If you’re ready to raise your axe throwing game to a new level, then you’re in the right place. This handy guide is packed with tips for improving your axe-throwing technique. We’ve also included a troubleshooting section that highlights common faults with throwing technique and how to fix them.
Tip: If you’re at a more advanced level, check out our advice on how to become an axe throwing champion.
Axe throwing tips
1. Choose the right axe
Don’t be afraid to try a range of different axe types before settling on one. Although heavier axes sink deeper into targets, you’ll find it easier to practice for much longer with a lighter model. This is especially the case for one-hand throwing.
Test out different handle lengths and shapes, searching for one that suits your hand shape and size. Thin-handled axes that have flatter edges are easier to grip and throw more consistently.
2. Maintain a sharp axe
Keeping axe blades razor sharp with a thin edge will help the axe stick into the wood. Specialized whetstones combined with honing oil or water will help you sharpen an axe like an expert. You can also check out our axe sharpening guide to learn more.
3. Stay relaxed
Try to keep the arms and shoulders as relaxed as possible before entering the throw. For accurate throwing and consistency, your pre-throw routine should remain the same, so keep everything relaxed. This will make consistent throwing easier to repeat.
Wearing comfortable clothes will help with a relaxed, impediment-free throw. We’ve created an article of what to wear axe throwing that’s worth a read.
4. Don’t throw too hard
It’s tempting to toss the axe as hard as you can. It’s great stress relief and, in theory, there should be less drops. But light or medium throws provide greater precision and will stick just as well.
A second issue with hard throwing is that the axe sinks deep into the target. That means the side of the axe head (cheek) has less surface area available for scoring.
5. Consider the board
Pay attention to the hardness of the target board and adjust your technique based on this. Wood type, knots, grain angle, and moisture content all affect the target.
Soft boards allow axes to easily stick so aim to for the blade to strike when it is parallel to the board. For a harder board, move back a little and try to increase the rotation so that the blade strikes on an angle.
6. Avoid twisting the torso
Single hand, cross-body style throws can cause the torso to twist. This can cause horizontal and vertical movement in the axe, making it tricky to get consistent throws. With two-handed over head method, you don’t have to worry about this issue.
7. Breathe consistently
It may not sound like a big deal but breathing can affect your throw. For consistency, try taking a big breath before just before you throw and exhale as you release.
8. Keep the axe lined up
When you pull the axe back behind your head and throw it forward, constantly keep the blade lined up with the target. You can practice at home by standing 6 feet from a mirror and checking your posture.
9. Don’t jump to conclusions
Whether you’re a newcomer to axe throwing or at competition level, wait until you’re fully warmed up before making any changes to your throw. Often, it’s stiffness, not the technique which is causing the problem. Relax and avoid making judgments before you’re thrown at least 15 axes.
10. Get analytical
After each session, keep notes of what worked well and what didn’t. Did you notice someone else having success using a different method? Jot it all down for next time. You may also like to get a friend to video your action for you to scrutinize later that night.
11. Follow through
Like a good golf swing or football throw, follow through is everything. When it comes time to release the axe, if you’re focused on ending the throw, you may pull out too early. The result could be throwing the axe too high, over-rotating, or loss of power.
Related reading: 11 reasons to try axe throwing.
Axe throwing troubleshooting
|Toe of axe keeps striking board.
|Take a small step forward or move grip up 1” to avoid over-rotating.
|Heel of axe keeps striking board.
|Take a small step back or move grip lower to avoid under-rotating.
|Wrist flicking resulting in severe over-rotation.
|Move closer to board, straighten elbows, lock out wrists, move grip lower.
|Square shoulders and hips to the board, loosen grip, Flare hands out on release.
|Axe landing to the left or right of bull’s eye.
|Focus on center of target, throw two-handed, try a lighter axe.
Throwing an axe is a little like playing a guitar; it’s easy to learn the basics but hard to master. Good competition throwers keep it simple, avoiding over-complicated techniques.
Like any sport, the more time you spend throwing, the better you’ll get. If you want to improve at axe throwing, then keep practicing and follow our tips. To get back to the basics you might also like to check out our beginner’s guide on how to throw an axe.