It’s no secret that, from time to time, I’ll help a Unicorn-sponsored player tune their dart set-up to their particular throwing style.
At this stage I must emphasise that the key word here is “help” – Unicorn players are free to select their own equipment from the range – or have new equipment produced especially for them - without pressure from either the Company or myself. All I do is make recommendations on suitable set-ups based mostly on purely aerodynamic considerations (although I do take ergonomic factors into account).
Whether the recommended set-up is then adopted, modified or discarded altogether will then depend on the player’s preferences concerning, say, shaft material or shape of flights. I’ve charitably put preferences because they can be based on practical factors like grip length or drawback distance, but I’ll admit they can also seem more like just prejudices! I’ll also admit that, even if my recommended set-up is adopted, I don’t expect it to survive for long in its original form – dart players love to tinker!
But that’s all a bit beside the point, the actual reason I’ve raised this topic here is because feedback to Unicorn has suggested that there are quite a few players out there who would welcome the opportunity to experience the uniBoffin analysis process - if only so that they could disagree with my findings!
Now giving the darting public the ability to access, and hopefully benefit from, some of the expertise Unicorn and I have developed over the years in matching darts to players was the motivation behind the development of uniLab. But, as good as we believe it to be, it can’t quite match the personal touch (Why not? Ask Kurt Godel – OK, you can’t because he died in 1978, but, for those inquisitive about the limitations of pre-programmed procedures, he did leave a theorem or two that are worth a look).
But enough of enigmatic mathematical references, what I really wanted to say was that, although uniLab might be the best I can do for you in terms of help with choice of darts to improve your game, I might be able to help you help yourself to do so directly. And for this you need to beg, borrow, or simply have, a slow-motion video camera.
Once upon a time, to have a slo-mo video camera was a rare and exotic thing, but technology has now advanced to the stage where even some modestly-priced digital still cameras have a video facility which can trade-off lower resolution for faster frame rate – say 60 frames per second, which is just about sufficient for our purpose. And that purpose is for you to take some footage (pixelage?) of yourself throwing darts.
And what you do with this footage is initially the same as I do in the early stages of my player analysis, which is to look for the angle the dart leaves the hand and what happens to both it and the hand immediately afterwards. The difference now comes in what to with that information. With a professional player, using it to tinker with their dart set-up is generally a safer option than using it to tinker with their technique (although that is sometimes a temptation!). But for those of us with less to lose….
So, do your darts start their journey to the board pitching nose up? This is quite common and not necessarily anything to worry about (especially as the angle of the trajectory will usually be upwards at that point), but if they do so excessively, or very inconsistently, it won’t be good for accuracy. If that is the case, does your hand pull down too quickly after release? That could be the problem, then, as most players, however forward their grip on the dart extends to being with, release it at the back last – hence pulling their hand down pitches the dart nose up.
And what about horizontally? As I told a recent correspondent who was having problems with darts yawing sideways, this can be caused by the hand rotating - pronating or supinating are the technical terms - on release (do it myself!). I also bravely suggested a possible solution – making sure the hand follows-through toward the target (I try, honest!).
Anyway, you get the idea. So, if you’re an armchair expert who’s only too happy to analyse (even criticise!) The Power’s or Barney’s throw, why not have a go at your own? You never know, next year it could be you up there in the unforgiving glare of those lights, technique exposed to some 1000 frames per second TV super-camera!
Let me know how you get on!
Del and Sigmas:
Glad they did meet your expectations – hope they continue to do so!
Lonnie and O-Rings
Good question about the Phase 5 shafts and O-rings, Lonnie! Unlike the similar Sigma Pro shafts, Phase 5s don’t have tightening holes for the simple reason Phil didn’t like them as they can impinge on his very rearward-biased grip (which is also why the Phase 5s shafts have grip grooves not present on the Sigma Pros). O-rings would certainly help prevent the shafts coming undone, but are not supplied as they will interfere with such a grip. Alternatively, if you grip this far back, you could use Sigma Pro shafts instead and tighten them as usual using the tightening hole and a dart point.