A serial-position curve in high-performance darts: The effect of visuomotor calibration on throwing accuracy

  • Fabian WunderlichEmail author
  • Herbert Heuer
  • Philip Furley
  • Daniel Memmert
Original Article


The aim of the present research was to test if the fine-tuning of skilled motor actions benefits from proximate previous actions via a visuomotor calibration process. In professional darts, each player cycles through different activities: three darts are thrown with a rather smooth sequence of movements, the darts are retrieved from the dartboard, the other player throws his or her darts and retrieves them, the next three darts are thrown, retrieved, etc. We hypothesized that these cycles give rise to a serial-position curve for the precision of darts as a result of a particular kind of warm-up decrement. Even though the interruptions of actually throwing darts are only in the order of seconds, walking away from the throw line should lead to a loss of fine-tuning of the calibration of movement parameters with respect to targets defined in the external frame of reference of the dartboard. For the players of the 2017 Professional Darts Corporation World Darts Championship (N = 36,168 scores) we confirmed that the first dart of a series of three is indeed less accurate than the subsequent two. This warm-up decrement is particularly pronounced for vertical errors, for which the relation to movement parameters is more complex than for horizontal errors. Fine-tuning of visuomotor calibration is a neglected facet of warm-up that is also important for various other sports such as tennis, basketball, handball, and football.



We would like to thank the editor and the reviewers for their highly valuable comments on a previous version of this manuscript. Special thanks go to Florian Klingner and Colin Kunze for the data collection coding in this study.


The authors received no specific funding for this work.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

All authors declare to have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Informed consent

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Data availability

The data analyzed within the current study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Exercise Training and Sport InformaticsGerman Sport University CologneCologneGermany
  2. 2.Leibniz Research Centre for Working Environment and Human FactorsDortmundGermany

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