We had some great highlights this week, and I hope everyone is super excited as we come into the last two weeks of league.
I wanted to write the email this week and follow up on Dan’s email with my own thoughts and insights.
- Ebony and Ivory, Rippin’ 6’s, and 20% all scored 12’s on single throws during Duals.
- We witnessed the second 50 of the season for Marley!
- Lots and lots of very close calls and 2nd opinions called. But I think we did a good job of consistently and accurately judging. The photo below was a funny moment during Duals where everyone came to take a look at a 4/5. Coincidentally, that game ended as a 1-point victory.
- Make-Up Throws: Charles Jolman, Chris Ell, Pierre McNeil, Spare Change, World’s Best Grandads
- Congrats to Kitty who set a personal record this season with a 53.
- Chris Marquez had to leave early, so we started league early and all pitched in as a team to get his games done in time.
- We missed our shovel throwing friends David and Andrea, who are on vacation in Mexico. They will need to make up their games this week. We are also missing games from Chris Van Gurp and Matt Barela.
- Make-Up Throws: Eric Duvall, Sean Rayborn, Aaron Rayborn, Smarty Ray, Who Knows, Tweedles
- Amazingly so, Kai went to “who sucks less” in 3 matches tonight.
- Richard broke into the 60 club, oh so close.
- Congrats to Jay for joining the 50 club.
- James Waldrop announced the winner of the W.L. Weller Bourbon raffle and that winner was Brady Trulove – super duper jealous.
- Team Smarty Ray is averaging a league high 47.65 for Duals. Impressive. Also this photo of them throwing belongs in the Louvre – make sure to look closely at Richard and Ray.
- Make-Up Throws: Andrea Hildebrandt, David Gallivan, Chris Van Gurp, Matt Barela
Note this week that a few people pre-threw their games for next week, so the totals and averages might look a little funny. Check out the excel chart for more details.
I feel like I have some insights to give on the topic of “Throwing Better.” I have spent a lot of time practicing, trying new things, and working on consistency. I still have a long way to go, but I have also found that I enjoy talking to others and giving feedback to them that I see. I’m going to break down some of the things that I do and why I think they work, and hopefully there’s a nugget of wisdom that someone can take from it.
Anchors Build Consistency
I feel like it’s common knowledge that the more you can do the same every throw then the more consistent you are. If you talk to anyone who has thrown axes for a good amount of time, they have found anchors, or places on their body that the axe, or their arm go to every throw. If you look at me, I use my collarbone and ear as anchor points, Where James Waldrop, and Brandon use their head and ears. If you ask anyone, they will probably tell you where their anchors are, and big part of developing a throw that works for you is identifying the natural anchor points you tend to use. If you can start to identify these places so that every time you set up or start your throw you FEEL the axe in the same exact place as before then that’s how you start to build a throw that is consistent.
Find the Point of Balance
Every object ever has a point of balance, on an axe the point of balance is usually close to underneath the head if not right through the head of the axe. To find your axe’s point of balance, try to balance your axe on your finger until you can hold it up with just one finger. When I throw, I focus on getting this balance point to where I want the axe to go on the board and if I am successful, the blade should fall into place right where I want it. If you focus on the point of balance, then throwing at little bitty dots becomes so much easier. I’m throwing one little metaphorical spot at a second physical dot and letting the actual blade of the axe cover my mistake if I miss. This is a conceptual thought, but when I heard Ryan Smit tell me this years ago a lot of things clicked for me.
Practice With Purpose
A big thing I have noticed in myself and something that I must consciously be aware of and consider when I practice, and something that I think is easily overlooked is practicing with purpose. What I mean by that is if you come in to throw, play games with friends, and even on League nights when you throw and are not hitting what you want, or you are and then suddenly you aren’t. Why? What did you change from this throw to that throw, and how do you make every throw the one that you want? Did I use a different anchor? Did I use a slightly different grip? Am I adding unnecessary movement somewhere that is affecting the movement of my throw? If this is unnecessary movement, how do I get rid of it? The biggest thing is when you throw you should be looking for the answers to these types of questions.
Call Your Killshots
This is in direct contradiction to what Dan said last week and is specifically for anyone who wants to hit more kills and who has goals of going Pro. CALL YOUR KILLS, all of them. If you are at a point where it’s easy to hit your kills in practice, then start going up. In practice there’s no pressure, you’re not playing anyone, you’re avg won’t go down if you miss, and all the other reasons not to go up during a game. If you start going up now under the pressure and get used to it, Killshots become so much easier. You get used to blocking out your thoughts, and just throwing. Practice it. You won’t be able to walk into a season and hit 50% or more killshots if you don’t start practicing going up in a game setting.
Mind Over Average
My last thought is that axe throwing is mainly a mind game, and I’ve had lots of very good throwers tell me to get out of my head. Thank you, James Waldrop. Any throwers you ever talk to will tell you that the mental game is the most important. If you can get out of your own head and just throw, your game will improve so much! When you drop, mentally shake it off. The next throw is still throw one. What you threw before, and what you’re about to throw don’t add up to “I have to hit a 6 to keep and avg of 50.” It’s always throw one. This is the hardest thing to do and something I think everyone struggles with but is easily one of the most important aspects of throwing.
If you have read this far. This is something I am very passionate about and would love to talk with anyone who wants to explore these topics more or who just wants general feedback on their throws. I would love to work with you and will be opening some time to do some 1-on-1 coaching with anyone who would like help growing their game and now will offer private coaching sessions. We will go more in depth on theories behind throwing, the topics above, and being another eye and mind to find a throw that works for you. If anyone is interested in this, please reach out to me.
Throw you well and prosper!