If you and your mates fancy yourselves quite the darts aficionados, perhaps you’ve considered the option of turning your favourite leisure past time into an opportunity to earn great rewards and perhaps even, relative fame within the darts community. And if you have, maybe you’ve even wondered what you might have to do to turn that fantasy into an actual reality, top match scores aside. As with anything that anyone would wish to translate from amateur to professional status, there is always a process and it is seldom instantaneous or without some sacrifice, both physical and monetary.
Initially, you’ll have to begin with some research into joining an organization and then working your way through the ranks to become a highly regarded player and sportsman. Your playing skills, as well as your personal attitude, will be integral in deciding how far you will be able to take your goals. Eventually, you will need to be engaged at a national level in order to take part in any kind of cash awarding contests and this might take some time and investment. Traveling, membership fees and the like will be the primary basis of your financial outlay and practice and networking will require a time commitment on your part. Turning your favourite leisure hobby into a professional life is always fraught with conflict but if you are dedicated and focused, this is definitely something that you can succeed at doing.
For American players, the American Darters Association (ADA) is the ultimate association that you will eventually need to make. This organization was established in the early 90’s and it acts as the regulating body for national level leagues, one that employs a handicap system for players and the second that incorporates the conventional open play 501 format. In the U.S., the ADA is the solitary organization that is capable of certifying qualified players as professionals in the game of darts. If you are a resident of a different country, you will need to research the top governing body for certifying professionals and determine the requisite steps to become a member.
You will then need to establish yourself as a competitor in the American Dart League. As a participant in the tournaments sanctioned by this league, all of your playing scores will be recorded and will thus be calculated in instituting the needed requirement to garner you professional eligibility. With a marked presence in 25 states, the American Dart League is formally managed by a group of professionals trained in this area of expertise in an effort to maintain a high quality standard for all players that are competing in the US. Both soft-tip and steel-tip play are offered in the same format and the ADL is the sole league that does so.
Once you have begun your journey and feel that you are ready, you will need to submit an application to ADA’s Pro Darter Certification Program. The program will ensure that your scores will meet the minimum requirements for participation and in addition, it will take into account your level of sportsmanship, integrity and professionalism as a character assessment throughout your certification process. The contenders must achieve an average score of 17.5 points per dart over a group of 20 games played of 501 annually.
The rest is up to you. You will need to become familiar with the regulations of play, compete to qualify in tournaments and slowly raise your level of play and recognition through the ranks. Only a very few players ever reach a standard of professional play where they are able to function solely on the financial gains accrued through competition so be ready to work hard…and play hard!