Is Darts Difficult to Learn and Play? [All You Need to Know]


If you are here, you are probably wondering if darts is the game for you.

Maybe you are looking for a good past time hobby—something fun and interesting but perhaps not too demanding. Or perhaps you are looking for some challenge.

If you are contemplating whether or not it is worth getting into darts, don’t worry, here is the quick and short answer:

Is darts difficult? Darts may look easy, but it is surprisingly difficult. Darts is a precision game that requires good hand-eye coordination and building a consistent routine and muscle memory. It is not difficult to start playing darts as a pastime hobby, but mastering darts can be very challenging.

But with that being said, if you are curious to find out more about the various aspects of darts, continue reading below where I get into more details.

darts in a dartboard

Is Darts More Difficult Than It Looks?

Darts can be very difficult.

Granted as you will inadvertently find—and I discuss that later in this article—darts is not difficult to start. In fact, it may be one of the very few sports or hobbies that require very little to start.

You do not even need to spend a lot of money. And this is where the true beauty of darts lies. Darts is a fun game that is very satisfying to play and does not require extreme physical effort.

If you will be playing darts as a pastime activity and do not expect anything from that, you will find that darts can be considered easy.

As a little kid, I was playing darts at the back of my parent’s house, and I found it fun and really enjoyed it. But I never found it difficult—mostly because I didn’t have any aspirations back then.

I didn’t feel any need to train several hours a day. I didn’t really care about averages, or whether or not my aim was improving. To that kid back then, darts was just another fun and easy game he could play as much as he wanted.

Once you start caring about averages, percentages, consistencies, and aim, the cloak is removed, and you will begin to see how frustrating and difficult darts can be.

So I feel like it is all down to perspective and personal goals.

With that being said, several things can make a game difficult.

Let’s start with the most obvious thing—namely how difficult it is to learn to play darts.

How Difficult Is the Darts Learning Curve?

Every game or a sport has a learning curve, and so does darts.

The steeper the learning curve is, the harder the game is.

Games that have a steeper learning curve will require a more in-depth understanding of the meta, more experience and knowledge, and overall investing more time in order to get better at it.

A steeper learning curve may also create a wider gap between the very best players and the beginners. This can make the game extremely hard for the newbies to a point where the majority of them will simply give up.

This is usually not a desirable thing, but some games are just not beginner-friendly.

So naturally, the question is, how steep is the learning curve of darts?

Technically speaking, you do not need any special knowledge to start playing darts. It takes a few minutes to read a guide on how to play the different dart games.

It doesn’t take a lot to start playing any dart game. But how good you are at it and especially if you want to compete with other players things can take a drastic turn.

As expected, when you take a look at how the pros play, you will see that things can be really tough and demanding.

This is why I consider darts to be a beginner-friendly activity that has a gradual learning curve.

Is Darts Time Consuming?

One of the really cool things of darts is that it can be as time-consuming as you want it to be.

You can play darts for just a few minutes a day, but you can also play darts for several hours on end.

How much time you spend playing darts depends entirely on you and your aspirations.

Dart games are all relatively short, even the ones that may be considered longer, so it is not that difficult to squeeze in a few games here and there.

However, if you want to really start playing darts competitively, just like any other competitive sport, it can become very time consuming as you are training on your aim and developing your throwing technique.

Are There Difficult Barriers to Entry in Darts?

Some games may require you to have a wide variety of different—sometimes quite expensive—equipment. Or you may need to have access to private clubs or specialized training facilities and more.

There is a good reason why darts is so popular; it can be played everywhere and by everyone. You can play darts at your local bar or pub, at home, in the garage, even outside and at work. All you need is a wall, a little free space, and means to hang the board, and you are good to go.

You will not need to join any private clubs or need special invitations. Granted, if you want to play competitively, you will need to join a local league, but that is also not that difficult besides paying a small concurrent fee, which is usually given back in prize money.

It almost can’t get any easier than that.

The next cool thing is that you actually do not need a lot of things. You need a dartboard and a set of darts. All of these can be found on Amazon, too.

And it will cost you on average about $100 (and this is including a high-quality bristle dartboard!). How neat is that?

You can, in theory, order everything today and be ready to play darts as soon as tomorrow.

How Difficult Is It to Get Good at Darts?

The harder it is to get good at something, well, the harder the activity. Simple.

So how difficult is it to get good at darts? Being good at darts can mean different things to the different people.

One of the metrics used for determining how good a dart player is is their averages.

