nine darts or less, then move on to 122, and so on.”

“As you practice these kinds of shots, you’ll learn the right trebles to start on which out shots, giving you a second chance if your first dart misses the target. Then there’s the other type of 'guaranteeing a shot’. Let’s take 121 again: suppose your first dart hits the T20, leaving 61, no problem 25, T15, T7 they all leave a double. But… if you miss, you won’t have a shot to finish. So, my plan here is always when you only have two darts in hand, go for a big number, in this case 11, at least you will have one dart at the bull, that may be the most important dart of the match. Don't get too greedy and try for trebles, it only takes the slightest deflection or a miss, then it’s no shot.”

“By always guaranteeing that shot, and playing the big numbers, at least you can say you had a dart. That's better than not having one at all, in my book. You’ll be amazed how often it goes in. And oh boy, when it does, your opponent will be deflated – they weren't expecting it – boom, that can turn a match so quickly, you won’t believe it!” 

“And now we come to my last way of guaranteeing the shot for 91,92, 93, 94 and 95. Try starting with a bullseye or 25: it’s a much bigger target than any treble, and if you hit either, you can finish them all in two darts by following the big numbers rule, either to leave the bull or leave a double. It’s 90 that’s the dodgy one. Personally, I go for the T20, if I miss, big 20 then the bull, but you could go for the bull or 25 first.”

“A good way to incorporate this strategy into practice is by starting at 61, allowing up to three darts. Once you hit that, move onto 62 etc, and repeat until you get to 100. Sounds easy doesn't it?! Try it and see how you get on, but remember to always ‘guarantee the shot’.”