Darts youth prodigy growing sport in Langford

Darts youth prodigy growing sport in Langford

Peyton Hammond is one of the best youth darts players in Canada, while his sister Jayda likes to play more for fun

Like Mozart and other child prodigies, 16-year-old Peyton Hammond picked up his passion for darts when he was three years old. Now, he is the top-rated youth darts player in Canada.

“We are trying to build a youth league in Langford and want to grow the sport,” Hammond said.

Hammond, along with his sister Jayda Hammond (15) and friend Lacey MacDonald (18), plays in the Legion in Langford and has grown the group to about six players. One of the biggest misconceptions around darts is that it is just a pub game and can only be played with a beer in hand.

“It’s so much more than a pub sport,” Peyton said.

Darts can be used to train math skills and improve concentration, strategic thinking and teamwork, he said.

They have also tried to grow sports in school but have been asked to refrain from bringing darts into the classroom, according to Hammond, as they are considered weapons in Canada.

All three will attend the World Dart Competition on October 9 with the Professional Darts Federation (PDC). This will be Hammond’s third such trip, while it’s both his sister’s, and MacDonald’s first.

Bill Hammond, the father of the Hammonds, said that there are two big players in the world of darts — the PDC and the International Darts Federation.

“The PDC is the more professional league,” he said.

They have different approaches to practicing darts. Peyton throws for an average of six hours a day, while his sister prefers to practice when other people are playing. MacDonald likes to “play for the people,” she said.

The darts game all three play is called 501, where the goal is simply to reduce your score from 501 to 0. Bullseye is not the highest score that one can score, but hitting the thin ring inside the point area marked 20 triples the score.

“Bulleyes is only worth 50, so if you hit that three times, it’s 150, but if you hit the 20 three times, it’s 180,” Peyton said.

All three were introduced to the sport by their families and have played in national competitions across Canada, where there is a strict dress code.

“We wear dress pants. You can’t just wear jeans at Nationals,” Peyton said.

The Hammonds and MacDonald all hope to continue playing into adulthood. One of their dreams is to play at the World Darts Championship at the Alexandra Palace in London, England, “The Ally Pally.”