Axe Throwing Technique
For those looking to get started with the sport of axe throwing, or players interested in sharpening their technique, we have a variety of resources to help you get a grip! First and foremost, this is a comprehensive written account of axe throwing for casual throwers and novices. If you’re looking for more in-depth information on professional throwing technique, stay tuned! We might just have a little something for you coming soon! Additionally, there’s only so much that can be learned academically with a physical sport like this. Axe throwing technique is built from repetition, training, and practice. You won’t be able to get the axe to stick with reading comprehension alone. (If that were the case, I would be as good of an axe thrower as I am a blog writer! That’s… that’s still not saying much.)
How to Throw an Axe
We actually have a whole blog post dedicated to this exact question! If you’ve never thrown an axe before, start HERE! It’s a great way to look at what it takes to effectively throw an axe at a target. And don’t worry, if this is totally new to you, our dedicated axe-perts will give you a rundown lesson before your experience at Lumber Jack’s Axe Throwing begins. We want to ensure fun and safety for all of our guests, and that starts with a good foundation.
The long-short of it comes down to three simple steps:
– Mind your Stance
– Grip your axe handle firmly, but not white-knuckled
– Keep your axe straight while you throw
Axe Throwing Tips
Finer points (heh, points? get it? Like. Because axes are sharp? I’ll see myself out.) of axe throwing can be taught by your axe-pert when you come throw with us. Until then, let’s read up on a couple of ways you can prepare your axe throwing techniques!
Straightening the Blade
A straightened axe blade will assist in an accurate throw that is more likely to stick when it hits the board. As you bring the axe over your head, keeping a light grip on the handle and the blade straight forward, when you release the axe at eye level, you will avoid a “karate chop throw.” For example, if axe throwers tilt left with their blade (looking like a forward slash, aka: / ) the blade has to cut across the wood grain of the board. To achieve a stuck axe, you would need to use so much force with this kind of tilt, even with a very sharp axe. This kind of throw can even result in split wood and a busted target.
Keeping your arms relaxed and your wrists straight can help your throw. Avoid flicking the axe as you release it. Remember to follow-through in your throw, commit to the motion of the throw. Forward motion with your axe is safer than slanted or side-to-side throwing. Keeping things straight will help you hit the bullseye!
Axe Rotation Correction
The number one reason axe’s don’t stick in the board is improper rotation. This is affected by the distance that you stand from the target. If you’re seeing the axe head hitting the target, your throw is over rotating. If the axe handle is hitting before the blade, the throw is under rotating. Changing distance depending on what part of the axe is hitting the wood will help your sticking percentage.
Taking a few steps forward will fix an over rotated throw, and backing up will fix an under rotated throw. This can take some fine-tuning and a few test throws, but will ultimately keep your axe from hitting the ground. Start small, take a half step closer or half step backwards, throwing as you go. Note the distance from the target for your optimized throw! This will help build consistency in your axe throwing.
Additionally, the ideal throw has the tip of the axe blade stuck in the target. If the full length of the blade is in the wood, that makes for a less reliable throw. Advanced axe throwers make it look so easy. Effortless-looking throws are achieved at the perfect distance from the target, often with just the tip that hits the board.
Pro and recreational axe throwing competitors utilize a few additional practices that help their aim, consistent axe hits, and general throwing.
The Axes Themselves
The first are the axes that these pros and semi-pros use. Axes have many uses and their materials, styles, and weights all provide different advantages. Which axe you use comes down to personal preference of course, but those throwing regularly may want to invest in axes designed specifically for the sport of axe throwing. For a beginner, the regular hatchets and larger axes we offer at Lumber Jack’s is a fantastic place to start.
The WATL has guidelines on what types of axes can be used in their various competitions and leagues. But the perfect throw can’t be achieved by buying fancy equipment!
As an entry-level axe thrower myself, I was really interested to learn this technique. Like in archery, some throwers use a physical touch point as they prepare their throw. Lightly touching the axe head to a consistent spot on your face, shoulder, or head, helps to ground each throw. Obviously keep the sharp edge away from your skin! This small action makes throwing axes a practiced routine. Most common with one handed throwing, this could be applied to a two handed throw as well. It also looks incredibly bad-axe.
Consistency first, THEN Aim!
When I asked one of Lumber Jack’s WATL Referees what his number one axe throwing technique tip was, he told me: “Consistency Over All Else.” If you can reliably hit the target, getting your axe to stick every time, then we can begin to work on aim. Aiming without a reliable throw might catch you a bullseye or two, but throwing without consistency can lead to frustration. It certainly makes competitions more challenging. Practicing the axe throwing tips discussed in this post, as well as training with axe-perts can help to boost your confidence and uniformity.
When perfecting your swing, be sure to factor in: the grip in your dominant hand; your axe throwing stance; your perfect distance from the target (to ensure proper rotation); your release point; and the throwing motion itself. There’s a lot of tiny factors that can maximize your axe throwing. Soon, you’ll be hitting the bullseye every time!
Practice Makes Perfect!
Do you want to become a better axe thrower? Learn from the best and hone your skills in a fun and uplifting environment! Join our WATL League! A super-welcoming axe throwing competition that gives you the opportunity to take your hobby to the next level. Hosted on Sunday afternoons, the World Axe Throwing League is waiting for you!
If competition isn’t your style, but you still want to work out your throwing arm, LJ’s is open every Wednesday-Sunday for all your axe throwing needs. Chill out with us, enjoy some snacks and sodas, and work on that swing! Booking a reservation is encouraged, but walk-ins are always welcome!
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