Darts, the better arrow throwing

Since Raymond van Barneveld managed to put the Embassy-dart tournament to his name, darts have also become a popular sport in the Netherlands. Darts is slowly growing above the level of pub game. The sport #darts draws on tournaments good players. The audience also enjoys, in the hall or in front of the tube.


It is not entirely clear when or under what circumstances the game darts was conceived. You can well imagine, that the cause lies in throwing short, light spears at a goal, for example, the bottom or lid of an old barrel. The light spears developed into dart arrows, the lid of the barrel into a dart board, with a point distribution. Whether it did indeed go? I don't know, but at least it sounds good.

The dartsboard

If you look closely at the dartsboard, you will see a number of rings that are divided into squares. At the outer edge are numbers, indicating the value of a box. The box runs from the center to the outer edge. The numbers are apparently rather random, not in a nice order. This was done deliberately, so that next to each high-digit box on each side there are low-digit boxes. In this way, you really have to aim. If several high digits boxes were next to each other, you could be lucky enough to come to an end. This layout of the dart board was probably designed in 1896 by Jack Bury from Lancaster, although some sources call Brian Gamlin as creator.



We take a closer look at the dart board and see what an arrow gives you points. We look at the board from the inside out.

      • At the very center you can see the bull's eye, also called double bull. An arrow in the bull's eye gives you 50 points.
      • To the bull's eye you see a circle. That box is called the single bull, or bull for short. An arrow in the bull gives you 25 points.
      • From the bull sectors run to the outer edge. You can see on the outer edge what an arrow in this sector can get you. But beware, there is another subdivision.
      • From the bull you first have a larger box called the bed. An arrow in it returns once the number of points listed on the outer edge.
      • Outside this first bed you have a narrower ring, the triple ring. An arrow in it returns three times the number of points listed on the outer edge.
      • Now there is another bed, which returns once again the number of points mentioned on the outside.
      • Then again follows a narrow ring, the double ring. An arrow in it returns twice the number of points listed on the outer edge.
      • If you throw an arrow out of this narrow ring, it's a shame: it won't get you any more!
      • Arrows bouncing off the board do not count in the score.


The farther away from the board, the harder it is to accurately throw an arrow into the right box. Conversely, also knocks, the closer, the easier it becomes. Of course, minimum distances are agreed. The player is 2m and 37 cm away from the board. The board is hung in such a way that the bull's eye hangs exactly 1 m 73 cm from the ground. To prevent a player from accidentally standing too far forward, an increase has often been made between the board and the player. Anyone who still smuggles falls very clearly through the basket.


Highest score

You can see numbers from 1 to 20 at the outer edge. It is clear that an arrow in the segment 20 can yield the most. If you throw an arrow in the triple ring of the 20, you have scored 60 points with that arrow. Since you are allowed to throw three arrows per turn, your maximum score in one throw is 180 points. Points count In many sports, it's about getting the highest score. With darts, each player starts with 501 points and is meant to get to 0 as soon as possible. A player throws three arrows, the points are counted and the arrows are taken from the board. Then the other player's turn. All points in a throw are subtracted from the outstanding total. To make it extra difficult, your very last arrow with which you get the 0 must be placed in the double ring. If you get too high a score in the last turn, which causes you to fall below 0, that score will not be counted. You really have to get right on the 0.

Game course

In turn, the players throw three arrows, and the score score is subtracted from the 501. A very good player can do this in three turns on a very good day, so a total of 9 arrows, a so-called nine-darter. This can be done, for example:

Start: 501 points.

    • First turn: 3 arrows in the triple-20:180 points. About: 501 — 180= 321 punten.
    • Second turn: 3 arrows in the triple-20:180 points. About: 321 — 180= 141 punten.
    • Third turn: Triple-17, Bull's eye, Double-20
But usually you use more arrows to throw out...



A darts player should be able to calculate and combine. To get optimal scores, you need to throw a lot of doubles and triples. Especially if you can throw out, when throwing you will need to know where to point the next arrow at. You can think of all that in advance, but not every arrow strikes the right goal. And since the last arrow has to be a double, you need to know exactly what you're doing. Legs, sets and games A darts competition is divided into legs and sets. Whoever goes first from 501 to 0 points has won a leg. Usually the deal is, that with two legs won you win a set. How many sets you won with before you win the game, so you won the contest is a matter of appointment. In large tournaments, in the preliminaries, for example three sets won, in the finals the number of sets to be won is much higher.


Every self-respecting sport has an umbrella union. The union provides clear rules, organizes competitions and writes out the larger tournaments. In the Netherlands this is the NDB (Nederlandse Darts Bond) and in Belgium the BDB (Belgian Darts Bond). Internationally it's a little more complicated. Initially, you only had the World Darts Federation, responsible for the most famous darts tournament, the World Professional Darts Championship, better known as The Embassy of The Lakeside. In 1992, however, a second international union was established, focusing more on the commercial possibilities: the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC). Many well-known and good players switched to this new league that organizes one of the biggest darts tournaments each year with the PDC World Darts Championship.

The caller

The big darts tournaments are often broadcast on television. It's nice to see how well the players get the arrows in the right boxes. High scores are no exception. Also nice is it, the caller's score to hear broadcasters. A score under a hundred is called simply. But the higher the score, the more emphasis the caller gives. Top point is of course the 180 score “One hundred and eighty”, with emphasis, melody and voice elevation proclaimed.

Known names

You have darts competitions for men and women.

Well-known male darters are: Raymond van Barneveld, Phil Taylor, Jelle Klaasen, Michael van Gerven, Tom Hanky, Gary Anderson

And some famous female darters: Deta Hedman, Julie Gore, Francis Hoenselaar

(c) 2013-2021 Hans van Gemert

Images: Pixabay

This article I have previously published on Infonu.nl

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