Darts is considered a sport by many, but to others, it’s seen as just a game. While the true definition of a sport may be up for debate, there is no doubt that darts is physically and mentally challenging. Whether you’re playing in a tournament or just for fun with friends, here are four reasons why darts is a sport.
Is Playing Darts Considered a Sport?
Yes, playing darts is considered a sport. For years now, people have argued that darts should not be considered a sport. This is because most people associate sports with activities that involve intense physical activity, such as swimming, athletics, and football.
It’s understandable that some people are opposed to darts as a competitive sport. In order to hit a dartboard that is only eight feet away, dart players must simply stand when throwing the dart. In addition, the vast majority of darts players engage in the sport for recreational purposes (notice that other sports are also played for leisure).
Contrary to popular belief, darts is, in fact, a sport. While throwing darts may appear to be easy, professional players have mastered skills such as mental focus, precision, and consistency to perfect the art. So, even if throwing darts comes naturally to you as a new player, you’ll quickly realize, however, that it takes a lot more than a few lucky throws.
The world’s best dart players gather at the prestigious Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) events to compete for large cash prizes. Professional darts players such as Michael van Gerwen, Phil Taylor, and Gary Anderson compete in front of an audience of thousands, with hundreds of thousands more watching from the comfort of their own homes. These, among several more factors, make darts a sport.
Darts is now considered a sport in countries such as England, the United States, Ireland, Germany, the Netherlands, Scotland, and Belgium. Still unsure? Let’s take a look at what makes darts a sport and not just a game.
What Makes Darts a Sport and Not a Game?
Several factors distinguish darts as a sport rather than a game. Let’s break them down below.
Darts is a Sport by the Definition of a Sport
There are several definitions of what distinguishes darts as a sport rather than a game. A sport, according to the Oxford Dictionary, is an “activity done for pleasure that requires physical effort or skill, usually done in a specific area and according to fixed rules.”
- Darts, according to this definition, is a game played for pleasure, whether in a bar or at home. It also draws an audience who enjoys watching the players throw darts. The PDC events, for example, attract thousands of spectators, with hundreds of thousands more watching from their homes.
- While darts require less physical effort, they do require skill in mastering precision, accuracy, consistency, muscle focus, and the dedication to practice for several hours per day. This is why, while anyone can play darts, only a select few make it to the top leagues and compete in prestigious competitions such as the PDC around the world.
- Lastly, darts are played in a specific area with fixed rules. Darts requires a special area dedicated to playing darts, whether in a pub or at home. It has set rules that players must follow or they risk losing points or forfeiting the match.
Other dictionaries include the term “competitiveness” in the definition of a sport, which is true for darts, where players compete against one another or in teams.
Darts is a Sport by its Competitive Nature
As mentioned, darts is a competitive sport. However, you may be surprised to learn that the best dart players from around the world gather to compete at world championship events. There is a lot more at stake here, from large cash prizes to reputation, so these players must put in a lot more hours to train and perfect their craft.
Darts is a Sport by Skill Level
Some may dismiss darts as a sport because they believe it is too simple. However, professional dart players have mastered an exceptional skill level that pales in comparison to that of a new player.
In fact, professional dart players have their own rankings that determine who the best of the best are at the world championships. A bullseye or a double may take a lot of practice. The darts may not even stick to the board on the first try for some players. As time passes and you put in more practice, your skill improves, and you develop a skill level that qualifies darts as a sport.
Darts is a Sport by its Governance
In the same vein of darts having fixed rules, especially during world tournaments, it also has governing bodies like the Darts Regulation Authority (DRA), the British Darts Organization (BDO), and the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) that regulate darts at a professional level. Most other sports have organizations like these, making darts a viable sports contender.
When Was Darts First Considered a Sport?
The debate over whether darts is a sport has raged on for decades. Sport England did not officially recognize darts as a sport until March 25, 2005. Since then, many more countries have followed suit, including the United States, Ireland, Germany, the Netherlands, Scotland, and Belgium.
Are Darts Players Athletes?
The answer to whether dart players are athletes is not clear-cut. Dart players, for the most part, are athletes because they need extensive training to perfect their craft.
While most dart players don’t have the physical fitness that most athletes do, darts doesn’t really require physical fitness to excel. So, it stands to reason that most dart players, despite being physically unfit, are athletes simply due to the extensive training and high skill level required to compete on world stages.
Sue has been playing darts since her 20’s when she played in weekly tournaments and she enjoys writing about darts. She’s also a great teacher, and she enjoys helping others learn how to play the game well. When Sue isn’t throwing darts, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends.
The easy way to keep track of your score is with our printable darts scoresheets. Easy to download and keep on your phone or computer or print straight off from our website. Pop your email address into the box and we'll send them straight to you.