Axe throwing is one of the fastest growing sports nowadays. Initially, throwing axes was exclusive for lumberjacks. Over the years, however, it has grown to become a sport that just about anyone can excel in. Now, there are two sports leagues for axe throwers—the World Axe Throwing League (WATL) and the International Axe Throwing Federation (IATF).
If you have decided to join the axe throwing bandwagon, perhaps the question you will be asking is: How do I throw an axe? The fact that it involves an extremely dangerous weapon, you can become intimidated even before you make your first throw. In this article, we shall provide you with tips so you can learn axe throwing.
First things first, you should always keep in mind that an axe is a dangerous weapon. Improper mishandling of an axe may result to casualties or serious injuries. Most guides on throwing an axe include safety precautions which throwers should keep in mind before throwing an axe:
1. Check your surroundings
Make sure that area around you and the target is clear of people before attempting to throw the axe. Do not throw the axe when someone is near the target or walking towards it. Make sure that everyone is at least 8 feet behind you. If someone is too close to the target, don’t be scared to tell them to get out of the way. The only person in the throwing area should only be you.
2. Don’t Overly Sharpen
A sharp axe will help it stick to the target much easier. This lessens the potential danger to those around you. However, it shouldn’t be super sharp to stay in target. After sharpening your axe, avoid touching the blade directly with your fingers to avoid stitches. The sharper and thinner the profile, the easier it’ll stick.
At the same time, you don’t want your axe to be completely dull. Although it wouldn’t be a safety concern, it will take the fun out of the game and can make scoring points challenging.
3. Don’t Try This At Home
Axe throwing can be fun and safe if done correctly. Due to its popularity, there has been a rise in the number of throwing establishments across the United States. They have regulated equipment, safe facilities, and trained professionals. So do yourself a favor and don’t try this on your own.
4. Axes Must Be Intact
Axes and targets should always undergo inspection before throwing. An axe head can fly away and hurt someone if it isn’t in good shape. Always do some quality control on your materials. Most facilities will do this for you before going to a facility or club.
5. The Right Grip
Grip your axe like a baseball bat ensuring that the head of the axe as straight and perpendicular to the target as possible. Rotate the head and the axe will fly sideways and make it less likely to stick to the target.
6. Have a first aid kit on hand
Accidents can happen anytime. You can suddenly get a paper cut at home what more if you will be flinging axes around. For possible injuries, axe throwing facilities and clubs have first aid kits on hand.
Choose The Right Axe
When choosing an axe for throwing, you need to find one based on what you can handle comfortably and raise above your head. Here is a look at the different types of axes you can consider for axe throwing:
Hatchets, or scout axes, are small axes designed to be used with one hand while the other hand holds the wood in place. The axe’s head weighs about a pound and a half while the handle is about a foot long. Hatchets are commonly found in recreational facilities. These lightweight axes are great for practicing your axe throwing skills.
Felling axes are used to cut down a tree and don’t have access to a chainsaw. The handle of the axe is 2 feet long while the head weighs two and a half pounds. The blade is thin, flat, and sharp. The feeling axe can be swung sideways at the tree and is designed to cut through the grain not with the grain.
Splitting firewood is a daily chore that many people still do. A splitting maul is the axe designed for the job. The head of the axe is thick and heavy and can weigh as much as 12 pounds. As it is a tool that requires brute force, splitting mauls need to be sharp.
Tomahawks are the original throwing axe. Although they can be used to some degree, the head of the tomahawk is too light for chopping into wood. It is not recommended for throwing because it is more unpredictable compared to the hatchet.
Double Bit Axe
The double bit axe is often used in competitions such as the Lumberjack Games. One of the blades is usually sharp for cutting against the grain and other isn’t as sharp and used for splitting wood along the grain.
Decide on your throwing style
There are two axe throwing styles to choose from: the two-handed throw and the one-handed throw. For beginners, it is recommended that they start with the two-handed throw until you become comfortable with the distance and the release point.
This is known as the beginner’s throw because it provides the thrower with more axe control. Grip the axe with both hands and raise the axe straight over the head. Check that it is safe to throw the axe and then release once your hands reach eye-level.
The one-handed throw is a bit more challenging. The steps are similar as the two-handed throw except that you grip it with just one hand.
Find your stance
After finding a comfortable throwing axe and the right throwing style, the next step to improve axe throwing is to find the perfect stance. Having the perfect stance can make a huge impact in axe throwing success. Stand anywhere from 12’ to 15’ from the target depending on your height and throwing style.
For two-handed throwers, stand in the throwing box with your feet parallel to the target shoulder width apart. Once you find your comfort zone, you can make the adjustments in your distance from the target so you can stick your throw.
If you are throwing one-handed, place the opposite leg of your throwing arm forward similar to a quarterback throwing a football or a pitcher throwing a baseball. When you become comfortable throwing, adjust your distance to the target until you get consistent with sticking your axe in the target.