OK, who out there “got” the shamelessly contrived title of my last blog? I’m hoping it provoked a few bad Julie Andrews impersonations, but apologies if your reaction was just a despairing groan - I faithfully promise to avoid all cringe-worthy puns this time!
Anyway, after my last two lengthy epistles explaining, for those with a truly impressive attention span, the ins and outs of the new Sigma XL darts, this time I’ve just merrily popped in responses to some Sigma-related questions that have recently been posted, the answers to which may be of general interest.
The first of these questions was from an old antipodean friend of these blogs, Warren, who asked about soft tip Sigmas. Now there are soft tip versions of both the Sigma 970 and 950 barrels (19gms and 18gms respectively), but these are only sold with the One configuration shafts and flights, not with the Pro.
The reason for this is that the very nature of soft tip boards and points means low incidence (ie “straight”) impact tends to be more important than with steel tip darts, which weighs against the Sigma Pro’s use of impact angle to improve accuracy. Of course, a player could fit the Pro shaft and flights to a soft tip Sigma if they wanted, and it’s possible they would even get good results with them, but I couldn’t, in all honesty, claim this configuration to be scientifically optimised in the general sense.
Because that is the principle behind all Unicorn Sigma darts, there is thus no soft tip Sigma Pro in the range and equally no soft tip Sigma XL - since, for reasons I explained last time, there’s no Sigma XL One version, just the Pro and new Super Pro.
Now on to the next question, from Simon, which is in fact related to that point about the difference between a dart that’s scientifically optimised in a general sense and one that’s optimised for a specific player and can thus be affected by, for example, the type of darts they’ve been used to playing with or some idiosyncrasy in their throw.
I’ve said before that one of the strengths of scientific optimisation is that for players to optimise their darts themselves isn’t as easy as it may seem. Trying to do it using scoring alone is very dependent on uncontrollable variables such as concentration, confidence, and form – how many of us have picked up a set of darts and played well with them for a day or two but then eventually found their results deteriorating?
Another optimisation parameter players frequently use to determine their preferred set up is impact angle into the board. This can be a more repeatable indicator than scoring, but is less directly relevant and could hence, for instance, legislate against finding the high-accuracy Sigma Pro set-up which uses impact angle to counteract the hard-to-observe inaccuracy caused by aerodynamic lift.
But Simon tells me that he did use scoring to optimise the set up of his 25gm Sigma 970s and found that he did better with Sigma One flights in short aluminium SlikStiks than with the Pro configuration. Well, if Sigmas were in UniLab, it would show that a “wrist” element in the throw of even a “good” player (specifications courtesy of the UniLab drop-downs) is a throw characteristic that could cause this to happen.
So that may (or may not!) be the explanation, but I must admit I’m a little surprised that, in that case, Simon doesn’t get better results using the designated One set-up complete with shaft. However, there could be several possible reasons for that apart from the obvious one that he simply prefers SlikStiks (whether black or gold – I’ll pass your wish for the latter on to Unicorn, Simon!)
Speaking of Sigmas not being in UniLab (they’re not in Selector because they would dominate the results and not in Optimiser because Sigma flights are specifically designed to work with their respective Sigma shafts), if they were I could lazily refer my last questioner to it. As it is, here, Ed, are the dimensions you wanted for Sigma XL barrels (the lengths include the 9mm long “ZeroD” titanium nose cone):
21 gm: Length 52mm, Max Diameter 6.9mm
23 gm: Length 51mm, Max Diameter 7.4mm
25 gm: Length 50mm, Max Diameter 7.9mm
Finally, I’ll sign off by thanking Victor for his kind comments following my “The Unicorn of Accuracy” blog – sorry I didn’t acknowledge them earlier, Victor, but your post was a little delayed.
And that’s enough merry pop ins for now. But be warned, I might not be so resolute in resisting the puns next time!