If you love darts, have your own electronic dartboard setup, you’re committed to the game and interested in learning how to become a professional dart player, keep in mind, this isn’t something you can achieve overnight. But if you practice regularly and are determined to go pro, there are some steps you can take to help you reach your goal.
In this guide, I’ll go over in the process of becoming a professional darts player, and what you can do to improve your performance.
Before we dive into the topic, however, make sure you check out my guide on some of the best bristle dartboards for this year!
Making it to the Big Leagues
If you’ve been playing darts for years and you consider yourself good enough to make it to the big leagues, there are some important steps you need to take. In terms of going pro, you’ll need to go through an official organization, which will test your abilities as a player.
The American Darters Association is the governing body and has been around since 1990. This dart organization grants players with a professional title after they have assessed the player’s skill level. In order to get assessed by the ADA, you’ll need to apply by filling out a form and mailing it in or you can fill out the application online.
ADA Application Approval
Once the organization approves your application, you’ll need to pay an annual membership fee of $20.
With a membership, you’ll receive instructions and playing goals that you must reach in order to acquire a professional title.
If you have decided to apply through the organization, then you have probably already started regularly training at home.
If you already have a home setup, make sure it’s regulation. This will include the dart board placed at the regulation height according to dart rules, a throw line, placed at the correct distance and a set of high-quality soft tip or steel tip darts.
Training like a Pro
Consistent training will be crucial once you’ve joined the organization. Training regularly is the only way that you’ll be able to conquer a professional title. You’ll have to comply with competency requirements every year to maintain a title. Of course, this means you’ll need to practice often.
Below, you’ll find a list of criteria that you must meet if you want to become a professional darter:
- You must be an active member of the ADA.
- You must compete continuously, taking part in a minimum of 30 games of 501 in the organization’s open division every year.
- You must maintain a score that’s above the standard. Women must have an average score of 12 points per dart, men need to hit a score of 17.5 points per dart.
- You must respect the ADA’s code of conduct and ethics when you’re competing.
- Keep in mind, if you decide to resign from the ADA because you’re no longer interested in competing on a professional level or you’re unable to meet their annual requirements, you will be barred from rejoining the organization for a period of two years.
Professional Dart Player Salary
On average, a professional dart player will earn 500,000 per year with just prize money alone. This doesn’t include self-promotion, products, or sponsorships.
Most pros often use darts that are only high quality and work in tandem with the type of grip that feels comfortable and natural.
When it comes to the game of darts and the type of board and darts to use, there are many variables, and it often boils down to personal preference.
The actual weight of the dart, the dart stem, the dart’s flight, the shape of the dart, and the type of grip you use will play a major role when it comes to picking a perfect set to use and train with.
Tips on Becoming a Pro
While becoming a professional dart player may not be physically challenging, it does require plenty of consistent training to be able to improve your targeting in technique, to throwing darts with precision. If you’re interested in pursuing a goal of playing on the professional level then most players recommend practicing daily.
Discipline and ambition are an important part of the process of becoming a professional dart player since both can reflect in your practice.
Keeping the darts pointing up is another common tip many professional players rely on when they’re perfecting their throwing style. The dart must be kept in this position from the moment it leaves your hand until it reaches the board.
In terms of throwing, your grip is also incredibly important. In the beginning, you may tend to hold the dart too tightly before you release it. Overtime, you’ll see that a relaxed, yet firm grip is the best one to use. Professional players have a confident and solid grip, however, they don’t hold the dart too tightly since this can prevent them from releasing it correctly with ease.
Hiring a Coach
If you’re serious about becoming pro in the darting world you need to find a coach. Most professional players have coaches. Like in other types of sports, hiring a coach can be a great way to have somebody that will push you to your limits and give you constructive criticism regarding how you’re playing. A coach will also help you structure your practices and will give you valuable advice.
Additionally, a coach can pick up on things that you would miss because they will be able to analyze how you play. A coach picks up on patterns or certain types of throwing situations that may cause inconsistency. Some professional players lack consistency during certain parts of a game such as throwing doubles. A coach can point this out and work with you to improve your game so your tournament ready.
Practicing with a Purpose
Regardless of what you’re attempting to get better at, practicing is the only real way you can improve your performance. Keep in mind, your training should be executed with a purpose. Simply throwing a countless number of darts at your board with no goal in mind will be an inefficient waste of energy and time. There are many ways that practice can be made purposeful and systematic. For example, throwing 100 darts at the triple 20. Aiming systematically at one of the hardest scores in darts gradually raises your accuracy, providing you with the relative framework you can use to measure your progress.
You can also limit the number of darts you allow yourself to hit for a particular score, especially when you’re practicing the most common check outs. By placing these conditions on yourself, you’ll turn a pointless game into one that’s productive.
If you want to improve consistently, you’ll have to keep your stance and hold your body still at all times. Failing to do this can hinder your progress.
Perfecting Your Throwing Mechanics
You must be fully aware of your body during each second of the throw, from the moment you walk up to the throw line, until you release the dart. There should be no swaying, swinging, or bouncing of your body. Additionally, your breathing must be controlled and steady at all times, with all motions consciously performed.
Some players will throw their elbows out, lift their back leg, or flex their knees. Some players may even close their eyes when they release the dart. All of these behaviors can negatively impact your throwing performance.
As you gain more control over your body over time, you’ll be able to focus on the smallest mechanical details of your throws which will improve your averages.
Darts is All About Consistency
Darts is a game of consistency. Your performance will depend on your ability to throw consistently more so than your ability to throw accurately. While it’s true that accuracy is important, if you wish to improve as a player, you’ll need to focus more on consistency.
To improve your consistency, you’ll need to eliminate as many variables as possible. This means your follow through, mechanics, grip and stance should remain the same every time you play.
Once you’ve worked out a routine and it vibes well with your playing style, be sure to make an effort to hone it down to a point where it feels like second nature. this sounds much easier than it is, and it can take hundreds of hours of practice before you’re able to stop thinking about it.
Consistent performances require a considerable amount of commitment and effort, however, there are a few aspects of your game that can impact your performance more.
Take on Challenges
If you’re determined to play with professionals, then you need to practice against better players. While this may sound counterintuitive, if you want to improve as a player then you need to play against people who can beat you. You have to lose in order to win.
Playing with people who are better than you will give you the opportunity to study how they throw and perform.
Basically, you’ll have a front row seat to someone who is better strategically and mechanically than you are. When you watch a player, who can hit the bullseye consistently without batting an eye, you have the opportunity to learn.
Additionally, when you lose, you’re also given the opportunity to analyze your performance and determine where you went wrong. Contrasting and comparing is something we’re all taught in school and it’s something that you should apply to your career in darts. Playing against better players, losing, and trying again, is the secret to growing and improving.
Becoming a professional dart player isn’t exactly easy. But with commitment, dedication, and talent. Not to mention plenty of practice, you can eventually get there.
Learning how to become a professional darts player isn’t going to be easy. If you don’t have the funds to hire a personal coach, then you’ll need to study the movements and performance of other professionals. If you practice consistently, have a great throw, and participate as much as possible at local tournaments, then you may be ready for the big leagues.
As I mentioned, the first step is joining the ADA. Once you’ve joined an organization, you’ll need to look up the rules, qualifications, and regulations. These are the guidelines that you’ll need to adhere to on a yearly basis. Not every dart lover is meant to play on a professional level. It’s important that you have realistic expectations concerning your career in the darting world and whether or not you have what it takes to make it to the pros. If possible, try to train with more experienced players and get their feedback in terms of your playing goals, aspirations to make it to the pros, and what you need to work on in terms of stance, throwing technique, and playing style.