There are certain sports that you can follow whereby the athletes have noticeably impressive physiques. Rugby, athletics, gymnastics, and swimming are just a few examples where the athletes have standout physiques as a result of their training and physical competition.
Darts, on the other hand, is a sport that takes quite a bit of abuse/mockery as most of the public consider dart players to be fat. You just need to look at the debate of whether or not darts should be an Olympic sport to see peoples opinion with Reuters “opinion” on darts summing it up quite nicely:
“darts, a game that has long been played by drinkers in English pubs and bars”
Why are darts players overweight? The most common reason for dart players being overweight is because darts is traditionally a pub game, particularly in the UK. It’s very common for darts practice in a pub to be accompanied by drinking alcohol and these high-calorie drinks often lead to excess weight gain.
The association of heavy drinking accompanying darts is not only something that holds it back from being considered a sport by many but it is also something that has led to the opinion that dart players are also fat.
Darts and drinking beer is not the only reason for fat dart players though and it’s also true not every dart player is fat. In this article, I’ll cover what contributes to this reputation of dart players being fat and whether or not this is actually true!
Table of Contents
Why Are Darts Players Overweight
Darts players are mostly overweight as a result of their training environment and lifestyle. Both your profession and lifestyle choices will heavily influence your physique and fitness levels and those that have sedentary desk jobs and binge on Netflix will often carry more weight than a bricklayer that also hits the gym 5 x per week.
As we’ve mentioned, a lot of amateur and professional dart players will spend a lot of their practice and competition games in pubs and bars. Alcohol may have been banned from the main stages but it’s still a big part of the game away from the stage.
In the 2004 BDO darts world championship, Andy Fordham reportedly drank 24 bottles of beer before going on the win the tournament. That’s both an impressive effort in terms of drinking but also more astonishing that someone can play to that high standard after so much alcohol consumption.
It’s well documented though, that Andy was a big guy to the extent that he suffered liver damage as a result of his excessive drinking and had to lose a lot of weight as a result of his health concerns. At one stage he weighed in at 31 stone.
This isn’t aimed to call Andy out, his story was just well documented and a good example of the general attitude surrounding darts. Football players are not allowed alcohol the night before a game, the fact that some people (myself included) see drinking 24 beers and then winning a tournament as impressive and actually not surprising when it comes to darts.
With darts culture in mind, there are certain factors that lead to darts players typically being bigger in the body than other sporting pro’s.
Besides having a board in your home, a dart player’s most common training spot is at a pub/bar. League games, knockout competitions, and weekly practice will all take place in a bar and historically, this is the main reason why darts players are considered to be fat.
I’m not calling anyone out but drinking alcohol and playing darts is something of a complementary thing, especially in the UK, and people that excessively drink will often end up gaining weight (especially in terms of developing a beer belly).
Again, I’m not saying that everyone that drinks alcohol is fat but beer is the drink of choice when playing darts and beer is a high calorie drink. Therefore, years of playing pub darts and drinking beer as part of the social aspect will often end up with most players gaining weight.
When you look at the darts circuit (both professional and amateur) you’ll see that dart players are typically larger in stature than a snooker play for example. Both sports are played in venues that serve alcohol but traditionally, players will drink while playing darts whereas this culture is not really the same with snooker.
The training/playing environment of pubs and bars is, therefore, one of the key reasons why dart players are not only considered to be fat but quite a lot actually are.
Desire to Be in Shape
Darts is also a game that requires an extensive practice of 5-10+ hours daily in order to develop the required accuracy and consistency. This comes from muscle memory and doing the same throw thousands and thousands of times to develop consistency.
As darts does involve walking to and from the board, but nothing else in terms of requiring physical ability or fitness, not many dart players have the desire to get in shape unless it’s a personal preference.
Much like an office job, you’ll have a few people that like to work out before or after work, but the majority have no desire to hit the gym after a long day in work and would rather get home to relax with their family.
The same is pretty much true for dart players. After focusing on throwing at a board for such long hours, most players don’t have the mental energy to then go and tire themselves out further with physical exercise.
This inevitably also leads to the question of “are darts players athletes” which is a topic I cover in a separate article but one that is still very much relevant.
Interesting Alternate View
Regardless of whether or not you think all dart players are fat, there’s actually an interesting theory that people believe being fat can actually lead to you being a better dart player. This is for a number of reasons (some of which may even have some merit!):
- Firstly, you need good balance to throw consistent and accurate darts. Any body and arm movement during a throwing motion will heavily impact the accuracy of the throw so stability and balance are essential components. Being larger in size helps to keep your center of gravity and could therefore help to maintain throwing consistency.
- There’s also a theory that body fat in certain areas can act as a counter-balance to again, provide stability and prevent swaying or movement during a throw.
While it’s not a fact that all darts players are fat or overweight, you only need to look at the world rankings to see that there are more “rounder” physiques than there are skinny guys. This can mainly be down to the traditional culture that surrounds darts and the lack of requirement to actually be in shape.
While global trends are changing, it’s still the case that darts is a pub focused game and has a strong association with alcohol and a sedentary lifestyle which are key factors that cause weight gain.
Therefore, If you’ve ever wondered why darts players are fat, it doesn’t apply to everyone but the most likely reason is that they spend more time in the pub than they do on the treadmill.