Under the watchful eye of Junior Darts Corporation (JDC) founder and chairman, Steve Brown, Winmau Team 360 has been taking shape for several months.
As a PDC tour cardholder himself, Brown is steadily adding groundbreaking elements to the development path of young players.
After a decade overseeing the JDC, the Bristolian feels confident the route from junior darts to professional success can be further improved and streamlined. Team 360 is the combination of mentoring, technical assistance, and sponsor support.
Running the JDC often makes Brown feel like a headteacher – watching as ‘the kids’ go off into the big wide world. He feels it’s important to be there for those who can benefit from extended contact as they embark on a professional or elite darts career. Winmau Team 360 aims to offer that extended guidance and support.
The recent COVID-19 trials and tribulations highlighted the benefit of digital products for both entertainment and development purposes. With the instant feedback, competitive structure, and continuity those platforms provide, it’s no wonder their popularity is booming.
Team 360 aims to harness the coaching potential of the well-known Go Darts Pro – darts practice and improvement site – to facilitate a deep understanding of each player’s game, their strengths, and where the improvements may be required.
Go Darts Pro’s ‘Virtual Coach’ is being deployed as the dedicated solitary practice aid. Within the Team 360 program, its creator Anders Ostman believes it could make a real difference:
Speaking on the concept, he said:
“The combination of Virtual Coach as well as the monitoring and coaching from Steve will bring out the very best from these talented players.”
Team 360’s methods are clearly tailored to the enthusiasms of many of today’s generation of players.
In language similar to that used by gamers, Anders added:
“Within the project, we will unlock functionality and customise the Team 360 training platform as players progress. This will also prove beneficial in keeping them inspired.”
The initial group of six players is settling in well and the different elements of the program are gradually being introduced.
It’s fair to say that there is a high level of anticipation within the opening intake with possibly more news on that front coming soon.
As part of providing a smooth transition from junior to elite level, Team 360 will offer all JDC Advanced tour winners a place on the program – assuming they are not committed elsewhere.
There are no set limits as talent doesn’t come in annual quotas or from any single landmass. But Team 360 is certainly a select group and the entry bar is very high.
Within the first half dozen players selected, youngsters from the Netherlands, Northern Ireland, England and Wales clearly show that it isn’t an inward-looking venture.
Last month, Cayden Smith became the first Team 360 member to claim a ‘World title’ when he lifted that JDC Virtual accolade in Gibraltar.
Meanwhile, sponsors of (JDC Ambassador) Michael van Gerwen, Winmau are living up to their part of the project. They have already produced and dispatched the impressive new Team 360 shirts to the inaugural members.
Full backing by the Welsh Darts giant ensures a long-term approach with each individual progressing in their own way and at their own pace.
The classic perspective of ‘looking the part’ is an important aspect of laying solid foundations. It’s the notion of belonging to something bigger and enjoying the benefits of team membership within an individual setting.
With young players, existing support networks are in need of help and advice. As the father of a pro-tour player, Brown is uniquely placed to understand the concerns of other parents. With face-to-face contact restricted due to COVID, these factors have been at the forefront of the team’s mind.
“Generally speaking, you’ll find it’s parents and supporters that ask for advice about the options available or the best way to assist their charges. That’s especially the case since the beginning of last year.”
The time is fast approaching when the three key elements of Team 360 will be able to function as one friction-free system – developing the initial members towards achieving their goals.
Lead Image: Team360
Original article appears at JDC.com
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