Why do players like Phil Taylor and Peter Wright change their darts?
Surely it doesn't matter?
By James Dielhenn
Last Updated: 01/03/16 3:55pm
The intricacies of darts at the highest level means the slightest change can damage a player's rhythm, leaving them forever searching for perfection that might not be attainable.
This year's Premier League Darts campaign has seen Peter Wright and Phil Taylor make high-profile changes to the darts that they use, but it is common practice at the oche of the world's top tournaments.
So how is one dart different to the next? According to Sky Sports expert Wayne Mardle, the practice is all part of elite players seeking tiny advantages to stand out from the crowd. But he has also warned that obsessing over equipment can do more harm than good.
Just like golf clubs, what worked for you in 2013 might no longer work because you're a better player with a different swing. It's exactly the same with darts.
"I believe most of the players, like Taylor, are looking for something different to make them better - if that's even possible," Mardle told Sky Sports.
"Adrian Lewis went for 2g heavier because he reached a point where he believed the darts he was using were no longer the best for him. That's life, that just changes.
"Just like golf clubs, what worked for you in 2013 might no longer work because you're a better player with a different swing. It's exactly the same with darts - you might have become a better player and be throwing faster, slower, harder or softer. You need the right equipment for your action.
"Another reason is that players think they will pick up a set of darts, love them, and play better. That, to me, is Wright. There's no rhyme or reason why he should have changed from the darts he used at the World Championship but he's changed twice in four weeks. He's looking for something that might not be there and he has got to be careful, otherwise he won't believe in his equipment."
Darts typically range from 22-26g but those four grams of difference, even in the fingers of a brilliant thrower like Wright, can be instrumental in their eventual destination.
But as Mardle explains, such a tiny margin of error is likelier to affect the world's best players in their heads rather in their throwing hand.
"When you're using the same equipment day-in day-out, year after year, that gram will make a difference," he said. "Not just the weight in your hand which is minuscule. But in your mind, if you throw low, you might be thinking 'that would have gone in if I was using a 22g instead of 23g'.
"It's all personal preference. A gram shouldn't make much difference but it will mentally. If you're used to Dart A, you can't throw Dart B quite as well, simple as that.
"This is pertinent: Phil Taylor has changed darts a lot over the years and still throws to the standard he does. I think players have watched that and thought 'I can change my darts too'. But not everyone is a 16-time world champion."
Watch your favourite players at Premier League Darts on Thursday, live on Sky Sports 1 HD. Or watch for £6.99 without a contract, on NOW TV.