The dangers of darts are apparent: it's a game of throwing sharp, tiny objects that's mostly played by — let's be frank here — folks in bars. Few of us know much more about it, but Mark Dudbridge, 38, makes his living by tossing the dart. (His biggest single-tournament take: $47,000.) The World Masters Champion, Ireland Open Champion, and World Championship Finalist, who hails from Bristol, England, says that with just a few tweaks to your grip and throwing motion — along with some gear upgrades for an added edge — you can enhance your game dramatically, whether you're playing at home or away. Even so, we'd recommend keeping the day job.
1. Grip it Lightly
For control, put your thumb and first finger on the back of the dart while resting the middle finger on the point. "Fewer fingers means less chance of something going wrong," says Dudbridge.
2. Point Your Toe at the Target
Make your hand follow a straight line from toe to eye, with your biceps horizontal and forearm perpendicular. "You can lean over the line, as long as you're stable," he says.
3. Have a Strong Follow-Through
"Your arm should accelerate and stay straight, with a release point about two-thirds of the way into the throw," Dudbridge says. Your hand should finish pointing directly at the target.
4. The Board
Cheap boards have thick, round wires, which is why Dudbridge's favorite dartboard — the one he uses on tour — is the Unicorn Eclipse Pro: "It has very thin wires, causing fewer bounce-outs" ($47; madondarts.co.uk).
5. The Dart
Dudbridge recommends the Harrows Atlantis 95 percent Tungsten, 25 gram. Its exaggerated wings add stability and make for a straighter flight ($45; roksportdarts.co.uk/).