On the trail of a Darts Coach! We look at why there is a lack of coaches in darts!
Darts coaching is something we are passionate about! This month we investigate why coaching hasn't taken off with the Pro's, yet!
Two high profile dart players recently questioned the lack of dart players utilising coaches to assist them in progressing their game. Bob Anderson and Wayne Mardle were both bemused as to why darts coaching is still lacking in the multi-million pound sport of 21st century darts!
Mardle commented after being asked if he was surprised dart players didn't use coaches like tennis players do: "I'm not surprised, I'm absolutely gobsmacked. I'm not on about employing me, but I'm amazed they don't employ someone. How can a sport where there's millions of pounds on the line not have coaching at the top level or any level? It's incredible".
It is of course a question we have asked many times over the past few years, especially as we have had so much success introducing grass roots players to one aspect of darts coaching - the video analysis of a player's technique that we carry out in our coaching room at DPC HQ.
It is from these grass roots players though that we can find some answers as to the lack of coaches in the professional side of darts. Generally speaking the players we get to see have never experienced any coaching before in their lives-not even at school. There is no coaching culture in their lives, they have not ever experienced the benefits of having a coach that can offer feedback and aid improvement.
All the Pro's started out as grass-roots players so they also carry this degree of scepticism with them to the top. We were involved with a 12 month sponsorship of PDC player John Bowles. John had played a high standard of rugby and due to that he had been coached in his then sport of choice. However, when it came to darts, he told me that he didn't think having a full time coach would benefit him. He felt the video analysis was fantastic and openly recommended it to all but that was as far as he wanted to go.
This independent attitude is also a common trait in dart players - most players think they can resolve all their issues on the oche themselves. We have had players threaten to quit, swap their darts dozens of times and give us every excuse you have ever heard other than say let's get my technique sorted out!
So we have the culture of darts and the independent streak that stop players reaching out to coaches but there are other factors too. Financial and practicality for example. Let's say a player in the top 128 who wanted to be top 64. Or a top 64 who wanted to be top 32 etc. How would this work from a financial point of view? Would players be looking for a full time coach that they would work with each day and of course be there for them at tournaments? From a practical point of view how is it going to work travelling wise for player and coach to meet regularly?
Darts coaching is still shrouded in mist. What is crystal clear though is that every other sport use coaches to get the best out of the participants, the same is true for darts. If you want to get ahead, get a coach!