Chalking 101

Chalking: Chalking is probably the number one issue and the truth is that few people enjoy it. Let’s face it, however – if you allow others to chalk for you it’s only fair that you do the same. We’ll get to the math issue in a moment, but for now here are a few things to watch out for:

1) Face the chalkboard and in the direction of the dartboard. You shouldn’t be able to see the players and you need to stand still. If you have to move – like to scratch an itch or to erase some of the chalkboard, for example – wait until a player has thrown all 3 darts to do it. It’s unlikely that a player’s missed dart would be your fault but most people would agree that the fewer distractions a player faces while throwing, the better.

2) You are to be indifferent toward both players. Even if one is a friend or a teammate, you are there to simply chalk their match and not to root for one player or another.

3) Don’t speak unless spoken to. The only time you should say anything is to call out a player’s score immediately after he or she has thrown 3 darts. Most times a player will simply call out the score as he or she grabs their darts from the board but you always retain the right to confirm the score prior to any darts being removed. If a player is removing his or her darts before you get a chance to confirm the score, politely request that they leave them in the board until you can do so. If you need to go right up to the board to figure it out, do so.

4) You are permitted to tell a player what they have hit and what they have remaining, but only if they ask and you can not suggest an out shot. Period. Even if you are asked “what they should go for”, you cannot tell them.

5) If you reach the bottom of the chalkboard and run out of room, let the players know you will be erasing some of the board. Do not erase everything, but rather leave the previous 2 or 3 scores at the bottom of the chalkboard and only erase the top two-thirds for the new scores. This serves to show the players how their scores have gone down and eliminates any second-guessing that there were errors.

6) When recording scores, use two columns on each side of the chalkboard for scores hit and scores left and always keep them in the same order on both sides. When a new score is to be recorded, simply draw a line at 45 degrees through the score hit and score left so that only the current score is showing. This provides everyone with an account of how the scores have transpired throughout the match and it gives the players a chance to agree or disagree with you before their next throw.

7) All scores become absolutely final once a person has thrown a dart on his or her next turn. These are the rules. Everyone has a chance to examine the scores while their opponent throws and if he or she wasn’t paying attention, so be it.

8) Do not touch another player’s darts while they are in the board.

9) Lastly, be on time. If you know that you’re chalking, be courteous and go to the bathroom or for that smoke well before the match is to begin. Nothing’s worse than having to wait for a person to come staggering in, pint in hand, 5 minutes after you’ve been ready to start. At the very least, pre-arrange with a teammate to chalk for you.

And that’s that.

People really do appreciate your help and both players should, as a matter of etiquette, both thank you for chalking and shake your hand. We’ve all known people who mysteriously disappear when a chalker is needed and there will always be people like that, unfortunately. Our advice to you is to not be that person and to at least offer to do your share. If your league plays 14 matches a night and you have 8 players, 6 of you will need to chalk twice. One approach is to chalk a match or two at the beginning of the night, even if it’s just to get them out of the way. Just do it. You’ll be surprised at how quickly you become good at it, too.