Here in the USA, some areas of the country have experienced a steady decline in the steel tip game of darts. This includes both steel tip leagues and steel tip tournaments. Much of the recent debate has focused on how to grow the game. I like the spirit and intent of those discussions, but I feel that something is missing. Namely, that entails getting answers to the following list of fundamental questions.
- What causes new growth and where does it originate from?
- What factors draw people into leagues?
- What drives people to participate in tournament play?
- What factors cause people to stay in the game (leagues and tournaments)?
- Why are people dropping out?
- Why do potential sponsors not view this game as an opportunity to invest in?
Much of the recent debate in internet forums on how to grow the game has focused on tournament competition (i.e. number and types of events, event formats, and event payouts). Being a tournament player, I agree with a few of the points that are being made. But overall, I know that implementing those points only address a small part of the big picture. I believe that it is time that we step back and approach this in a different way.
Strategic thinking refers to the ‘what’ and ‘why’. Tactical thinking refers to the ‘how’. I believe that too much of the current debate focuses on the ‘how’. I also believe that the debate primarily focuses only a small part of the overall picture (i.e. tournaments).
The times have changed. Learning from the past is a good thing. Living in the past is a bad thing. We must change and evolve if we want growth to occur. The most important first step is to change the way we think.
Think strategically. Plan for the big picture. Execute tactically. Reflect on results. Learn and evolve. Repeat.