The sport of darts only survives on new players picking up darts and playing. UK based organisations, the British Darts Organisation (BDO) and the Professional Darts Corporation both have dedicated youth development schemes to help nurture the future Michael van Gerwen’s, Phil Taylor’s and Trina Gulliver’s of this world. Over the past two decades, the sport of darts has grown into a multimillion-pound industry, yet it is still a relatively cheap sport to play compared to others.
Television coverage has inspired new generations to pick up a set of darts and have a go and now there is also a dedicated Disability Darts Organisation in the UK, the ‘British Disability Darts Association’ (BDDA) and World Disability Darts Association’ (WDDA).
I do receive a lot of emails from parent’s asking where their son or daughter can play darts in their locality. Unfortunately, I do not have a list to provide. When I was a youth, I played darts at a youth club, and some after School activities arranged by teachers do have darts as an option. Teachers have found darts is good for teaching basic mathematics in a fun environment and tend to encourage children to play as this has a direct effect on their mental mathematical ability.
There is no different in the dartboard height or throwing distance in 'Youth regional dart competitions' regardless of age or sex. However, as many of us know a young player age seven can find it difficult to throw the full distance and can have problems retrieving darts that have landed high in the board.
When first starting, it is fine to use an alternative dartboard height and in some cases distance, however, the later can cause an issue. A dart thrown by an adult travels on average at 40mph, hence to say, if the dart hits a dartboard wire the dart will bounce back. This is known as a bounce out. Standing too close could mean the dart returning fully to the thrower and could cause possible injury. This is why darts is considered an adult sport and the very young should be supervised by a responsible adult at all times.
For guidance and home set-up only. You can use a rule that is considered to be the rules used years ago as regards the dartboard height. It is believed the height of a dartboard 5’8” (173cm) was the average height of a man in the UK circa the 1900s. The dartboard height is measured from the centre bullseye to the ground. You could use the height of the young person as the measure to set-up the dartboard however, keep the distance the same to keep things safer. Alternatively, use the dartboard setup used by a wheelchair user. The throwing distance remains the same but the dartboard height to the centre of the bull is 137cm, not 173cm in a standard setup. If a young player takes to the sport, look to move the board up to the correct height sooner rather than later, this will help further develop their game.
If you are a non-player and concerned about your child throwing a steel pointed dart then you could consider ‘Soft-tip’ darts. This is a widely played game played mainly outside the UK, however, there is growth in the UK.
Soft-tip darts are made from plastic and the darts generally are lighter than most steel-tip darts. The dartboards are made from plastic, not sisal or cheap paper coils.
I don’t have any information about soft-tip darts on this website, however, I do have on another website I write Darts501.com. Here is a link to the Soft-tip darts page on the website.
The only illustration I have of soft-tip darts on the Darts501.com website is that of a professional Soft-tip dartboard. Home soft-tip dartboards are readily available and cost around the same as a starting price for a steel-tip sisal dartboard.
There is also a dedicate Junior Darts Corporation (JDC) that has coaching in a number of counties across the country. The JDC website has a lot of useful information for young dart players and their parents. These include joining fees, coaching courses, tournaments and much more.
Junior Darts Website
In addition, England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland also have youth teams. But don’t think you can just turn up and play for your country, you will have to earn your place in the team first!
There is quite a lot of information on the web for Junior and youth darts. There are also dedicated websites that will give you a host of information and contact details so if you are an inspiring young talented darts thrower and want to get involved in darts in a bigger way then you will be pleased to know most Counties have youth dart teams. In addition, there are also darts development schools and coaches that will help you perfect your game.
The British Darts Organisation (BDO) will be able to give you a list of current county secretaries that may be able to advise you on youth darts in your area.
Also depending on where you live, there are also Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland national teams and again these may also be able to help with youth darts in your locality.
British Darts Organisation
The Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) also has a development program for young players however, the age range can extend into a young adult within this program.
Professional Darts Corporation
For the very young the Junior Darts Corporation is the best port of call. The organisation is dedicated to youth darts and run by professional players. And is supported by dart manufacturers and professional darts organisations.
Sorry, I can’t provide any more information; however, others are better placed to answer localised questions other than myself.