I have modified the stance shown in Part 13. I have moved my right foot further back in the stance and along the right edge of the right approach. I do think I have a little more insight into why this stance change seems to work for me. In 1976, Lee Trevino wrote a book entitled, “Groove Your Golf Swing My Way.” Of interest, was his unusual stance and the reason and apparent result. He felt that he was able to swing down the flight line further than any other golfer.
What became apparent to me almost immediately, was that if I missed the stake, the shoe passed the stake on the left. It was almost impossible for me to throw the shoe to the right of the stake. The instantaneous feedback was that if the shoe went to the left, I had allowed the shoe to pass too far away from my right leg on the backswing. When I concentrated on passing the shoe very close to my right leg, the shoe would go directly at the stake. Sliding my right foot back further, also gives me better balance control. This stance is in keeping with the centered and balanced stance normally found in martial arts classes.
I try to practice every weekday weather permitting. I try to avoid practicing on the weekends so as not to disturb my neighbors with the constant clanging of horseshoes.
I practice as if I am in a tournament. I try to make every shoe count. I keep score.
I keep the pit in tournament condition. I don’t practice on a hard surface. It becomes frustrating watching shoes jump all over the place.
I knock off the major clods of clay, but, clean off only my gripping area.
If my first shoe is a ringer, I throw the second while maintaining my position. If my first shoe is not a ringer, I make a mental note as to why, step off the approach and reset.
I sometimes throw four shoes and consider the first two as my opponents and try to match or best the first two shoes.
I make my practice a competition with myself. This encourages pressure to succeed.
While pitching in clay, and my opponent is a flipper, there are times when the opponents shoe will block the arrival of an incoming shoe. You have two choices, try to pass the shoe between the shanks of the opponents shoe, or, hit the stake above the propped shoe. My practice now includes proppring a shoe against the stake and trying to hit the stake higher.
I throw 50 shoes, check the scoresheet, look for trends, take a break and start over.
If I’m quitting for the day, I continue until I throw a double and quit.
Staying in Shape
It became apparent that anyone anticipating tournament competition and the practice necessary needs to be in good physical shape. Pitching horseshoes, whether from 30 or 40 feet stresses my knees, hips, back, arms and shoulders. I’ve found that working out at the gym is the best regimen for maintaining good physical condition. On Monday and Wednesday, I perform my usual routine(s). The Friday before a tournament, I concentrate on exercising my core muscles and stretching out the connective tissue in my shoulders. Building finger strength, i.e., concentrating on pinch grip strength is definitely a plus. Carrying 25 or 45 pound plates with thumb and fingers handles this problem nicely.
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