Dart players can be separated into several groups according to their averages when playing 501. The average is usually calculated by using the following formula:

(Total Score accumulated / number of darts thrown) * 3

  • Beginners: 30
  • Amateur: 45
  • Intermediate: 60
  • Professional: 80
  • Elite: 90
  • World Star: 100+

As you can see for beginners, an excellent darts average is about 40, which may be achieved from 1 to 12 months of regular training. To get to the next level of about 60 you may need to train for more than two years.

Of course, these are just average numbers that I have observed by talking to and playing with other people; your mileage may vary.

It is definitely not easy to become a really good dart player. How good you may become will depend on many different factors.

With very well structured and consistent practice, many people may be able to reach the semi-pro levels. But with that being said, the top world dart players are usually also natural talents. And it may take 5, 10, and even more years—if ever—to get to that level.

There will be the occasional plateaus as well that make a lot of the dart players give up. I’ve seen that happen all the time, sometimes they need just a little guidance, but unfortunately, this is a fact of life; not everyone will get to be good at darts.

In other words, I don’t feel like it is difficult to get good at darts, but as it is with anything else, it takes time, dedication, consistency, and lots of practice; and reaching the top world-class ranks is even more difficult.

Is It Difficult to Get Everything You Need to Play Darts?

The money-factor matters. I am not going to deny it.

If you are wondering how much do dartboards cost, you will be pleasantly surprised as they are fairly inexpensive.

Steel tip dartboards are very affordable, even the high-end ones, while electronic dartboards are usually a little more expensive. When it comes to how long dartboards last, you can expect them to last you 2 to 4 years on average, with proper maintenance.

Darts are also very cheap and last a really long time (if not forever) when properly maintained. What you will also find out is that expensive darts are not necessarily going to be better.

So you are looking not only at a very low entry cost but also at very low running costs too. This can be said for a very, very few games.

Are There Any Physical Requirements for Playing Darts?

The next thing that can make a game difficult is if you need to be of a specific height, weight, be very athletic and strong or able to run long distances, etc.

So the individual characteristics of a game include:

  • Endurance;
  • Skill;
  • Agility;
  • Speed;
  • Strength; and
  • Physicality.

So is there anything that will put you at a disadvantage when playing darts?

Does the height matter, and does your physical condition matter are going to be a few of the questions we need to consider.

Although this is one of the topics around which a lot of controversies exist, the general opinion is that tall players are not better at darts. In fact, they sometimes are considered to be worse at darts.

If you have been watching some of the pros like Phil Taylor or Adrian Lewis, you already know that, well, truth be told, darts players are not the most athletic looking people in the world.

This usually leads to one of the most common questions about darts players, namely, are darts players athletes? Although I do believe some of them can be considered athletes, this does not mean they have to train like the Olympic lifters or marathon runners.

Darts players practice for many hours a day. Their practice and training sessions are no less demanding than other sports; however, it is a bit different.

Some of the pros train as much as 10 to 11 hours a day. And that is a nice segue into the next subject.

Is Darts Mentally Demanding?

The logic behind this question is simple. The more mentally and psychologically demanding a game is—even though it may not be physically demanding—the more difficult it is.

On beginner and amateur levels, darts is not necessarily a mentally demanding game.

This may be an oversimplification, I admit, but there are lapses of time where you do not have to worry about a lot of things. Many dart players even enjoy the occasional beer and just overall focus on having a good time with their buddies.

With that being said, darts is not going to be easy on you in the beginning.

Many new dart players may have a difficult time calculating their scores, what they need to hit, how to play the meta, etc.

Darts requires some moderate levels of being able to think on your feet. There is a strategy to it, but frequently once you get the hang of the game and how it unfolds, things tend to get very easy and straightforward.

The mental arithmetics and quick calculations, in addition to being able to stay a few turns ahead, I feel like are the most mentally demanding part of competitive darts.

Is Darts Stressful?

Darts is a pub game, and it was designed as such.

I guess you can call that the bright side of darts. Now let’s move on to the dark side because there surely is one.

Darts is not an inherently stressful game. However, it can very much be one.

When you start playing more competitively, and on a higher level, you will start to feel the pressure. It is an inevitable part of professional darts.

Dart games are frequently up to who is more mentally strong. This is where things can start to look a little difficult and scary.

Playing under stress is not easy, and many players, especially new ones, tend to break down easily.

You can clearly see and feel when even professional players on TV sometimes give up mentally. At the same time, the ones who endure and win – you can see it in their eyes just how focused and detached they are from everything else.

For more tips, tricks, and ideas on this topic, check out my article on how to relax while playing darts here where I talk more about how to deal with the stress while playing darts.

Mike Stephenson

Hello, darts enthusiasts! My name is Mike, and I am the person behind dartsguide.net. I enjoy playing darts with my mates and generally having a good time. Here I share everything that I learn about darts.

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