Unless you’ve been living under a rock, chances are you’ve heard of axe throwing. While the prospect of hurling axes may not seem like something you normally see in the city, this woodsy endeavor is actually an exciting way to spend time with friends, family and even coworkers.
If you’re a newbie to Axe Throwing, you may be wondering what it takes. Is it difficult? Do I need to build up Popeye-esque forearms to even stand a chance?
Well, no. The good news is that this is a fairly easy activity to start enjoying (though challenging to master). But there are still some things you need to know beforehand to get the most out of your experience – which is why we’ve put together this fun little ‘guide’ on how to throw an axe.
What is axe throwing?
Like darts and archery, axe throwing is a target sport. You’ll take turns throwing a hatchet at wooden targets for points.
The object of the game is to score more points than your competition. At FlannelJax’s, we score based on where the tip of the axe lands – for example, if the tip sticks in the line of the 3-point circle, we round up and the thrower gets 3 points. A bullseye is worth six points, the outermost ring is worth one point while the three subsequent inner circles get two, three or four points.
The green dots (aka the money shot) are worth 10 points most of the time, depending on the axe throwing game being played.
We have a wide variety of axe throwing competitions you can try out, including tic-tac-toe, cricket and more!
So you want to be a Lumberjack…
You’ve put on your flannel and are hyped to throw some axes. Not so fast!
While you don’t need an advanced Forestry degree to have fun with axe throwing, there are still some fundamentals you need to grasp if you’re going to be hitting that bullseye on the regular.
Your trusty companion
A session of axe throwing naturally requires a sharp axe that can stick in the target. Axe throwing facilities typically use hatchets, but depending on where you go, you may also find a felling axe.
The axe throwing target is a series of circles on wooden boards. The actual distance from target to participant can vary from facility to facility. At FlannelJax’s, we set our target 13′ away from the thrower.
Your throwing pose
Having the right axe throwing stance can be the difference between consistent success and looking foolish. The seasoned axe thrower knows that there are many ways to throw an axe. But if you’re just starting out, there are really only two throwing stances you need to know:
- Two-handed stance: Best for the beginner where you hold the axe like a baseball bat. Stand with your non-dominant foot towards the target directly in line with the bullseye.
- One-handed stance: More advanced. Stand about at the designated line facing the target with your throwing arm shoulder in line with the bullseye.
Axe throwing methods & techniques
So now that you know how to hold an axe, how the heck do you throw it? Here’s how the two-handed technique works:
- Pick up the axe with your dominant hand and position yourself behind the throwing line.
- Bring your throwing arm in front of you with your fist in line with the bullseye.
- Position the axe at 90 degrees to your forearm and lock your wrist.
- Cover your dominant hand with your other hand for support.
- Breathe in and bring the axe all the way back up over your head (like a shark fin).
- Shift your weight onto your back foot.
- Exhale and bring both your arms forward, using your natural body momentum
Your goal with each throw is to generate good rotation as opposed to throwing it as hard as humanly possible (you could pull a muscle!).
You may need to adjust your distance to the target depending on the axe’s rotation. If the blade hits parallel to the board, the distance is perfect. If the axe’s upper portion touches the board, you’ve over-rotated – try moving a step closer to the target. If the axe’s lower part touches the board, you under-rotated – try moving a step backward.
Having fun, staying safe
With sharp axes being thrown through the air, we always want to make sure we’re all playing safe. We know rules aren’t necessarily sexy, but it’s for everyone’s peace of mind.
The first rule of axe throwing is always talk about axe throwing 😉.
Second rule is NEVER arrive without closed-toe footwear. This is an absolute must – save your flip flops and sandals for the beach.
The third rule is NEVER throw an axe when someone is in the lane next to you! Wait until they move behind the throwing line, and ensure no one is directly behind you that could interfere with your throwing motion. Life is note a Saturday morning cartoon, so please exercise caution!
Fourth rule? Have fun!
Ready to get started?
Itching to put your knowledge to the test and need a place to play? Come visit us at FlannelJax’s. We have many different games and challenges that you can participate in as you hone your axe throwing abilities!
And of course, our trained Lumberjacks are standing by to coach you whenever you visit, so you get the most out of your experience!