Sport Rulebook

Mastering the Game of Axe Throwing: Rules Techniques and Safety Guidelines

Axe Throwing – Mastering the Game with Gameplay and Match Rules

Axe throwing is a popular leisure activity that requires skill, precision, and a good throwing arm. It involves hurling a small, sharp axe at a wooden target, usually marked with a bullseye.

The game can be played solo or with others, and there are specific rules that must be followed to ensure fair play. In this article, we’re going to discuss gameplay and match rules that every axe throwing enthusiast should know to master the game.

Axe Throw Gameplay Rules

Opponents’ Turns and Switching Sides

The game of axe throwing involves two opponents who take turns to throw an axe at the target. It is important to maintain fairness in the game by alternating throws between the players after every turn.

The throw alternation rule requires the opponents to take turns in throwing. In other words, after one player throws an axe at the target, the other player must take a turn, regardless of the outcome.

This rule ensures that each player has an equal opportunity to score points and win the game. In addition to throw alternation, there is also a five-round switch rule.

This rule requires that after five rounds, the opponents switch sides. This is to ensure that both players have an equal share of advantage in terms of the distance from the target, lighting, and other environmental factors.

Match Winner and Sudden Death Round

To determine the winner of an axe throwing match, you need to accumulate points by hitting the bullseye or other designated areas on the target. Points are usually awarded based on the area hit, with the bullseye scoring the highest points.

The match outcome rule is straightforward – the player with the highest points at the end of the game wins. If the scores are tied, the sudden death round rule kicks in.

In this rule, both players take turns throwing an axe at the target, and the first player to score points wins the match.

Match Rules

WATL Match Frequency and Pairing Process

The World Axe Throwing League (WATL) is the governing body of axe throwing, and they have set standard rules for the game’s regulation. One of the critical rules is the match scheduling and opponent assignation.

The WATL recommends that players compete in no more than three matches per week to avoid injury or burnout. The pairing process is usually done randomly, and players must be at the venue at least 30 minutes before the match begins.

Match Beginnings and Official Supervision

Before the match begins, the official starts by explaining the game rules and safety precautions to the players. This guidance ensures that players understand the rules and play fairly and without incident.

The game start rule requires both players to be in their designated throwing area and the official’s readiness to begin the match. The competition is supervised by an official who ensures that proper gameplay rules are followed, and the players are safe.


Axe throwing is an exciting game that requires equal parts of skill and strategy. Knowing the gameplay rules and match rules is key to mastering the game, ensuring that players play safe and fair.

If you’re a beginner or seasoned player, these rules can help you improve your gameplay, have a great experience, and be a true competitor in axe throwing.

3) Throwing Rules

Axe throwing requires throwing techniques that deliver the axe to the target accurately and with sufficient force to score points. The most common throwing techniques are overhand, underhand, and two-handed throws.

Let’s take a closer look at each throwing technique and hand position.

Overhand Throw

The overhand throw involves gripping the axe with two hands and raising it over the head, then bringing it forward and releasing it in a smooth motion toward the target. This throwing technique requires good upper body strength and the ability to control the axe’s rotation and trajectory.

The throwing hand should be placed nearer to the blade than the non-throwing hand, with the non-throwing hand closer to the axe’s base.

Underhand Throw

The underhand throw requires a different skill set, with the throwing hand positioned under the axe, bringing it backward, then forward, and releasing it toward the target. This technique requires a strong arm and exceptional control over the axe rotation.

The throwing hand should grip the axe, with the non-throwing hand almost touching the opposite end of the handle.

Two-Handed Throw

The two-handed throw is a powerful technique that involves both hands griping the axe and bringing it upward in a motion similar to the overhand throw. However, instead of releasing the axe with one hand, the player releases it by pushing both hands forward in a coordinated motion.

Both hands should grip the axe, with the thumbs wrapped around the handle. The non-dominant hand should be positioned below the dominant hand, and the elbows kept close to the body.

Rotation and Ground Rule

Axe rotation plays a significant role in ensuring that the axe lands accurately on the target. The axe should rotate once or twice depending on the player’s preference before hitting the target.

