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In-depth guide to Axe Throwing Rules

Axe throwing rules

Competitive axe throwing was started by Matt Wilson in his backyard in 2006 when he organized the Backyard Axe Throwing League. Literally, it was played in his backyard after a cottage trip with his friends. Matt and his friends couldn’t do much on the water so one of his friends pulled out a hatchet and started throwing it as some of the logs, before they started working on their Axe throwing rules.

In 2016, Wilson himself founded the National Axe Throwing Foundation (NATF) and a year later the World Axe Throwing League was also founded. Today, axe throwing has grown in popularity throughout the world. If you are planning to become an axe thrower, you first need to be aware of axe throwing rules.There are two leaguesIATF (formerly NATF) and the WATL – each has their own set of rules.

Rules of International Axe Throwing Federation  

At the moment, all bars and facilities are using WATL rules. So here is the lowdown on what you should and shouldn’t do.

Pre-Match Rules

Choice of Lane

  • In choosing a lane, rock-paper-scissors is used to decide who gets to choose a lane. Player who wins 2 out of 3 gets to choose the lane first. Player who opts out of Rock, Paper, Scissors effectively gives the choice of lane to the other player.
  • Players may choose another random and time effective method of choosing a lane.
  • Each player gets 3 practice throws before their first match of the night
  • Players get 1 practice throw before their 2nd match of the night
  • No practice throws are allowed once a player has completed their 2nd match

Signaling Match Start

After warm-up throws have been completed before the official start of the match, players perform a courtesy clinking of axe heads, side against side. If this does not happen, there is no penalty. It is just a sign of courtesy and sportsmanship.

Changing Target Wood

For requests in change of wood, it should be done prior to the start of the competition. This should be done before choice of lane commences. Request for wood change can be made after warm-up and should be granted by the League Runner but not once the match has officially begun.

If a large piece of wood falls from the target during match play resulting to a void or large gap on the target, it can be acceptable for the League Runner, match officials, or third-party mutual agreement. The League Runner can make the mid-match decision to change a faulty board. If that happens:

·        It can only be made by League Runner and cannot be requested by either thrower

·        Can only occur once both players have thrown an equal amount of times on the board in question

Target Interference

·        No spectator or thrower, whether involved in a match observing, may be allowed to interfere with any in-play target whether striking the target, chopping at Clutches, adding screes to targets, and others outside of their official counted throw.

·        Should a target require maintenance or outside manipulation, throwers can request League Runner and/or appointed official to make the necessary adjustments. Requests could include board replacement, hacking out knot, screwing in a split piece of board, repainting an errant target line, etc.

·        This does not include wetting or watering the boards, which can be done at any point during the match by either thrower involved in the match or any third party.

Match Format

Regulation match consist of 3 rounds each consisting of 5 throws per player per round. To win the match, player must win 2 of 3 rounds. In regulation matches, players always throw all three rounds even if one player wins the first two rounds.

Tracking of total points over the course of 15 throws is mandatory in all regulation matches. If a player wins the first round and ties the next 2 rounds, it still counts as a match victory because they have won most of the rounds in the match.

Players switch lanes between each round. If players are tied at the end of three rounds, a tie breaker occurs. A tie happens when each player’s total wins after three rounds results in an overall tie.

Big Axe Tiebreaker

  •  Players use Rock-Paper-Scissors to determine who casts first: the winner chooses whether to cast first or later.
  • The player alternately casts each large ax;
  • At first, while the large ax sticks to the target to break the target’s paint without sticking or to connect with full dots, it is best to cast;

Rules of World Axe Throwing League

According to league regulations, there are no age restrictions or age restrictions. However, they noted that each place has its own age limit.

There are 2 main things you can keep in mind:

  • Remember, most of these places offer alcoholic beverages, so most bars have expectations above 21.
  • No problem to participate in the official competition with your son / daughter

Pre-Match Rules

 Under the rules of axe throwing, if the target is too damaged, players can ask for the wood to be replaced. Similarly, if the target looks too stiff, players can ask to spray additional water to soften the wood.

If your ax continues to bounce off the target or falls off, you can tell the coach for replacement. Only the coach can decide whether to change the target or have it watered.

WATL certified axes

Axe throwing competition rules requires the axes should comply with the following:

  • The total length is at least 12 inches.
  • An ax weighs up to 2 pounds.
  • The maximum blade size cannot exceed 4.75 inches.
  • The pen can be made from almost any material you want.



Game Play

  • The regular season runs for 7 weeks
  • Players will compete in a knockout style in the regular season. Playoffs starts on the 8th week.
  • If you have a tie or a tie (this happens every now and then), then a sudden death determines the winner.

The Board

Axe throwing scoring utilizes the following point system:

  • Bullseye brings you 6 points
  • 4 points for landing on the second ring
  •  3 points for landing in the third ring.
  • 2 points for landing in the fourth ring.
  • 1 point to land in the fifth circle.

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