If you have been watching the pros play on TV, you most certainly have noticed that they always look left.
I have been asked that question several times, and I consider it a topic that almost has earned itself a mystical status at this point. But the explanation and reasons behind that may be—disappointingly—rather trivial.
Why do darts players always look left? Dart players look to the left because this is where the score is shown, and they can see what they have scored and how many points they have left. Dart players will also look to the left at the cameras to celebrate and entertain the viewers. Lastly, their friends and family may be seated on the left
For more information and some neat videos, check out the rest of the article below.
What you will find out is that there is definitely nothing strange or mystical about these constant looks to the left.
Table of Contents:
What Are the Reasons Dart Players Look to the Left?
As the championship starts, pay attention as to what is on the left as the dart players walk on to the stage.
On the right is where typically the referee stands.
On the left is where the chalkers usually stay. Their purpose is to keep track of the score for each player. However, at some championships, there may not be any chalkers on the stage.
Nowadays, on the left, is where you may frequently find a TV screen where the score is shown in real time.
This is why frequently dart players will look to the left to see what they have scored and what points they have left in the current leg.
Even the pro dart players may have difficulty working out what they need to hit quickly enough in certain cases.
With that being said, the pros frequently may be a few turns ahead in terms of knowing how their score may change depending on what they hit or, alternatively, fail to hit.
You can clearly see it by watching some of the games of Michael van Gerven. This is why darts players will not necessarily need to look to the left all the time in order to see their score.
Looking to the left is definitely not something new or recent. Dart players have been doing it for years.
Just take a look at this game between Jocky Wilson and Eric Bristow.
You will see that Wilson does look to the left a few times to check his score and not just that, but he also celebrates by turning to the left as well. Bristow, on the other hand, barely turns or looks to the left.
Natural Movement of the Body
There is another very simple reason why most dart players will continuously look to the left.
According to the data I found online, about 90% of the population is right-handed. So naturally, the majority of dart players are also going to be right-handed.
Dart players usually have their body turned to the left. This is done so that they can properly align their body as they are throwing with their right hand.
This body position is naturally accompanied by a movement of the whole body and head to the left. When half of your body is already turned to the left, it is a lot harder to turn your head to the right, let alone start walking to the right.
It is a lot more natural and easy to look to the left. Turn your body to the left and try looking to the right—not an easy exercise.
This is why what you will find out with some left-handed dart players is that they actually tend to look to the right because their body is turned that way too.
The rounds are usually played very quickly, and there are almost certain unwritten rules as to how each dart player should move when walking up to the board, picking up their darts, and walking away from the board.
This is done for two reasons. The first is to keep the game going. And the second reason is to keep the players focused and allow them to stay in the present moment.
Funnily enough, if you take a look at what some left-handed dart players do after each throw, you may find that many of them look neither to the left nor to the right.
Take a look at this video of left-handed dart players and observe how almost no one turns to the left.
Many people believe that dart players look and celebrate to the left because this is where the TV cameras are. It is definitely going to be very funny to watch the dart players turn away from the TV cameras and get all excited after an 180 just for us to see their backs.
Dart players may turn left and celebrate while looking at the cameras in order to hype up the TV viewers and the visitors at the championship. This also makes the whole game more exciting and entertaining.
But if all dart players suddenly started turning to the right, well the cameras will just move to the right as well, nobody will leave the cameras standing in a place where they are not useful.
TV cameras are to the left because the majority of the dart players turn to the left.
You can clearly see in some practice games that many dart players will not look to the left at all as they are not “performing” for the public. And frequently, the chalker will be to the right too, further defeating the need for the dart player to look to the left.
Just take a look at this Around the Clock Challenge by Martin van Gerwen; notice how the only times he looks to the left is to speak with the other people in the room and he does it a few times as a natural head movement.
Compare that to how he performs on any championship, and you will see the difference.
Family and Friends
Another reason why darts players may always look to the left is because of their family and friends.
When the championship starts and they walk up to the stage, take a close look as they are doing their walk-on. In some instances, what you will find out is that in the area to the left is where their family, friends, and other VIPs are.
So naturally, while the pros play, they will often look in that direction to communicate with their friends and family through their facial expression.
A Simple Habit or Superstition
And lastly, we have to consider the fact that this can all just be a quirky little habit that may have ingrained itself in some dart player’s behavior.
Quite similar to how—after missing a dart or two—one feels the need to look up and into the ceiling and ask, “Why?”
The next thing that I have also observed in many sports by many different players is that they all have different types of little quirks and rituals, if you will, that they do.
Superstition may seem strange when it comes to sports, but something small like this can help one get in the zone and ignore distractions.
Should You Be Looking to the Left When Playing Darts?
As you can see, there is nothing secret about looking to the left. This is definitely not the secret sauce.
Unless your friends and family are with you and just so happen to be staying to the left of you, there is no reason to look to the left when playing at your local bar, pub, or at home.
Looking to the left does not grant any advantage whatsoever.
For professional players, it may become a habit with time, but even they rarely do it unless they feel inclined to.
Looking to the left is not mandatory and definitely not necessary. And doing it in the bar or the pub may raise some eyebrows.
However, if you feel like looking to the left helps you, and it just so happens, it is part of your mental routine to get into the flow, then there is no reason to stop doing it.