In case you haven’t heard, axe throwing has arrived in Alberta: not the lumberjack-mountaineer kind, but a new indoor style for the sport that’s been luring city-dwellers in by the thousands. If you haven’t been yet, it may be high time that you check out what everyone’s talking about. Plus, it’s never been easier to get involved, with three main ways to play:
- Join the league: sign up for weekly practice and play, attend tournaments and aim for a playoff chance
- Individual walk-ins: come to learn the basics and get in some solo practice on the weekends so you can leave your friends in the dust
- Group events: most venues welcome large groups for corporate events, birthdays, and bachelor parties, so you can learn the sport and face-off against all of your friends.
Here’s a quick rundown of some of the rules and details used by the Backyard Axe Throwing League (BATL) in Calgary that you should know before hitting the pitch:
- Participants must be 16 years of age or older
- Dress code: closed-toe shoes are a must, but otherwise, they recommend loose-fitting clothes that won’t restrict your movement – flannel is not mandatory (but always welcome)
- While they’re available every night of the week for booking group events, you can also drop in for some solo practice on Fridays and Saturdays
The Calgary location comes equipped with an in-house kitchen, meaning you don’t have to worry about keeping your Viking horde fed. With steam buns, meat skewers, mustard-baked pretzel bits, and pita chips with hummus, succotash, or chimichurri, you can count on having something available for everyone.
But you didn’t take your friends axe throwing in Calgary for the hors d’oeuvres, you came to learn an ancient art, and probably smack-talk each other a bit before going mano-a-mano. While an instructor will work with each participant until they know how to safely and accurately make a throw, these are the basic elements:
- Standing at the line, the contestant should hold their axe by the handle, letting it hang by their side.
- They should take the stance: feet wide, with the weight of the body resting on the dominant foot.
- Contestants should not take aim by sighting along the handle, but rather by fixing their gaze on the target and lifting up the hatchet until it’s level.
- The handle should be at a right angle to the arm and elbow at this point; from there, the contestant should pull back over the shoulder, sweep their arm forward and release as the hatchet reaches the point at which it was aimed at the target.
- Contestants should always follow through, allowing their arms to continue on its trajectory after releasing the handle.
You will learn all of this from a BATL instructor who has mastered the game playing in axe throwing leagues and turned their passion into a profession. Before you know it, you’ll be going up against your friends and fighting to be crowned champion of the night.