Whether you’re throwing axes for the first time or a well-practised pro, there is always room to improve in this most excellent of pastimes.So, before you pick up that axe, your friends at Whistle Punks have put together 7 tried and tested axe throwing tips to step up your game and become a certified axe-throwing legend.
Relax – don’t skew it
Picking up an axe can be a daunting experience – it’s totally normal to expect an emotional rollercoaster of empowerment mixed with hesitation before you throw, especially if you’ve never done it before.
With this in mind, the first of our axe throwing tips is to relax. Take a deep breath. Focus on the task at hand. Your friends and colleagues may be happy with second place, but you’re not: you are a winner.
Body tension is a one-way ticket to axe throwing frustration, especially for beginners. Be aware of tensing up, and remember: axe throwing is more like playing darts than anything else, so chucking it as hard as you can will often end in disappointment.
It’s a dance. Think Fred Astaire, not Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Start from the ground up
A solid stance is the foundation of any good technique. In order to put your foot down and stamp your personality on a game, the last thing you want to do is tip-toe around it.
At Whistle Punks, we use a line to assist you with positioning, but this isn’t bowling – depending on your throw, you may need to be behind or in front of this line, so pay attention to where you’re standing and our instructors will help you adjust later.
When the time comes to throw, one of the best tips for axe throwing is to step into your throw. We tend to recommend leading with the opposite foot to your throwing hand.
For a one-handed throw, a slight bend in the knee will keep the movement fluid. Two-handed throws are going over your head, which will require more of an impressive lunge.
Axes don’t have jobs, so they don’t need to go above targets.
Get a grip
This is one of the most important axe throwing tips for beginners, as striking the balance with your grip can be the difference between a successful throw and a sub-par one.
Grip the axe towards the bottom of the handle for optimum release. Too high up the handle and you risk the wood hitting your hand when you let go. This is less likely to hurt and more likely to send your axe on the wrong trajectory.
Axes are our friends, and have been for millions of years, so don’t strangle it. Gripping too hard creates unwanted tension and will impede your spin. You want the axe to leave your hand with no resistance when the time comes, so loosen that grip a little.
Not too much though, or you’ll drop it. It’s impossible to look cool picking up an axe from the floor.
Be the bullseye
It’s time to take aim, but how do you aim an axe?
In short, you need to show it where to go before you throw it. With your arm extended, aim the blade of the axe towards the bullseye. This position should represent the end position of your throwing arc (when the axe is released) which gives you the best chance of the axe going where you want it to.
This is one of the more effective axe throwing tips in a couple of ways: it’ll make you a more accurate thrower, but more importantly it shows your competitors that you really know what you’re doing.
It’s about that winning mentality!
Throw like you mean it
The time has come. You’re relaxed, feet firmly planted in position, you have taken aim… it’s your time to throw.
For a one-handed throw, keeping your hand and elbow parallel with each other facing the target, lift the axe above your shoulder. Lean back slightly before stepping forward with your other foot, bringing the axe in a smooth arc over your shoulder and letting go when your arm is pointed towards the target.
Two-handed throws are much the same, but with the axe lifted behind your head.
One of our top tips for axe throwing is to follow through with this movement and keep it fluid. Don’t be tempted to ‘flick’ the axe, as it’s likely to over-rotate and lose its accuracy.
If your grip is correct, the axe should leave your hand with enough momentum to rotate once before smashing into the target.
Riotous applause ensues.
Small changes, big difference
Everyone wants to sink an axe on their first try, but the reality is that you’ll probably have to make adjustments to your throw. Even if you’ve followed all of our axe throwing tips, you may end up not hitting the target.
Firstly, don’t get downhearted or frustrated. Axe throwing has lots of variables, and no one is expecting you to be a professional straight away. Even Bruce Wayne had to fall in order to learn how to pick himself up.
If your axe isn’t quite reaching the target, don’t be tempted to go Super Saiyan and throw the axe harder or you’ll end up hurting the floor. Instead, take a step forward and release the axe slightly sooner on your swing.
If your axe hits the target handle-first, it’s under-rotating, so take a step back on your next throw.
If the top of the axe hits the target, it’s over-rotating, meaning you should take a step forward.
Not learning from our mistakes is the biggest mistake of them all, so always listen to your instructors when they give you guidance; they know what they’re doing!
Be gracious in victory – and defeat
When all is said and thrown, axe throwing is a game. It should be fun! Regardless of whether you win or lose, take the opportunity to enjoy the experience with whoever you choose to share it with.
Remember: you can always try again, and with these axe throwing tips, you’re sure to be hitting bullseyes in no time!
With venues across the UK, Whistle Punks is the best place for you and your friends to hone your skills, put your knowledge to the test, and partake in one of the most exciting activities in the known universe!