Cricket Strategy: Soft Tip Darts
A good Cricket strategy can mean the difference between winning and losing, even if you are a pretty good shot. It is important to gain an understanding of what you should be throwing at, and why, in different situations. A well thought out strategy will increase your chances of winning, especially if your opponent's strategy is weaker. Reading this article will not improve your throws or technique; you must practice if you want to be successful, but the right strategy is an essential part of winning at Cricket.
Points are the name of the game. Always remember that you cannot lose if you have more points than your opponent. Many newer players, or those that come over from steel tip darts, consider it poor sportsmanship to run up points. Instead, think of it as a sign of respect for your opponent. You want to make sure your opponent does not get the opportunity to close your numbers, so you should maintain a point lead whenever possible.
Starting a Game
When throwing first, you should always try to nine-count the 20's (hit the triple 20 with all three darts). This puts the opponent in an immediate hole that is impossible to top and gives you the opportunity to close the 19's on the next turn. Lots of players like to go for the white horse (scoring three untouched triples on your first turn) and there is nothing wrong with that, unless you miss. Battling your opponent's 17's against your 20's, 19's and 18's is a definite advantage, but you will probably pay the price if you miss the white horse.
Many players like to be up by at least two darts before closing an opponent's number(s). For example, if you are throwing at 20 and your opponent is throwing at 18, you would want at least a 108 point lead before trying to close their number(s). Other players prefer a single dart advantage or even a three dart advantage. Consider how you feel about your opponent's abilities, and then decide how many darts you would like to lead by. Remember, it is a sign of respect to rack up points before risking a close dart. Having a two dart lead will ensure that your opponent must throw their first two darts to catch up, before they can throw for a point lead or risk closing your number(s).
There are many players who will try for the "Hero" dart. Do not be a hero! If you miss, you will put yourself or your teammate in a potentially bad situation. Trying to close an opponent's number when you are only a few points up is fine. If you miss however, make sure you go back to hitting your open number(s), giving yourself the opportunity to close opponent's numbers on the next turn. If you miss the Hero dart you may be playing with a point deficit on your next turn.
End of Game
If you have the win in your hand, take your shot. There is nothing more gratifying than closing out a game with a great throw. However, if you miss and still have a number available to point, do so. Toward the end of the game many players feel the pressure and may have trouble closing the bull's eye, so make sure to maintain your point lead if you miss. It cannot be stressed enough: the player with the most points at the end of the game is the winner!