The ground rule requires the players to throw the axe at the target from behind a line marked 12 feet from the target. The player must also maintain their feet within the throw line area while throwing, and they cannot step over the line before releasing the axe totally.

The throw line must be marked with a distinct color, such as red, for easy visibility. Players must avoid crossing the fault line, which results in a foul.

4) Foot Faults

Axe throwing involves body movement to generate the force needed for throwing, and players need to maintain their feet within the throwing area while throwing to ensure fairness in the game. There are certain rules that players must adhere to when it comes to foot placement.

Red 12 ft Fault Line Crossing

The red 12 ft fault line is marked to ensure players stand far from the target for their safety while throwing. Players violate this rule if they step over the line before releasing the axe, and this results in a foul.

The penalty for stepping over the fault line is a zero score for that round, and the opponent gets to take their turn.

Room Part Touching beyond the 12 ft Fault Line

Another critical foot fault violation is when a player touches with any body part any part of the room beyond the 12 ft fault line while throwing. This is an immediate penalty and results in zero score for the round.

If a player crosses the red fault line with a body part while throwing or touches a room part, the opponent scores one point for that round.


Axe throwing involves a range of throwing techniques and foot placement rules that are essential for anyone looking to master the game and play fair. Knowing the throwing techniques, foot placement rules, and common mistakes helps players avoid foul penalties and keep the game enjoyable and competitive.

By mastering these rules and techniques, players can improve their skills, score points, and rise to the top of their game.

5) Timing Rules

To maintain a fair and competitive playing field, axe throwing has specific timing rules that players must follow for each turn and throw.

Ten-Second Constraint and Judge Timing

Players have a ten-second time constraint to throw the axe. This constraint is applied to ensure the pace of the game, and each player gets an equal opportunity in terms of time.

If a player does not throw within the ten-second time frame, this violation results in a delay fault penalty. The official stopwatch is used to determine whether the toss was within the ten seconds.

The timing rules often determine the quality of the player, the counting process ensuring a competitive game experience.

Delay Faults and Judge Discretion

The ten-second time constraint ensures the pace of the game, but there are always situations that arise. A delay fault is enforced when a player exceeds the ten-second time frame when throwing the axe.

However, in some instances, judges use their discretion to grant a time-out allowance in cases of extenuating variables, such as inclement weather or the player’s readiness for the throw. In other cases, the judge may overlook or waive the time-out penalty if they deem the delay as beyond the player’s control, such as technical issues with equipment like the official stopwatch.

6) Axe Throwing Judges

Axe throwing judges are responsible for ensuring fair play and upholding the rules of the game. They play an essential role in keeping the game organized and determining if players follow the rules to avoid penalty outcomes.

Timing Responsibilites and Player Requesting

The judge’s primary responsibility is scheduling the match, explaining the rules, and supervising the game to ensure that the players adhere to enforced rules. In addition to this, they also ensure that a fair game is played, with timekeeping playing a significant role.

Players can request a time-out when there is an issue that needs addressing, such as an issue with the axe, the target, or anything else that directly impacts the fair play of the game. The judge plays the role of enforcing time limits for time-outs and judging whether a request is valid or not.

Fault Determination and Zero Points Penalty

There are instances where fault occurrence happens or play outside the outlined rules of the game. The judge is responsible for determining penalties incurred from players’ faults and ensuring all penalties are enforced promptly.

Fault determination also includes identifying which fault has been committed or assessing the axe’s quality, among other faults. The judge must enforce penalties promptly to avoid interrupting the game’s pace and ensuring the fairness of the game.

Penalty outcomes may involve zero points for the round or even total score forfeiture when a player persistently violates the rules, resulting in a higher penalty.


Axe throwing is a sport that requires players to follow strict rules and regulations to maintain fairness and safety. These rules involve the time limit constraints, the responsibility of the judge, and penalty assessments.

Abiding by these rules ensures that a fair game is played, and players can enjoy a competitive playing ground.

7) WATL App

The WATL app is a popular axe throwing mobile application that allows players and judges to track scores, errors, and other critical data needed for fair play. Here are some of the app’s features.

