We get it – who doesn’t want to be a bad-“axe” and hit the bullseye on the first try? However, here’s the thing that most beginners fail to understand: the perfect throw is not a natural-born talent, but a skill that even all pros had to once hone during their humble beginnings.
So, how exactly do you practice your axe throw? Believe it or not, physics plays a huge role in mastering the perfect throw. Although it may seem like a simple, repetitive motion, there is a method to it that is worth researching. Here’s how to throw an axe:
1. Establish Throwing Stance
Your stance is probably the most crucial element of your axe throw. What you want to do is set up a consistent and easily repeatable orientation between your body, the target, and your axe. Initially, the most important element of your stance is your throwing distance. Pro tip: Make sure to use a marker to help you locate where you should be standing with each try. Since throwing distance is one of the basic controls over the axe rotation, you want consistency on your side. This will make it easy for you to identify which techniques need to be modified on your end to get dependable sticks.
Assuming you are doing a left-foot forward stance, set your throwing arm and trailing foot to be aligned with the aim point all while keeping your chest parallel to it. Make sure to face your target at your throwing distance (with the help of your marker!) and align the outer edge of your right shoulder to the aim point. Step straight back with your right (trailing) foot about 12-18 inches. Lean slightly forward and strike a balance between your left and right foot. This stance should give you a good foundation to learn how to throw an axe.
2. Find Grip Style
Now it’s time to find your grip style. How you grip the axe handle directly affects your throwing distance and weapon control. There are two common grips you can choose from, and it all depends on your personal preference.
Hammer Grip: The axe handle is grabbed as one would hold the handle of a hammer.
Modified Hammer Grip: This grip is similar to the hammer grip instead that the axe is tilted forward.
Finally, make sure your anchor point (grip location) is to your liking. Note that grip location up or down the axe handle influences how fast your axe rotates. However, for beginners, it is best to put the base of the gripped end at the lower edge of the little finger or palm of the throwing hand. This allows for an easy, repeatable grip that helps increase the possibility of a cleaner release!
3. Setting Up Axe Height and Angle
Your axe’s starting height and position are vital in achieving learning how to throw an axe with accurate shots. Commonly, you want to stand straight, extend your throwing arm horizontally at shoulder level and keep your throwing hand thumb horizontally as well. To facilitate your throw, it is also recommended to extend your non-throwing arm horizontally, with the difference of keeping your hand open and fingers together. The throwing arm should be extended straight from the shoulder while pointing at the target, and the non-throwing arm should be positioned at a slight angle to it.
Your angle helps determine the starting point of your axe’s rotation. Keep your wrist in check, as keeping it straight or bending it will also affect this. To set the axe angle, simply set the horizontal thumb of your throwing hand in the groove between the index and middle fingers of the left hand. Although this is an important angle to keep in mind when barely starting out.
4. Executing The Throw
Finally, it’s time to let your body flow quickly and smoothly to accomplish one continuous motion, and (hopefully) hitting that bullseye. Bring the axe straight back behind your head and throw it straight forward, keeping your wrist and your elbow locked. Then, release the axe when your arm is extended and parallel to the ground. Avoid flicking the wrist when releasing the axe. Simply let go when the axe is vertical and your arm is straight ahead of you. And remember that a smooth follow-through is vital to a consistent, accurate throw. Slowing or stopping the throwing arm just before your axe is released will result in poor accuracy and erratic axe blade sticks.
And there you go! You now know how to throw an axe – at least the basics! With these tips and basic guidelines, you are well on your way to throwing accurate shots. Once you get in the groove of things, revisit some of these techniques and customize them to your own liking for an optimal axe throw. Remember to book a lane with us at Hotshots Axe Throwing in Phoenix, Arizona for personal classes from one of our trained axe-perts!