"It's way more challenging than it looks," says Isaac Rochester. "Lots of people think, 'I could get drunk and throw some shit at a wall.' But it really is a game of millimeters." Less than 30 minutes later, Rochester, vice president of the Portland Area Dart Association, throws a ton 80—the highest possible score with three darts—so the man knows what he is talking about.
Rochester, along with several members of PADA and general dart enthusiasts, met up at the A&L Sports Pub in Northeast Portland for a few games in advance of this weekend's 43rd annual Oregon Open, the longest-running dart competition in the United States. About 200 players from across the country are expected. Here's some suggested techniques from some of Oregon's best players. Their only other advice? Drink. It helps. Seriously.
Thereâs no preferred stance for tossing, but most players tend to lean forward on their throwing side. For better accuracy, keep your upper arm parallel to the floor and let your forearm and wrist move. âEstablish a form and be consistent to build that muscle memory,â says Clay Carney.
âDarts becomes a complete mental game: You can defeat yourself,â warns Jason Pitzer, PADA president and committee chair for the Oregon Open. Nearly every player echoed the importance of a focused mental state and self-confidence. âI embrace the nerves, I hug them, and them I kick them right in the ass,â says Greg Haggan, a frequent tournament competitor.
Proper form and the right mental state will only take you so far when it comes to landing a dart point in .197 square inches from nearly 8 feet away. Carney puts it succinctly: âJust hit what youâre aiming at.â
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