Are Darts Players Really Athletes?

When the topic about athletes comes into mind, most of us think of those who that are achieving physical feats like strength, speed, and body coordination. In general, we often refer those who engage in sports seriously as athletes.

But when it comes to darts, can we really call darts players athletes? Since darts is a sport, a darts player can be considered as an athlete. Although there is no intense cardiovascular action involved, a physical skill is still demonstrated along with the application of strategic thinking.

Furthermore, the sport itself is widely celebrated and can be a source for substantial income at professional level, thereby validating that the players are athletes.

How Do You Define An “Athlete”?

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, an athlete is someone who has training and skills in physical activities like sports, exercise, and games with a requirement to display strength, stamina, and agility. Obviously, all players for sports included in the Olympic stage are considered athletes.

However, there are popular sports that are yet to reach the Olympics. Some great examples are bowling and darts. Both sports have an international governing body overseeing all other organizations concerning rules, gameplay, and sponsorship. Also, annual world championship tournaments are held respectively to commemorate the best players of the said sports.

If you look for definitions on other credible sources, all of them connects the term “athlete” to something “physical”. Chess is definitely a popular sport but has similar status with bowling and darts. The difference is that in chess, the only physical movement made is the moving of the chess pieces and the tapping of the chess clock.

In short, the term “athlete” is highly debatable for chess players. Regarding darts, the players exert a physical activity through the motion of throwing. That alone can be a large distinction between the physicality in chess and in darts.

Are All Darts Players Considered As Athletes?

A quick recall: an athlete is a player who played in a sport that displays a form of physical movement where muscles are being exerted with force. Darts is a sport, and in darts, you exert a physical movement by throwing the darts. Any absence of that, and you are not considered an athlete.

Of course, you will be wondering, why is darts considered a sport? This question is definitely connected to how the darts players are identified as athletes since one basic requirement to be called as such is that you are participating in a sport.

For starters, darts is a sport. It is recognized by the majority of the world as such. Every country has a department that handles the sports regulation, and if darts is recognized, then it is a sport. There are also other countries wherein darts is not acknowledged.

To sum it up, a game can become a sport if a governing body gives it recognition. The presence of competitive spirit is present in all sports and the potential for them to be entertainment and the possibilities where many virtues can be applied are also necessary to consider something a sport. Darts has all those things mentioned, so it is technically a sport.

Yet again, darts is a “glorified bar-room game” since most pubs and bars have dart boards, and they even conduct competitions. However, the participants, who can possibly be anybody, are not considered athletes right away. On the other hand, if darts is being introduced in the NCAA, the participants will now be called athletes.

Confusing, right? That is the same with calling people who perform trick shots with a basketball as “street ballers”. Such players can be hardly called as athletes. It’s simply because it all boils down to the decision of the governing body. If a game is not structured or well-organized enough in which sponsorships can partake in, then it can’t be considered as a sport.

When Can Darts Players Be Not Considered As Athletes?

As mentioned, declaring a game as a sport is not an easy task. It requires national or international recognition from authorized figures such as heroic or record-setter players of their respective sports. Darts has already been considered as a sport and therefore, darts players are considered athletes.

However, darts can be played competitively in a bar room. Participants can be bystanders but do not qualify as athletes. The reason being most competitions of that type may not strictly follow to the rules and regulations of the governing body. Additionally, the avenue for entertainment is limited within the area of the bar.

Most sports have a usual pattern. There are those in the school levels, there’s the collegiate level where it serves as a ground for scouting talent for professional leagues, and then there’s the amateur level which is a step below the professional. In the realm of the pro-leagues, players will compete in the sport as seriously as an employee working for a day job.

All participants of that structure, from high school to the professional level, are considered athletes. Outside from that, they will be only considered as enthusiasts or hobbyists. Up until this day, there will be always a debate how a game can be considered a sport.

Figure skating and dance sport requires physical activities and both have attained recognition in the Olympic stage. Most of us call them dancers and skaters instead as “athletes”. So, somehow, there is still a lot of room for debate when can a player be called an athlete.


If we have to be technical in defining the term “athletes”, then a darts player participating in official tournaments and competitions can be called as such. As you can see, the world championship in darts is even televised in cable TV and this means that there are sponsorships involved. Also, drug tests are also conducted to ensure fair play. If darts was never a sport, then there is no need for such lengths to go through. In darts, there is an observable amount of physical movement, and so, it can be considered as physical activity.