axe throwingHow to Throw an Axe

September 25, 2020by Live Axe


You want the rush, the excitement, and the stress relief that comes with axe throwing. But if you’ve never gone axe throwing before or it’s been a while, you may be hesitant. What’s the best way to throw it? What are the do’s and don’ts? How do you hit that target and look like a pro? That’s where we come in!

We’ve got axe-throwing tips for beginners to help you nail your stance, aim, and release. Discover how to throw an axe so it sticks in that bullseye with the guide below.

Axe-Throwing Basics for Beginners

Arm yourself with the fundamentals for your first time throwing an axe. As you throw, stay calm and confident, which will be easier with an idea of what to do before your first session. Getting your form right is about practicing and finding what’s comfortable for you to help you throw your best.

Once you’re at the venue, adjust to the form by practicing your swing without releasing the axe. Be mindful throughout the process, as well. Think about how you hold your hands when you grip the axe. Note the position of your arms and pay attention as you swing and release. Get a feel for the movements with these axe-throwing tips for beginners to practice and perfect your throw.

1. Holding the Axe

You need to learn how to hold an axe to throw and get comfortable with it before you start. Mastering your grip is essential for safety and consistency. You have two options for how you hold the axe, which will depend on your experience level and preference.

  • One hand: Throw with your dominant hand for a one-handed throw. This method of holding the axe is more complicated, since you won’t have as much control. But once you’ve gained experience with it, one-handed throwing is a more precise technique. Don’t grip the handle too tightly, as it could make the axe spin when you throw it. Hold the axe at the bottom portion of the handle.
  • Two hands: Holding an axe with two hands is the best option for beginners. Keep a loose enough grip to let the axe leave your hands when you throw it, but hold it tightly enough to maintain control. Hold the axe at the bottom of the handle, gripping it like a baseball bat. Keep your thumbs pointed up and on the back of the axe handle. Alternatively, you could grip your dominant hand around the belly of the handle, the widest part in the middle. Wrap your other hand around your dominant one to hold the axe.

2. Practicing Proper Form

Correctly holding the axe is one part of having the proper form, but you’ll also need to think about the rest of your body. Your stance and arm position contribute toward an accurate throw. To have the proper form in general, you’ll want to:

  • Keep your feet planted on the ground as you throw to stay balanced, solid, and stable.
  • Move your entire body toward the bullseye as you throw.
  • Be sure of your stance and your movements.
  • Relax your shoulders and arms in your setup.
  • Keep your moves simple and easy to replicate.
  • Once you hit the bullseye, keep your grip, stance, and movement consistent.

With those tips in mind, it’s time to learn the proper form. For the most part, your stance will be the same whether you throw one- or two-handed. But how you position your arms will vary. For a two-handed throw, follow these axe-throwing steps for beginners:

  • Hold the axe in both hands.
  • Stand at the throwing line, centering your body with your target.
  • Stand comfortably with your feet slightly apart and your non-dominant foot forward.
  • Bring the axe straight behind your head.
  • Throw it straight ahead, keeping your wrists and elbows locked.

If you want a more advanced throw with one hand, follow the first three steps from above. You’ll need to position your body so your throwing shoulder lines up with the bullseye. With your stance ready, you’ll then:

  • Bend your arm at the elbow and bring the axe back past your ear.
  • Be sure the axe isn’t tilting to the left or right.
  • Bring the axe nearly to your shoulder before you throw.
  • Straighten your arm and follow through as you throw the axe.

3. Mastering the Swing and Release

Having the right timing in your movements will help you throw an axe accurately. When you master the swing and release, you’ll know at what point to let go of the axe to hit the target. You’ll also have a smoother movement between swinging and throwing the axe. With the proper form in mind, follow these tips for mastering the swing and release.

  • Release when your arms are parallel to the floor: If you throw too early, your axe will be too high. Throw too late, and your axe will go to the floor. Wait until your arms are parallel to the ground to release.
  • Let the axe go when it’s vertical: Ideally, a vertical axe will have one rotation before it hits the target. In competitive throwing, the axe must usually have a rotation for the throw to count and to receive points. If you tilt the axe toward you, the bottom of the blade will hit the target. If you angle it away from you, it could go to the floor or not stick into the target.
  • Avoid flicking your wrists when you throw: Flicking your wrists could send the axe down or disrupt the rotation. Keep everything tight and in the proper form. Practice extending your arms from your throwing position and keeping your wrists locked.
  • Make it a fluid movement: If you extend your arms, pause, then try to release the axe, it won’t go very far. Make a smooth swing-and-release movement to propel the axe toward the target. Practice opening your hands to release the axe as you refine your throw.

How to Throw an Axe at a Target

When you’re throwing an axe at a target, you’re aiming for that bullseye. There’s nothing more thrilling than getting a direct hit, but you need to know how to throw an axe accurately. While practice will make perfect, you can do two things to throw an axe at a target accurately.

