Ever wonder how to throw a hatchet?
With the growing sport of urban axe throwing on the rise, “how do you throw an axe?!” is a common question amongst friends before they head to an axe throwing range. The question lingers as doubt and fears creep in, what if I can’t throw? What if I suck at this hipster past time and my friends laugh at my failure?
Have no fear! OG Nelly from Golden Axe Throw Club is here to show you proper axe throwing technique. Form, control & movement are key elements to an effective axe throw, that will ensure you are keeping up with your axe throwing peers competitively. Contrary to other sports that require strength and power, axe throwing is more about these 3 factors, as well as some starting rules and procedures.
Golden Axe Throw Club follows the rules set out by the National Axe Throwing Federation. You’ll be throwing from around 14 feet, but reaching out towards the 9 feet mark once you complete your throw. Rotation required is 1 full rotation, so make sure to hold the axe at 90 degrees upwards towards the sky when aiming. That will be your exact release point to get accurate enough to throw through the bullseye. The axe should land the same as your starting 90 degree angle of the axe. If the axe hits the head and bounces off the wood, get closer. Reduce the distance to the target by 6-12”, and the axe will rotate less. Alternatively, if you are hitting handle first, move back a step until you are no longer hitting the handle. The axe isn’t rotating enough, and you require a longer throwing distance.
Form & Movement
Your starting stance should have you on the edge of your toes, leaning in towards the target. Hold the axe with two hands, dominate hand on the axe, supporting hand around your knuckles, without touching the handle. With the axe at 90 degrees, lean in towards the bullseye, arms stretched out fully extended, with no bend in your elbows. That’s position #1. In a clean, smooth motion, bring the axe over your head, in between your shoulder blades. The axe should now be 90 degrees but the head is now facing down to the ground, parallel to your body. Make sure you are almost scratching your back, or even give it a good scratch while you’re back there. You don’t want the axe head perpendicular to your body, but instead, inline with your spine. This is Position #2, and at the same time, you should be rocking from your toes to the back of your heels. Make sure not to lift your lead foot off the ground, as you’ll be gaining the majority of your power and momentum through your step into this throw.
Position #3 sees you bringing the axe back to your starting point, in a fast, direct motion. Your release point, is exactly where you were aiming to start. Make sure not to flick your wrist. All you need to do is open your hands but keep following through, stepping off your lead foot back onto your toes. Your hands should fling to your side, your body 100% committed to a dive towards the bullseye. The only thing stopping you from falling on your face, is taking a step with your other foot forward. Think an elegant swan pose in yoga, if such a thing exists.
Now just combine steps #1-3 in a quick fluid motion, while maintaining control over the axe.
Contrary to jocks that think just chucking the axe really hard will make it do magical wonders in the air, you want to have finesse and speed, opposed to brute strength. Too much power and the axe won’t rotate properly, and will bounce back in your face, turning axe throwing, into axe dodging. Throw the axe fast, opposed to slowly, and make sure to combine a hard, strong grip with your dominant hand around the shaft, embraced with a light grip of your non-dominate support hand. Gripped the axe firmly with both hands, will only make you push the axe between your grips, causing it to turn in the air.
Make sure to lock your wrist, don’t flick them, just release your strong grip at your eye line towards the bullseye. combined with the movement and form, you should have a perfectly rotated axe, that lands close to the target. Aim and release at the same point, the bullseye, which you should be burning a hole into with your stare. That eye line is where you should be throwing your axe and hand through, not just at.
Lastly, when all else fails, just picture someone’s face up there you can’t stand. An ex, a boss, whoever it may, it’s better thinking it than actually doing it! You’ll be surprised how quickly you improve!