Hotshots Ax Throwing allows customers to start a new activity

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Games such as tic tac toe, Connect Four and blackjack find an unlikely format at Hotshots Ax Throwing, where overhead image projectors allow ax throwers to aim for more than just a bulls-eye.

Hotshots Ax Throwing, which has been open for just over two years, offers a beginner-friendly way to develop throwing skills. Store manager and ax throwing coach Douglas Criswell Jr. said many people come for appointments, corporate events or parties.

Many first-time visitors have one thing in common, Criswell said: They’ve never thrown an ax before.

“There’s kind of a ladder, with some people thinking it’s going to be super easy and some people are terrified,” Criswell said. “There is a learning curve, but I describe the level of difficulty roughly as walking and chewing gum at the same time.”

Each lane can accommodate up to six people, with prices starting at $35 per person for a 1.5-hour session. Targets are projected onto a board so throwers have a variety of options, including a “zombie hunter” target, to choose from when throwing.

Criswell said clients first sign a safety waiver, meet with their ax throwing coach and receive instructions on how to throw an ax safely. They then enter their name into a system – or choose an ax-themed name already programmed – and start throwing.

Although there is a safety waiver, Criswell said he believes activities like bowling can be more dangerous than ax throwing as long as the thrower follows the coach’s instructions.

“Everyone has seen it when you go bowling, where the bowling balls fly in all kinds of directions,” Criswell said. “I have never seen an ax recoil.”

Kids 10 and up are welcome to throw Ax Throwing Hotshots, and adult guests can bring their own alcoholic beverages starting at 4 p.m. Criswell said ax throwing is a great time, regardless of skill, and can be picked up by anyone.

“For all newbie pitchers, I would just say the best thing to do is stay out of your head,” Criswell said. “We give you the basics; don’t think too much and go all the way.

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