Glossary of Axe Throwing Terms
It’s your first-time axe throwing. You’ve watched other throwers on your lane experience varying levels of success after their first attempts. Nobody stands out as a natural or consistently hits anywhere close to the bulls-eye.
It’s your turn now.
The instructor invites you on to the lane and hands you your axe. You are ready to launch that sucker into the bullseye first time, to see startled faces and mouths agape at your sheer, natural awesomeness. You’re going to set the tone for the rest of the session. You are here to dominate axe throwing from the start and everyone should be worried and impressed in equal measure.
You line up your throw, pull your arm back to load up your shot. You step forwards, swinging your arm down. You release the axe. Only to realise that it flies high, misses the target entirely, hits a point about four feet away from where you wanted it to go, and falls flat on the ground. It belongs in the bullseye and you were hoping that you’d be the one to send it home. If only you knew the techniques to be able to fix your throwing and understand the axe-throwing mumbo-jumbo that would’ve ensured only victory and the crowd’s undying adoration.
The following terms are commonly used in axe throwing and understanding them will give you that added axe throwing edge for smashing the competition.
Whether you’re a League Veteran or starting out for the first time, read up and learn how best to crush more bullseyes on your next visit.
Throwing Line – The first step is being handed your axe, the second step is up to the throwing line. The throwing line is a feature with a dual-purpose. It keeps the throwers safe by giving them a line which can only be crossed when both axes land still. It also provides throwers with a point of reference so that they can find their spot again for every throw thereafter. A thrower may need to step over this line with one foot to find their exact distance to throw, but both feet must end behind the line after the axe has been thrown. This keeps throwers away from any moving axes.
Find Your Spot – This is arguably the most important aspect of axe throwing. Everyone needs to find their own spot in front of the target, or more specifically their individual distance away from the target. Everybody’s spot is different based on height, build and mobility. Once you’ve thrown a few axes and they start getting stuck in the board, you are close to finding your spot. Once you have found your spot return to that spot when you throw and you’ll have an easier time sinking those axes.
Perfect Rotation – Your distance from the target determines the amount of rotation the axe will do in the air when thrown. You want the axe to rotate a full 360 degrees in the air for it to land in the board. If you are too far away from the target, the axe will spend too much time in the air and over-rotate. It will hit with the top face of the axe rather than the blade edge. If you are too close, you won’t give the axe enough time in the air to spin a full 360 and it will hit with the handle first. As soon as you notice that your axe is landing in the target with the handle facing away at a 45-degree angle, you have Perfect Rotation.
Late/Early Release – Now you have your distance perfected and your rotation nailed, it then comes down to your aim. The biggest factor that will make you hit the target where you are aiming is when you decide to let go of the axe. If your axe is always going high, you’re letting go too early. If your axe is always hitting low, you’ve let go way too late. As a general observation from our instructors, the first two-handed throws tend to go high because people let go too early, and throws go low when throwers think too hard about what they should be doing.
Good Axe! – This is what you want to hear! Hearing this makes you feel warm and fuzzy on the inside because you’ve nailed an impressive, and seemingly effortless, throw. Another thing that shows it’s a good throw is the noise it makes when hitting the target. Rather than the axe making a loud noise and the axe fighting to stay in the board, it glides in effortlessly and hits the target quietly as it snuggles itself between the wood grain.
Cutting the Paint – Now that you have your technique refined and bullseyes are no longer safe from you, it’s time to get competitive and start scoring some points. On the boards at Whistle Punks, you’ll see two red rings, a bullseye and two top corner dots. Sinking your axe in the large ring is worth one point and the smaller ring is worth three points. If you hit the bullseye we’ll award you five, and if your axe flies gracefully through the air and lands into the corner dot, you’ll have earned seven points, the highest points available in one throw!
If the blade of your axe even touches the red paint on any of the scoring areas (Cuts the Paint), we’ll award you the higher point. Many games have come down to the instructor’s judgement and their decision as to whether an axe has cut the paint. It’s an important element to keep in mind.
Sevens (sometimes known as game changers) – Sevens are pretty much the right of passage for anyone who wants to really test their axe throwing mettle. If you find that bullseyes have become too easy or you’re in a tournament and feeling desperate, six points behind and you’re down to your last axe, the seven becomes your only salvation. If you’re one of the legends that lands that perfect throw into either of the seven pointers, we have a rule at Whistle Punks; that regardless of what other throwers or spectators are doing, they all must pay respect to the seven scored and the person who scored it, by making as much noise as possible in celebration. It doesn’t happen all that often, so it is an amazing spectacle when it does.
Ready to go axe throwing?—————————————————————————Written by Ben Cross