Words and Ladders

Red Dragon Darts

How many of us have said, at one time or another, that we would put pen paper on our own autobiography? And how many of us have actually committed to it? I suspect that many of those who answered ‘Yes’ to the first question will have dropped their heads in quiet shame at the second. Whether it is time constraints, a lack of confidence or perhaps a worry that it just wouldn’t be worth the effort, most of us never get round to it. But one man was not going to let any of those concerns stop him.

Former PDC tour player and England stalwart Dave Ladley’s book, aptly named Ladders to Climb, enters a relatively sparse field. Though several of the game’s big hitters, from Phil Taylor to John Lowe, have produced an autobiography, few others have felt the need. 

Perhaps it is this which makes Dave’s such an interesting addition, not least because he is not the sort of standout name who you might have on a list of potential writers.

Compared to some of the darts books on the market, this one doesn’t feel devoid of the subject’s voice nor overly refined. Instead it is a very straightforward and interesting story of Ladley’s life, the rough and the smooth. As Dave told me when I interviewed him for Darts World back in December, the book was not born out of any desire for commercial success. Instead it was aimed at chronicling Dave’s extensive time on the oche as well as plenty of stories off it, for his family and friends, including those generations yet to come. It is detailed without veering into the overly descriptive, exhaustive without taking in too much minutiae and gives you a strong picture of Ladley the man and player.

At times it is also moving, including stories of a severe injury Dave sustained in his youth in Wales as well as the death of his father. Ladley also very compellingly and sensitively describes his struggles to balance his home life with his darts and professional life, something which has held him back from the Challenge Tour in recent years. 

With plenty of anecdotes to enjoy as well as a fair few enclosed life lessons, it is well worth the cover price. Ladders to Climb may well be as good an insight into the life of a hard-working darts player as you are likely to get. Dave’s book is available via eBay or directly through social media. You can contact Dave on X/Twitter at @DaveLadley.


Images: PDC

Grab the current print issue 585 here  or a 50th Anniversary Darts World bundle 581 here 

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