Playing darts is one of the best ways to have a friendly competition with your loved ones in your spare time. And while darts as a whole have a reasonably flat learning curve, bounce-outs will happen both to beginners and professionals. In this article, we will be looking at what are bounce-outs and how to prevent them.
Among the most common reasons for bounce-outs are the following:
- Your darts are blunt
- Flat dartboard wire
- Wrong throwing technique
- Hitting other darts
- Bad dartboard
Before we dive into each of these reasons, make sure you check out my guide on some of the best steel tip darts for 2021! There, I’ve reviewed some of my favorite sets and have given you their most notable pros and cons. Now, let’s get started!
Your darts are blunt
Blunt and burred darts have a higher overall chance of bouncing out. In the case of blunt darts, the actual dart tip won’t have enough piercing force to stick to the dartboard. This is the case for steel tip darts only, as soft tip darts are dull by design. Burred darts have a higher chance of catching the spider (or the wire) of your dartboard, and therefore causing a bounce out.
Fortunately, this is also one of the easiest reasons you can correct. Most darts sets come with a pocket dart sharpener that makes the whole process of sharpening the tips really easy.
Learn how to sharpen your darts the right way by reading my detailed article on the topic!
Flat dartboard wire
The dartboard’s wire (or spider) is the metal net around it that circles around the point zones. These wires often have a sharp angle at the front to prevent the dart tip from directly hitting them. However, as you start getting better and start targeting specific zones of the dartboard more, you will also start hitting the wire more and more into the same location. This will cause some parts of the wire to become flat. Once flat, the wire loses its ability to deflect the dart tip and starts producing more bounce-outs. Moreover, flat wires take a wider area than normal ones, also increasing the risk of hitting them.
One of the best time-tested methods of keeping your wire relatively healthy is by rotating the dartboard. This way, you will have different places of the wire (or dartboard) on different positions, lessening the chance of placing multiple hits in the same general area.
Wrong throwing technique
Knowing how to throw darts with precision is something you develop after months if not years of practice. Until then, one of the most common symptoms of a bad throwing form is going to be the bounce out. In short, you should be holding the dart at a level position with your elbow keeping a 90-degree angle at all times. Also, don’t hold the dart at an angle relative to the board but rather always hold the dart’s tip pointing directly towards the dartboard. Lastly, it is much easier to focus on the right posture than constantly focusing on the bullseye.
When you’re still learning the ropes, make sure that you set up your dartboard away from any concrete walls or floor. Since you will be having plenty of bounce-outs, it is important for your darts to not hit hard surfaces when they fall, otherwise, you risk damaging them.
Hitting other darts
Unlike most of the other reasons for bounce-outs, this one is actually something that starts happening as you become very accurate. Hitting your own darts typically happens when you start targeting specific zones on the dartboard (also called grouping). Another factor that has a major role here is the actual size of your darts. This is one of the main reasons professionals often choose small but heavy darts as opposed to bigger ones.
Something that often gets overlooked is the actual dartboard. While expensive dartboards use high-end sisal fibers that will grip your dart as soon as it lands on them, cheaper models aren’t as generous. They use synthetic materials that are harder and not as flexible. These materials don’t open up as well as sisal and don’t hold darts in well either. While this creates a whole range of issues for people that want to train more seriously, it creates a ton of bounce-out scenarios which can be all tracked down to the actual dartboard.
This is why you should always start with inspecting the dartboard, then the darts, and then looking at your form, rather than thinking the issue is in you from the very beginning (which will lead to overcorrection).
There are a few more things that you will have to take in mind and in this section of the article, we will talk about all of them.
Fixed vs moveable dart points
Not all darts are created equal. Most beginners don’t even know that there are two types of steel-tipped darts out there – ones with fixed points and others with moveable points. As their names suggest, darts with fixed points are going to be better built and more stable when thrown. However, they won’t be as flexible when they get a direct hit with the wire.
Darts with moveable dart points are far more flexible and can actually hit a wire head-on without bouncing out since the point will compensate for the majority of the impact. These darts, however, can break and become loose. Being loose changes their center of mass and makes them far less accurate than darts with fixed points. They are also more expensive which is another downside that beginners should consider when choosing a new set.
The dart weight plays a major role in its accuracy, flight, and the chance for bounce-outs. For instance, lightweight darts that are thrown from longer distances have a higher chance for a bounce-out. They actually tend to bounce out more than heavier darts in general. A thing to remember here is that you shouldn’t change your darts’ weight constantly, as it will always take some time to get used to the new weight. If you’re shooting at a distance with significant power, I’d choose heavier darts.
As I mentioned earlier, how you hold the dart will impact its flight and impact. A firm and solid grip on the dart’s base should do the job.
One last thing that I need to mention on this topic is that soft-tipped darts also bounce out, and they do it quite often. That is normal for electronic dartboards. However, there is still a fix. One of the most common reasons for the bounce-outs there is that their tips are damaged and not perfectly straight as they were out of the box. The solution is to replace the tips. Another thing you can do is replace the dart barrel to add more weight to the dart as soft-tipped darts are typically quite lightweight.
If you want to learn what it takes to keep your dartboard properly maintained, click here!
Learning what are darts bounce-outs is something you should focus at the beginning of your training. The better you understand the reason for the bounce out, the more likely it will be that you will know how to prevent that in the future. One of the most common reasons for a bounce out is a dull dart. Apart from that, you can also have a flat part of your dartboard’s wire, a bad throwing form, not too much force in your throw, or even a bad dartboard that hasn’t been well-maintained.