Switch It Up

Red Dragon Darts

THE art of ‘positive switching‘, to hit higher scores rather than for a set up or blocked angle , was mastered by Dennis Priestley. In his first World title run The Menace amazed viewers with his habitual clocking of treble 18. This ensured he was swiftly ‘on a finish’ in minimum darts and was soon raising the bar for overall averages.

One of my favourite coaching drills is called SwitchBlade. It’s a very simply way to get your eyes, & body, used to switching away from its main target. Following Dennis players have developed switching to a fine art. Some such as Adrian Lewis and Michael Smith almost seem to prefer it. 

Let’s get you more proficient, and automated, at this:

Game Overview:

SwitchBlade aims to improve your accuracy and fluidity when switching from one treble bed to another. This applies equally to switching due to vision blockage or to ensure leaving a finish.

As with many of AIM drills it is based around five turns at the board:

  • Turn 1 : Aim for Treble 20 with all three darts.
  • Turn 2: Aim your first two darts at t20 then your third at t19
  • Turn 3: Aim your first two at t20 then the third at t18
  • Turn 4: Aim your first two at t20 and the third at t17
  • Turn 5: Aim your first two at t20 and third at the Bullseye


  1. t20,s20,t20 = 140
  2. s20,t20,s19 = 99
  3. t20,t20,t18 = 174
  4. s20,s20,t3 = 49
  5. t20,t5,Bull = 125
  6. Total = 587


You can vary this drill in many ways, you can use 1 dart at the treble 20 and two at the others or insert a treble you use often from scores such as 180 or 191. Most often used are t13 or t14.

(N.B: The core skills are in the template above and that’s the one we use most.)


SwitchBlade can be played by any player and doing it regularly will improve your overall play. Higher level players should really push themselves to get this to be second nature.

Level One – For those starting from a lower bar the first order of business is to hit the target aimed for so the 2 in the 20 segment and then one in the aimed for switch. If you manage this for each segment you will gain a score around 299.

Level Two – You should be aiming to hit one treble 20 or one on the switch. Scoring visits should total around 100 (+/- 10). Thus the total will be 450+

Level Three – You should now be looking to hit two trebles quite often. When you don’t hit two you should still be hitting one. Scoring visits will be regularly 130+ and predominantly 91+. Scoring regularly over 550 will put you on a level with our best players.


SwitchBlade requires rhythm and calm, a competitive streak also helps! 

The highest score, hit with marker/witnessed, is 659. 

On this one, we shall keep the record hitter to ourselves. It was struck during a private prep session for a very big name a few years ago!

Going Mainstream:

I often design them to help a specific player with a skill that may have faded or to add a better string to their bow. The majority of my coaching games and drills have remained between myself and the players they have been designed for, and used with, over the last dozen, or so, years.

However, partly due to the success of SwitchBlade, which was published after multiple requests, I have discussed publishing a suite of AIM coaching drills on Go Darts Pro in the near future.

So keep your eye out for: The Catherine Wheel, 50/50, 5 x 5, Pro Halve It, Propeller Heads and more.

Meanwhile enjoy SwitchBlade on Go Darts Pro and drop us a line to tell us how you’re doing.


Images: Darts World Magazine

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