Patrick Chaplin: Miscellaneous Features

Duke of Edinburgh's Award

DUKE OF EDINBURGH’S AWARD RECOGNISES DARTS AS A SKILL

The prestigious Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme which, for many years in the UK, has run programmes of activities to provide personal development for young people between the ages of 14 and 25, now lists darts amongst its skills.

This fact was recently revealed by darts player Andy Angus, who contacted me for information about the history of the sport. Andy told me, “I am a keen darts player with a dartboard at home in the garage. A friend of mine, whose son is taking part in the D of E Award, has selected darts as his chosen new learned skill.” Andy added, “I see this as a bit of a breakthrough for darts, as so many people outside the sport still think of it as a stereotypical pub game played by overweight, uneducated blokes. That annoys me as the mental arithmetic skills used by darts players are far superior to those of the average person.”

The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award website explains what a young person needs to achieve through darts to fulfil this part of the Award process. To comply with the rules of the Award, the activity of darts must be undertaken ‘through a club which is properly constituted and affiliated directly or indirectly to the National Governing Body of the activity.’ The activity was not only about learning to play darts – that is learning about the rules and scoring of the game – but also ‘the historical and social aspects of the activity and the organisation and work of the governing body at national and local levels.’

Safety is always of paramount importance and participants must learn about the equipment used, its safe use and its care and maintenance, in order to be able to carry out the activity in a responsible and safe way. The Award scheme also lists ideas and aims which participants should consider. These include:

  • Attending a youth or social club to receive instruction, and play on a regular basis.
  • Have knowledge of the rules of the game and have an awareness of the organisation and past winners of national championships.
  • Attaining a reasonable standard in starting, through play, finishing and an acceptable degree of accuracy.
  • Assisting the club/team secretary or captain in their duties prior to and during a season.
  • Be proficient at scoring for singles and pairs games and be able to mark the score board correctly.
  • Arranging a competition on a knockout basis, with rules and draw, and supervise through to the final stages.
  • Assisting newcomers to the game / club.
  • Developing knowledge of three dart combination finishes below 170.
  • Undertake a project on one aspect of the history of darts, e.g. its language, types of boards etc.
  • Have knowledge of other games which can be played using a standard board, involving various numbers of players.
  • Learn about the historical, social and cultural developments of the game.

In addition, the appointed D of E Award Assessor should see evidence of the participant's regular attendance at a club, which may take the form of club membership, an attendance record, results achieved, a diary or a log. The participant should demonstrate to the Assessor what he/she has learnt, both in terms of the rules of the game, and the way the game is played.

It is great news that darts has been recognised as a skill by the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. This not only proves that darts can assist positively in improving the life skills of the young participants but will also help in eradicating the popular ‘uneducated, overweight blokes’ image of our sport.

Perhaps links can be forged between the D of E and the increasing number of Schools of Excellence being established for darts up and down the country to improve participation levels even further.

Details of how young UK visitors to this website can apply to participate on the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme can be obtained by visiting www.theaward.org

© Patrick Chaplin 2007

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