Darting decade for the JDC

By Editorial Staff 01/12/2020

TEN years in the making. This month will mark the 10th anniversary of what we know today as the Junior Darts Corporation. In 2010 professional darts player Steve Brown was looking for ways his son could participate in the sport he loved at a junior level. Soon to realise that there was nothing structured for young players in his area Steve decided to see if anyone was interested in children playing in a group/ academy session.

Above his dad’s public house in Bristol, Steve advertised a session for youngsters to learn and play darts in his local area. Expecting half a dozen or so children that day, over 30 attended the first session and it was clear there was a need for this kind of opportunity for youngsters to play darts. What made the sessions different was that Steve had created something the children could all do and would be the benchmark of their ability.

Known as the JDC routines, children throw at 57 independent targets in three segments. Shanghai 10-15, doubles around the board and Shanghai 15-20. With an introduction of a coloured shirt system similar to coloured belts in martial arts, it was soon clear that the system worked and ability was clearly measured. Steve built three academies in the Bristol area and believed the model that we see today could spread around the UK, to give as many children an opportunity to play the game.

In 2011 The Steve Brown Darts academies would start to grow outside of the Bristol area. In the early years academies in Cannock, Worcester, Bedworth and Ludlow would start to open their doors. Further to the academy growth over the next two to three years, the Steve Brown Darts Academies started to hold tournaments and competitions within the SBDA which showcased the talent within the academy structure. Big numbers started to attend these events and was the pre-curser for what became the JDC Tour.

By 2012 Steve Brown had teamed up with his now Director of Operations Darren Barson who was the coach at the Worcester Darts academy at the time, and between them would go on to double the academy growth in the next two years. With the inclusion of fellow professional Jamie Caven opening an academy in Derby and further academies opening up in the midlands and southwest, the SBDA was really gathering pace alongside a flourishing professional game within the PDC.

Numbers of children were increasing, numbers of competitors were increasing at events and the number of academies was increasing fast. In 2015 Steve and the team made the decision that the SBDA would need to evolve and become a market leader nationally and internationally. This led to the birth of the Junior Darts Corporation. The JDC would now in its portfolio have a dozen academies in the UK and then came a huge milestone for the JDC. The first academy to open outside the UK would be in Ireland.

This was the catalyst to make the JDC a true international operation and today we see academies and international partnerships around the globe for the JDC. In 2020 the JDC operates in many nations including New Zealand, Germany, Ireland, China, England and Wales. In total academies now number 35 across the world. The JDC Tour has become truly International and in 2019 the JDC held its World Championships abroad for the first time in Gibraltar .

The JDC is now a firm fixture in the darts world and the game would seem odd without it. With huge media presence and a striking and exciting brand, coupled with support from market leaders in the game, the JDC has changed the way we think about darts at a junior level. Brown admits: It’s been a fantastic journey over the last 10 years. I can’t thank the volunteers, our partners, and sponsors enough for helping the JDC get to where it is today. We have so much more in the pipeline for the JDC. Here’s to another 10 years.”

------ENDS------

A version of this article appeared in Darts World Magazine (572) November/December 2020
 

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