Started in 2015 the Paignton Darts Academy is a club for children both male and female aged from 6 to 18 who want to play darts. It was born from a conversation about where we can get more players in our adult leagues and where children can play safely nowadays. Sydney Flannigan and I set up the academy. To begin with, we held our academy at the Devonport Arms in Paignton. Starting with 5 children and fours boards spread over three rooms, we soon outgrew this and with the help of the landlord and friends we turned the old back room into a purpose built darts academy.
In 2016 we became affiliated to the Junior Darts Corporation (JDC), an organisation set up by professional player Steve ‘Bomber’ Brown, to offer young players a fun start in Darts, whatever their level. The JDC is built on good sportsmanship, having fun and playing in a non-pressured environment. With our affiliation came the opportunity to travel to competitions around Britain and visit other academies.
With numbers growing, more parents and dart players were drafted in to help run the academy. At present we have five mentors who are qualified to international level 1. All our mentors and governing body are DBS checked and have been First Aid trained. More members eventually meant the need for bigger premises and so in 2019 we moved to our present site The Lime Tree on Dartmouth Road. This has allowed us to use four boards in one room with ample seating for parents and visitors.
The Academy takes place on Saturday mornings from 10am till 12 noon and is free to attend. Parents are welcome to stay and watch or leave their children to it. At the academy we play standard 01 games as well as lots of different accuracy improvement games. We also take part in the JDC challenge each week and compare our scores with all the other academies in the JDC.
As word spread local darts promotor ‘Darts Events Torquay’ contacted us to offer us playing places against the Professional players they bring to the bay. This has given most of the children at the academy the chance to play one of their heroes from the world of darts. These include Eric Bristow, Bobby George and Peter Manley to name a few. We are pleased to say that we now have four professional players act as ambassadors for the academy. These include 10 times lady’s World champion Trina Gulliver MBE, Robbie ‘Kong’ Green, England internationals Maria O’Brien and Snowy Dyson.
For the last two years we have been able to attend the Junior European Open and have one of our members qualify for the junior World championships. Several of our members play for the Devon Youth team and we are proud of our links with them.
If you or your children would be interested in joining the Paignton Darts Academy you can contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org . We can be found on Facebook and Twitter or you may also like to visit our website at www.paigntondartsacademy.
Or just enjoy reading about our adventures in the Torbay Times.