dartbase.com - The Dart Thrower

FAQ - Stance

For stance also read The Mechanical Basics of Throwing Darts - Stance.

Here's my thinking. If you draw a perpendicular line 
from the bullseye to the oche and marked an X on the oche,
I stand with my right heel about 2 inches (5 cm to you 
Europeans) to the left of the X (so my right toe is almost
8 inches left of center). I don't know why, but this stance
has evolved naturally for me - maybe because when I stand 
this way my right eye feels lined up with the center of 
the board. If I move to the right on the line, as if I was
shooting around an obstruction, my stance gets closer and 
closer to yours. I naturally pivot my foot counter-clockwise
as I move right and my shoulders along with them. My 
hypothesis, then, is that one's stance angle should be 
determined by one's position on the line. And I predict that 
you stand with your right toe at, or slightly to the right 
of center. How'd I do?

that's a good point. I agree that when standing to the left the shoulder angle decreases. Standing on the left is not very common for right handers, most feel more comfortable standing to the right, but there is no reason why this shouldn't be okay. Personal preference.

On first thought I think you can add about 10 degrees to your actual shoulder angle, for getting a 'stance-side-adjusted-shoulder-angle-value' variable... ;-)). So if you say your current shoulder angle is 50 degrees, then you are getting 60 or 65 degrees which really gets close to a working optimum/comfort relation.

Your prediction is quite right. My usual way to stand is quite directly in front of the bull, about the middle of my foot. That's when all works. When I feel that things don't work in practice (normally lots of darts in the 5), then I move around a bit, often starting by going to the left for a couple of throws and then getting back to standard position. This usually results in an improvement. I have never thought of why this helps, but now I think that this might be a subconscious attempt to increase the shoulder angle. When I have to do some red alert adjustment during a match I prefer to move slightly right. This will reduce the shoulder angle, but can improve touch, at least for a moment, and remove the 5s in a quick and somehow dirty way. Also, when I move for the attempt to hit that 3rd dart into a crowded 60, I move right, never left. Sometimes I must move left for a crowded double 4 or 10, but I never feel comfortable on this.

I can imagine an embassy match when John Lowe was in trouble. He decided to move right, stay there for the rest of the match, and saved the match this way.

When throwing at different areas of the    
board, do you move sideways on the ochey so as to 
get straight-on with the target or is it 
better to stay in a stationary position?
I move sideways, sometimes with the exception of staying stationary for preparing singles (please read the mental article 'a single problem' for why I'm doing that). Nonetheless staying stationary has some arguments for stability. Watching the pros you will find both - some move, some don't. Both have their arguments, and it comes down to personal preference. If you like the same throwing angle for all targets, then move. If you feel you like standing on the same spot more, then don't move. In any case moving requires a bit more practicing.
You talk about getting as close to 90 degrees to the board,
would that mean to have the leading foot sideways?  It seems 
that it would not be as good for balance.
Yes, this means leading foot sideways. Otherwise this would be unbalanced and also not comfortable for most people.
I throw right handed,with my shoulders 
at about 70 degrees to the board. My problem is my 
right knee, i lean forward on it,and keep it straight,
so after a few hours of throwing it starts to get soar.  
I have tried bending it, but I lose some accuracy, and I 
don't like that.  I don't however, want to end up hurting my 
knee in the long run. So is it bad to keep my knee stratght? 
I have only been thowing for a few months, so maybe it will 
get used to it. I can live with it, but if there is a better 
way or if it may cause long term damage I would love to 
here it!  Thanks alot 
bending your knee is not good. Keep it straight. It will always stay in the same position this way, and it is the most stable way of standing.

The knee will feel soar after a long playing period, but after a couple of weeks you will get used to it. You won't destroy it this way. The knee is not a critical body part in darts. More critical are the hip because of the uneven weight distribution, and the back if you are leaning forward a lot.

i don't have my left foot flat on the ground when i throw, 
just the ball of my foot and my toes, is this good or bad?
That's good. There is not much weight on the left leg (if you are right handed and therefore have your right foot as stance foot). The left leg just has to hold balance. Therefore it is good if it is spread away wide. Thus you will remove tension from your back when leaning forward and make your stance better balanced. If you can keep your left foot flat on the floor this means you keep it close to the stance foot which is followed by a lot of hip bend to lean forward -- bad for stability, bad for your back.
I have one bad habit, and I don't know whether or not
I should try to break it at this stage of the game.
I address the line with both feet on the mark, facing
the board squarely.  I've always done this as no one
was around to tell me the "right" way to do it all
those years ago, and now it seems as though a change
would do more harm than good.  I've experimented 
with other stances while practicing, but I always 
get frustrated and fall back to my usual stance.  I 
started standing that way in the first place because
that's the way I addressed the line shooting free
throws in basketball.
You are right, your stance is obviously not the one to recommend. If you were new to the sport I would strongly suggest to change it. But you are playing for a couple of years now (although you played very few for the most time), and this makes things difficult. A problem is that such basic technical things are very hard to change.

With your present stance you will find it very difficult to achieve a high level of play. You can of course still progress, but only slowly, and the level you might reach is limited.

If you decide to change your stance then such a limit won't exist any longer. But you will have to explore unknown territory -- means you will find your game going down for some time. Considering that you are playing for many years now I would estimate that it would need you at least half a year to achieve your present standard again with a new stance. This means that you would probably have to 'sacrifice' the next season for this technical change. One problem is that you might always be tempted to get back to your old style because you know that you could beat your opponent with it, but not yet with the new technique. It will be very important to resist this temptation -- if you don't you will later find yourself sticking to some kind of 'mixed technique' that doesn't work at all. Changing stance will need persistence, will power and -- of course -- a lot of practicing.

If you are willing to accept trouble, practice hard, sacrifice at least a half season and think you are able to resist temptation and stay consistent, then you should change. You will face similar problems to those problems players are facing during phase 3 (see 'The First Slump' article). But your reward will be the possibility to achieve real darting excellence.

If you decide to keep things the way they are you will find yourself progressing slowly, with a certain limit you won't be able to surpass. It's possible that this limit might take you to the #1 spot in ranking, but it is also quite possible that you already have reached this limit.

Finally, I won't give you an advice for either of the two possibilities, because this depends a lot on your personality and the goals you have set yourself. You should consider the pros and cons carefully and then decide which way you want to go. Then follow this way with persistence.