Chatting with our resident coach the other day, I was struck by a view he ventured as to the development and improvement of players. ‘The Coach‘ has noted that many players who can play within more than one code, or division of darts, do not seem to benefit from playing multiple formats. This may well be a problem for the current generation of female stars.
Could Lisa Ashton, and some of the other women players, be at the point where dividing their time (or commitment), together with mixing the standard of opposition, is acting more as a hurdle than a benefit? If so, is it time to decide on their ambitions and focus on them in a more single-minded way?
Ashton, for example, has performed extremely well, within the PDC structure, since dipping a toe in the water in 2018/19. However, she does seem to have hit a plateau which may have affected her dominance of the women’s game. Might ‘The Lancashire Rose’, who is 49, be better off maximising her potential and earning power over shorter formats and familiar opposition in the women’s game? On the other hand she has shown tremendous ability and may well be capable of improving to another level if she were able to give 100% of her time and effort to the longer formats and tougher days of the PDC tours.
For players of the a younger generation, such as Fallon Sherrock, it may be that the decision is taken out of their hands. The opportunities already given to Fallon, mean that she will be playing PDC events for part of next year regardless. Sherrock’s decision to opt out of a devalued BDO Women’s World Championship may be the start of things to come.
Beau Greaves may carry an entirely different batton, at sixteen years old she is capable of achieving almost anything in darts. If allowed to develop at her own pace, and across codes and divides, she may well be part of the first generation to play a truly mixed sport on a level playing field.
Ashton, along with players like Deta Hedman and Anastasia, has carved out a new path for female players.
It could be that in choosing to dedicate herself to ‘Open darts’, and forsake the Womens’ Game, she may take another giant step along it. But is it s step too far?