This month we look at how your flights and stems can make a difference to your game!
We set up the Darts Performance Centre with the seemingly straight forward goal of advising players on how to play better darts! From there we have been through many twists and turns which may look like we are veering off the path of our original goal, endeavours such as opening a darts shop for example.
The shop guides us as to what players look for in their kit, what is their motivation for buying a particular set of darts - this varies from performance enhancement to which is the best looking set. We discover what the favoured set ups are in relation to flights and stems, which is what we are looking at this month.
It seems to me from the experience of running the shop, the majority of players have a fixed idea in their head of the weight they want for their darts. In my experience players will prioritise the weight of the dart over the shape. Although the design and of course the grip do play a key role in the decision making process. So players will stick with a weight that has always worked for them or they may have decided that a heavier/lighter dart will work better for them, (and often does) just as Jackpot found recently.
Our message this month is that we believe players should put as much thought and passion into their kit as they do their darts. Here's an example. A long time ago now (the blogs are still on our site) we had a brilliant 6 weeks coaching a pub darts team. The captain had his pear shaped Spurs flights (pear shaped was the only shape he could get his beloved team in) and that was that.
We wrenched them off his stems and forced him (nicely) to try something different. With standard flights on his darts started landing flatter in the bed which was exactly how he wanted them. Bye bye Spurs flights.
It is not just the shape of the flights that make a difference but the weight of course. So going back to the meticulous player with his sights set on a 23g set of darts, no heavier no lighter, have they considered what difference the flights and stems plonked on will make? An extreme example to kick you off - plain poly slim shaped flights weigh in at 0.4g and the latest XStream 180 standard flights are a whopping 1.1g. So that is getting close to a gram difference-a lot if you know for sure it's 23g or nothing you want.
What about stems? A medium aluminium stem is 1.5g. An extra short nylon with rings on 0.8. So just for demonstration purposes a player could add or subtract of course 1.5g from the weight of their made up darts if they moved flights and stems to the two examples we gave here.
Just to add to the potential issues this is weight added to the back end of the dart so depending on how your dart is weighted this could tip the dart balance back or forward which will impact on how the dart lands as well as potentially the precision needed for a consistent game.
So beg or borrow as many different combinations of flights and stems you can (or get one of the many flights and stems multi packs available) and experiment!