How to Throw an Axe Technique and Tips

Throwing an axe is a fun and challenging activity that can be enjoyed by people of all ages. However, before you start throwing axes, there are a few things you need to know in order to stay safe and have the most enjoyable experience possible. In this article, I will walk you through exactly how to throw an axe and show you some tips for beginners so you can throw your axe straight every time.

How to Throw an Axe Safely

Before you start axe throwing, it is important to understand the basics of how to throw an axe safely. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Always wear closed-toe shoes when throwing an axe. Getting hurt when throwing axes is rare but they do bounce out of target so you want to make sure you don’t lose a toe.
  • If you are throwing in a lane with another thrower, ensure you have both thrown your axe before going to retrieve them out of the target. You don’t want to be down range from an axe.
  • Don’t put your bare hand against the target board you will get splinters.
  • When pulling out your axe wiggle it back and forth instead of yanking it out of the board.
  • Ensure you are using a good throwing axe and not something that is unbalanced or low quality that could break.

Now that you know the basics of how to throw an axe safely let’s go over some axe throwing tips.

Axe Throwing Stance

Whether it’s a one handed throw or a two handed throw a good axe throw starts with your base. Where and how you place your feet can change a ton of factors like how much the axe rotates, what part of the axe hits the target, and how steady your release is. If you have a bad stance you are going to be less accurate, less consistent, and have more drops.

A good stance starts with understanding the basic mechanics of an axe throw. For your stance, it is good to look at how other sports handle throwing. For example, let’s look at baseball and football. In both of these sports, your plant foot is on the same side as your dominant hand. So if you are right-handed, then your right foot is the plant foot and the one you push off of. So when you line up your axe throwing stance, have your right foot forward with your back foot being your non-dominant side. The reason this is so important is when you throw the axe stepping with the opposite side means you are less likely to cause additional movement on your release for your throwing arm. Less movement means more consistency. Consistency is key to bettering your accuracy and precision.

The best distance to stand is so your axe is sticking into the target at a 45-degree angle, with the top of the axe lodging into the target. This angle means there is more pressure at a single point and makes it much more likely that your axe will consistently stick. Many people, when they first throw, either over or under rotate. If you are standing too close to the target, the handle will hit the target first. If this is happening, you need to take a step back when setting up your throw. If the top of the axe head is hitting the target, you are overrotating and need to move closer to the target when setting up your throw.


We have talked about your axe throwing stance you want your non-dominant foot to be the one stepping. But how far should you step? What should it feel like? The key here again is consistency. The way to get the most consistent step possible for axe throwing is to do your normal walking step. Your muscle memory knows how it walks and should take over. Just step towards the axe throwing target as if you were walking up to shake its hand and not holding a very sharp axe. This nice causal motion will lead to you being much more relaxed. If you try to do a jump step or something weird to get as close as possible, you will only mess up your entire throwing motion and create a step this is difficult to repeat, leading to it being very inconsistent and a less accurate throw.

Pulling Your Throwing Arm Back

When you pull your throwing arm back, there are a few things you want to avoid, like accidentally hitting your own head or ear. Trust me, I’ve done it, and I don’t recommend it. There are two ways I’ve seen throwers pull their throwing arm back.

  1. During their throw and step
  2. Before they start moving

Both work just fine, but I personally prefer pulling it back during the motion. The reason being it feels like a more fluid movement, and it allows me to aim my axe by fully extending my throwing arm before I start my throw. When I was talking with advanced axe throwers who are ranked in the top 100 in the world, I was given this axe throwing advice, “During your step motion, step up to your axe so your axe stays in the same spot, but you move towards it.” So you start with your arm extended, and as you step, you bend your arm keeping the axe the same height until it’s next to your head, then you release.

Having your arm pulled back before you throw means you don’t have to worry about accidentally knicking yourself during your throwing motion, but I think you miss out on being able to aim properly and get a more fluid movement. I have seen several throwers who do this very successfully in fact; I was absolutely crushed by a thrower who fully rests their axe on their shoulder before they start their throwing motion. So if it feels more comfortable for you, then don’t discount this approach.

Arm Motion & Shoulder

Throwing an axe is not an easy thing to do. So many people try to use their whole bodies when axe throwing and end up with the axe on the ground. The simple reason is that axe throwing is more like throwing a dart. You want to use finesse more than muscle because you should already have a sharp axe blade to do all the work. Since the axe can do all the work you get to focus on your axe throwing technique instead and making sure your axe hits the target.

Generally, I start with my arm fully extended elbow locked, and then I slowly drop the axe to aim at the bullseye I use the top of my axe to aim, but I know a lot of people who line up their hands to the target. As I pull the axe back, I’m using just my elbow and wrist as I bring the axe back to a 90-degree angle, then I throw by just flicking my elbow and wrist out for the release.

One of the biggest mistakes I see when people go axe throwing for the first-time is they try to use their shoulder, back, and legs to get extra power. What that actually does is make you have less accurate throws. If you use your shoulder and back, you are changing where your release point for the axe is. I like to just lock the movement down to only my elbow and wrist, so there is less opportunity to mess up the motion. If you watch the world axe throwing league you will see that consistently the professional axe throwing technique is very minimal with almost no movement besides the hand and elbow.


This is for the more advanced axe throwers! Controlling your breathing is one of the best axe throwing tips I’ve ever received. With exercise, breathing can help improve performance, sharpshooters have to learn breathing control for more accurate shots. The same is true for axe throwing, knowing the way to breathe can help you out. There are two ways axe throwers I know have used breathing to help their game out:

  1. Breathing out while taking a step and releasing the axe
  2. Throwing the axe in that window between breaths

Taking a breath before you throw is a great way to give your body a second to reset and prepare to throw at a target. Personally, I always breathe out while I set up my stance, then breathe in while I am aiming and breathe out as I release. Similar to weightlifting, I like the connection of taking in a breath before an explosive motion. If you watch experienced axe throwers you will notice a lot of them set up their stance and then start to control their breathing.

However, other successful techniques I’ve seen throwers use in throwing after they exhale during the moment when they don’t have to breathe in or out. When I tried this, I found that I kept messing up and couldn’t do it right.

Clutches or Killshots

Hitting clutches or killshots is one of the most fun parts of the axe throwing experience. Nothing like upping the anti with a throw that is work more points. While they are worth more points the axe throwing technique for clutches and kill shots are the same as your other throws. The only difference is you are aiming slightly higher. When I aim for clutches, I do the same setup, step, breath, and arm motion; the only thing I change is I aim higher and line up so my big toe points directly at the clutch.

Fun Trick Shots

Trickshotting is a fun way to show off your skills and challenge yourself to learn new axe throwing techniques. It can also be a great way to improve your accuracy. Plus, who doesn’t love to show off a bit? Well at least it is if your axe hits the target.

Underhand axe throw

To throw underhand, you should stand in the same spot as your normal throw. The only difference is you want to hold your axe with the axe blade side closest to the ground but still facing the target. That means you should be holding onto the top of the handle. You are going to take a normal step to throw the axe but in your motion, you are going to use more of your shoulder and wrist. I like to keep my arm bent when I pull the axe back and then release it as the axe is parallel to the ground.

One & a Half Rotation

One & a half rotation is a fun way to throw an axe. You set up to throw the axe in the same way you would for your normal throw; however, the axe is pointing away from the target. Instead of taking a step like you normally would, you do not step at all and just throw without a step. This will cause the axe to rotate, sticking into the target with the axe handle facing the ceiling.

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