Friday, February 29, 2008

Dart Matter Debut

Last night was the first match of the new league season and Dart
Matter won handily 21-4. The competition was tough to be sure but all
four of us were in top form, raking in no fewer than 940 all star
points for the team and two 9 counts!

My own game was sharp most of the time. My first singles match was a
DD 301 which I won with a quick in and good darts. Then I played two
singles cricket games. This is where my smile broadens at the
memories of the night. The first game was againt the oipposing
captain, easily their best player. I played the sharpest game I have
ever played. I opened with a fiver - 4 20's and a 19. In the next
several rounds I hit a 7 count and hit the triple during on every
number. In my penultimate round I had one dart left after hitting a
triple 15 and used it to soak up a double bull. Next round I got my
last bull for the win.

My next singles cricket game, while a victory, was not as sharp. But
that is the game in which I hit the nine count. Triple 18, trip 17,
and trip 16. The only other cricket niner I've ever hit in an actual
game came in that very same bar several years ago. We'd just gotten
having our asses handed to us in a league match and we stayed around
to goof off after the match. I wanted to try my teammates new darts
and hit a cricket niner against him with them.

Of the four losses last night I was involved in two of them. They came
in doubles 501 matches. One was a disheartening case of being 300
point ahead and not being able to hit the double. All in all a good

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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Practice Routine: Foam Axe

The Foam Axe is so named because its pronunciation is identical to 'faux max' give or take a micro pause. It is a very short routine except on the worst of practice days because all you have to do is get all three darts into the triple 20 and they do not need to be all in the same round. In fact by definition they are not! Because then that would be a genuine maximum. I will very often use the foam axe as a warm up routine for regular practice.

Here is how it works: you throw your darts at the triple 20 until one hits. Then you leave it in there! You retrieve the two errant darts and return to the oche. Now your task is to hit the triple 20 with one dart already in there. Believe it or not having your first dart stick in the triple is in fact a cause for a small psychological charge but with repeated practice can be overcome. Once you get your second dart in there, now you leave it and return to the oche with the single errant dart. The task now is to get that last dart in the triple 20 with the other two already in there. Keep throwing and retrieving it until you do. Make sure each shot is a studied determined 'spot' shot. Take a breath. Make a routine out of throwing that last dart for the max, this way you have a behavioral guideline for when this occurs in a match. When this condition does occur in a live game the last thing you want to happen is to be thinking "oh my gosh I hope I don't miss!". Instead you want to have hit the max a hundred times before in Foam Axe situations. The stress of having two darts in the triple 20 is tremendous and for the novice player usually results in a choke (a wide miss) but this is a situation that can and should be desensitized.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

A Bear of a Maximum

This is my 25th Maximum. It came during round of Modified Doubles quite near the end of the session, and in fact I only had the double 13 left. If I had not missed that double so many times I would have had to wait a while more for my 25th max. I am very happy with this maximum as it is the first I have hit with my Nobu's.

This is my Current Preferred Configuration for the Nobu's. Short Twin Grip stems and slim poly (non-dimplex) flights. Right now the flights are Black Bear flights but I change flights frequently and that does not affect my CPC (as long as they are still slim poly).

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Practice Routine: Modified Doubles

Sometimes I want to practice both doubles and sixties but have a hard time deciding best how to alternate among them. Or at least I used to have some trouble with this. These days I am almost always throwing the Flight School 'Accuracy" routine but when I want a break from that I throw a modified doubles practice that incorporates both sixties as well as the doubles. Here's how it works:

First dart of every round is aimed at the triple 20. If it hits then you stay on the same target regardless of the result of the second dart and try for a 120+ score. If the first dart misses, however, you abandon the sixties and the remaining two darts are aimed at the
doubles as if it were regular doubles practice. So you do the doubles in the standard zeeple order: 16, 8, 4, 2, 1, 20, 10... So let's say we just started the practice and the first dart missed the sixty. The second dart goes for the double 16. If it hits then great, you move onto double 8. If that second dart is a miss though you either go for the double 8 (if you missed inside or missed into the double 8 leaving 16), or you stay on the double 16 (if you miss anywhere else). Once a round is over though all that carries into the next round is where you left off with the doubles. So let's say that the second dart misses inside the double 16, the third dart then misses outside the double 8. The first dart of the next round again misses the sixty. What about the second dart? Do you go for the double 8 because you had 16 remaining last time, or the double 16 because you have not hit it yet? The correct answer is the double 16. It doesn't matter what remained last time.

So that is my modified doubles routine. I have been sticking with the Flight School routines mostly though.

Monday, February 11, 2008

130, Double Bull Out

Today at work during a DIDO 301 game against my teammate I hit a real humdinger. Sitting at 130 I shot for the triple 20 and missed into the single. I then hit the triple 20 with my second dart, leaving 50:

Also of note is that I skunked my opponent. He never got on the board. I felt good about that game all day long!