1. Look at the Target

The first step of learning how to throw an axe accurately at a target is keeping your eye on the prize — literally. You’ll need to make sure no one is close by before you throw, of course. But you’ll then concentrate on where you want the axe to land on the target during each phase of throwing.

  • Your stance: Look at the bullseye as you prepare your stance. You’ll want to center yourself with the target if you’re throwing with two hands. If you’re throwing with one, remember to line up the shoulder of your throwing arm with the bullseye. Looking at the bullseye as you set up your form makes the first step to a successful throw.
  • The positioning: Keep your eyes on the target when you bring your arm or arms back to prepare for your throw. You’ll be focused to throw, and it’ll be easier to block out distractions. Take a deep breath right before you throw, as well, to help you concentrate.
  • The release: When you throw something, it tends to go where you’re looking. So if you’re looking above the target, at the floor, or somewhere other than the bullseye when you throw, it’ll go that way. Keep your eyes on the bullseye as you release and follow through.

2. Adjust Your Stance

Part of throwing an axe at a target is repositioning as needed. If you miss the bullseye or your axe doesn’t land correctly, you know you need to adjust your throw and stance to help you throw an axe and make it stick. Once you throw, consider if you need to change things based on how the axe landed.

  • The top of the blade hits the board: If your axe looks angled down when it hits the target, it over-rotated. Take half a step closer to the target and throw again.
  • The bottom of the blade or handle hits the board: If your axe handle hits the target or the bottom of the blade goes in, it didn’t rotate enough. Take half a step back from the target and try another throw.
  • The blade hits the board parallel: If the entirety of the blade hits the target, you’re in the right spot! Stay where you are and keep throwing to hit the center of the target.

Stay Safe — How Not to Throw an Axe

To know how to throw an axe, it helps to understand some don’ts. That’ll save you from making mistakes — from minor to big. Here’s what not to do when throwing an axe:

  • Favor power over accuracy: You don’t need super-strength to throw an axe, but some people go into a session ready to flex their muscles. When you throw an axe, you need to balance power and accuracy. If you toss something with all your strength, you’re not paying attention to the target. That could create an unsafe situation if you miss the board.
  • Hold the axe wrong: An incorrect grip could cause you to drop the axe or release it at the wrong time. You could also risk unnecessary strain to your muscles and joints as you throw.
  • Release the axe wrong: Pay attention as you throw and release the axe. Don’t flick your wrists or throw the axe too early or too late. If you swing too far before releasing, try to stop and avoid throwing the axe. Reset and try again.

favor power over accuracy when throwing an axe to get it to stick

  • Ignore others around you: If you’re throwing with a group or a partner, know where they are at all times. When it’s their turn to throw, stay in designated areas and give them space. If you’re throwing with a partner at targets near each other, throw at the same time and retrieve your axes simultaneously.
  • Use a dull blade: When you throw at an axe-throwing venue like Live Axe, you won’t have to worry about axe maintenance. But throwing a sharp axe helps the blade stick into the target rather than ricocheting off.
  • Avoid warming up: Before you do any activity, you should do some stretches or warm up. The same is true before axe throwing, especially if you’re concerned about injuring or spraining yourself. Stretch your shoulders, arms, and back or go through the motions of throwing without an axe in your hands.

Practice Makes Perfect for Competitive Throwing

Like any skill, axe throwing takes practice to perfect. If you want to get involved in competitive throwing or improve recreational throwing, gain experience at Live Axe. With us, you’ll eat, drink, and throw, with options to do the following.

  • Join a social league: If you join an axe-throwing league at Live Axe, you’ll participate in eight weeks of competitive throwing. We’ll tally and record your scores to help you see your progress. In this axe-throwing league, you’ll get ranked on how you throw, not on who you throw against.
  • Book a night with friends: Want something unique to do for the weekend? Enhance your usual bar night routine and toss in an axe-throwing session. Book a fun night of axe throwing, whether you’re celebrating the end of the week or reconnecting with friends who dropped by for a visit.
  • Plan a party: Celebrating a birthday, anniversary, or promotion? Even if you want to throw a just-because party, a private axe-throwing event is a thrilling way to celebrate. Gather at Live Axe with friends or family for a one-of-a-kind party.
  • Visit for a corporate event: Think your co-workers would enjoy axe throwing? Get together and relieve workday stress with a throwing session. Propose a visit as a corporate event for team building or visit after work.

Try out These Axe-Throwing Tips at Live Axe

Ready to put your skills to the test? Don’t just read about how to throw an axe — visit Live Axe and do it for real! Visit for a party or join a league and unleash your inner Viking at Live Axe. Come in and grab a drink from our bar, then get throwing. Afterward, celebrate your victories with small plates from our innovative menu, surrounded by industrial-chic decor and an energetic environment.

Book your spot today to put your axe-throwing skills to the test!

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