a group of people drinking soda from metal mugs while two women throw axes at targets.

How to Throw an Axe: Tips and Techniques

Heber HatchetsHeber's Man Blog

Throwing an axe is like painting. That might seem like a strange comparison, but hear us out: there isn’t one right or wrong way to paint. You can go about it any way you like, but you will have to do certain things to get the results you want. It’s the same with axe throwing. To help hone your craft, we’ve compiled a list of tips for how to throw an axe. We’ve also included pointers on safety and advanced axe throwing techniques for upping your game.

How to Throw an Axe at a Target

There are a few things to keep in mind when considering how to throw an axe, including the type of axe, the target design, and the store setup. 

What Axe Should I Use?

The sharper the axe, the better. It might sound hazardous, but it’s actually much safer to have a very sharp axe. A sharper axe is going to stick in the target easier without using excessive force. The axes you’ll use at our locations are sharpened for this exact reason, ensuring the safety of your entire group with the best quality products for your axe throwing experience.

Target Design

Having a sharp axe is just the first step. You’ll also need something to throw the axe at. Enter the target. You can find your own axe target online through suppliers, or you can make one yourself.

The World Axe Throwing League comes in handy with a target construction kit, including the markers and stencils you’ll need to draw your own lines. Our targets are made of single rough-cut 2×10 boards in the middle with 2×6 boards making up the rest of the target. 

Store Setup

When you schedule an axe throwing extravaganza through Heber Hatchets, you’ll find our store setup is arranged very carefully. Axe throwing groups throw side-by-side and have their own set of boundaries, fences, and targets. 

Axe Throwing Tips for Safety

Safety is and should always be the number one priority during axe throwing. After all, we are talking about chucking sharp, metal, objects around. Our safe axe throwing tips include:

Watch out for People and Obstacles

Before you throw your axe at your intended wooden target, make sure there is no one and nothing in your way. You should be standing in front of the target, about eight to ten feet from it. Nobody, not even the most experienced axe thrower, should ever throw without double-checking their surroundings. Maintain a six-foot radius around where you are standing to assure you won’t harm anyone. 

Throw Together and Retrieve Together

If you’re throwing with a friend or partner, you must throw together and retrieve your axes at the same time. If one person is throwing then retrieving, it puts them in the line of fire from your own axe. We’re not suggesting that you or anyone would ever intentionally injure someone. We are suggesting, however, that accidents do happen. Any steps to minimize the potential of such accidents should be adhered to. 

Axe Removal 

Taking an axe out of a target can be tricky. The best and safest way to do so is to grasp the handle and shift the axe blade up and down until it gradually falls loose from the target. Do not grab the axe and try to pull it straight out. This could result in it coming out quickly and potentially causing serious harm or injury. 

Safety in the Store Setup

The formats of our locations are designed for customer protection and safety. Each target is separated from the next by chain-link fences. Throwers are instructed to stay in front of a certain line and not to cross it when throwing. 

Axe Throwing Technique

Now we can get into some nitty-gritty details of axe throwing technique. Our suggestions and tips are designed to improve your throwing ability and really make you shine. 

Axe Throwing Stance

The first and most important tip for axe throwing technique has to do with your stance. How you stand will help determine the direction your axe goes. There are two different stances for axe throwing: two-handed and one-handed.

  • Two-handed Stance: If you’re throwing two-handed, line your feet up directly with the bullseye in front of you. Keep your feet and body pointed straight forward as you complete your throw. 
  • One-handed Stance: With this stance, you’ll want your shoulder to align with the bullseye in front of you. You’ll keep your stance forward-facing during this kind of throw but focus more on the shoulder-to-target alignment.

Throwing Two-Handed

Throwing two-handed is easiest for beginners. You won’t want to hold on to the handle too tightly—keep your grip fairly loose. Bring the axe directly back, over your head, with the axe head dropping down behind your head and between your shoulders. This is similar to how professional soccer players throw a soccer ball. 

You’ll then bring your axe forward, taking a step forward with your dominant or preferred leg at the same time. You’ll release the axe from your grip when the arc reaches about your eye level. The follow-through is important here as well—make sure to let your hands go completely through the arcing motion, even after you’ve let go of your axe handle. 

Throwing One-Handed

The one-handed throw is a more advanced approach to axe throwing. As mentioned previously, align your shoulder with the bullseye on the target. Bring your axe back past your ear, and keep it straight. There may be some inclination to let the weight tilt it to one side or the other. The straighter you keep it, the straighter it will go after it’s thrown.

The axe head should be just about touching your shoulder before you start to throw it. Follow through like you would if you were throwing a dart—release your grip when the axe handle is as close to vertical as possible. 

Distance Adjustments

There are a few different ways the axe can hit the target. With that in mind, you can make distance adjustments to compensate and get a better throwing result:

  • Top of Axe Hits Board: Your axe will likely still go into the target, but the handle might be sticking out almost perpendicular to the board. When this happens, it means you likely over-rotated your throw and needed to take a half step closer to the target. 
  • Bottom of Axe Hits Board: If the bottom or handle of your axe hits the target, it means you’re standing too close to the target. You under-rotated during your throw and needed to take half a step or so back from the target.  
  • Blade Hits Parallel to Board: This is the kind of hit we’re looking for. Your axe handle will be just about parallel to the target, with most of the front of the axe blade embedded in the target. This means you’re the right distance from your target and that you used excellent form when you threw.

Book with Heber Hatchets Today

Contact us today to learn more about our pricing and how you can book your axe throwing experience. Have questions? Our FAQs can help. We look forward to seeing you at any of our locations for your very own axe throwing event!