Everything You Need to Know When Joining an Axe Throwing League

We get asked a lot of questions about joining axe throwing leagues. How good do I have to be? Do I need a team? Do I need an axe? A lot of our guests are intimidated by joining a league after their first time trying a new sport, but you shouldn’t be. For some basic information, you can read our past post on The Sport of Axe Throwing and get some practice tips in 5 Steps to Becoming an Axe Throwing Champion. We’ll be tackling questions related to your first day of an IATF axe throwing league at Total Axe.

I just started throwing axes. Am I good enough to join a league?

Of course! Many of our league members signed up for leagues after only one or two trips with friends. Some of them even dove head first before even trying it. On a typical night, our experienced throwers average anywhere from 40-75 (out of a possible 81 points). Beginners are typically on the low end of the scale, though some move up very quickly. Sometimes we run beginner leagues where averages can range from 20-60.

What do I bring with me? Do I need a team?

Most leagues are typically solo play, meaning everything is 1-on-1. A lot of people will sign up with a friend, but you’ll be pitted against each other at some point. Axes are typically provided by the house, especially for beginners. You’re welcome to bring your own axe, though there are some restrictions based on the league. IATF requires hatchets to be 13-17 inches long with a wood handle, a blade of no more than 4 inches, and a head weight of 1.25-1.75 pounds. It’s best to start out with the house hatchets, and buy your own once you’ve tried out a few different types. Other than that, just remember to wear your closed-toe shoes!

What happens on a typical night?

Every night starts with warm-up time so everyone can get comfortable. During the regular season, usually the first 7 weeks, each player gets 4 randomly assigned matches throughout the night. Each match consists of 3 game of 5 throws (for a total of 15 throws). Most nights last about 2-2.5 hours. On the final week, players are seeded into a double-elimination playoff for the league championship. The top 4 players can expect the night to last a little longer than usual.

What if I have to miss a night?

As long as it’s not the playoffs, it’s no problem. Matches can be rescheduled so that you never miss a single game. Everyone has a life and as much as we love axe throwing, some other things come first. We’ll do our best to accommodate you so you can play all 28 regular season matches within the 7 weeks.

What are all these lines on the floor?

Great question! This part gets a little technical. If it’s a little confusing, we can explain it better on your first day. We don’t penalize new players for not fully understanding every nuance.

IATF uses three different lines to serve several purposes. Nearest the target is a thick red line. This is the foul line for IATF. You’re allowed to take a step when throwing, so long as you do not go past the red line. Yes, you can step on it. Before you can cross over to retrieve your axe, both players must have released their axes and you must make a conscious pause before proceeding.

A few feet behind that red line is blue box (though it’s a black box in most other ranges). When starting your approach, at least one foot must be behind this box, though your other foot can be in front of it. From there, you are allowed one step as long as you don’t cross the red line.

In some lanes, a few feet behind the blue box is a thinner blue line. This is the big axe line. When two players tie in a match, they alternate throwing a full-size axe. When lining up, your back foot must be completely behind this blue line and your other foot can be anywhere. Again, you’re allowed to take one step as you release, but this time you cannot go beyond the blue box.

Is that everything?

Pretty much. There’s some minor details that we’ll cover as we go on. We don’t want to overload you before your first day. If you’re interested, you can register for leagues here, or stop in some time and ask some questions!