Sunday Luck(y)

Last night I headed up to my home pub for the weekly Luck of the Draw shoot. One awesome thing about this shoot is that the bar always matches the pot. So the more people who show up the better for the winners. Last night only five people came! A small number to be sure so instead of doing a blind doubles shoot we did a quick singles match in which we all played everyone twice. I won 7 of my 8 games taking home the $25 first prize. The only game I dropped I dropped due to some sloppy doubles and I gave my opponent too many chances to win. Which he did, of course! I can't feel too bad though because he is my teammate during league and I am happy when he wins. As far as my performance goes I only hit one ton all night but I made up for this with plenty of 80+ scores and of course I was spot on with doubles. Rarely missing them with more than one dart. So for this reason I feel pretty good about the evening.

Last night I thew my Nobu's primarily but had my Magnums in reserve for those few times the Nobu's felt funky. The Nobu's were configured with short Dynastar stems and they threw completely awesome with this configuration. A moving point and a spinning flight might be overkill even for the most die hard gimmick junky, especially for me who has professed for years that a solid dart that doesn't rattle shimmy or shake on the way to the sweet spot is a well behaved dart. They served me pretty well last night.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

More Fun with Fleece

The quest to create the most streamlined case possible never ends. Darts that come apart into many pieces are prime candidates for having small case designed around them, especially if the points separate from the barrel. The Voks Nobu is a just such a dart:

As you can see in the below pic the Nobu's come apart into four pieces. Five if I were to remove the o-ring from the stem but that would just be silly. The point of any El-C style dart is always going to be the longest piece that you will have to contend with but believe it or not the El-C point lends itself to disassembly far more than the traditional screw in point such as the Pickup Points. This is because to keep the screw in points from shaking loose you either have to o-ring them or loktite them, and loktiting is better for points.

Here you can see all of the pieces that need a home in the new soft case:

And in the below pic you can see my design ideas. The points were the biggest design challenge as they are the longs piece of any of them. What I did was to start arranging all the pieces into rectangles and squares until I eventually came to the patter you see below. Then it was just a matter of making all the compartments tight fits for their pieces. I am very happy with the long skinny compartments for the points. The slide in only with a bit of force and no amount of shaking will cause them to fall out. They have to be pulled out, which means I do not hav to worry about capping the compartments at all. The same is true of the stems. The barrels a bit looser in their compartments, as are the flights.

What you do not see in the pictures here are the small glove snaps I have sewed onto the case in various places to keep the flaps closed and the two halves snapped together.

Here you can see the soft case completely folded shut. It is small enough that it drops into the front pocket of my jeans easily and comfortably. Also in the below pic you can see the ends of the points just barely showing out of their compartments.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Length of Medium Twin

I do not use the medium length twin grip stems, but for the record they are 50 mm without the threading, and when flighted are longer than a standard medium length nylon stem.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Faux Max

Disappointed that no one showed up for the luck tonight at Coops, I came home and decided to throw 60's until I hit a max. It never came but after about forty minutes of dedicated 60's practice and after many tons and a few 120+'s, I hit a would be max but the third dart fell out of the triple. I am not sure how many seconds it was in there. Probably not more than five so I am downgrading this shot to a Faux Max. Oddly not a single ton-40 which is what I am used to hitting.

Fun with Fleece

Here is a new dart case I made from fleece. I made this case because I like very slim streamlined cases that can fit comfortably in your pocket. To make this case you just need a little bit of fleece a small scrap of muslin and some needle and thread and optionally a rare earth magnet if you want the case to have a closing mechanism. It helps to have a sewing machine, which I used, but it is not necessary. After all I have done plenty of quality stuff by hand.

Here is what it looks like closed:

And this is what it looks like open but I took this picture before I decided to add a muslin flight sheath:

The magnet idea came later, I was just going to have a folding fleece wallet style soft case but then it occured to me that I could leverage the steel tips themselves to keep the case closed. So I arrange it so that when folded the placement of the magnet is lined up with the points of the darts. The magnet I used is a neodymium magnet hat has quite a lot of pull.

Here you can see that the magnet is strong enough to hold that darts by their points ( and then some. In this picture they are hanging in front of my fireplace.

A close up of the stem side of the soft case: The wallet is long enough that I could keep medium length stems in there if I wanted to but I prefer short stems so I designed the soft case specifically for their length:

Here is a long shot of the entire case open before I sewed the magnet into it's round pocket:

I strted out by not dividing the stem side into three slots, but later added that for its aesthetic appeal. Of course, once I did that there was no longer anywhere to put the flights since it was no longer just a big open pocket. So my solution was to grab a little bit of muslin and sew a sheath for the flights and attach it in the middle of the open case. I thought about doing it in fleece but I did not want to add too much thickness to the soft case when it is folded closed. Below you can see that the muslin makes for a very thin sheath indeed:

I close up of the middle of the soft case:

Here you can see a close up of the barrel side of the case. I designed it specifically for my 23 gram Magnums but almost any dart will fit. I have been thinking about how to do a similar case with angled pockets for GT style darts.