The establishment of the Visual Alignment Point is an absolutely necessary part of this method. It insures that your arm swing follows the Line of Flight directly at the stake. The images below explain how to establish this VAP and why it’s so important. As important as it is, it’s established one time and used on every swing and release at the stake until you decide to change it.
The image above is a representation of Phase 2. Phase 2 begins with the assumption that you are using the pendulum swing indicated by #1 in the image above. This means that your pitching arm is fully extended, in a relaxed state throughout the entire setup and swing. There should be no break at the elbow at anytime. When the shoe is resting on your right leg in Phase 1, it should be fully extended and remains fully extended as it raises up to eye height.
Attaching a Plumb — To establish your VAP you will need to temporarily attach a plumb to your horseshoe. The plumb is a string about 6 feet long with a weight attached to one end. This weight can be a sinker, clock weight, vise grip pliers, large washer, etc. The other end of the string needs to be attached to the center of the thumb calk area of the shoe.
Address Position — From the extended arm against the right leg in Phase 1, the arm is swung up to eye height with the center of gravity, determined by the plumb, directly over the Line of Flight. The image below shows what this looks like.
Determining the VAP — With the horseshoe raised to eye height and the plumb directly over the Line of Flight, use the left edge of the hook calk as a sight and find a target at the distant pit area. The #2 on the blue line in the image above represents sighting from your head through the left edge of the horseshoe (#2).
The continuation of the blue line determines that my VAP is directly above the right corner of the backboard behind the distant pit. That is a point 18″ to the right of the distant stake. Your location may vary, but, it should be within the 15″ to 36″ right of the distant stake. Until you change your address, you will always swing up to eye height* as your address position and place the left corner of your horseshoe aligned to the VAP. This insures that at that very moment, your horseshoe is still centered over the Line of Flight (LOF) approximately 24″ downrange.
From now on, you will use your VAP as the target for your eye height address position. *NOTE: You may decide to use a different address position, height wise, perhaps a little lower than eye height. Make sure you adjust your VAP for the lower address position. However, pick a height that provides a VAP that is common to every pit setup. We are not quite finished with the plumb and we’ll use it again in Phase 3.
Visual Stride Direction — The Magenta colored line #3 in the top image defines the Visual Stride Direction. This is the line that your head follows as you stride forward and will be more fully explained in Phase 3. Phase 3 also begins with the beginning of the back swing from the VAP.
The image above represents the pitcher establishing the Visual Alignment Point (VAP). In this case it’s from the right eye as the right eye is dominant for this pitcher. Here the pitcher swings up to eye level with the Center of Gravity of the horseshoe directly over the Line of Flight cord (black line). He uses the left corner of the horseshoe to find a point in the distance to be used as his Visual Alignment Point (blue line). This VAP is established just one time from this stance. It will be used on every address position until he changes his stance or alignment. His head is aligned with the distant stake shown from the pitcher’s nose (magenta line). From this position, the pitcher is ready to begin his downswing. The pitchers stance does not change until the shoe passes as close as possible to he right leg and continues to his Backswing Stop Point (BSP). Passing the shoe as close to the leg as possible re-establishes the starting point from Phase 1 with the shoe against the leg. As soon as the BSP is reached the forward swing begins.