Real-Time Score Input and Fault Recording

The WATL app allows for seamless score tracking, accurate fault logging, and error alerts. Judges can input scores in real-time, ensuring a seamless game flow and reducing manual scoring errors.

This feature saves time and streamlines the scoring process for the players and judges.

Alternative Scoring Recording in Absence of the App

In the event of connection or other technical problems with the app, manual scoring is conducted as an alternative scoring measure. In such instances, one judge will record the scores manually, representing the WATL and another judge who will represent the player.

Manual scoring is conducted using paper sets, maintaining the fundamental principle of an even and fair score process. It is essential to note that manual scoring should only be the alternative scoring process and not a primary scoring method.

8) Safety and Procedural Rules

Safety is a top priority in axe throwing, and there are several rules and procedures that must be followed to ensure that players and spectators are safe during play.

Axe Inspection for Safety Purposes

Axe inspection is necessary for safety purposes, ensuring that the axes are in good condition for use. The axes must meet a certain standard, such as being properly sharpened and free from any defect that may cause harm.

Before each match, judges must examine the axes to ensure they are in good condition and follow all safety standards.

Axe Handle Holding Requirements and Replacement Procedure

The axe handle should always be held with both hands, and the non-throwing hand should stay below the dominant hand grip. This ensures that the player has good control over the axe and can throw successfully.

If the handle of the axe is damaged or cracked, it must be replaced before use. The WATL recommends that players should have reserve axes to allow for replacement arrangements.

Injury Policy and Makeup Matches

Injury policies exist for the protection of players and spectators. If a player sustains an injury during play, the official on duty must determine the severity of the injury and take the necessary action.

If the player is deemed unfit to continue playing, a makeup match may be scheduled, depending on the severity of the injury. The makeup matches aim is to ensure that players have a fair opportunity to compete at a later date, with the player given the space to recover and judged before their next appearance in a match.

Throwing Lane Safety and Spectator Distance

Throwing lane safety procedures exist to keep the players and spectators safe. Spectators must maintain a safe distance from the area of play, with a minimum distance of six feet from the player or judge.

This helps to reduce the risk of ax bouncing and errant throws. Each throwing lane should have clearly defined demarcations to ensure that the players stay within the playing area.

The throwing lanes should be in good condition and with proper lighting, reducing the potential for hazards during play.


Axe throwing is an exciting and competitive sport that requires skill, accuracy, and adherence to strict rules and regulations. Safety measures go hand in hand with the procedures, guaranteeing a fair and injury-free game of axe throwing.

By following the rules, adhering to safety guidelines, and using necessary equipment, players can confidently compete, score points, and improve their throwing techniques to rise to the top of the game. In summary, mastering the game of axe throwing involves a deep understanding of the rules and regulations governing gameplay, timing, safety, and procedural aspects.

Players must adhere to strict guidelines for throwing techniques, foot placement, and timing. Judges play a critical role in ensuring fair play and upholding game rules, while the WATL app streamlines scoring, error logging, and fault recording.

It is important to prioritize safety, including inspection for axe safety, player injury policies, distance from spectators, and throwing lane safety. The key takeaway is that mastering the game of axe throwing requires a balance of skill, strategy, adherence to the rules, and above all, safety.


1. What is the WATL app, and what are its features?

The WATL app is a mobile application that allows players and judges to track scores, errors, and critical data during the axe throwing game, including real-time score input and fault recording. 2.

How do judges ensure fair play during an axe throwing match? Judges ensure fair play by scheduling matches, supervising game play, determining fault assessment, enforcing penalties, and timekeeping while prioritizing safety.

3. Are there specific rules for throwing techniques and foot placement in axe throwing?

Yes, the game’s gameplay rules include a throw alternation rule, five-round switch rule, and 12 ft fault line rule for foot placement. Throwing techniques include overhand, underhand, and two-handed throws.

4. What should I do if there is a technical issue with the WATL app?

In the event of technical issues with the WATL app, judges use manual scoring as a backup scoring method, ensuring a fair game process. 5.

What are the safety procedures for axe throwing? Safety procedures include inspection of the axe for safety purposes, holding the axe handle with both hands, player injury policies, and throwing lane safety following spectator distance rules.

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