At this point you have previously established your setup (Phase 1) and determined your Visual Alignment Point (Phase 2). Phase 3 begins with the back swing from the address position using the VAP.
To review, we have started with the horseshoe resting on our right leg with the Center of Gravity directly over the Line of Flight, 3-1/2″ to the right of the right edge of the approach, and, the left shank directly above the right edge of the approach. From this position, we swing the horseshoe up the address position with the left shank aligned with our Visual Alignment Point. So far, you have only moved your fully extended arm and horseshoe to the VAP. Nothing else has moved. As you start the horseshoe downward with the fully extended arm, your goal will be to pass the horseshoe as close to your right leg as possible. This continues to maintain your marriage to the Line of Flight. To this point you have only moved your fully extended arm. In other words, you have not moved anything except your arm from your right leg to your VAP back as close as possible to your right leg to your back swing stop point. The forward delivery now begins.
The delivery, Phase 3, begins when your back swing reaches it’s stop point.
As a reminder — your left hand is firmly planted on your left leg above the knee and will remain there throughout the stride forward. Your left foot is pointing directly at the right corner of the approach. Your upper body is still rotated clockwise at 27 degrees. Your right foot is still planted at the right edge of the approach adjacent to the imaginary stake.
Your arm swing starts forward simultaneously as your left leg begins it’s stride forward towards the right corner of the approach, and your right leg slides forward about 12″, items #1. Your head moves in a direct line at the stake, indicated by the Magenta line on the image above, item #3. Do not dip your body downward. Your body will automatically begin to rotate under your head as your left leg moves forward controlled by your left hand on your leg and should finish at an angle of 40 degrees, items #2. This rotation will insure that your right shoulder remains on the Line of Flight. Your timing should allow your left foot to plant slightly before you release the horseshoe.
Below is an image that shows the termination points of each of the lines. The Black line (LOF) and Magenta line (Visual Stride Direction) terminate at the stake, while the Blue line (VAP) terminates at a point to the right of the stake shown with a pipe ~32″ to the right of the stake at the adjacent approach. NOTE: The termination point of the VAP is a personal one, based on the pitchers height, angle established by the weight shift rightward and/or angle of the head.
If all has been done correctly, your pendulum swing will continue on a direct line to the stake. CAUTION: If you allow your left hand to leave your left leg/thigh, your shoulders will not rotate around clockwise correctly, by the 13 degrees they need to, in order to keep your right shoulder over the Line of Flight. Typically, you will miss to the left of the stake. In addition, if your left foot does not reach the right corner of the approach, this same rotation may not take place. Again, you’ll miss to the left.
All aspects of this setup and delivery will provide the feedback necessary to determine why you miss. They are all easily monitored. You will miss left if —
You will miss right if —
Using the Plumb — As you practice this rotation of your body from the shoulders down, you might want to test your alignment with the plumb. Simply go through the same process of attaching the string and plumb as in Phase 2. As you stride forward and swing your arm up toward the stake, complete your stride and stop somewhere on your upswing and make sure the plumb is still directly over the Line of Flight. See image below.
This completes the 3 phases of the setup, alignment and delivery. The geometry required to keep your shoulder moving down the Line of Flight, the geometry necessary to keep your head moving directly at the stake during the delivery and the geometry necessary to align your eyes to a fixed point over the Line of Flight is complete.
In the image above the pitcher has reached the end of his forward stride and delivery. His left toe is at the right corner of the approach and his nose continues to move directly at the distant stake (magenta line) and the Center of Gravity of the horseshoe is still over the Line of Flight. The pitcher started his alignment with his shoulders rotated 27 degrees clockwise and finished with his should rotated 40 degrees clockwise. His shoulders have rotated under his head while his head continues a straight line at the stake. This 13 degree rotation accomplished by the stride insures that the right shoulder continues to follow the LOF. You will note that the Line of Flight and Visual Stride Direction are slightly different. They are not parallel. They do converge at the stake, but, the difference is due to the distance between the center of the head and the pitching shoulder.
TROUBLESHOOTING — If you miss, why? Did you miss left or right? What did you do right? Assuming that your left hand remained on your left leg and you passed the shoe close to your right leg ticking the pant leg as it passed and your left foot is at the corner of the approach and your head moved directly at the stake — you swung off the Line of Flight somewhere during your backswing or forward swing. If your hand comes off of your thigh during your forward swing or your stride took you to the left, you’ll miss left. If your shoe goes to the right you’ve taken the shoe inside of the Line of Flight or you have swung your arm with a bend at the elbow which when straightened during the forward swing will cause the shoe to go right. It is important to keep your arm fully extended, without tension. However, if you allow it to get too soft, Centrifugal Force will straighten your arm and throw the shoe to the right.
Good Luck to anyone trying this approach. The geometry described in the 3 Phases will define the LOF, VAP, and the Visual Stride forward. Any change in stance, alignment or delivery will defeat the angles relative to this method. You can move left on the left approach or pitch from the right approach as long as you adjust the angles relative to your stance on either side.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at the email address below. Once you are confident in the delivery direction you can then concentrate on distance, an open shoe and drop angle.
40 Foot Pitchers — All of the geometry that applies here to the 30 foot pitcher also applies to the 40 foot pitcher, with very slight differences. The angle away from the approach is slightly less.