"Horseshoe Pitching" Top 5 Page for this destination Texas Travelogue by keeweechic

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This 'sport' in Texas is pretty simple - one throws a horseshoe 30 or 40ft hoping that it will encircle a stake in the ground. But Texans will tell you that it requires patience and practice and of course skill.

The Serious Art of the Sport

Grip : Make sure your grip is solid, but not tight. If your shoe moves in your hand, it will throw off both your alignment and turn.

Backswing : The height of the backswing will vary from one person to another. However, an excessively high backswing will pull the shoe out of alignment with the stake.

Step : Your step should be medium in length -- not too long, not too short. Your left knee must be able to bend and stride. Don't let your stepping leg land stiff or straight.

Follow-through : Follow through to the stake, not up into the air. Exaggerate it.

Keep your eye on the stake : Look at a point in the middle of the stake until the shoe hits. Don't watch the shoe as it flies through the air.

Alignment (hitting the stake) : Alignment comes from continued forward motion toward the stake prior to release of your shoe. Don't raise your head or chest as you pitch. Have a little "drive" on your shoes, don't "float" them. Always try to hit the stake first, rather than the clay or sand.

Throwing a "turn" shoe (as opposed to the "flip") : For those just getting started, hold the shoe at a 45 deg. angle as you swing and level it out right before release. The speed of your turn can be controlled by moving your grip up or down on the shoe. As you gain more control, adjust your turn so that the shoe is fully open or just past fully open as it hits the stake.

Weigh your horseshoes : Make sure your horseshoes are matched in weight. Some pairs are not especially well matched. It is difficult to maintain consistency throwing shoes of different weights.

On the mental game : Think only about the shoe you are pitching -- not about the score, winning, or missing. Ignore your opponent's shoes that are standing up blocking the stake. Forget about the kids running around behind the fence in back of the stake. Pay no attention to the adoring fans commenting on your impeccable pitching style. Pitch one shoe at a time.

  • Page Updated Nov 18, 2003
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