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Axe Throwing Rules and Regulations

Axe Throwing Rules and Regulations

Axe throwing is all the rage right now. It has come a long way since its days as an exclusive sport for lumberjacks. With the increase in the number of facilities, you can now see men and women throwing axes. It has grown into a sporting phenomenon. Now there are 2 leagues that organise events namely the International Axe Throwing Federation (IATF) and the World Axe Throwing League (WATL).

Are you planning to join the axe throwing bandwagon yourself? If so, you need to be aware of the Axe Throwing Rules and Regulations. The IATF and WATL each has their own set of rules and regulations so you need to understand which rules the facility you are competing in follows.  

WATF Axe Throwing Rules and regulations


Targets play an important role in fair competition and try to achieve it in most aspects of the game. Target quality is an example.

Sometimes a wooden target can be hit and cannot move forward, or it is too difficult to drop as usual. The rules state that if the target is too damaged, they can ask the player to replace it.

Similarly, if the target looks too stiff, you can request for spraying additional water to soften the wood. If your ax continues to bounce off the target, or falls, ask the coach to have it replaced. Only the coach can decide whether or not to change the target.

The Axes

  • The total length is at least 12 inches.
  • An ax weighs up to 2 pounds.
  • The maximum blade size cannot exceed 4.75 inches.


You can perform 5 warm-ups before the first game. After the game starts, you can only do 1 warm-up throw.

Game Play

There will be 4 different games with each player making 10 throws a game.  The player with the most points at the end of 10 throws wins the game. Players change sides after 5 throws so each player will have an opportunity to throw in each board for the purpose of fairness.

There are 7 weeks of standard play. Playoff starts on the 8th week with each player trying to eliminate each other. If a tie ensues, sudden death penalty determines who will advance to the playoffs.  

IATF Axe Throwing Rules and regulations

The International Axe Throwing Federation (IATF) was established in 2016 to cater to the growing sport of axe throwing. It was created with the vision of standardizing rules to enable broad and accessible completion among players.

Standard match format

  • Each regular game includes 3 rounds:
  • Each round consists of 5 throwing axes per player per round;
  • Players must win 2 of 3 rounds to win the game;
  • In regular games, even if a player wins the first two rounds, a third round is always played
  • In all regular games, the total number of points should be 15
  • If a player wins in the first round and ties in the next 2 rounds, it is still considered a victory in the match because he won the majority of the rounds in the match.
  • If the players are tied at the end of three rounds, a large ax will appear. A tie occurs when the sum of all players wins in all three rounds and leads to a total tie:


  • Black ring is worth 5 points
  • Red ring has a value of 3 points;
  •  The value of blue ring is 1 point;
  • The green ring in each corner is worth 7 points.


  •  Players must announce that they are about to make a clutch. Also called  also known as “clutch call” or “clutch call”;
  •  Players can only launch clutches in the fifth and final round of the round.
  • The unexpected grip is not valid even on the fifth pitch. No call clutch means there are no points;
  • After calling the “clutch”, only this point region is allowable, all other point regions have a zero value:
  • This means that if players are asked to use the clutch, but they hit the bull, they will not receive any points.

Majority rules

  • All ratings are based on where most of the blades land and stay on target;
  • The area with which you should have an ax stuck to the target is the area where the axe sticks
  •  Any part of the blade that does not touch the wooden target is ignored;
  • The number of blades dipped deep into the target across the surface doesn’t matter either;
  • ·If they disagree, the player should ask a third party to take measurements from the device,
  • ·Clutch is a good example of this rule
  • · In a clutch, if any ax blades stick to the clutch area, the throw is good:

 Axe throwing etiquette

Throws may be thrown in any one of three ways:

  • ·2 hands, over the head;
  • ·1 hand, over the head;
  • ·1 hand, under hand;
  • · No other style of throw is permitted.

When a player gets ready for their throw and is in their throwing stance, the blade of the axe must be facing away from the body of the thrower.  Any throwing stances that start with the blade of the axe facing away from the target are not permitted;

The axe must make roughly one rotation before impact for a throw to count.​

5th Throw Etiquette

  • On the 5th axe of a round, it is customary and sporting for the point leader to throw first:
  • This is so the underdog can know how many points they must get on their final throw to win (e.g. Clutch needed to win);
  • If a match is out of reach (> 7 point lead), or for any other reason, the losing player can choose to throw first.

Foot placement for a standard throwing axe

  • When setting up to throw, a players lead foot may be on top, beside, behind, or in front of the black line:
  • At that point, their back foot must be planted completely behind the black line;
  • The back foot may be planted off center to the left or right of the black line, as long as it is still entirely behind the back of the black line in relation to its distance from the target.
  • During the motion to throw the axe, the player may take a full step forward bringing their rear foot to the front of their body and planting it as the motion to throw continues:
  • This foot that has now moved from the back of the player to plant on the floor in front, once planted, must not leave the ground again until the axe has left the hand of the player and has been thrown;
  • During the motion of the throw, any steps taken before crossing the back plane of the black line do not count towards the legal step count.

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