During this period of Darting Isolation or Darts Distancing, we at DW have been trying to give you fresh games or fresh perspectives to help with your practise. Here ‘Coach’ looks at those awkward but must hit shots.
The modern player has switching skills that many in previous generations would ‘die for’. However, possibly as a result, the ancient art of oche movement seems to be declining. Phil Taylor may have been the last great exponant of the art.
There are, however, good arguments for being able to hit your target from any angle. Firstly you should go for the most likely hit target, as often as possible, for most players that is the treble twenty. Secondly, it can be vital that you can hit certain targets even if they appear obscured. Going for a big finish needing two treble 20’s may result in a very awkward second dart or avoiding a bogey/reaching a finish in the first place, may require an angled effort!
To help a player who, due to his set up and technique, seemed to get a lot of awkward lying darts, we devised BedBlocker:
First you will need a spare dart. Ideally this will be a ‘4th’ one of your own set up. If you don’t have a spare, identical to your own, then try to get as close as possible, especially in length, and with the same flight and stem set up.
Now throw at the treble twenty, with the spare/s, until you get what for you in an awkward lying dart, a BedBlocker! OK,You can place the blocking dart in if you must!
Blockers vary according to player. As I throw from the right, of the oche, the dart pictured (right) ensures I have to move!
(In order for you to see clearly I have made the BedBlocker distinct by using a black point and flight.)
Now, using your normal darts, try to hit two into the remaining part of the treble (use all three of your darts). The aim is to get two more in the target bed, in this case t20!
The pic on the left shows a successful attempt. After overcooking the first dart (from further right) I hit the treble with dart 2. I moved across to the left and hit what was a nicely framed target.
Once you have managed this, note how many turns it took, move to 19s, 18, 17, and then the Bullseye. Simply total the number of turns it takes you to get 2/3 past the BedBlocker!
N.B. – The Bullseye is an exception, there are few (if any) reasons to go for two bulls after missing with your first dart, and definitely not if the BedBlocker is in the Bull! For this reason you may choose to be content with moving and hitting it once.
As we move on to 19s, 18s etc. You must be honest about what is a blocker for you, just below the target, or in it and a little flat? Perhaps your nightmare is a dart thats just above and hangs a little, true of stackers especially. Regardless you must place or throw your bed blocker in a place that demands you to adapt to hit it once and then probably again to get 2/3 in the bed.
The example to the right gives an example of my worst nightmare when going for 19s. If I throw straight at it its likely to be deflected and force me to move anyway. If I move right the third dart will be further obscured.
But by playing BedBlocker, quite a lot, I am confident and smooth enough to move either way. I am also happier to vary how far and in which direction.
Once you improve your level of confidence, in moving, the decision to move or go straight through becomes easier and eventually automatic.
As you can see, from the shot on the left, you sometimes have to adapt more than once. here I miscalculated dart 1 and ended up deflected and losing a flight. I looped dart 2 over the BedBlocker and then used it as a target after moving to the left for dart 3.
Sometimes its about instinct. I probably should have moved after dart 1, but the auto correct kicked in and resulted in a great dart 2! But then cool headedness prevailed and 3 was a much easier dart.
You can vary this drill in many ways. Altering the placement of the BedBlocker to force you to one side or the other or placing it above, below and then dead centre. Keep repeating it till you are proficient, and comfortable, from any angle.
If your struggling set a lower bar and just try to get one more in the target bed.
You can even use two darts to block the bed and then try to get one out of three in! There will be deflections but the drill is about adapting so both good and bad luck!
A fun variation is to play BedBlocker Half-It! Simply get the marker to place the spare dart in the blocking position for each number. Then the players must score as many as they can within normal Half-It rules (not including the BedBlocker).
This drill is really about getting confident and comfortable so improvement is the key. Play a couple of times with a limit on the number of attempts. Three at each number will get you going. Note how often you manage to hit 2/3 (or 1/3 if your starting out).
Once your happy with the drill try to finish each number before moving on.
The record so far is 2/3 in 20-17 (and first thrown dart in the bull) in eleven turns.
See if you can do BedBlocker in less than 11 turns and then comment below or drop us a tweet: @Darts_World.